By D.L Russell
When I was in the fourth grade, our teacher got sick and missed a couple weeks of school. While Miss Gardner was off, we had a substitute teacher; that he was a man with a mustache, who drove a new red sports car, is all I can remember about him, except for the fact he gave us homework to do every night.
At the time, homework was unheard of at our school. I mean, off time was off time and only school time was for school. Needless to say, my classmates and I had a problem of the worst kind with Mr. Mustache. We asked him why we needed homework and he pretty much told us as a group, to “take the homework and like it. And on top of that, here’s some more!” Yes, for a teacher, he was quite mean.
One day at recess, I told a group of friends we should do something to Mr. Mustache to get even with him for all the homework he was passing out, and right away, several of them agreed. Someone recommended we complain to the principal. Another thought we should tell our parents; both good ideas but what I was thinking ran more along the lines of revenge. And, that’s when I suggested we egg his red sports car.
Immediately there were shouts and cheers coming from our group of 10 or 12 boys, huddled up at the edge of the basketball court. Yes, we could egg his car. “Great idea David,” they said. Then someone, I’m sure who was just trying to steal some of my thunder shouted, “and tomatoes too!” So there the plot was formed. The conspiracy had breathed its first breath.
It took a few days, but by Friday we finally got ourselves organized enough to do what had to be done. Some of us were assigned the job of bringing eggs and some of us were supposed to bring tomatoes. I, being the leader, was naturally an egg man and the next day we would all send a signal to Mr. Mustache, he’d not soon forget.
I can remember not sleeping well that night because I was worried my mother would notice if there were eggs missing from the fridge and if she asked me about them, I knew I would stutter and stammer and basically confess to taking them within minutes. After that, she’d want to know why and what for and pretty soon my father would be involved and believe me, you didn’t want that! This is a man who thought two kids riding on the same bike was a punishable crime. Stealing eggs to commit vandalism would be like robbing a bank in his eyes. But somehow, the next morning, I managed to make it out of the house with two raw eggs in my hands.
Somewhere between Pontiac Street and Weisser Park Elementary, I was given the first sign I was making a big mistake. I dropped one of the eggs before I even got to school. I mean it fell right out of my hand! But like almost all first signs, I ignored it. After I reached the school, I was quickly given the second sign when out of our gang of 10 to 12, only four of us could be found that morning. Everyone else had apparently decided our idea was stupid, or had come down with a sudden case of the 24-hour Ebola virus. To add one of many more insults to injury, of the four, one of us didn’t bring anything to hit the red sports car with, and the two who were supposed to bring tomatoes, both brought potatoes! Potatoes! *%#$%@! Potatoes! I was flabbergasted!
So there we were, standing around a red sports car with one egg and two potatoes. It was almost time for us to be in class, and I was in charge. Thinking on my feet, I told my classmates with the potatoes to put them behind the rear tires. I knew this wouldn’t do much but I was in a hurry. I then took the one egg and reached behind the grill of the red sports car and cracked it. I got a little on my hand and I can still remember how cold and slimy it felt. I also remember hearing a voice in my head telling me, “This isn’t going to end well.”
As the school day went on, we sort of forgot about the act until at the end of the day when more homework was assigned. As we heading home a few of us stood back in the shadows to see Mr. Mustache’s face when he realized his new red sports car had been egged. All I will say is the face he made was very angry and very ugly. I mean his face turned up so bad he looked like a wad of chewing gum, stuck on the bottom of somebody’s shoe. And yes, I wave of satisfaction went through my little fourth grade body when I saw him.
Being in the fourth grade, my attention span wasn’t very long, and by that next Monday, I’d forgotten all about the egging. In fact, nobody said anything about it and we had a pretty quiet day on the whole. Not until after lunch did I notice how many of my classmates were being called out into the hall, one at a time. And when my time finally came late in the day, the investigation was all but over.
I was taken to the principal’s office and before I was asked about the crime, I noticed six of my co-conspirators setting in a row along the wall. Not until then, did I realize why I had been removed from class. Immediately, I was told my classmates had given up all the needed information about the how and why the plot was created and how I had been the mastermind behind the whole thing. I had no room to plea-bargain or plead my case.
One by one, those of us who had actually participated were told to put our hands on the desk and were given two swats with a short paddle from the principal. Those who simply knew of the plot but didn’t tell were given one. As for me, I was given five, and not from the principal, but from Mr. Mustache himself. Boy did they hurt!
I was then told my parents would be informed of what happened and a whole new wave of fear took me over. I started to bawl like a baby and I think I cried all the way home. My dad was gonna kill me!
That night, and for the rest of the week, I waited for the phone to ring and to hear my mother say, “he did what?” to the person on the other end of the line, but that day never came. Then I realized the school had handled the incident wrong by letting an angry teacher administer five swats to a fourth grader and it was just as well, for them not to get parents involved.
This is also when I learned that crime doesn’t pay. Not for me anyway. Not one of my classmates kept his mouth shut and there were two stupid criminals on my team. I dropped one of the eggs and I told half the class about the crime we were planning.
That was the last crime I have ever committed, and if I ever decide to commit another one, I will make sure to do it alone! I mean think about it, they brought potatoes instead of tomatoes…. Geesh!
D.L. Russell is an author of Horror and Dark Fantasy and the co-founder and editor of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Publishing. You can also visit his blog at www.dlrussellsblog.com.