“I couldn’t help it! I had to do it.”
Reilly sat, shoulders slumped, in the small plastic chair in front of the principal’s massive desk. He was in this chair so often that some kids had taken to calling it ‘Reilly’s Seat.’
“You ‘had to do it,’ eh?” Principal Evans adjusted his glasses, and looked down at the offending 6th grade boy.
“We were playing dodgeball. When you play dodgeball, sometimes you get hit in the head.” Reilly tapped right foot against the chair leg subconsciously.
“Jason says you were trying to hit him in the head.”
“He’s just mad cuz he got beaned,” Reilly said, crossing his arms and looking down at his feet.
“Sixteen times, Reilly. You beaned him in the head sixteen times.”
A smile moved across Reilly’s face, as he recalled that wonderfully amusing sound that the dodgeball made every time it bounced off that momma’s boy Jason’s head.
“You find this amusing?” Principal Evans stood, palms remaining on the desk top.
“Well…no, I guess not.” He glanced up, then quickly back down again, doing his best to act innocent.
“It isn’t funny. Getting hit in the head can be serious, Reilly. Someone could really get hurt.”
At this point, Reilly tuned the Principal out, replaying the scenes in his head, wishing that the playground had surveillance cameras, so he could get a copy of the video. BONK. What a sound! And that one time when the ball bounced straight up in the air off the rebound, a good eight feet! And convincing Jason to stay and keep playing after each bean was masterful, telling him if he quit he was an even bigger sissy than everyone already thought.
Reilly looked up, tuning back into the conversation.
“…and this is getting old, young man.” Principal Evans walked out of the office for a moment, and returned carrying the dodgeball. He set it on his desk in front of him, and placed his hands back where they were before, palms down, on either side.
Reilly smiled again, recognizing his partner in crime, as it were.
“I think I’ll be creative with your punishment this time, Reilly.” Principal Evans lifted the ball in one hand, the other hand still on the desk. “I think I will bean you in the head with this ball a few times. See how you like it. What do you say?”
Reilly held his smile for a moment, and then it melted away. He looked from the ball, to Principal Evans’ stern face, and back again. Could he be serious? He can’t do that, can he? Reilly glanced around the room, nervously, then looked back at Principal Evans, who was tossing the ball up a bit and catching it in the same hand.
“I think a couple good whacks with this ball and maybe you won’t think it’s funny anymore.”
“You...you can’t do that.”
“I’m the Principal. I can do whatever I want. I make the rules. And the newest rule is that you reap what you sow.” He grabbed the ball, and quickly pulled it back, as if to throw it.
Reilly recoiled in his chair, covering his head with his arms.
Principal Evans burst out laughing. The ball dropped to the floor, and Principal Evans sat back into his big leather chair, snickering and dabbing at his eyes.
Reilly looked up. “Dad! That’s not funny!”
Principal Evens stood again, shoulders still shaking. “You should have seen your face. Come on, admit it. I got you good with that one.”
“Well, a little, maybe.” He sat back and exhaled, puffing out his cheeks.
“Look, Reilly, you gotta knock off the nonsense, son. How will it look for me to have to expel my own son?”
“C’mon Dad…Jason is a loser; he deserved it.”
“Well, some day, you’re going to mess with the wrong person, and get your butt kicked. Now shoo.”
Reilly stood smiling, and walked toward the door. “Got it, Dad. Seeya.”
As he left, he kicked the dodgeball against the wall, causing a picture frame to come crashing to the floor. “Sorry Dad. Bye.”
Principal Evans sat back in his chair, smiling. “Ah, kids.”
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