Face the Music

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 04, 2019

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Submitted: March 04, 2019

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“Liar, liar,

“Pants on fire,

“Still in the dark,

“It ain’t gettin’ any lighter…”

I tap my feet to the beat of PoisonCandy’s “LYR” during Mr. Gerver’s earth science lecture. I smile at my own cleverness. My head is turned away from my science teacher just enough so that he can’t see the AirPod I have embedded in my left ear. Unluckily, he sees my casual smile and foot tapping.

“Headphones out during class, Mr. Hightower. I don’t want to have to tell you a third time,” he says.

“His cover has been blown!” Jason Bruno, the class clown, shouts from the back.

“Jason,” Mr. Gerver warns.

“They’re AirPods, not headphones!” Kaede Yamazaki, my best friend, exclaims from behind me.

Mr. Gerver can’t tell who said that, so he does nothing and carries on with the lesson. “Who’s the earwig?” Kaede whispers to me.

“‘LYR’ by PoisonCandy,” I reply. PoisonCandy is both of our favourite artists. His big debut was around when we were starting grade eleven. I usually have a lot of work to do at school because I always go to his concerts around the world. In fact, he just finished a concert right here in Los Angeles.

A lot of people think he lives here, but no one’s sure. You see, no one knows who PoisonCandy is. He’s like that Marshmello guy. Except PoisonCandy is way better at keeping his identity a secret. He has a big, candy wrapper-shaped mask that covers his whole head. It even has a voice altercation system. Although, in a recent interview he did say that he would be revealing his identity soon…

The bell rings and we all file out of class as Mr. Gerver bids us and end of year farewell. This was our last science class of the year. And Mr. Gerver, unlike most teachers, doesn’t have an end-of-year party. I don’t mean to be greedy, but it’s kind of a lame way to end off the school year. Especially when it’s at the end of our grad year.

I grab my lunch from my locker and head outside. I sit down in the grass field with Kaede and my other three friends, Louis, Patty, and Tasha, for our last lunch at Arcadia High School.

“Okay, Erik, you better not tell us that there’s a PoisonCandy concert on grad day,” Patty says.

“Actually, I’m pretty sure there is,” I say.

That gets a collective groan. “No, seriously. Is there actually?”

“I’m as serious as serious can be, Patty.”

Kaede looks up from his laptop. “But you’re coming to the grad ceremony, right?” he says.

“Probably,” I reply.

“Dude, come on, you gotta promise us that you’ll come,” Louis exclaims.

I think for a second. “Fine. I swear. I swear on the very clothes I wear.” I’m wearing my favourite clothes, pink and lime green, which are PoisonCandy’s colours.

Tasha decides to change the subject. “So, guys, what do you think you’re going to do after high school?”

This causes a long pause in the conversation as everyone thinks about their answer. Eventually, Louis pipes up. “I think I’ll sit around like a bum at my parents’ house - ” He’s interrupted by the rest of us laughing. “ - until I can find a college that’ll accept me. I’ve been thinking about music school or art school; it’d be cool to be a musician or DJ like PoisonCandy.”

“I’m going to go to law school. Or try to, at least.” Tasha states. Patty badly stifles a laugh, which earns her a glare from Tasha. “What? I’ve got the work ethic and the charm.”

“And the persistence,” Kaede adds quietly, but not quietly enough, and he is promptly shoved onto the wet grass. “Hey!” He shoves her back, and now they’re both wet.

I decide to shift the mood. “Well, I’m probably going to music school, or maybe something that has to do with design, like architecture.”

Kaede nods. “Yeah, that’s cool, but I’m going to be an entrepreneur,” he says. Tasha smirks.

“Don’t make me laugh,” she exclaims. “Dude, you couldn’t organize an in-game meetup if you tried.”

Anyway,” I butt in. “I am just really excited for the grad ceremony, guys.” I am. I truly am. In a way they cannot imagine.

“So you are coming,” Patty says.

“Yes,” I reply. “For the last time, yes.”


 

It’s the next morning, and it’s a perfect day for a graduation ceremony. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and there’s barely a cloud in the sky.

As I’m getting my stuff together, my mom peeks into my room. “Do you have all your things, sweety?”

“Yes, mom,” I reply. I quickly check over to make sure I have everything. Yep, it’s all here. Hat, clothes, other stuff. I am ready to go.

I show up early at the school to help set up. I do things like this all the time. I wave hello to the principal as I carry some things inside from the truck. I have a feeling that this ceremony’s going to be awesome.

Everyone else gets here about an hour later. I put on my grad uniform, pop in my AirPods and look for my friends in the halls, which is pretty hard, because there’s, like, thirty-four hundred kids that go to this school. And in a one hundred sixty thousand square foot school, you’d think the halls would be wider, but nope. After about ten minutes, I find Patty and Tasha huddled together by their lockers.

“Have you guys seen Louis? Or Kaede?” I ask as I take out an AirPod.

