by Mar Prax
When Tyler gets in trouble, he finds himself stuck in it with his least favorite classmate
| One of the most pathetic moments of my life was me sitting next to Mr. goody-two-shoes-all-As-perfect-attendance-rule-abiding-teacher’s-pet-scared-of-his-own-shadow-worm in the middle school principal’s office as he shivered like a small dog in the cold. Mathew Amaryllis was a sniveling student who wrecked the curve. Mathew had been getting on my nerves, so being the bane of Central Middle School I was, I decided to trick him into pulling a little prank with me.
Yes, I admit it wasn’t the best prank to pull with a rookie, but I had to admit he pulled it off with flying colors. I told Mathew it was customary to pull a prank, which wasn’t really a lie. I also told him it looked good on college resumes. That was a lie. The poor kid was so worried about it staining his record—in sixth grade—that he almost didn’t pull the prank. Then I told him it was going to be all staged, which wasn’t true.
Mathew’s job was simple, he needed to pull the fire alarm in the school. That was it. Okay, you may be thinking that’s the most cliché prank of all time. Which it is. After everyone had vacated the buildings I rolled out tarps in the hallways and the gym. Then I lit matches under every sprinkler so they’d go off. I put on my best “grown-up” voice and told everyone it was safe to come in. They then entered an indoor waterpark.
Mathew looked absolutely horrified the moment he walked in the school. I’ll never forget the look on his face. It was set to just be me taking to blame for the prank, I had already done so other times before, but Mathew confessed. He didn’t even rat me out, which was the most surprising part of it all, but of course; being me, I was brought in anyway,
The principal came into the office and shook his head in the same disappointed manner he always did when I came in.
“Tyler, always a pleasure,” he said with a sigh. “Mathew, this is new behavior for you.”
“I did it,” he murmured so softly I could barely hear him.
“What was that?” asked the principal.
“Shut up,” I told Mathew louder than I wanted to. “Let me handle this.”
“Hank, school would bore people to death if it wasn’t for me,” I began confidently with my charismatic nature intact.
“Tyler, I’ve told you a before, Mr. Bartholomew,” he corrected.
“Then I am Mr. Heal,” I countered. “I’m not sure why you just assumed I was a part of this… this… anarchy, but you must admit it is good for the morale. We can’t all simply be serious all the time. No one would ever learn if they weren’t allowed to have fun.”
“You, Tyler, take things to an extreme,” the principal responded gruffly. “You blow every prank out of proportion.”
“Not all,” I argued.
“Tyler, you must be here at least once a week."
“Because you assume everything that goes wrong in this school is because of me!”
“Perhaps if you weren’t such a trouble maker, I wouldn’t think that."
“Well, if you think that I am going to be trouble, then I will act like it. I am whatever you think, so this is really your fault.”
“Are you admitting to pulling the prank?”
“No! Why am I here again?”
The principal turned toward Mathew and pointed at him. “Mathew, you can leave."
“What?!” I cried as Mathew sat there with his jaw on the floor. “That isn’t fair, he admitted to it.”
“You probably pressured him to,” the principal argued.
“I did no such thing!” I disputed.
“Tyler, this is the final straw!” he exclaimed. “That prank was too much, you are going to be expelled.”
“Expelled?” I echoed. The principal nodded.
“I did it,” Mathew muttered squeamishly.
“What?” the principal asked.
“I did it,” Mathew replied. “I—I wanted to have fun for once. Do something. I was tired of being so perfect that I kind of just had to get everything out of my system.”
“Good for you,” the principal responded.
Good for you? A scowl formed on my face. Sure, when I did it, I was being a delinquent, but when he did it he was getting it “out of his system?”
“Tyler, is this true?” the principal asked. I looked over to Mathew, who was frightened out of his mind, but he was also nodding his head.
“Uh… yes,” I replied.
“He had nothing to do with it,” Mathew confirmed.
The principal pondered this and finally sighed, “Well, Tyler, you are not expelled. You’re off the hook. Mathew… you’ve been perfect up to this point so I’ll let you off with a week’s worth of detention.”
The kid looked like someone had just stabbed him in the heart, but I thought he was the luckiest kid in the world.
“You’re dismissed,” the principal said.
“Thanks, Hank,” I replied.
“Mr. Bartholomew,” he corrected.
I just shrugged and high-tailed it out of there office faster than ever before with Mathew slumping his way behind me. I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him forward. (Turned him around
“Why’d you do that?” I asked. “Why’d you take the fall for me?”
“I couldn’t let you get expelled, it wouldn’t be right,” he responded. Great. This kid’s got a moral philosophy system too.
“Thanks, but I would have bounced back. And what about your perfect record.”
“I’m in sixth grade,” he replied more nonchalantly that I would have thought it possible for him to ever say. “And it was actually kinda fun pulling that prank. I felt… alive.”
“It’s called adrenaline, rookie.” I laughed.
“I might actually want to do more in the future,” he began, his eyes sparkling.
“You’ve got a long way to go."
“Does that mean you might teach me?” he asked with what looked like excitement.
“You bet,” I responded. “Anyone who takes the fall for me is okay in my books.”
“Okay, so what do you want to do next?” he buzzed, practically bouncing up and down.
“Slow down there,” I replied with a snort. “We’re both in hot water so we’re going to have to take a break for a while, but after that the game is back on.”
“Cool, indeed,” I replied as I slung my hand over his shoulder.
That was the day Mathew and I became best friends and partners in crime. We continued our two-man act of pranking and joking for seven more years. We became inseparable and Mathew became a lot more like me. Which wasn’t always good, but neither of us cared. He was still smarter than me in every way, but he wasn’t so uptight and perfect.
The sniveling worm in the principal’s office that day seemed like a completely different person, the only similarities being the mischievous glimmer in his eyes then and now. There weren’t many similarities from then and now, like that water park prank? It was nothing compared to what was going to happen next.