Monday, December 17, 2012

Lemonade- A Short Story

Have you ever heard the age old saying ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?’ Well I must admit that I disagree, my philosophy is that is life gives you lemons, squirt them in thine enemy’s eyes. Is that too dark for you? I understand; not everyone will agree with my sentiments.
Some of you might be mildly surprised right now, others shocked, and still others wondering what kind of story you have gotten yourself into. Well let me just let you know that it is definitely paranormal. Those of you who just thought vampires need to stop reading your tween daughter’s books again.
 But back to the lemons, a very decisive part of the story. Now most would agree that there is very little that can be done with just one single lemon and they would be right. To make some sort of spectacular lemon substance, you usually need a lot of lemons. Well the same concept applies to nearly every other thing in the world. In other words “the more the merrier.”
Never has that saying been truer than when applied to a certain group, a certain bipedal group, and before you think an ostrich, I am in fact referring to humans. Time and again man has attempted to bring together his fellow man for one purpose or another, whether war, a football game, or a tea party. There is something about each that draws people’s attention, that has them begging for more, yes even the tea party. What draws them; pride, hope, enjoyment? Or is it something deeper, is it something so close to our hearts and yet completely foreign to our brains that it is indefinable?
This was the thought that started my Monday morning. Why does man seek out attention from his fellow man? Why do we not all want to go hide in caves cowering from all life? From all that we know about what harm can befall us at a moment’s notice, why is it that we will still shake hands with a complete stranger? As I lay in bed contemplating this, I groggily reached over to turn off my alarm clock.
Why is it that teenagers have to get up the earliest for school, when we clearly are the ones who need the most sleep? I scrambled out of bed while at the same time checking my phone for texts. Yes I am talented. You might be wondering why a person of my particular age would be thinking such thoughts on a lousy Monday morning. Well I am a knowledge seeker, a wisdom striver. That’s right; I am the journalist for the school newspaper.
This is pretty much how I spend my free time, contemplating the Universe while maybe at the same time making myself cookies. Don’t roll your eyes; thinking can make a person hungry. But back to my morning, I finished getting ready and went down stairs, got some pop tarts, and went out the door. I walk to school every day because I boycotted the bus due to a certain mishap that involved a couple of science projects and a few suspensions, but anyways, back to me walking alone to school.
You might be thinking (a dangerous habit when trying to predict this story) that right about now is when the zombies jump out right? Wrong. I got to school without anything abnormal happening. In fact the whole morning was rather uneventful. It was in biology class that the ball started rolling. Now I’m sure you’re sure where this is going right? You think I will find some weird egg in the fish tank, or maybe this is when the boy next to me admits he has been bitten by a spider or something.
Well you would be wrong, both things are absolutely ridiculous. No, as I was retrieving my pen from the corner of the room where it flew in my anxiety to take notes. My hand brushed against something hard and round. I bent over to look under the table and saw animal droppings. It is probably from some rats or some escaped animal right? After all, this is the biology lab, but anyone thinking that would be wrong mainly because they have never been to my school.
To say it follows every health code is an understatement. I think it’s pretty safe to say that they are OCD. I’m almost positive that there is an award in the Principal’s office that says ‘Cleanest school in the Universe’ or something absurd like that. So it would be tantamount to heresy to admit that I found something so horrifically unsanitary on school grounds. Wishing to keep my ‘Currently Living’ status on Facebook intact, I kept the incident to myself and even cleaned up the mess.
I went home that day feeling rather scandalous. The next few days were very uneventful. Surprising as it is, I didn’t even think about or remember the incident for days, I guess that’s how traumatic experiences work. When I finally did remember, it hit me like a punch. I was withholding information from the higher ups. Oh my gosh, isn’t that illegal?! I started to hyperventilate, pacing rapidly. Suddenly I stopped. What the heck am I doing? Am I seriously doing the stereotypical thing and freaking out? I must be losing it.
Needless to say, my embarrassing episode never left the bus station. The homeless guys, I’m sure, won’t turn me in. They are pretty trustworthy judging by their aversion to people.
Now let’s go in a different direction for a minute, let’s take a trip down the road called ‘Hypothetical Situations.’ Let’s say I was to investigate a bit. Let’s say I stayed late after 6th period and went immediately back to the biology lab. Strangely enough, it was completely empty, oh how convenient. All still hypothetical, I am lucky enough to find another gift over in the same spot.
So I look more closely at the site. Perhaps I should call in some specialists that will set up some sort of E.T. re-creation. Maybe aliens are involved and this is all way above my head. An inner struggle rages. To ‘fess or not to ‘fess, that is the question. I decide not to, and then I hypothetically go home and live out my days as the local real estate agent, because everyone knows you have to be crazy to go into that profession; all very normal and boring.
Now please come back to reality; this is what really happened. In biology, as I turned in my homework, I happened to glance over at the wall behind Mr. Barker’s desk. Strangely enough, there was a small hole in the drywall and it looked as though someone had hurriedly swept up the debris in an effort to make it seem as though it had always been there.
But I know for a fact that that hole was new. Hadn’t I cleaned up frog guts right near there after missing the trash can? And yes I did find out they weren’t even supposed to go in the trash can in the first place. But my point being, there was definitely not a hole as big as my foot there the other day.
