Graffiti King

The lunch bell rang. The din of chairs screeching, student chatter and books slamming closed echoed in the classroom.

‘Peter Mason, I’d like a word with you in my office over lunch.’

‘Yes Sir.’

Peter had only been at this school for six months. His father’s job regularly moved them from state to state. This was his second school in three years, making it difficult to make friends and to be accepted by his peers.

‘Hey Mason, what’s Olsen want to see you for this time?’ Jeremy Spears sniggered.

Jason shrugged and kept walking.

‘Mason,’ Spears shouted after him. ‘See you after school … usual place.’

The gym was his favourite place. Oddly enough, it was the only class he didn’t share with Jeremy. He entered the locker room and quickly changed into his gym gear.

One of the team’s pole-vaulters came over while Peter was placing a sweatband around his head.  ‘Mason, I didn’t think you were going to show. Good to see you.’ He snickered and slapped Peter’s back.

Peter turned but the guy was gone. What’s he on?  Peter pushed open the swinging doors, entered the gym and did his usual warm-up routine. His favourite apparatus were the rings, and he was grateful he had them to himself for the next hour.

‘Mason,’ the coach shouted. ‘Didn’t you hear the bell? Go shower. Principal Olsen is waiting.’

He showered quickly, dressed and was running his fingers through his matted hair when the coach entered the locker room.

‘Mason, you have an ability that will get you to the 2024 Olympic Games. Don’t waste your time painting walls in your spare time.’

‘Coach, I …’ But the coach had already left.

What is it with these jerks? He stormed off to the administration block, notified the secretary he had arrived and plopped in a chair to wait.

‘Come in, Mr. Mason. Take a seat.’

Principal Olsen didn’t even look up when he stepped behind his desk and sat down on his swivel chair. He picked up a newspaper and started reading.

They both sat in silence for a few moments before Principal Olsen spoke. ‘It’s come to my attention … again, that you were seen immediately following the latest graffiti incident here at the school. Somehow your picture and story made front page news.’ He emphasized his last words by tossing the folded newspaper across the table for Peter to read.

Peter stared at the photo, obviously taken by a security video camera, and the caption below. ‘Graffiti King Identified on Camera.’ In the hood of his jacket was a pressure-pack can.

‘How? Spears, it had to be Spears. Sir …’

‘I’d like to believe you, I really would. However, Spears is seen … here.’ He pointed to a gate, to the left of what appeared to be Peter. ‘He may have avoided the ‘camera rotation but …’

‘Why would I carry a spray can in my hoodie, Sir?’ Peter felt his pulse racing.

‘I’m sorry, Peter. This time I have to issue a suspension. Your father has been notified. You can collect your things now before classes resume. Return to the office to collect your suspension letter for your father and leave while everyone’s in class.’

Peter left in a daze. He couldn’t believe it.

He emptied the contents of his locker into his backpack and shut the door. He made his way back to the gym and wandered over to the rings. He was overcome with disappointment. He took one last look and turned to see the coach standing nearby.

‘It’s only for the remainder of the term, Peter, and unfortunately, Olsen won’t let you use the school gym after school hours either. I tried, but he won’t budge.’

‘Coach, I didn’t do it. Honest.’

His coach sighed. He placed his hand on Peter’s shoulder and spoke with compassion. ‘Look, stay away from Spears. He’s bad news. If you can keep out of trouble, I’ll talk to Principal Olsen about a summer training program.’

Peter smiled weakly. ‘Thanks Coach.’

With regrets, Peter returned to the administration block, collected the letter and headed home determined to hold on to the hint of hope that his coach had given him.

© Chrissy Siggee

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

The Moon and His Friends

Jenny sat on her window seat staring into the night sky. Stuffed animals snuggled in round her patiently waiting for a bed time hug. The night light by the bed gave the room a soft glow and the moon lit up the window.

‘I wonder if there is someone on the moon’, Jenny whispered into the ear of Jerry the monkey that had curled his long arms around her neck.

There was no answer of course but Jenny continued to speak softly. ‘One day I want to fly in a rocket ship and visit the moon. He looks so lonely way up there.’ Her voice faded and her eyelids drooped.

‘Will you take me with you?’

‘Who said that?’

‘Me!’

Jenny turned to see all the animals smiling at her.

