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The Finest Art

I got sent to the Principal’s office for using a hand gesture to solve the problem on the board in Math class.

(What? The answer was “one,” so technically I was right).


The Hippie chick behind me laughed so loudly that she got sent to the office too.


The smarmy teacher didn’t have to say anything, he just pointed and off we went. This wasn’t my first time.


I’d seen the Hippie chick around before, of course, but I was a Theater Kid and she was Art. She had wild hair and a single, thin braid on one side with beads on the end.


We sat on opposite sides of the main office as we waited for his highness, the Principal, to receive us.


My grievance with the administrator stemmed from his expulsion of four of my best friends and the firing of my favorite teacher--positively gutting the Drama club.


So, I made it a point to get in just enough trouble on a regular basis so that I could eat up huge chunks of his time. All the while waiting for the day when some golden opportunity would present itself and allow me to humiliate him in some truly spectacular fashion.


That’s when I noticed that the Hippie chick was staring at me. Did she think I was staring at her? Because I was just lost in thought.


She smiled at me, so I had to smile back--it’s only fair, and slightly contagious, kind of like yawning.


She seemed to feel the need to show off (and I say this as a Theater Kid) because she deliberately knocked the glossy brochures off the table next to her onto the floor, and then covered her mouth with one hand in mock horror at the deed.


I smiled, and, not to be outdone, did the same thing to the glossy brochures on the table next to me before putting both my hands up in faux shock, mouth agape.


She wagged a finger at me while suppressing another smile, but I just shrugged and looked around, completely innocent.


She smiled big at that, and I found myself doing the same.


Then the door to the Principal’s throne room finally opened and the whinging little weasel who banished five of my favorite people came out to find me sitting there. Yet again.


I could see him struggling with his temper.


He’d lose that fight one of these days and I’d be there to see it, because I’d be the one to cause it. Today, however, there was only the slightest twitch of his stupid moustache before he regained his composure. Then he straightened his three piece suit of cheapest tweed, ran a hand through his outdated, center-part haircut and went back into his royal chambers presuming that we’d follow him like good little subjects.


This was his first year on the job and he was trying to make a name for himself as a hard-ass, but it just smacked of overcompensating. The dude was going down.


The Art girl must’ve caught my vibe or something because she started nodding at me.


What was she so jazzed about? Did she hate him too? Oh, right! He’d cut the Art department down to the bone, claiming they were all stoners! Okay, good. A united front, then.


Only she wasn’t nodding in agreement--she was nodding at something, using her head to direct my attention to...what? The floor? The brochures? The glossy and very slippery brochures! She put a foot on one and mimed falling back in her chair to illustrate the point. Yess!


I nodded as we picked up the mess we’d made, holding the offending litter behind our backs as we followed the tweed monster into his lair.


He liked to pace as he made people wait for him to speak--it’s a power play. First you had to sit in chairs lower than his, then you had to put up with his stalling techniques as he strolled back and forth in front of you, desperate for relevance.


When people slip and fall in the movies it’s silly, madcap fun, but when they do it in school it’s grounds for an inquiry, especially if the Principal winds up with a comically large bump on his forehead.


(What? I didn’t put the desk there and maybe he should watch where he’s pacing).


The workers in the outer office attested that Art girl and I never spoke to one another, making the weasel’s claim that this was a coordinated attack seem somehow unlikely.


He apparently asked the Superintendent--well, demanded, I’m sure--for our expulsion, but had to settle for giving us a brief suspension instead, since there was no way to prove anything (we’d picked the brochures back up again and replaced them before anyone knew what happened). Besides I wouldn’t be surprised if the Superintendent didn’t like him any better than we did.


Art girl found me on social media and we’ve been texting everyday since. Her name’s Jess and she calls me Nathey. I usually insist on people calling me Nate, but I don’t mind it so much from her. I call her Yess.


I still don’t know what her voice sounds like, but we’re going to have a picnic in the cemetery this weekend, so we’ll see--or hear.


We also have plans to enlist the help of the Drama, Art and Music kids as we escalate “Operation: Overthrow.”


He won’t last the year.

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