9 comments

Kids Mystery Drama

I put my head down on my desk, closed my eyes, and covered my ears. The teacher hadn’t even been gone five minutes, and the entire class of kids had lost their minds.

               Room 205 was the last classroom in the hallway. Two supply closets separated it from Room 202, Mrs. Davidson’s, and made it nearly impossible to hear what was going on in there.

               Despite being 1) a boy, 2) a senior, and 3) on the basketball team, I tend to lean towards introversion. I rarely take part in the pranks and trouble the other stereotypical jocks pull. My name has been written on the library book log more than it has the demerit list.

               But as I sat in my chair in the far-right corner of the room, math book on desk and ache in head, I considered whacking one of them with a textbook. If ever there was a way to get your name on a demerit slip, that was it. I refrained.

               I studied the room. Isaac was drawing on the whiteboard, quite possibly ruining the markers with the pressure he was using to write. Braiden and Oscar were playing mercy, each of them grimacing as they attempted to break each other’s knuckles. A group of girls sat silently reading and making disgusted faces at the rest of the class, my twin sister Julia in the middle. Micah slept on his desk. Aeryn drew on his exposed homework, her gang of three other girls giggling and flashing thumbs-up as she continued to write. Conner was throwing paper balls in the faces of his unsuspecting victims. Slowly the entire class followed suit.

               I groaned. Crumbled-up worksheets whizzed past my head. Half the class threw them, and the other half screamed as they were hit. I looked over at Julia, who now had her English book covering her head. I felt pity for her that her desk had to be in the middle of the room. It was the central war zone.

               I missed my little private school. It had uniforms and strict rules, but at least someone could get work done quietly. They had a nice library full of classic literature by Mark Twain and Edgar Allen Poe, along with any other author you could ever dream of. Kids chit-chatted in the hallways, paid attention in class, and brought books and chess boards to lunch to play with their own respective friend groups. It was a nerd’s paradise. The worst thing that ever happened there was an under-the-table network of fidget spinners for desperate kids to buy and sell at outrageous prices.

               This place was a madhouse. Full of mad students who had lost all ten of their marbles.

               I was suddenly hit in the head by a ball. I snatched it up off the floor and stood up to throw it away. As I rolled it over in my hand, I caught a glimpse of green. The whole paper was green. I unraveled it.

               It was a 100 dollar bill. I scanned the room for anybody who looked like they had just lost enough money to pay most of an electric bill. No one did.

               The bell rang and everyone dispersed to go home.

               I stuffed the bill in my pocket. It wasn’t my fault. They threw it, so why should I waste my time searching for its owner?

               I grinned. It would be my little secret.

               ………

               That evening, I trotted upstairs to my bedroom, skipping steps as I went. I squeaked my bedroom door shut and pulled out the bill. It was stiff and crumpled, but it appeared to be real. My savings envelope looked happy to hold one more bill for me. After stuffing it inside and placing it back in the bottom of my drawer, I swung my backpack on the floor and made my way downstairs.

I stopped to look at the picture hanging in the staircase. I saw it nearly every day, a large printed out copy of the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not steal.

I sighed. They threw it at me. I didn’t take it. There was no reason to feel ashamed. I sauntered outside and picked up a basketball. It made a nice hollow ring as it bounced against the concrete.

I’m not stealing. I did nothing wrong.

Swoosh.

But I had a hard time fully believing that.

……….

1:25 rolled around the next day, and Mr. Johnson did not appear happy. He stood at the front of the room squinting his eyes and drumming his fingers on the podium.

The bell rang, and he held his hand up to silence the class as he often did.

He took his time looking at all thirty-four of us individually. He cleared his throat.

“I am ashamed of you.” His deep voice boomed throughout the room. Braiden snickered. I began to sweat.

“I left this classroom for twenty minutes. And what did I find when I came back?” I hoped that this was a rhetorical question.

“Twenty-five crumbled up pieces of paper, two vandalized whiteboards, a hole in the wall the size of a pencil tip, and one boy who had missed the bus because of his poor sleeping habits.”

Phew. I knew I hadn’t done any of that stuff. I glanced over at Micah, who’s face was red as a beet. Julia leaned forward with her hands folded on her desk and annoyance in her eyes.

“But I found something else.”

Silence. Braiden wasn’t snickering anymore, but that ugly smirk was still on his face.

“I found my briefcase tipped over, my belongings spilled on the floor, my wallet open, and $100 missing.”

His dark grey eyes scanned all of us. I entered panic mode.

But you didn’t do anything wrong. They opened the briefcase and threw the money at you. You didn’t take it.

“If anybody knows who did this, tell me immediately. The culprit will be suspended.”

No one said a word. I did my best to look as unamused as possible, hoping it would make me look more confident than suspicious.

“Alright. Turn your books to page 247.”

I couldn’t. Despite my efforts to reassure myself, I felt horrible. If I turned in that money, I knew I’d be suspended.

But you didn’t steal it.

It felt like a lie.

……….

Julia knocked on my bedroom door. I stuffed the money I had been staring at under my pillow and pulled out a book.

“Yeah?”

She peeked her head in the door. “Need some company?”

Despite having completely different interests and hobbies, Julia and I get along well. Our fights aren’t nearly as close together as they used to be, and we often join each other in our rooms for afternoon chats. Sometimes we drink tea like the sophisticated high school students we are.

“Sure. You can dump that stuff on the floor.” I pointed to the chair in the corner of my room.

She smiled. “You mean your clean laundry?”

“Oh, uh, yeah.”