‘Which one of you can talk?’

‘All of us’, they said in unison.

‘But you’re not real!’

‘Yes, we are.’ Jerry loosened his hold and slid to her lap. ‘Why do you think the moon is lonely?’

Jenny blinked rapidly before answering. ‘Well, look at him. He just hangs there all night every night. I never see anyone out there with him.’

‘Just like us.’ He nodded to his friends who quickly nodded back.

Betsy the cow mooed loudly. ‘We sit and watch the moon all night every night.’

‘Why?’, Jenny wanted to know.

Jerry answered. ‘Because you only take one of us to bed.’

‘But there’s no room for all of you. I don’t want anyone to fall out while I’m sleeping.’

‘Oh, it’s OK really’, Marty the rhino replied. ‘We like watching the moon too. We’re his friends.’

They were all watching the moon when Jenny heard another voice.

‘It’s time you were in bed.’

‘Can I take my toys?’

Mum kissed Jenny’s forehead. ‘Not all of them. The moon needs his friends.’

Jenny smiled but didn’t open her eyes as her mum place her in her bed and left the room.

‘Good night Mum. Good night moon.’

And the animals on the window seat just watched the moon.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Cindy

‘Don’t just sit there Cindy, talk to me’. Steve pouted.

‘Humph.’

‘Don’t you think you are being just a wee bit selfish? I mean this place has a lot of potential. It has everything you need. Look at it. Your old place is gone Cindy. This is your new home.’

Cindy looked around. Her arms remained folded; her head held aloft. She puckered her lips and blew raspberries at no one in particular.

‘You’re not being polite. A lot of thought went into your new environment.’

‘Humph.’

‘Please, Cindy. Look at me. Talk to me. I’m supposed to be your best friend. What kind of conversation can we have if you won’t even look at me?’

She turned to face Steve and tapped on his watch with her long fingers.

‘It’s almost noon. Are you hungry?’

Her reply was instant – and loud.

Steve was laughing now. ‘With all the dozens of words you understand, you must know every one relating to food.’ He stood. ‘Why don’t we see what’s to eat?’

They walked hand-in-hand to where Cindy’s siblings sat sniffing and feeling fruit.

‘See Cindy’, Steve pointed out. ‘That’s the way I’ve been showing you how to choose the best fruit. Only, I don’t kiss mangoes before I eat them’, he teased.

Steve moved toward Oliver and Tracy but Cindy pulled back.

‘Hi you two’, Steve said with a smile. He patted the top of Cindy’s head. ‘It’s okay. I promise.’

The pair didn’t look up from their meal.

With a flick of her free hand Cindy turned and marched away pulling on Steve’s arm to follow. She lowered her head to face the floor. Hands faced up and wiped her eyes and nose on Steve’s trousers.

He crouched down and spoke quietly. ‘I know this is all new to you…and you haven’t seen your family for a while, but you will settle in. Things can only improve but this conversation has got to stop being one way.’ He paused and cupped Cindy’s face in his hand.  ‘Look at me and tell me what makes you so sad.’

In one huge lunge Cindy wrapped her arms around him and kissed his face, then danced around on the spot. She stopped suddenly and grabbed Steve’s shirt and tugged hard.

Taking the tiny wrists in his hands, Steve began to whisper. ‘I wish you could talk, Cindy girl. This is no sign I’ve ever taught you. What is it?’

She fell limp in his arms.

‘Oh, I get it. You don’t want me to leave.’

The reply was the slowest of nods with a bottom lip that would trip up a python.

‘Cindy girl, you have been the best chimpanzee I have ever had the pleasure to work with.’

He gently lifted his little friend’s chin with two fingers. He looked into her misty eyes. ‘But, it’s time to be just that—a chimpanzee. You’re the best. You deserve the best. No more bananas for a trick. No more peeled grapes for signing a new word. You’re free.’ He paused. ‘Well, as free as the government will let you.’ He smiled and kissed his girl.

With that, Cindy strode in her cute swaying way to the table. She grabbed a banana and took it back to Steve, planted a kiss on his cheek and headed back to her family.

Oliver and Tracy looked up at Cindy shaking their heads and puckered their lips. They squealed in unison.

Cindy blew raspberries at her siblings and kissed a mango.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace