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Three teenagers sat in the principal’s office, smelling of weed and regret. I was in the middle, sitting in between my two dumbass friends, glaring at them occasionally. Henry had somewhat sobered up and looked back at me with a small apologetic smile, as he knew that we wouldn’t be here if they listened to me. Owen, who was sat on my right, was the complete opposite, his head was resting against the back of the chair, the smile on his face hadn’t faltered as he stared up at the ceiling. I hated him at this moment, a complete 180 from the feeling I had when I had gotten his text about an hour ago.
“Owen👌: Back right corner of the parking lot I’ve got weed and snacks bring Henry.”
Ten minutes later the three of us were packed in Owen’s car. Owen and Henry in the driver and passenger seats and me in the back, holding a bag of puffy Cheetos®️ and telling my friends that we should probably leave school campus to get high. They brushed me off as Owen held the first blunt in between his teeth and lit it. He took a deep inhale before handing it over to Henry. He hit it and offered it to me. I continued to state that this wasn’t a good idea as I took the smoking object from Henry’s hand. In between my complaints I put it to my lips and sucked in the smoke.
“Done worrying now matchstick?” Owen asked teasingly, using the nickname I had loathed since middle school when he came up with it.
“I fucking hate you,” I replied as I handed him the blunt. It was the first of three, the two boys continued to ignore my constant suggestions to drive to Owen’s house or something. They just handed me the blunt and relished in the few seconds of silence it took for me to inhale before I continued to voice my complaints. Right as Owen put away the remaining weed and threw his lighter in the glovebox, someone knocked on the driver’s side window. Five minutes later we were in the school waiting for the principal.
“We really should’ve brought those cheesies in here, I’m starving,” Owen said, breaking the silence that enveloped the room.
“I’m gonna fucking strangle you,” I told him, venom lacing my words. Owen’s head lifted from the backrest of the chair and turned to face me.
“More of a crunchy Cheetos®️ kind of girl?” he smiled.
“I sat there the entire time and told you guys this was a shit idea but no, let’s not listen to Tibby and continue to hand her blunts,” I said.
“My bad Tibs, didn’t realize the weed wasn’t strong enough to shut you up this time,” he replied.
“Shut your fucking mouth you dumbass,” I seethed.
“Guys, calm down. I’m pretty sure the principal smokes weed like nightly, he won’t give two shits,” Henry told us.
“Let’s fucking hope,” I responded. Owen opened his mouth to weigh in on the situation but before he could utter what would’ve probably been some stupid comment the door swung open. The principal strutted inside the office as two out of the three of us watched him, somewhat curious somewhat concerned. The third chuckled and again set his head on the backrest, completely unfazed by the entire situation.
The principal was a stout man in his late 40’s. His hairline had been receding since his 27th birthday, the brown mass now only growing from half of his head. He tried to compensate for his lack of hair with a dark goatee that framed his small lips that were now pursed together. His brown eyes stared at us, in a somewhat intimidating manner. He made his way to his desk in front of us before anyone opened their mouths. I debated on being the first one to speak but decided against it as I didn’t know how to start this conversation. Like what was I supposed to say? “Sorry we were smoking pot in the parking lot but quite honestly we’ve got more left and we’d like to leave ASAP.” Although honesty may have been the best way to handle the situation I kept my mouth shut and waited for Mr. Wilson to speak.
“Pot? On school grounds?” was the only thing he said. Owen laughed and tilted his head to look at the bald man,
“No shit Wilson, you’ve probably got a dime bag in your desk right now,” he smiled. Mr. Wilson’s face stayed solemn before breaking out into a small grin.
“Not currently Owen, finished that yesterday,” he joked. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and slumped back into my chair.
“Look we’re sorry and we’ll try and keep our pot habits off school grounds in the future,” Henry told him, “Can we go now?” He shook his head.
“See if it was me that caught you guys I would’ve just told you to get out of the parking lot. But unfortunately you got caught by Officer Brown and since he already knows I can’t get off with giving you guys a warning as pot is illegal around here,” Wilson replied.
“What’s Brown gonna do? Take my pot?” Owen asked, suddenly concerned. I looked over at him in disbelief, now that his pot was on the line it suddenly became serious.
“No, he’s not going to take your pot Owen. But I talked to him before I came in here, he thinks it would be best if you guys did some community service for the school,” Wilson told him.