I tried to inconspicuously catch a glimpse of Mr. Barker’s foot to judge the size. Yeah that hole was definitely smaller than Mr. Barker’s foot, which rules out a teacher temper tantrum. Unfortunately I had been standing at the desk for too long, thus drawing unwanted attention and stares. I shrugged noncommittally and went back to my desk, determinedly ignoring the weird looks.
 I was understandably distracted for the rest of class, continually glancing back at the wall, trying to fit some sort of pieces together. That was when I heard the scuttling, very faint, but definitely there. I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, but mostly everyone had a dazed expression with drool at the edges of their mouths and some were even actually asleep. Typical, I am the only one to notice the barely perceptible noise.
 I tried to ignore it, staring intently, almost threateningly, at Mr. Barker. A slightly louder scuttle, Mr. Barker winces; I stare into his squinty eyes. Yes, there it is a side dish of fear with a main course of panic; very small, but still apparent if you are looking for it. What is going on here? Are the teachers aware of this, whatever this is?
When class ended, Mr. Barker raced from the room and as I entered the hallway I noticed several other teachers doing the same. On a hunch, I decided to follow my 4th period English teacher Mrs. Spellini. So as not to be obvious, I followed exactly ten paces behind her. After turning the corner, I saw the swish of her long skirt disappear behind the door of the Teacher’s Lounge. With the grace of a cartoon character, I snuck up to the door, hiding behind ridiculously small poles and changing clothes to disguise myself whenever someone glanced my way.
Ok, not really, but I still looked pretty dorky to say the least. Slowly I eased my head up to the window, so as to alert no one to my presence. I immediately heard Mr. Barker squeak out something about the meaning of the message on, from what I could tell, this ancient piece of technology called a pager. They still made those? Well that must have been how all the teachers had known to convene in such a timely manner.
I silently cursed myself, blast my distracted mind, I had completely missed Principal Bosse’s reply. I did happen to at least focus in time to catch three fleeting words that were slightly mumbled. In order, they were ‘students, aware, and basement.’ There were probably words in between but I couldn’t catch them, besides that wasn’t the most pressing matter at that moment. The only thing that was important right then was that some unfortunate soul noticed that I was eavesdropping.
I say unfortunate because I might have, at that moment, forgotten the need for secrecy, and had plastered my face, quite unladylike, to the door’s window. I daresay I was not a very becoming sight to see while nervously drinking coffee. Ms. Addet, the math teacher, screamed in surprise just as I ducked out of sight and made a dash for the nearest unlocked door.
Call it destiny or simply a crazy coincidence, but I managed to find myself closing the door to the basement just as the Teacher Lounge door burst open. Weird, I thought this door was supposed to be locked, but at least for now it was my sanctuary. Surely my pursuers would think the door locked as well and not check in here for a while, giving me time to escape. I would really like to know the odds of such an event, but that Google search would have to wait.
Thankfully I did manage to still have sense enough to, like any other human on the planet, slap the walls frantically looking or rather touching for a light switch. An orange glow greeted my wide eyed stare. I glanced down the stairs, then at the door. Always better to traipse into a dark dungeon-like basement than to stand in relative safety. I mean, everyone knew that right?
Using such logic, I went down the stairs, my inquisitiveness propelling me onwards. Perhaps I would be able to find out what the students were apparently aware of in the basement. I reached the bottom of the stairs and flipped the light switch. What greeted my eyes were about two hundred other eyes.
“Rats,” I mumbled, “why does it have to be rats?”
I stood dazed for a moment, and then I ran back up the stairs, barely missing stepping on one of the vermin in my haste. When I slammed through the door, I just so happened to smack straight into Principal Bosse’s stomach. He stared at me, I stared at him, and then a rat ran past my foot.
Two Weeks Later:
So you are probably wondering what happened right? Well basically, after getting detention for ‘trespassing’ I wrote a story for the local newspaper on the rat conspiracy going on just beneath the unsuspecting feet of America’s future. I did some investigating and found a whole network of holes throughout the walls, the maze thus being the rat’s method of finding food and supplies.
It might have been slightly melodramatic, but hey, give me a break. One thing led to the next and a health inspector came to assess the problem, ran out screaming, and the local pest control came in to rectify the situation. The only good things that came out of these circumstances was that I got local recognition for my incredible journaling skills, not to brag or anything, and also the school staff was put on some sort of health probation by the school board for a gross perversion of their authority.
Apparently they were keeping the rats a secret because the school was getting a budget raise due to its cleanliness. Of course, it’s always about the money, so typical. So in the end I suppose everyone won, well except the teachers obviously, but even the rats were treated fairly. They were taken from the premises humanely, due to protests by the future PETA activists in our high school midst.
They insisted on using a lemon based spray to herd them into cages, causing only minor eye irritation to corral them. So the lemon did play an important part in the end.
As to the reason that people gather rather than scatter, I have only one answer, ridiculous instinct, just like community minded rats. I suppose I actually ended up making lemonade, no enemies were harmed. I guess it really is the best method.
P.S. - Do not take offense at being compared to a rat, it was only for allegorical purposes and should only be viewed in such a light. Also, paranormal is defined as not scientifically explainable, such is the human mind. Sorry to all of you who were expecting a werewolf to pop out.