Sprinklers

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2017

By Kaidince Edwards, Illustrated by Bowen Zhong

I didn’t mean to set off the school’s sprinkler system, it just happened. It was stupid to put my plastic lunch silverware into the cafe’s microwave, I admit. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone along with Delilah’s dare, but I guess it couldn’t have gotten any worse than it already was. Let’s start at the beginning of the story, where the dares got out of hand.

It was a cold, windy night, right on the verge of being winter. The moon was out and bright, shining in my best friend’s bedroom window. We were sitting on her baby-blue shag carpet, playing a round of Dare. Dare was a game we played at every sleepover with one another, almost like our own tradition. On this night, however, the dares were more intricate, more dangerous.

“Delilah, I dare you to go drink milk from the gallon!” I dared her. A scared look crossed her face, because she knew that if she drank from the gallon and was caught, she could get grounded for a week.

“OK,” Delilah finally answered, “but watch my back, Alice.” I nodded and followed Delilah out of her room, into the upstairs hallway, which was decorated with pictures of Delilah and her two brothers, Ellison and Penn. They were older than Delilah, but they spent lots of time with her, unlike my brother.

Sneaking down the hallway as quietly as we could, I tried to listen for any noises from downstairs, and there were none, thankfully. We snuck down Delilah’s carpet-covered steps and tiptoed into her big, modern kitchen. Quickly, with me standing guard by the kitchen entrance, Delilah opened the refrigerator door, took out the gallon of milk, and took a big gulp of it. Laughing, and waiting for Delilah to put away the milk, we rushed up to her bedroom and fell into a laughing lump on the floor.

Sprinklers inside an eatery

“How long should I put it in for?” I asked Delilah

“I can’t believe you did that!” I giggled. “Me neither!” she laughed. “OK, time for your dare. You have to melt a plastic fork in the school’s microwave on Monday.” Delilah lost her smile, and she looked very serious.

“Really? Doesn’t that seem kind of harsh?” I ask, suddenly uncertain. I nervously toyed with my long dark braid and didn’t look at Delilah.

“Oh, come on! Don’t be a sissy!” Delilah groaned. Neither of us had ever not done a dare, so what I was doing was like breaking tradition.

Staring at Delilah, I realized she really wanted me to do it, so I sighed and mumbled, “Fine, I’ll do it.”

On Monday, I wasn’t ready to melt a plastic fork, but Delilah was. She was so excited, so ready, that it was like she was doing the dare. I would gladly let her do it, but I wasn’t about to break my streak. When it was lunchtime, after Delilah and I had gotten our lunches and had finished eating, we went over to the microwaves.

“How long should I put it in for?” I asked Delilah.

“Thirty minutes,” she answered right away.

Slowly, I opened the microwave door and set the plastic fork on the glass plate in the microwave. I quickly closed the door to the microwave and glanced around to see if anyone had spotted me doing this. No one seemed to be looking at us, so I set the time to 30:00, then hit the start button. Delilah and I watched the plastic fork go round and round for a while, then we went back to our seats. We forgot about the fork for the rest of the lunch period, but it didn’t forget about us too quickly.

In fifth hour, when I was drawing for art class, the intercoms crackled to life. It was the secretary, Mrs. Junebee. “Will all students and staff please evacuate the building. I repeat, will all students and staff please evacuate the building.”

“You heard her. Everybody up and out the door,” Mr. Keisker, my art teacher, said. With a pounding heart, I stood up and followed the rest of my class out the classroom door. We went down the hallway and out the closest door to us that led outside. Conveniently, my art class stood next to Delilah’s gym class.

“You think this has to do with the fork?” I asked Delilah. My face was pale, and my hands were shaking.

“No. Maybe. I dunno,” Delilah answered. Mrs. Lusko, the female gym teacher, was doing roll call, and when she called Delilah’s name, she piped up with a “Here!”

I turned away from Delilah, suddenly too scared to talk anymore. I felt cold, even though it was almost ninety degrees out. Mr. Keisker finished roll call for my class, then spoke into a walkie-talkie that had been attached to his belt.

A little while later, the secretary came outside and told us it was OK to go in. We were at the back of the building, so when we went inside, we were surprised to see that firefighters were scattered everywhere on the arts floor. They were everywhere on every floor, I heard from one of the teachers.

We finished the day, and after school Delilah called me. “So, did you hear what happened?” Delilah asked me, once I answered the phone.

“That a sixth-grader is going to be expelled for blowing up her school?” I asked.

“No! One of the ovens blew up in the cafe, and it took the microwave with it. I saw it on my way back to the gym. It had nothing to do with your fork, Alice!” Delilah laughed.

I suddenly felt very relieved, but still kind of guilty.

“Well, I’m going to eat dinner. Bye, Alice!” Delilah laughed. I didn’t get to say goodbye before Delilah hung up the phone.

Tuesday morning, I went to the secretary and asked for Mr. Ervin, the school’s principal. “Sure, dear, right this way,” Mrs. Luvaskuah, or Mrs. Luva, said. She led me down a hallway, lined with inspirational quotes, and knocked on the principal’s office door.

“Come in,” Mr. Ervin bellowed in his loud, teacher voice. Mrs. Luvaskuah opened the door, and there was sitting Principal Ervin. He smiled as he saw me. “Well, now, if it isn’t the plastic melter!” He laughed, then motioned for me to have a seat.

As I sat down, I asked, “How did you know about…” But he cut me off.

“Well, it was kind of hard not to notice the melted fork on the glass plate, so we rewatched the security footage and saw you. No harm done though,” Mr. Ervin said with a large smile.

“I was actually coming to tell you what I did,” I mumbled.

“Like I said, no harm done. I appreciate your honesty, Alice, but there’s nothing for you to do. After all, the microwave did explode when the oven exploded,” Mr. Ervin said with a larger smile. I smiled too, then Mr. Ervin sent me on my way to class with a tardy slip, because, after all, I had only fifteen seconds until the bell rang.

Sprinklers Kaidince Edwards

Kaidince Edwards, 12
House Springs, Missouri

Sprinklers Bowen Zhong

Bowen Zhong, 12
Austin, Texas

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