“Like picking up litter for five hours or some shit?” Owen asked. I “lightly” slapped him on the shoulder in attempt to get him to shut up before he got us into even more trouble.
“Actually it's a little different. See, the school purchased a property outside of town. Really old shit shack of a house and we had a class that was supposed to fix it up and then we would donate it to a charity for the homeless in our community. Just to show the community that we could do more than make their kids into a bunch of potheads,” he explained, “Unfortunately the entire plan got trashed because the class that originally agreed to it didn’t want to after they saw the state of the place so now we just own a property in the middle of nowhere. I was thinking that you three could work on renovating it this year. That way we’d get the property off our hands and your records will stay clean.”
“Fuck that, school and working on some bullshit house, count me out,” Owen said, beginning to stand up. I leaned over in my seat so I could push him back into his. Wilson just chuckled at Owen as he slumped back into the office chair.
“If you’re working on the house during school hours then you don’t have to come to school Owen,” Wilson added.
“Wait, really?” Owen asked as he sprung up in his chair once again.
“Yes really Owen, and it’s in the middle of nowhere so we won’t have any way to know what happens up there, illegal or not,” Wilson replied.
“I change my stance, I like this idea guys,” our raven haired cohort smiled over to Henry and I. I rolled my eyes at him before turning to face our principal again.
“And this will stay off our records?” I asked, he just nodded. I looked over at Henry who also seemed relieved and open to the idea. “Alright, we’re in.”
Wilson smiled and handed me a packet of papers with the address and pictures of the property. He wasn’t kidding when he described it as a shit shack, it was entirely made out of rotten wood which somehow gathered a green tint to it. The windows were all busted out and replaced by mismatched boards in some sort of makeshift curtains. The beams holding up the small roof over the porch looked like they could be knocked down by a particularly strong woodpecker. It was as if the building had never known the definition of a sound structure. The only door in use was the patchy screen door framed with thin metal attached to the small black lever knob. A gathering of dead bushes clustered around the house, making the house look like some haunted house from a cheesy 70’s horror movie. Owen must’ve leaned over my shoulder to peek at the papers as his next remark was, “Holy shit, its the fucking monster house.” I looked over at him with annoyance before looking back at the photo and being somewhat shocked at the resemblance of the shack. Henry grabbed the picture from Owen and I before rolling his eyes at us while he examined the house.
“It’s not that bad, just needs new windows, and walls, and support beams, and siding, and a porch, and roof, and chimney, but besides that it looks great,” Henry said.
“Are you blind? It looks like its been submerged in water and snot for 30 years!” Owen said, suddenly getting overly excited.
“Shut up,” I told Owen, hoping that Mr. Wilson would cut off Owen’s stoned ramblings. After Owen finally closed his mouth and sank back into his chair, Principal Wilson looked at the three of us with a small grin on his face. Henry continued flipping through the booklet of information and property pictures as the door to the office opened. We expected it to be the receptionist informing our principal of a phone call or something like that. We weren’t that lucky though, low and behold the school cop, Officer Felix Brown stood there in all his stuck up glory. I averted my gaze as Owen just smirked at him. I knew it wasn’t Owen’s first encounter with the resource officer but would it kill him to show just a little bit of respect? Or at least not look the man who just caught us getting high in the school parking lot in the eyes? Henry had also diverted his gaze back to the papers as he leafed through them uninterestedly.
“Fancy meeting you here, Felix,” Owen smiled.
“Quiet Fields,” the officer snarled before stalking over to the principal’s desk. He stood in front of us to the right of the desk in a way that could only be described as, “I have a god complex because I’ve gone farther in my life than any of these shitheads in this highschool.” He oozed a confidence that made me roll my eyes, as if he placed his importance above anybody else’s (ironic I know, with the whole police officer career). He started to talk in a hushed tone to Wilson.
“With all due respect officer, if you’re going to talk about the students, they might as well hear you too,” he said. I smiled, suddenly appreciating Mr. Wilson more than I ever had before. Officer Brown glared at the man behind the desk for a moment before looking at Henry and the papers in his hand. His eyes widened when he saw one of the pictures of the house.
