A split-second later Miss Weaver turned around and dragged the trash can over to us. She used one arm to push all of our food into the can. That put Soy in a worse mood than Miss Weaver.
His taco lunch was gone forever. Never to be eaten. I cared about dragons and the frog named Deli inside my shirt. It would be hard to imagine a better principal than Principal Lance. He had grey hair down to his shoulders, even though he was bald in the front. Every year, on my birthday, he called me into his office and gave me a candy bar. I know he did the same for Soy who usually finished his before he got back to the class and showed up with chocolate all over his face and probably everyone else in my class.
Still, he had a way of making me feel like I was more than some kid. He had stacks and stacks of dusty books that looked like they were hundreds of years old. I heard that a girl once sneezed on one of them by accident, and it blew away in pieces. The way the story goes, Principal Lance laughed so hard that he forgot why he had sent for her. But, as Soy and I walked into his office, it seemed less friendly than usual. Miss Weaver gave a small, awkward bow and left us.
What I saw first in the chair next to us was a yellowish-gold bowtie, and then the large grin of Mr. My heart sank. Ream has insisted that he speak with you. And I insisted on being present. And so, with all this insisting going on, here we are! I always enjoyed the way that Principal Lance explained things. I had expected Ream to speak to me, but he turned to Soy instead. My mom preferred not to talk about it. Ream looked over at Soy, shuddering at the thought of being his parent or guardian.
The conversation was starting just like mine had, and that got me worried. The longer Ream questioned Soy or me, the more chances we would have to slip up again, even with Principal Lance there. Or, if we believed Deli, his claws.
Ream gave the slightest hint of a smile. He relished the idea of talking to Soy without me around. I could get in a lot of trouble if she finds out that I went alone. I realized that I was learning how to think on my feet more and more since meeting Deli. Seems a little unnecessary at your age. Well, so be it.
I nudged Soy before he could object. He always gets lost without me.
Soy was the one who had walked into the girls' room by accident, not once, but twice that year already. Not then, at least.
Ream, when my students need to use the restroom, they use the restroom. He rose and ushered us towards the door.
As we walked out I could tell that Ream was upset, but he dared not argue against Principal Lance again. Not-so-luckily for us, neither did I. Instead, I kept walking and looked down at the green tiles under my feet, wondering what to do next. We passed the library, then turned the corner and passed two more bathrooms: one for students and one for visitors. Either one would have done if I was actually looking for a bathroom. At the moment, the last place I wanted us to be was somewhere that Ream expected us to be.
A mop splashed onto the floor, and my head shot up to see the custodian, Mr. Salazar, staring at me. Salazar shook his head, and continued mopping in the other direction. When I got inside, I remembered that there was an exit behind the stage that would lead us straight into the woods. During play rehearsals, when the auditorium got too hot, they opened the door and let the breeze in.
I was pretty familiar with the stage area. Not only had I been the first truly Weeping Willow, I had also been a stagehand. Soy knew a little about the stage, too. He had tried out for the lead once, but was given the role of a crocodile instead.
He was mentioned in every review, although indirectly. The set for the next play was still being built. There was a forest, and a small hut with pieces of wood scattered all around it. I let Deli out onto the stage, and then Soy and I hopped up after her.
In a quick green blur, the frog jumped from the bag to inside the fort. Ream breathed a heavy breath and then let out a puff of steam that blew over me and Deli. She always bites, No matter how threatened. I am from the fires of the Southwest, lightning strikes below the Rim. Later on, the current took us straight inside a thin white cloud that gave me a nice feeling as we flew through it. Deli hopped onto the table and then onto my shoulder. Sal just disappeared one day, I think he was added to some stew.
The glowing red exit sign was in sight when we passed the hut, but a loud noise from the front of the auditorium stopped us in our tracks. We crouched behind the flat wooden hut. Deli instinctively crouched too, which I thought was strange. Then I saw the terrible news for myself through a window in the hut.
It was Ream, and he was being escorted down the aisle by Mr. Ream was looking down each row of seats as he walked. When he was halfway down, he started speaking. I looked around the set. My eyes settled on a handwritten sign that I had seen many times before, attached to the switch beside us. Ream vaulted up onto the stage, apparently finished searching the seats. Have you finally found him? Soy was about to ask a question, but Deli quieted him with one look.
Ream was ten feet away, right where the set began. I lunged to the side, tore through the warning sign and flipped the switch. Ream shot his head towards me with a sinister snarl. There was a loud crack from above the stage.