By: Danie Reynolds
A shoe drops from above and smacks me on the head.
"Ow!" I cry, rubbing what would no doubt become a goose egg. I look up and see a boy with only one shoe hanging from the chandelier. From the chandelier.
“THAT’S IT!” I scream, yanking the cord from the wall so that the blasting music falls silent. “Everybody out! Now.”
It takes about five seconds for anybody to react, and when they do, none move towards the door.
“Out!” I yell again, and begin pushing people through the doorway and into the parking lot. They all grumble and mutter not-so-nice things about me under their breath, but eventually, they all pile into their cars and drive away.
I let out a deep breath, and walk back down the stairs into the basement, where my best friend Charli leans casually against the wall, lips squirming as she tries to hold in a laugh.
“What?” I snap, still upset about the horrible way the party ended.
She covers her mouth to smother a grin. “You have to admit that was a little harsh, Harper. You just threw people out of your own party, and screamed until they figured you were crazy and drove away. You can’t expect me not to laugh at that.”
I glare at her, but then a small giggle bursts out from me as I imagine how I must have looked. I was just so tired of the screaming and the noise, and how I felt like I didn't have control over what would happen.
I look around the room and almost cry. “They totally trashed the place,” I whine. “My mom and dad will totally be home before we can clean this all up. This was the worst secret party ever!”
“Oh, it wasn’t so bad,” Charli says. “But it’ll get a lot worse if we don’t clean this up. Your mom and dad will finally cave on the idea that I’m a bad influence on you, and then we won’t hang out anymore.”
I roll my eyes. “They don’t think you’re a bad influence,” I say as I grab two trash bags and hand one to Charli. “You just always seem to be around when things go...crazy?”
Charli laughs. “Thanks. I’d much rather be called crazy than a bad influence.”
I laugh with her, and then we work in silence for a few more minutes. I throw the discarded shoe from earlier into the bag, pick up dirty paper plates, and fluff the couch cushions as Charli grabs the broom and sweeps the floor.
“Thanks for helping me put all this together so soon, even though it was a disaster,” I say eventually.
Charli shrugs. “No problem.” Then she gasps and points to a spot on the rug. When I follow her gaze, my jaw drops. There’s a giant red splotch on the tan carpet, very noticeable if you’re within twenty feet of it.
“I had to get Tiki Punch,” I muttered angrily, kicking myself for getting red soda. “This is bad. There’s no way my parents will miss this. What do we do?”
I look around the room, and see the door to the storage room at the end of the hall. “Ah hah!” I exclaim. “When we got this carpet, mom and dad kept the samples of it. There might be enough to replace the stained carpet.”
“That’s perfect!” Charli follows me down the hall, and when I open the door and flick on the lights, I remember why no one ever goes in here.
“This is your storage room?” Charli stares at the hundreds of boxes and bags and plastic containers stacked everywhere around the room. I can barely see the floor. The towers of junk are taller than me, and I carefully weave my way around them.
“Yeah,” I say miserably. “It’ll take forever to find the samples in this. Guess we need to figure something else out.”
Charli sighs, and we trot out, but I accidentally bump my hip against a large stack of boxes, and they start leaning towards us.
“Get out!” I shriek, and slam the door shut as I hear the boxes crash onto the floor behind the door.
“That was a close one,” I whisper breathlessly. Charli just nods.
“What now?” She asks.
“Well…” I think. “We have the same carpet in my room. Maybe we could… borrow some from there?”
We both run up the stairs into my room, and I grab the scissors from my desk.
“Are you actually just gonna cut a hole in your floor?” Charli asks in disbelief.
“What else is there to do?” I crawl underneath my bed, and press the scissors into the plush carpet, snipping. When I finally have a piece reasonably large enough, I crawl back out and hand it to Charli.
I’ve just knelt beside the stained carpet back downstairs when I hear the garage door opening.
“No,” I mutter. “No, no, no! My parents are home.” I panic, and begin sawing at the ground, ripping away the red-stained carpet and hastily shoving the new piece into it. It doesn't fit perfectly, but it blends in fairly well.
“Carpet!” Charli tosses the stained carpet piece to me, and I throw it into the trash can at the corner of the room. Charli yanks the streamers down off the ceiling, throws them underneath the sink, and then quickly joins me on the couch.
We cross our legs and casually sit there, as if that’s what we’ve been doing all night. When my parents enter, they hug me goodnight, say hello to Charli, then walk right back out.
“Nothing?” I ask, letting out a deep breath. I half-expected them to notice the carpet piece.
Charli sinks deeper into the couch, relieved.
But then my mom pokes her head back in. “Oh, and honey,” She says the words in a stern voice, but her eyes are twinkling with laughter. “The samples are in the back of the storage room. You can put those pieces into the gap underneath your bed tomorrow.”