I met up with Fish and Fin near the bike racks. Fish had his lunch out and was splitting an orange with Fin when I arrived.
“You mean to tell me you missed the whole thing?” Fish was saying.
“Yeah, I got up to go to the bathroom and then everything went crazy. I got out of there as fast as I could. Hi Skip!” Fin said. “Tell Fish what happened in the classroom. I told him about how we didn’t get in trouble.”
“Yeah, Man, tell me all about it. Did Cornett get covered in puke? Who got stabbed? And who started the fire?” Fish peppered at me.
“Fish, you’ve been listening to too many rumors. There wasn’t a fire and no one got stabbed. And Karen did get hit with a ton of spitballs. Then everything just became a free for all. It was crazy. I hid behind the A/V cart because I didn’t have a straw or paper on me.” I told him. He seemed a bit disappointed in my relaying of the story.
“So you weren’t involved? Man, that sucks. But I suppose it’s a good thing too. You managed to stay out of trouble.” Fish laughed.
“It is a good thing. But, ya know, somehow I don’t think my Mom or her boyfriend are going to see it that way.” I complained as I handed Fin his lunch bag.
“Aw, Skip, forget them” Fin said as he tore open his bag and started to devour his sandwich. “We’ve got three more days till summer starts and we go camping. None of us can afford to get grounded. You can’t get in trouble for not getting in trouble.” And with that a big wad of grape jelly fell on his shirt.
Fish and I started laughing at Fin as he put his sandwich down on the torn paper of his bag and started to suck the jelly off his shirt.
“Man, you are one messed up cat!” Fish said.
Fin looked at us with a puzzled look on his face, part of his shirt still hanging out of his mouth and his pale stomach glinting sunlight. “Wha? Wha yu luughin at?” he choked out.
A few of the girls from our class walked by an pointed at Fin and started snickering under their breath and pointing at him. “What a pig.” “He should learn some manners” “How gross!” they said as they hurried away from us.
“Fin, you’re never gonna get a date!” I said and fell over on my side unable to contain the burst of laughter that had built up in me. I saw Fish lean over and grab some of Fin’s lunch and start to eat it while Fin just sat there looking befuddled about what we found so funny.
Fish shook his head and started to eat Fin’s apple. I sat up and pulled out my lunch, split up my sandwich and apple with my buddies and enjoyed our lunch. It passed to quickly and when the bell rang to go back to class we were still talking about the camping trip and what to bring.
As we headed in to school Fish told us to meet back up at the bike rack after school and we would go to his house. We agreed and went our separate ways.
Afternoon classes sucked. The teacher was in a foul mood and made us all write pages from the schools code of conduct for most of the afternoon. When the final bell rang everyone in the class had to stay back except Karen, Marky, Fin and myself. As the four of us marched out of class I looked back at all my classmates, unhappy looks and glares met my gaze and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for them.
“Serves them right!” Karen said when the door to the room shut. “They should have listened to me. And you Jimmy Finnegan! You should be in there with them!”
“Sit on it Karen!” Fin said and pushed me between him and her as she tried to swing her books at his head.
“OUCH! Karen, watch it!” I said as her school books hit me in my arm. “Don’t take it out on Fin, he’s innocent. Just ask the Vice Principal.”
Fin grabbed me and we ran down the hall away from her and Marky. “You’ll get yours one day Jimmy!” She shouted
We responded by waving and laughing at her empty threats. At the stairs we got stuck in the line of students making their way outside. I saw a few kids from Fish’s class but no sign of Fish. Fin and I dodged questions about the riot in our classroom. Some kids thought the police had been called and that some of the kids had been arrested. One kid was saying he heard our teacher was going to be fired for not doing her job. A few kids expressed sympathy to us for the student who was killed. (FYI… NO ONE WAS KILLED!) Fin and I ignored everything and made our way outside.
Fish was waiting for us by his bike; he already had it unlocked and was pulling some smokes out of his backpack for us. “What took you so long?” He asked.
“Ah, Karen and her bullshit. She hates me.” Fin said as he grabbed a smoke from Fish. “I swear, God himself could come down and tell her I’m innocent and she wouldn’t believe him. That girl hates me!”
“Are you sure it’s hate she feels towards you?” I asked and took a cigarette from Fish’s hand.
“Yeah Fin? Maybe she really has a crush on you. Maybe you two are gonna get married and have kids and stuff.” Fish added.
“C’mon guys… leave it alone. I don’t need to be hassled about this crap right now.” He pouted.
Fish gave in “Ok, ok… besides we have better things to do anyway.”
Fin smiled and glance at me “Yeah, we do. Don’t we?
I looked at each of buddies standing before me. They were both grinning at me and had a gleam in their eyes that I’d seen before and that gleam meant trouble. “All I know is that we have to work on the bike.” I stated.
Fish stood up, dusted off his pants, lit his cigarette and turned to grab his bike, “Fin, you gonna get your bike?” he asked
“Yup!” Fin said.
I stood there confused as my pals pulled their bikes out and mounted them. I looked from Fish to Fin and back to Fish. I didn’t know what to do. Fin had told me his mom had given him a ride to school that morning and here he was with his bike. Our trio was getting ready to be cut down to a duo and I was going to be left alone to fend for myself… again.
Fish looked over at me, smiled, nodded to a bike that had been sitting next to Fin’s… “Hey, Space Cadet… You coming or are you gonna stand there looking like an idiot?”
My frustration disappeared and a smile as big as the Fox River spread across my face. I pulled my bike out of the bike rack, hopped on it and caught up to my buddies.
The Three Musketeers rode off into the afternoon and the only thing they left behind was their laughter.