“We were with Kaede, and he went into the bathroom,” Tasha starts. “We waited outside for him, but we got swept away by the seething mass of degenerate guys streaming down the halls, and now we can’t find him.” she pauses for breath. “No sign of Louis yet,”

“Whatever!” Patty interjects. “The second he was around the corner, you were all like, ‘Let’s ditch ’em!’ and you let the ‘seething mass of degenerates’ sweep you away! I had to elbow, like, fourteen people to catch up to you!”

“You what?! Come on, Tasha! It’s grad day! We’ve gotta stick together!” I exclaim.

“Well, I mean, technically, I wasn’t lying - ”

“Are you absolutely, one hundred percent sure you haven’t seen Louis at all?” I interrupt.

“Nah,” Patty says. “He’s probably just up to his usual shenanigans again.”

“Hey, speak of the devil!” Tasha says as she looks over my shoulder. I turn around to see Louis striding towards us through the crowd, wearing a big smirk on his face.

Patty groans. “What did you do now?”

“Oh, nothing,” Louis replies, still grinning like an idiot. “The principal might have a different favourite colour by the end of today,”

“You didn’t!”

“I did. What’re you gonna do about it?”

Patty pauses to think of a response. “Stand by and laugh.”

Louis chuckles to himself. “You know I’m the kind of person that likes to go out with a bang!”

“Yes, you’ve been that way since I met you in grade four,” Kaede says from behind me.

“Hey, what’s up, man?” I say.

“Our hats!” he replies. “At least they’re going to be.” He glares at Patty and Tasha. “You guys suck! Why you gotta bully the Asian kid, huh? This is racial discrimination!” He playfully shoves Tasha. Patty throws up her arms and backs away. “Anyway,” he says to me. “Are you still listening to PoisonCandy?”

“Yes,”

“You better not be during the ceremony,”

“Whatever, man,” I reply. “You’re not my dad.” I snicker. “‘You’re not my dad!’” I say in a high voice, referencing the old video. “C’mon, guys! Let’s go!” I yell. We head to the massive gym and wander around for a little bit with all the other twelfth graders. Then Principal Bosque comes up onto the stage and taps the mic.

“Ahem,” he clears his throat. “Welcome, welcome! Settle down now, everyone.” In a couple of minutes, everyone is in their seats. As I look back, I can see my parents and my two little sisters, Lucy and Susie, in the back with all the other families.

“To all the teachers, the parents, and especially the students, you’ve made this year a truly great one,” the principal starts. “It is my honour to bid these students farewell as they journey on to do better things in life…” he goes on with his speech for a few minutes, and somewhere in that time he grabs the mic and starts walking around on the stage.

I see it well before it happens in his path is a thin white string that is almost unnoticeable. I look over to Louis and he is almost jumping in his seat with excitement. I roll my eyes and look back just in time to see Principal Bosque step on the wire and look down to see what it is. He gives a groan as if this has happened before, and just before he looks up, a blue gel pours onto his head from a bucket hanging from the ceiling.

It’s not much, but enough to cover almost all of his hair. Some of it drips down onto his shoulders. I glance over at Louis and see that he is covering his mouth with both hands and his shirt to prevent from laughing. I think I understand his reference from earlier now.

Vice Principal Benson comes up onto the stage and takes the mic as a humiliated and defeated Principal Bosque runs off, spitting blue goo out of his mouth, a sour expression on his face. “Whoever did that,” she says. “I am just going to say that I am very disappointed. Anyway, we would like to start giving diplomas.” One by one, she starts calling students up to the stage. After a little over a half hour, I’m finally called up.

“Erik Hightower,” the vice principal says. I get up out of my seat and walk up to her, and as I do, I glance over at the principal in the corner of the room. I can see that the cyan-coloured dye has already started to set in (it actually looks kind of cool). I smile to myself. She hands me my diploma and shakes my hands. “Congratulations,” she says. I look at my family at the back of the gym. My mom waves at me and I wave back.

About an hour later, everyone is done and talking with each other in their seats. I suddenly remember something.

“Guys, I gotta got to the little grad’s room,” I say. They laugh as I head out.

* * *

As I’m coming back, everyone is cheering. When I walk into the gym, everyone starts cheering louder. “PoisonCandy!” everyone shouts. PoisonCandy is on the stage!

“Alright, Arcadia High, you guys ready for this?” the altered voice says. The crowd explodes with noise in response. As the first song starts, I look to the back of the gym and see my parents smiling at me.

I glance over at my friends. I left my seat earlier, and I won’t be sitting next to them for the concert. I smile to myself.

PoisonCandy’s most popular song comes next. It sounds awesome. Absolutely awesome. The crowd is jumping and singing along and throwing up their hats prematurely and it’s awesome.

“Y’know, I used to go to this school,” PoisonCandy says when the music dies down a little bit. This sparks conversations all over the gym, which immediately stop when the altered voice speaks next. “I can say ‘used to’ now that I’ve graduated,”

Then, in front of my peers, my teachers, my friends, my family -

In front of everybody, I take off my mask.

 


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