Reminder to readers: This is a continuation of the ‘assignment’ to write an ending. Here is Part I of the ending.
We both stopped and looked at each other.
“Really?” I asked.
“We at least need to check,” said Maeve.
We slid the rolled up banner away from the office door, which on a normal day, would be wide open. Today, closed. Mrs. Dooling and Mrs. Taylor probably needed a break from the thousands of parents and kids trooping in and out with cupcakes and party supplies and who knows what else.
“We’re down to about two minutes!” I said. We unrolled the banner and—sure enough—instead of the usual ‘Have a great summer!”, the words ‘bummer of’ were taped over ‘great.
“That is totally the work of the Jamisons,” said Maeve.
I raced into the teachers’ supply room and came out with the widest, fattest black marking pen I could find.
“This banner needs just a few more words and it’ll be complete,” I said.
Maeve stood watch as I finished my work.
I tucked the pen in my pocket. “You go back first and I’ll come in right after.”
Just as I entered Room 13, they were lining up for the awards assembly.
“Mr. Beane, glad you could join us in time,” said Mr. Franks.
“Mr. Shoemaker asked me to help him with something,” I said. Lying, not my favorite escape strategy, but at the time, my only way out.
Maeve caught my eye and gave me the thumbs up.
The rest of the class trooped out, with Mr. Franks in the lead. Nice guy, but he never learned. A teacher at the front misses way too much elbowing and hip-bumping by kids who probably need four recesses a day.
Luckily, Room 13 was the last class leaving so there were no straggling kids to mess things up. I trailed the rest of the class and saw Maeve stop to tie her shoe.
I caught up to her. “What do you think? Ten minutes?” I asked.
“Should be about right,” she said. “I kind of remember they start with fifth-grade awards.”
We walked together into the cafeteria entrance and I took a hard right turn into a supply closet as Maeve joined the rest of the class.
I could only hope Mr. Franks wouldn’t notice I was missing.
Once the cafeteria doors closed for the beginning of the assembly, I slipped back toward the upper grade hall. I settled into a corner for the wait and within a half-minute, I popped up.
The primary hall, I thought. That’s the place. But I needed to avoid the office.
I headed down the ramp, hopped the metal railing, and slipped behind the bushes that lined the front of the school.
It wasn’t as if it was the first time I had used guerrilla tactics to move around the school and I knew the ins and outs of these bushes. I ducked lower at the thinner areas and relaxed and stretched upwards when branches were thicker.
Finally, I made it to the primary classrooms.
I looked around. All was quiet. I stepped forward to get a closer look at my target. And then I saw a playground ball tucked into the far corner.
If I was a decent aim, that ball might give me a headstart back to the cafeteria, I thought. And I was about to hit the ten-minute mark Maeve had set for me.
I gave another quick glance, listened for any other possible interruption, and sidestepped to the ball.
I picked it up, took in a breath, took aim, and heaved it right for my target.
The alarm rang through the building.