“Bodeman, hand me those papers,” he ordered, Henry looked up at him skeptically before offering the stack of files toward the young officer. He immediately snatched them and began furiously scanning the first page.
“Wilson, have you gone fucking insane?!” he exclaimed, slamming the papers on the desk. I furrowed my eyebrows, confused as to why he’s throwing his ass over a shitty house in the middle of nowhere. Wilson just looked at him and shrugged.
“They already agreed Felix,” he told him.
“It’s not safe to put three teenage stoners unsupervised on this property!” he said.
“Hey Felix! We can handle ourselves man calm down,” Owen replied, with crossed arms against his chest.
“Fields, shut the hell up you can’t even begin to understand what the fuck goes on in those 50 acres,” Officer Brown said, as his hands started searching through the pile of papers strewn across the desk. His eyes perused over the pages before his whole body went rigid and he grasped for a page, I think the number was 17. But before he could get his hands on it, Wilson slid it under his left hand and pulled it over the edge of the desk and onto his lap. Officer Brown looked down at him in disbelief and anger.
“Give me the paper, Wilson,” Officer Brown ordered, his eyes boring into the principal.
“I’m sorry officer, but these files are school property. You’ll need a warrant,” he replied. At this point Brown was looming over the desk, a very prominent vein suddenly appearing in his neck. His gaze traveled over to us, stopping at me, who was arguably the most concerned of the three of us. He grabbed the first page of the now dismembered packet, which had the address printed on it, reached in front of Wilson, and snatched a pen from his pen holder. He scribbled something onto the sheet of paper before haphazardly tossing the pen onto the desk and extending his arm to offer the page out to me.
“You three get out of here, go finish smoking somewhere else and one of you call me tomorrow morning. Here Johnson, take it,” he said. I nodded and took the paper from his outstretched hand.
We got up and quickly made our exit, Henry rushing myself and Owen in front of him. The second he shut the office door behind us yells erupted from Officer Brown as well as the sound of fists banging on wood. We left the main office and made our way to the front door where we had previously been escorted in no more than ten minutes before. Thoughts were racing through my head a mile a minute, maybe it was the pot making me paranoid but something told me it was a lot more than that.
“Cigarettes?” Henry asked as we started walking through the parking lot, I nodded and began following Henry to his car, Owen not too far behind. Henry grabbed his keys out of his pocket and unlocked his red pickup truck. I climbed into the passenger’s side and slid to sit on the middle console so Owen could take the passenger’s seat. He closed the passenger door behind him as Henry opened the driver’s side door. He got in the truck and grabbed a pack of Marlboros from the glovebox and his prized vintage zippo lighter from the cupholder under my legs. I grabbed the pack from his hands and opened the carton before taking a cigarette and putting it in between my lips. Henry flicked the lighter open and lit the smoke, after it was lit I handed it to Owen. We lit the other two and smoked them in his truck in silence, the stench of tobacco filling the confined space. If I was in my right mind I would’ve told Henry to roll a window or something but I was lost in my thoughts. I was also genuinely surprised that Owen hadn’t uttered a word since we left Wilson’s office, he was never one to keep quiet, especially when he was high. I had never been basked in silence when I was with those two until that moment. It was unsettling to say the least, alarming to say the most. I didn’t realize I had almost finished my cigarette until I hit it again and burned my fingers on the cherry. I hissed and reached past Henry to open the door before flicking the butt into the parking lot. Henry threw his out too and slammed the door shut again. Owen had discarded his too out of his own door, and leaned back into his seat. We all sat in silence for a few more minutes before Owen said, “I’m headed back to my car to smoke another blunt, you guys wanna come?”
“No thanks, man. Get home safe alright?” Henry replied.
“Will do, Henry. Tibs?” I shook my head at him. “Okay, I’ll see you guys tomorrow or some shit I guess.” Owen opened the door before hopping out of the car, he shut the door behind him and I shifted over to the now empty seat. Henry continued flicking his zippo as we watched Owen make his way to his grey jeep. Half of me wanted to walk to my car but the other half didn’t want to leave Henry, as I was way too confused and concerned to sit alone in my car.
“You want another one?” Henry said, beckoning to the pack of cigarettes that resided in the change compartment on his door. I nodded and he lit another one before handing it to me. We sat in his car for at least an hour in silence, smoking through the carton before he said something.
“That was fucking weird.”