“That’s ok. I’ll sit on the bed.” She plopped down next to me, right beside the pillow with the money right underneath it. I prayed she wouldn’t find it.

“I can’t believe the nerve of those people. Throwing paper is normal, I guess. But stealing that much cash from a teacher’s bag is horrible. They should be expelled.”

The room felt so hot. The heat had come early this year and made May an unusually hot month. I was uncomfortable but was determined not to show it.

Julia nudged me. I watched in horror as she slid her hand right beside the pillow. Her fingertips were inches away from the money.

“Are you feeling alright? You look pale.”

I tried my hardest to act as if I weren’t considering what colleges would still accept me if I was expelled for stealing. “I’m fine.” I may have sounded more aggressive than I intended to.

“Woah, alright. I’m sorry I asked.” Julia smoothed back her ponytail and looked at the floor.

I don’t like being rude.

Dinner was worse. Julia told in vivid detail the day’s events. I scarfed down my meal and unfortunately made myself nauseous. My mom was the first to comment on the situation.

“That’s horrible. I would be furious if someone did that to me.”

Dad chimed in next. “As if teachers weren’t underpaid already.” He grimaced. Dad is a college psychology professor, and he complains about his salary almost as much as he complains about Sigmund Freud.

Julia waved around her fork. “I hope whoever did it gets caught.”

They continued to talk about laws and unruly children.

You didn’t steal that money.

“Are you ok, Nathan?” My mom looked concerned. Maybe I looked as bad as I felt.

I jerked my head up. “Yeah, I’m alright.”

“You don’t look alright.” Julia is such a mom.

“I’m ok,” I said with emphasis.

Everyone stared at me. I stared back with a blank expression on my face.

Dad sighed. “So, anyways, I need to call the AC guy. The unit went out today.”

You didn’t steal that money.

But I wasn’t so sure.

……….

The breeze felt good on my face as I sat in the driveway. The sun was going down and I was whittling a stick with my pocketknife. I had decided to come down after dinner and give myself some time to think.

“What are you doing?” I spun around to see my neighbor Mason walking down the driveway. He’s seven, and he’s actually fun to talk to.

“I’m just thinking. What are you doing?”

He kicked a piece of gravel and sat down next to me. “I saw you outside, and Mom said I could come talk to you if its ok.”

The sun was setting and casting a purple shadow on the tree line. “Yeah, its fine.”

We were silent for a minute. Crickets began to chirp. Mason pointed to my hand. “You’re bleeding.”

I looked down to see my pointer finger bleeding on the rocks. I must have cut it earlier. “It’s no big deal. How was school today?”

He shrugged and picked at a scab on his knee. “Ok, I guess. I got in trouble again.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You? Get in trouble? No way.”

He must’ve missed my sarcasm. “Yeah, I was talking to Christopher during math. But math is so boring.”

“You still have to pay attention though.”

“Well yeah, but adding is so hard.”

We were silent again. The stars were just beginning to peek out. They shimmered on the dark purple sky.

Mason squirmed around on the rocks. “How was your school today?”

I thought for a moment. “I actually need your help with something.”

He looked up at me. “Ok!”

“So someone at my school stole something.”

He nodded attentively.

“I have the thing that was stolen.”

He changed positions.

“If I give the thing back, it will look like I stole it, and I might get in trouble.”

He blinked.

“What do I do?”

“Was it a toy?”

I suppressed a laugh. “Yes.”

He looked like he was thinking intensely. “If it was my toy, I would want it back. So give back the toy. Or they will be mad at you.”

I cringed silently, scolding myself for wanting justification to keep stolen money from a seven-year-old, and patted his knee. “Thanks, Mason.”

“You’re welcome. Can I see your stick?”

My stick looked pitiful and shapeless. “You can have it.”

We sat together, under the stars, Mason playing Star Wars with a stick and me thinking hard about life.

You didn’t steal the money.

But I knew it was a lie.

……….

The next morning, I trudged up the stairs to Mr. Johnson’s classroom. I could hear him listening to Bach with the door open. A splendid piece of music.

My feet were heavy, but my stomach was heavier. I paused outside the door.

You didn’t steal that money.

As much as I wanted to believe it, I knew I was lying to myself.

No one ever has to know about this.

I took a deep breath and knocked on the door frame, trying my best to act like my unbandaged finger wasn’t killing me.

“Mr. Johnson, can I talk to you?”

He looked up from his paperwork. “I suppose. Come sit down.”

You are a thief, but you can’t be a liar.

August 18, 2020 01:43

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

9 comments

Genevieve Taylor
22:16 Sep 17, 2020

Wow, yet another fabulous story from you! I loved this one. The description of the characters in the beginning was wonderful, and really set the mood. You always leave the reader wanting more, and I love that. The last line was great. Incredible work! -Vieve

Reply

Mackenzie Meetz
13:53 Sep 18, 2020

You are too kind!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jordan Wright
23:51 Aug 27, 2020

I really liked this, great job!

Reply

Mackenzie Meetz
18:24 Aug 28, 2020

Much appreciated!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Veronica Macey
01:06 Aug 27, 2020

Your story is very detailed. Kept me engaged beginning to end. Great story.

Reply

Mackenzie Meetz
03:18 Aug 27, 2020

Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliment immensely.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Roshna Rusiniya
12:53 Aug 23, 2020

This was a difficult prompt in my opinion. But you did a great job here. Wonderful story!

Reply

Mackenzie Meetz
03:42 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you so much!! I always appreciate your feedback, Roshna :)

Reply

Roshna Rusiniya
03:54 Aug 24, 2020

You are welcome Mackenzie! If you have time, have a look at mine too. Thanks! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.