Ditching class, what a blast!
The master of mayhem himself, Bart Simpson.
Looking back, I can say I've always been a pretty good kid. I was generally well behaved, never swore and managed to maintain fairly decent grades. Even in high school, when most of my peers were out smoking pot and drinking, I was helping elderly people cross the street and rescuing cats from high branches. However, for a few brief years in middle school, I was the most mischievous hooligan you ever saw. I feel kind of bad for some of the things I did, so here I am, coming clean. This article will be broken into 3 scandalous, subversive, scintillating separate stories. Ready?
Hold onto your butts.
Hold onto your butts.
The actual setting of our story, Gallinas K-8. They've changed the name since then, probably because the place sucks.
Story number 1: Playin' Hookie.
Psh, Ferris ain't got nuthin' on me, NUTHIN'!
But before we begin, let's set the tone...
My school bus was a lot shorter, and had pillows on the walls!
It's the fall of 1998. Will Smith is getting jiggy with it on the radio and Bill Clinton is getting jiggy with Monica Lewisnky. Pokemon is hot, and the Rugrats are on the big screen. Not to mention, an optimistic 11 year old named vkimo is starting the first day of middle school.
1998 in a box. Or as I like to call it, the Quadrate of Awesomeness.
From king of the hill, to down in in the dumps. I was more than a bit angry about my current situation. Just a few months ago I was enjoying the perks and social hierarchy of being a 5th grader. Now here I was in middle school, no longer the big fish in the small pond, proverbially speaking. What made it worse was all my friends were going to a different school! I had to start all over. The school I was going to was small too. I was like one of 8 new kids. So naturally, I'd stick out like a 37 year old man at a Twilight book signing. But enough of that, let's just fast forward the first few awkward weeks of fitting in, and introduce the cast.
We'll just ASSUME this is us.
There's a couple names I will be mentioning frequently throughout, so to help you remember who they are, I've created character profiles:
Character Name: vkimo, the narrator and star of this most harrowing tale.
Background: Maker of trouble.
Famous Quote: "I didn't do it!"
Intelligence: ////////// 10/10 (Were talking Mensa member here)
Looks: ////////// 10/10 (Mirrors look at ME)
Elusiveness: ////------ 4/10 (You'll see)
Character Name: Willy, a first generation Mexican immigrant and my then best friend. A very cool customer, he would talk an Eskimo into buying a fan.
Background: Co star, and my partner in crime.
Famous Quote: "Don't worry, I got this!"
Slyness: ///////// 10/10 (Like a Fox in a raccoon suit )
Bravado: ////////-- 8/10 (One tough customer)
Swagger: /////////- 9/10 (He's arrogant)
Character Name: Jessica, the prettiest girl in school. Future head cheer leader and prom queen.
Background: Female lead. A smart, slightly flirtatious female with a taste for adventure.
Famous Quote: "I like you, but in a friend sort of way."
Beauty: ///////// 10/10 (Bombshell )
Beauty: ////////// 10/10 (Bombshell)
Beauty: ////////// 10/10 (You get the point)
Character Name: Jeremy, a self proclaimed womanizer. My rival throughout middle school. He was the fastest runner in school, till I came. He's been bitter ever since.
Background: Pretty much the most popular kid at school, also the boy friend of Jessica. Lucky dog.
Famous Quote: "My daddy got me a Playstation AND a Nintendo 64!"
Show boating skills: ///////// 10/10 (He does it all, really, he does. I hate him.)
Jerk factor: ////////// 10/10 (Complete bozo)
Luck: ////////// 10/10 (Jessica is HIS girlfriend!)
I'd like to thank Google images for this one.
It all started one day after music class. I hated music class. I sucked at playing the trumpet and the teacher would always embarrass me by having me play while everyone watched. Music class was the last class of the day though, so it had ONE thing going for it. But my days of tooting my own horn were numbered. After class one day, fresh off of playing "Yellow Submarine" for the umpteenth time, me and Willy were off to wait for our parents to pick us up when we see our other friend Antonio. He wasn't in class so we asked him where he was. He replied with 3 words that would forever change me...
Get ready for a surprise!
You did what?!?! The concept was completely foreign to me at the time. Not show up? Go somewhere else? Hide out? GENIUS! He said he didn't want to go to music, so he went and hid in the lot at the back of the soccer field. Needles to say, me and Willy hated music class as much as the next guy. So we decided then and there, tomorrow, we cut class.
Not quite, but you get the idea.
Getting the hang of it
It ain't pretty, but it's a WHOLE lot better than class. Believe you me.
