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Pantheon -- Tiffany St. John -- Senior
April 18, 2011By John Mohn of Whitmer High School
Silver Key Award Winning Short Story in the Category of Humor
2011 Scholastic Writing Awards
Tiffany St. John
No, it's the end-of-recess bell, but I ignore it. The wind is whistling through my hair as I swing back and forth, back and forth, on the giant red swing set. It's an honor really. At our elementary school you have to fight to use this set. The only other swings we have are the tiny blue ones with the peeling paint that are set up near the edge of the playground, by the fence. The weeds which crawl up the metal fencing are eerie and Jamie Stacey says there are five ghosts living in the bushes: one of an old janitor, three of students who used to go here, and one of her black lab puppy dog which they had to put down last year because it had rabies. Then again, Jamie Stacey also told me that bologna is made out of worms, which I know for a fact is not true. You never know who you can believe nowadays. "These are lyin' times." That's what my grandmother says. But then again, maybe you can't believe her either. What a world it is to live in when you don't even know if you can trust your own grandmother.
My teacher, Mrs. Stenson, is calling her class to come in. I would really rather not. I know what she has planned for us back in that cage of a classroom. A math test. We're having a math test today and I didn't study. The whole system is flawed if you ask me. How can you study for a test if you don't understand what you're learning? And anyway, I don't have time for math. Not when the evil Dr. Calamity is loose.
Not only is he loose, but he's standing directly below me at the end of a brick-walled, trash-filled, god-forsaken alleyway. I land behind him so he can't see me coming. The only downside is I can't see what he's doing either. From here it looks like he's just standing there. I need to get a closer look. Just as I come in close enough to look over his shoulder though, he turns. In his hands he's holding a giant pot of green bubbling acid! I look into his face, the very face of evil. A wide grin is stretching from ear to ear. His teeth are rotted and yellow. Disgusting. But there's no time to think about hygiene! I have to take evasive measures! Before I can dart away though, he throws the acid in my face, laughing maniacally.
"Karalynn Jameson! What do you think you're doing?" A harsh voice is calling from above. In another moment I'm being dragged into the school building and down the hallway towards the principal's office against my will. Once we're inside the office it's all familiar territory. No one even looks up as I enter. It's just another daily ritual by now.
Mrs. Stenson takes me straight into the principal's office without even speaking with the secretary. Mr. Jeffries, the principal, looks up and smiles at us.
"And what has Miss Jameson done now?" he asks kindly.
"Well, when she didn't come in from recess I went back out to look for her. I was absolutely appalled to find her flopping around in a puddle of mud like some absurd little creature."
That's one thing about Mrs. Stenson. She loves her "a" words.
Mr. Jeffries sighs. "Karalynn, after our last conversation I promised Mrs. Stenson you were going to behave!"
"These are lyin' times," I mutter under my breath.
"Hm?" he questions.
"Yes sir. I know," I respond obediently. I swear, I'm practically house-broken.
"I believe you owe your teacher an apology..."
"An apology indeed," Mrs. Stenson gripes. "What this child needs is an amercement!"
"...A written apology," Mr. Jeffries says sternly. I love it when he does that with his voice. It means his decision is final.
Mrs. Stenson drags me back to class, muttering things under her breath about what an abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, awful child I am. When we arrive she tosses me into a desk in the back corner of the classroom and orders me to begin. "Written apology," she says, "five minutes."
I already know what I'm going to say, how I'm going to voice my feelings. I grab a pencil and have the note on her desk in less than a minute.
Dear Mrs. Stenson,
I'm not sorry, I've never been, and I won't be. Ever.
It's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I can't accept the world as it is now. I can't act like I care when I don't. I can't do that. Not in good conscious. Not when there's a world to save. There are two kinds of people on this dying planet. Those who'll lie to weasel their way out of something, and those who fight for honor to the end.
"These are lyin' times," I mutter, "but I ain't no liar."