"That's bullshit!" I cried, standing up and knocking my stool down in the process. I glared at the principal who just accused me of committing the prank of the year. Whoever thought to stick all of the mice to the desk using super glue, got rid of all the wires on every computer, wiped every single desktop in the school, and jammed each and every printer right before report card time is genius. It seems a little suspicious for me, considering I was the one who was on the verge of failing and the principal has talked to my mother and discussed how she doesn't want me to fail this semester. No marks means more time for me to improve before my parents see.
But I swear to you, I certainly did not do it. If I did and got caught (or in this case, if I didn't and still got caught) I would be in the biggest trouble ever. As of now, I'm pretty sure my mom is going to go ape shit on me and I'm never allowed to leave the house to do anything ever again.
"Kyle!" My Spanish teacher, Senorita Gonzales cried, looking at me disapprovingly. She's still here, how in the world could I forget?
"I told you we should've spoken in private…" Principal Green told me, shaking his head. The minute he barged into our Spanish room, right in the middle of Tim's presentation, he demanded to speak with me immediately. If I had gone with him, that would've meant I knew I was in trouble. I wasn't about to let him get me there, so I told him whatever he wanted to say in private could be said in front of my peers. I underestimated how much trouble I was really in.
"It doesn't matter. What you just said to me was a lie. I don't even know how to hack a computer. And who could find the time to glue all of those mice and collect all the wires?" I got him there. But he wasn't fazed.
"Listen, we believe that you had help. I think you threatened some of the younger students, the smarter and more advanced students. I'm not sure what you did, but it seems like you've been spending a lot of time hanging out with Malcolm. He is an AP Computer Science student so I wouldn't be surprised if you stole his notes and figured it out yourself."
My peers were quick and a chorus of 'oohs' were spread around the class. I reluctantly stood up and followed the principal out of the classroom. Whatever happens, I don't want rumors to be spread about it.
The moment the door closed behind us, I looked around to see if anybody was hiding. It wouldn't be a surprise to me, how my school gossips like little high school girls.
"I just wanted to say, before you call my mom and retell the story, that even though I strongly praise the handiwork of said person, I'm not him." I didn't meet the eyes of the principal. I didn't want to see whatever frown he had upon his face and what speech he planned in his head and was about to lay down on me.
"Kyle, please do not be difficult. You are not the only one we've got our eye on so please don't think you're 'oh so special'. We've got our suspicions and if they are to be proved correct, then we'll have our criminal. Otherwise, we're just trying to get through this with as less trouble as possible so I'd be really happy if you would cooperate with us and your fellow peers."
I nodded, automatically thinking of the list of other suspects. I could already tell that Holden, the number one troublemaker, would be on that list. Being a whopping twenty years of age, he was a junior when I was a freshman. He has a legacy at this school that I doubt anybody, past or future, will ever take that away. He has pulled off some of the most creative and skillful plans to have ever met our school. He is definitely one of the guys.
Then again, there was also Charles. He's only a sophomore but anybody (myself included) shouldn't mess with him. He can get inside your head and make your baddest dream come true. You have ophidiophobia? He'll find a way to plant a hundred snakes in your locker, the venomous ones. You have a crush but you're too scared to admit it? Might as well let him do his magic and make sure you'll never get together with the one you like.
And finally, I think of Xavier. He is so likely to do it; him and Malcolm. Ever since the Chemistry detention, they've been all buddy-buddy, talking so secretively every time they were together. It was no doubt that they planned this whole thing and is trying to frame me right now. And here I thought we were being civil, by ignoring each other for at least a week.
"Don't you have cameras or something?" I asked. Ever since someone stole, I think it was the thousand dollars for the graduation trip, they warned us about the cameras that they installed in the school. Nobody confessed for that and the criminal went off punishment-free, if it had not been for the random DD kid who happened to point him out.
"We do yes, but this criminal was smart enough to uninstall it. Thing is, the camera was back within a few minutes so we have a feeling this was not something done between one person, but two or more. We aren't pining you to be the criminal, but if you have any information at all, they're ready to see you."
I honestly believed when I stepped into the principal's office, there would be two policemen, one bad and one good, with a single light pointed at me, much like the movies. I was slightly disappointed when all there was, was a group of kids, I think around seven of them, who were my age, maybe even juniors, sitting with notepads in their hands. This was not exactly how I pictured my first interrogation but it's only a setback, a practice for the real thing someday.
"Do you remember that student jury Mr. Grant was trying to set up last year?" he asked me in a whisper but the entire room could hear it.
"You mean that one that he tried to set up but nobody but Malcolm would give it a second thought?" I asked. "They thought it was full of crap," I added as if it were an afterthought.
Principal Green didn't even comment on my language. "Well this year, we tried again and a surprisingly large number of juniors were more than happy to join. It seems to me we can see who the brighter side of the school is." He smirked. "Answer every question that is asked and don't talk back."