Well, we did ditch class, the next day and the day after that too. We weren't complete morons. We knew we had to break it up so it wouldn't become obvious. The first few times we were nervous. Me, Willy and sometimes Antonio would usually hide out in the bathrooms. There were only 2 stalls and a row of urinals. We would take turns on who would hide out on the toilet and who would have to stand in the bathroom. One time I was on watch, Willy and Antonio both safely perched on their respective cans, safely concealed, when a teacher walked in! I was livid. I remember I was at the urinal, pretending to piss. The teacher walks up to the urinal and proceeds to...well, you know. And I'll never forget this, but he was like half a foot away from the damn urinal! I just stood there, waiting for Mr. Weirdo to finish up and leave. The stalemate lasted what seemed a lifetime, but he finally left. We soon noticed we couldn't stay in the bathrooms much longer, it was becoming dangerous. It was time to venture...off school grounds.
A map, because we need one
I used Google maps for this. It's an actual birds eye view of the school.
See the empty lot? The blue line separating the grass from the field used to be a eucalyptus tree line. It was off limits. Psh. We hid out there a few times, I even brought binoculars to see where the yard duty was at. The X is where the old playground used to be and the orange and green arrow was "Freedom trail", it lead off school grounds. Me and Willy used that trail only a few times, it was incredibly risky. Since it was still school hours, any adult seeing us would know something was up. There was this bridge near Freedom trail, and underneath it was a large storm drain pipe. We hid out there a few times, playing Game Boy.
Me, Antonio and Willy.
Well, word got around. I don't know what we were thinking, bragging our heads off. It had been several weeks, and my music teacher was concerned. All of my absences were affecting my grades, not so much my playing skills since they were pretty much non existent in the first place. But I digress. Me and Willy knew we couldn't keep this up forever. We had one more ditch, we had to make it count. We set the date. Friday. And here is where the story really starts.
How could I say no to that?
It was the big day, Friday morning. Music was the last class of the day, so I wasn't too jumpy yet. My first two periods went by quick. It was recess and I was on my way to find Willy when Jessica approaches me. Well like any other 6th grader, I fell immediately under her enchantment. Our conversation was basically this:
Jessica: Hi vkimo.
Jessica: So I heard you were gonna skip class today.
Jessica: Well, I was wondering, if well, I could come too?
Jessica: Great! thanks alot! See you before music.
Willy was ecstatic. He had the biggest crush on Jessica out of all of us. She and Jeremy were having some domestic issues, so she was available. He planned to capitalize on that. He was dreaming though. He wasn't in her league, but that was Willy, he didn't care. He'd always had a plan. That plan was a little game called truth or dare. He wanted to play it during our ditch. He would mention the game, then I would dare him to kiss Jessica. Simple as that. Well, the rest of the day just rocketed by. We were to meet together by the library right after 5th period. When that time finally arrived, me and Willy were there waiting. Jessica came alright, but not alone.
This wasn't in the contract.
The above picture couldn't be more suitable. Jessica came not only with her butt head boy friend but also her annoying and substantially less hot best friend forever, April. This was definitely a curve ball in our plans. We tried persuading them that 5 people was much too large a group, but they wouldn't listen, and we only had a 5 minute gap to get out of sight. So against all reason and logic we relented. Under the cover of a hundred students trying to get to class, we maneuvered our way to the old play ground. (See map)
Funny how just an hour's difference can turn this into being the most dangerous place on earth.
From ditching to babysitting. We barely made it to the playground undetected. Willy and I were running in a low crouch, Jeremy kept trying to goad me into racing to the playground, and Jessica and April were skipping! Needless to say, we weren't the most cohesive tactical unit. When we got there, instinctively me and Willy ran up the tunnel slide to avoid being seen. So you can believe I nearly crapped a brick when Jessica and April started playing on the swings! I felt like I was a world class mercenary taking some rich yuppies bird watching.
They're Galli... Galli... uhhh, Gallimimus!
Time for a break! Thanks for reading this far, I know I'm pushing the envelope in terms of your guys attention span. So I think we all deserve a brief commercial break. Take a leak, grab some Doritos, or stretch while we hear a few words from our sponsors!
I just noticed, no way Batman can move his neck in that suit. How does he make a safe lane change in the Batmobile?
The warning says not for children under 3, as it presents a chocking hazard. But now that I'm in my twenties, I can chew on them whenever!
I wish woman still dressed like this.
Alright, back to the show, let's wrap this saga up.
In a way, I was the strand of pasta that brought them together.
