Fireworks.

I’ve hated school my entire life. From the first day of kindergarten when I ran for my life to the day I set it on fire.

A bunch of angsty twelve year old kids were loitering around the front of the school when I walked up.

Imagine the song “Welcome to My Life” By Simple Plan. That’s pretty much the feel of the outside of the school.

Alright everyone in your most angsty whiny Blink 182/GreenDay voice sing the lyrics to get in the mood: “Do you ever feel like breaking downnn? Do you ever feel out of place? Like somehow you just don’t belong, and no one understands you? WELCOME TO MY LIFEEEE”.

Ah yes, the sweet feels of being twelve and confused.

Now that we’re all in the right mood, I can continue with the story.

The first person I make eye-contact with is Mr.Grubb. Mr.Grubb is a 6’4” ex-military lookin’ dude. We were pretty tight.

He looked me right in the eye and gave me a look like: “Don’t you fucking dare pull any shit today, Campbell”.

I look back at him with my fantastic shit-eating grin as if to say: “Who? Little ole’ me? Mr.Grubb, I would never!”.

But before I could give him my signature 2-eyed wink, (winking is hard) I was distracted by a small gathering of children, well they’re children to me now, but at the time I guess they were just people.

When I saw the people, sauntered on over because I’m a motherfucking aloof, way too cool for school twelve year old. When I got there I saw, let’s call him Gavin. Yep, Gavin seems like a fitting name. Gavin was the quintessential cool middle-schooler.

Gavin was 5’5”, prepubescent dude with a mustache, towering over his 5’ peers.

Damn Gavin, sucks you stopped growing in middle school.

Everyone please take a moment to pour some out for my homie, Gavin, and his lack of growth past middle school.

Anyways, a bunch of kids were engulfed around this dude, quietly, but excitedly stirring.

I made my way through the crowd and saw that the peeps were all crowded around Gavin’s backpack.

Peeps were peeking (that sounds weird, but I like it. “peeps peeking”) in the bag and gasping.

I finally get a look inside and in my head I enviously whisper, “fireworks”.

I ask Gavin if I can buy some. “Who needs lunch when you have ‘fireworks’”, I thought (by the way, every time I write “fireworks” you need to whisper it like you’re an excited angsty twelve-year-old).

You must understand, getting fireworks when you’re twelve in a state where they’re illegal in is like getting a small piece of medium-rare steak after cows have been extinct for 100 years due to the great cow rebellion of 2089 (Can I read the future? We’ll all find out soon enough).

For the price of some chocolate milk and chicken nuggets, I’m in possession of 3 sparklers and a lighter.

I stick the lighter in the side pocket of my Old Navy worker jeans and the fireworks in my backpack.

“Fireworks”, I thought.

The bell rings, and we all go to class. Actually, I don’t think there was a bell.

Damn you TV shows about schools for warping my perception of middle school and it’s existence of bells.

When I entered my Español class I saw, Ms. Garshina, or as she so forcefully told us to call her, “Señora Garshina”.

We began to play this game where you toss a stuffed frog at a classmate and say a noun. The frog came at me and I prepared myself.

Just a few weeks earlier I had been playing baseball as our team’s second string right-fielder.

The ball came to me for the first time, and I put my glove up ready to be a hero. I thought to myself: “Heck yeah, I’m gunna’ catch this ball. Then I’ll be cool like Gavin!”

It hit me in the face and I got my first black-eye, hoorah!

Anyways, the frog is hurdling towards me, and I totally caught it.

Sorry to let you down there, you thought I wasn’t gunna’ catch the frog, huh? High-five, Pablo. Solid catch. Pablo was my Español name.

I yell out “CASA!”. Boom nouns.

A few more nouns are thrown around before I remember, “Fireworks”. Still whispering it?

I sneak a sparkler under my shirt and I go to the bathroom. I was on this sweet behavioral plan where I got to walk around ONCE EVERY CLASS!

Holy shit, I’m excited to look at my spoils. The second I get in the bathroom, I whip out my lighter from my cool side pocket.

I start playing with it. I hesitantly take out the sparkler and move the flame of the lighter closer to it. “No, no , no! Don’t light it Alex. You’ll get in trouble!”

I move the lighter away. “Come on, light it Pablo! Just a little bit.”

Apparently, Pablo was much more level headed than Alex was, and apparently I’ve developed schizophrenia for this story.

I lit it just a little. Did you know that fireworks aren’t supposed to be extinguished? I didn’t.

It wouldn’t go out under the sink water. I threw it in the trash can and b-lined out of the bathroom, back to class.

When I get back into class, a few more nouns are tossed around, and after a couple minutes: “EHHHH, EHHHHH, EHHHHH”. That was my fire-alarm noise. My fire-alarm noise making skills are about on par with my ability to wink.

“Fuck,” I thought, “Oh jeez, Alex, you really did it this time.” We all get funneled outside.

The first person I see is Mr.Grubb. He catches my eye and looks at me as if to say: “I KNOW YOU HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS”. He calmly walks over to me and says: “Office. Now.”

When we get into his office, he asks me to explain what I was doing outside of the class room during the exact time the first started. I innocently explain that I was walking around because my behavioral plan allowed for it.

He asked me: “Did you not smell any smoke?” I quickly responded, “I did, but it was near the cafeteria and I thought it was just something burning there. I didn’t think to say anything”. Damn, that was a solid lie. Probably the best lie I’ve ever told.

He leans over to me and gives me a nice whiff all up on my shirt. Have you ever seen someone angrily smell you? It’s weird, man.

He’s smelling for smoke. He asks me a few more questions before a look of defeat spreads across his face. He has no evidence. I’m totally in the clear. I’m a silver-tongued GOD.

Then he looks up at me and defiantly says: “I’m searching you.”

Oh no. I’m screwed. I’m so screwed. He starts patting me down. He starts at my arms. I think, “Dude my arms? Really? How could I hide something under my bare skin?” New startup idea: skin pockets .

He continues down to my waist. At that moment, I saw a flash of my new life. A military school life, where they put me on medication and made me salute stuff. A life where I’d have to make all new friends.

At that moment, my life was over. He had won.

At that same moment, a flicker of discomfort passed over Grubb’s face. He seemed momentarily weirded out that he was patting down a twelve year old .

He quickly patted down the rest of my body, skipping over the lighter. He stopped at my feet, looked up and said: “Alright. Go back to class.”

In my head I raised my arms over my head and triumphantly high-fived Pablo…

“Fireworks.”

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