Then he turned and addressed the jury. They were supposed to help figure out what type of punishment should be used for what type of crime, just as if they were a real court. I guess the student police office was off duty today.
"This is Kyle Levesque. He may or may not be the one who pulled off Case Number 45, the Report Card." I stifled a laugh. They name their cases? "We, as a jury, are about to find out." And with that, Principal Green left the room.
It was silent. I felt so damn awkward. I looked around the room and they were all staring at me. Suddenly, I got the feeling that Principal Green was watching me. I had a feeling the blackboard doubled as a one-way mirror. That thought just made everything 100 times cooler.
Next, I looked at the faces of the juniors. They weren't like the rest, who seemed to shrink back a little when I laid my glare on them. These guys just looked right back, meeting my eyes with a hard look of their own. I didn't know each one by name but I recognized some of them from places around school. Like the one who spoke up is the one on the soccer team, I believe.
"Kyle, you may have a seat," he said. I snorted. Like I would let a junior tell me what to do. "Fine then. Stand but this might take a while."
I smirked. This will not take longer than it needs to be.
"On the day of January 14th, 6:14PM, would you mind tell me the exact location you were at and what you happened to be doing?"
I gaped at him. "You expect me to remember this type of stuff?" I asked.
"Hesitation! I can hear it in his voice!" one of the other juniors said.
Rolling my eyes, I looked at the calendar that was on the principal's desk. I went over to it and turned it around so I could see when that was. It turned out to be a Saturday. "I think I was at Chris's house…" I said, uncertainty in my voice. That was last weekend.
"Think?" The one who accused me of hesitating said. "Did you not know that whatever you say or do may or will be used against you when the principal comes up with his final decision?"
"No, I don't believe so. I wasn't asked to raise my right hand and swear on the book, was I?" This was starting to piss me off. When were students supposed to be so serious? What were the teachers supposed to do then?
"Don't be a smart ass with us, Kyle. We know exactly what you're doing. Answer the damn question with as much accuracy as possible so we don't have to waste anymore class time." Just as he finished the sentence, the bell rang. Well there goes Spanish.
"Fine, I was at Chris's house or at home, playing video games." I took the seat that I refused earlier and slouched at it, just to see if they get as pissed off as the teachers do. They don't.
"Are you 100% sure?" I rolled my eyes and nodded.
"Then I guess you were not at the scene of the crime when the prank was pulled?" Mr. Soccer player, who apparently was the group of this little club, asked me. Well obviously, I wanted to say but decided a little sarcasm can lighten up their day.
"Unless the prank was done at Chris or my house, then I don't think so."
Realization dawned on the group's faces. "So you worked from home! You probably sent a robot to help disguise your fingerprints. And Chris was in on it too! We have to tell Principal Green!" I stared at them in disbelief.
"I'm outta here." I stood up and started to exit the office. I honestly can't believe the principal asked these kids to deal with the situation. If I knew it was this easy and I was allowed to miss class, I would be the first to sign up. Given I'd probably let everyone off free, that was the price he had to pay.
Turning the doorknob that I was so familiar with, I almost stepped on the principal's shoe. So I guess that means there's no one way mirror. "Sit." A vein looked like it was going to explode on his face. As much as I would pay to see that, I knew this wasn't exactly the time to disobey him.
I looked back at the expectant kids. Well here goes every freakin' thing.
Once the juniors released me and I was able to leave school, I met Chris at his car. "Heard from Del that the principal called you down to the office," he said, shaking his head. He knew exactly what it was about; the only thing that they talked about the entire week. The stupid prank of course.
"You heard correctly," I replied. It also made me miss Algebra, not that I'm exactly complaining about it. "And get this: Principal Green actually set up a student jury. You know the one that Mr. Grant attempted to start last year?"
Chris laughed as he stepped into the car and buckled his belt. "That is hilarious! Who the hell would sign up for the thing?"
"A bunch of suck-up juniors! They were probably waiting for their sophomore year to end so they were eligible!" We shared a good laugh. If all visits to the principal's office were this funny, I'd try to go more often. Then again, I think I already over welcomed my stay over the past four years.
Once our laughed quieted down, I said, "They also name their cases." The schoolgirl giggles started up again.
Finally, when we were probably 3 minutes from school, he asked. "So did you do it?"
This time, I had my own personal laugh. "Chris, Chris, Chris. That would require I actually tried so that the marks would improve wouldn't it?" I asked. He frowned. "I give credit to the person. It's not me though. If I knew it was going to cause this much problems, I probably would've tried it during sophomore year when my mom didn't care. I'm not in the mood to get my ass whooped now."
"Fair enough." And that little chapter was closed out of my life, just like that. Because really, what are the chance I'm going to get in trouble for a crime I didn't commit?