After issuing several harsh words, we managed to rein in the group into a small concealed area of the play structure. We were there for about 10 minutes or so.Complete silence. The gravity of the situation finally sunk in as we watched the school become silent and empty as all the kids filed into class rooms. We kept constant vigil, keeping an eye out for staff. Well eventually as our nerves settled, we got a little bolder. They whispered conversations on what was the next plan of action. Willy and I were perplexed. Next plan of action? There wasn't one. We sit here and hide till class ends! What did they expect? A wine tasting? So, to buy a few more minutes of sanity, I suggested we play Truth or Dare. Willy gave me a sly grin.
Needles to say, they took the bait. Hook, line and sinker.
We started off slow, no need to rush. We all chose Truth the first couple rounds. We revealed crushes and admitted to listening to the Spice Girls. (well, I did anyways) But that was getting older than a Windows Vista update. So we upped the ante. Jeremy dared me to hug April. Hey, we were young! I retaliated by daring him to run to the water fountain and back. After awhile the rest of the others were getting annoyed by our Cold War version of Truth or Dare, none of them had a turn for awhile due to me and Jeremie's battle. So I decided to use my next turn on Jessica. All the months of putting up with Jeremy and his frat boy antics, hearing him brag and boast, it would all be worth it. This one moment would vindicate a child hood of putting up with jerks...
vkimo:Jessica, truth...or DARE?
vkimo:I dare you to KISS WILLY!
Time stopped. The sun darkened. I did the unspeakable. I broke every childhood law with just a few words. Jessica's face turned a reddish pink, Jeremie's, a pale green. After a few seconds of unbearable tension, she leaned over. Willy moved into the the center of our circle to meet Jessica. The two slowly, nervously, inched closer and closer. As their lips met, their eyes closed. And I sat there, watching my best friend, a first generation immigrant, born into a poor family and not expected to go anywhere in life; lock lips with the richest and prettiest girl in school....If that's not the American Dream my friends, I don't know what is.
To make a long story less longer.
I know this article is long, you have to read it, but feel bad for me, I had to write it!
After the ToD incident, we were feeling more daring than ever. We took Freedom Trail, where an adult spotted us, I told him we were playing Hide and Seek. We hid out in the storm drain where I spent so many afternoons before. As all the rest chatted excitedly, I sought a quite spot a little off. I wanted to savor this moment. I had a feeling, a gut feeling. This was it. No more hookie. When I first started ditching I did it for the thrill. The queasy adrenaline rush from hiding out, the suspense when a teacher almost spots you. But that feeling died out after awhile. Now I just did it for no reason. After awhile of self contemplation, Willy nudged my shoulder. School was out in 5 minutes. And that was it. My last ditch. Was I expecting something more out if it? Maybe. I guess you could say I felt like Mikey when he wanted to search for One-eyed Willie's treasure. Like this was it. The last Hurrah.
Home? What home? In a couple more hours, it ain't gonna be home anymore. Come on, guys, this is our time. Our last chance to see if there really is any rich stuff. We've got to.
Remember the ending of Stand by me, when Gordie says: It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant. That is what is was like for me. I have not seen any of these people since I graduated middle school. Last I heard Jessica was managing a Burger King in Wyoming. Who would've guessed? Not sure what happened to Jeremy, don't care either. Willy transferred schools unexpectedly shortly after. I didn't even get to say "Smell ya later!" It was a few years later when I saw him. I was at summer school, class was just out for the day and I was walking to my mom's car. I heard my name being yelled. I turned and there he was, grinning through the window on the school bus as it drove off. That was it, the last time I saw him. It's true, you never have friends like the ones you did when you were twelve. It's the age right before puberty comes and changes you. The last stage of childhood. Kinda funny when I put it in perspective now.
I actually got caught too. On the ride home my mom asked me how music class went. I remember that day all too well. My dad had a talk with me, and it was the first time I ever cried in front of him. I wasn't sad because I got caught, it was because I disappointed my parents. Looking back now through older eyes, I can see why they were mad, it wasn't really that big of a deal. But then again I guess that's how it all starts. First you're ditching class, next thing you're locked up in Columbia for trafficking yayo. I was originally going to have two other stories included in this article. But it got so long I just figured I'd focus on this one story. Who knows? Maybe I'll do a follow up. Like the time me and my friend Robert snuck into the office and stole pizza vouchers. Or when we pulled the stink bomb prank at our school's Charlie Brown play. Well, I'm done for now. Sorry for the long hiatus. I just can't crank out the articles like I used too. But if there's one thing I learned from being a hooligan, it's that crime doesn't pay.