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Monday, December 18, 2006

Fourth Period Follies

Category: Humor Winners, Issue 5

It was just before fourth period, almost time for that dreaded freshman English class.

“Hey Brad! Let’s skip this stupid English class. We can hide in the bathroom.”

Jeremy was one of my best friends and constantly on the lookout for ways to get in trouble. Normally I would have easily shot back a quick, “No, I don’t think so”, but today seemed like the perfect day to skip. In case we got questioned, my parents were out of town. I could just say that I was feeling sick and stayed in the bathroom a while until I felt better, knowing that I couldn’t call my parents to come get me.

“Ok,” I said. “Let’s get out of here.”

We walked around the hall for a couple of minutes and vanished into the bathroom. The outside din of the gossipers and those rushing to classes grew quieter and quieter until there was complete silence.

“So, what do you wanna do?” I asked.

That was a very good question, and one I should have thought about before going along with Jeremy’s skipping idea. For the rest of the fifty minutes, we sat in adjacent stalls telling jokes and talking about whatever came up. It was like a sleepover, except the air smelled like urinal cakes, and we had toilets instead of beds.

As the bell rang, it was the perfect time for Jeremy and me to get our stories straight before heading to the next class. If only we had realized that. The next day we were called in to the office to see an assistant principal together.

“You fellas missed fourth period yesterday. Why’s that? I have an AWOL slip for both of you from Mrs. Gray.” Mrs. Barco didn’t mess around. She was perfect for this enforcer role, but I thought I was ready for her.

“Mrs. Barco, I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the bathroom during fourth period and came back out after I felt better.”

It was true. Well, only the part about my parents being out of town, but that was the only part that could be checked upon anyway.

“Why didn’t you come to the office like you’re supposed to?”

“Well, my parents are out of town for the day, so I knew they couldn’t come get me. So I thought I’d just stay in the bathroom for awhile until I felt better.”

I’m not sure if Mrs. Barco was buying my little sob story or not. I got the feeling that she was on the fence, and whatever Jeremy had to say about his role in this ordeal was going to push her one way or the other. Mrs. Barco looked away from me and fixed that steely glare upon Jeremy.

“Mr. Joines, what about you?”

“I was taking a dump.”

“Holy crap! Did he really just say that?” I thought to myself. Of all the excuses! Plus, “taking a dump?”—you don’t say it like that to the assistant principal! I wasn’t the only one who seemed astounded.

“For fifty minutes!?” Mrs. Barco snapped.

“Well, off and on,” Jeremy explained. Plus Brad was in there, so I wanted to stay with him since he didn’t feel well.”

Just on the infinitesimal chance that Mrs. Barco wasn’t realizing how lame this sounded, I refrained from smacking the heel of my hand against my forehead. I’d save that for as soon as I got to tell Jeremy in private just how stupid that was. I was mad at us both for not realizing what an obvious gap in the day we had created by skipping a class, not at the beginning or end of the day, but one right in the middle. “See you in detention,” I thought to myself.

Sure enough, that was the sentence for both of us, and we had to write an essay while we were there. It was the typical detention essay all about what we did wrong, how we would repent, and what we learned from our mistakes. I didn’t include this in my essay, but the most important thing I learned from the experience:  Skipping school is a bad idea—unless you skip the entire day.