The Day My House Burned Down – The Bomb

January 7, 1995  Saturday

Last Thursday afternoon while at Hoke’s house, around 4 o’clock, we heard the fire alarms blare across town.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.

The next day, about third hour, Hoke and Jake told me what they had done.  You see, in second hour Hoke was talking to Davies about having heard this fire alarm the night before as they sat waiting for Spanish class to begin. So, for added effect, Hoke told Davies I had set my own house on fire, then tried to commit suicide in grief over my mistake. At this same same time Spence Sutton and Lance Stanton walked in and overheard Hoke’s tale.  All of them thought now it was so good that they all let Mrs. Wales in on it.  Hoke told me later, “Geeze, the story spread like wild fire!”

So, as soon as Hoke and Jake told me what they had done, I started to think of a story to turn it back on them.  When a very curious, eye-brow raised Mrs. Wales later asked me about it, I told her my side:

“Oh wow, they didn’t tell you about the fire, did they?  All right, yes–but this is what happened.  Jake, Hoke, and I were playing football in my neighbor’s yard, Hoke was all-time quarterback that afternoon, and I beat Jake really bad (another part of the fantasy, probably).  Jake was mad then, and wanted to get me back, so he told Hoke and I that he was going into my house, to make secret football plays.  Jake, then alone, set a small fire in the oven to get me in trouble–but then he couldn’t put it out!  Don’t worry though, the fire trucks got there fast, so there wasn’t much damage.”

Of course none of this ever happened, but Mrs. Wales believed me.  At the end, as she leaned on the front of her desk, she had her mouth open, saying, “Oh my god, was everybody okay?”  I have to have at least tied with Hoke and Jake.

Yesterday during homeroom we got our report cards.  I asked if  I could talk with Mr. Strongham about my non-stellar Physics grade.  I walked down to the far end of the school’s long hall, and as I entered his room I found students scrambling like frightening bees.  Mobs of people, coats and book bags in hand in the middle of the day.  What was going on?

Mr. Marks, the school dean, by now was out in the hall, now shouting instructions.  I thought we might have been on the Titanic.  We were to immediately go to the old grade school gym two blocks to the east.  The grade and middle school were evacuating too.  There had been a bomb threat (which Willa, from my class, answered in the office).  Everyone was streaming out of the building.  Could you imagine trying to fit the district’s 800 total students in a small, ancient gym?  What I couldn’t believe was that 200 of us were camped in the bleachers. So Mr. Mavetz made the best if it and got the wave going.

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