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Wally and the Holiday Jailbreak

The Red Card

Chapter 2
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ally sat on a plastic chair hugging his backpack as Mrs. Brenda told Principal Anderson all the bad things he’d done. He didn’t want to look at either of them, so he rested the right side of his face on the top of his backpack and thought about what he could get his father for Christmas.

His dad really liked coffee, but they already had five giant bags from Dunkin’ Donuts stuffed into the cabinets above their refrigerator. Nothing came to mind except the meaning of life. It was the only thing his father said he wanted.

There were still four and a half days until Christmas. Wally didn’t have much time, but if he could make it out of school without his dad finding out he got in trouble, he still had a shot at giving him a gift that would make him happy for Christmas.

Wally glanced out the window. Charlie and Miguel were building a snow fort as their parents talked, but almost everyone else had already left. Wally didn’t see Sarah or Mr. Evans, who gave him a ride home every day.

Principal Anderson looked up at Mrs. Brenda from behind her desk and nodded her head. “I see, I’ve got it from here,” she assured Mrs. Brenda.

Mrs. Brenda slammed Wally’s bow and quiver of suction arrows onto Principal Anderson’s desk. “You can also deal with this. He brought it to school on Monday and I haven’t been able to get ahold of his father.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Principal Anderson whispered. She winked at Wally as Mrs. Brenda turned around.

“Wally, have a Merry Christmas,” Mrs. Brenda said with a huff. Wally didn’t turn his head to acknowledge her.

The door clicking shut ushered in a torturous silence. Wally squirmed his legs in his chair. He felt trapped like he did in the bathroom stall. Jake told him Principal Anderson is nice, but Miguel told him that he had to see her once and she spanked his bare butt with a paddle, so he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Wally,” Principal Anderson said. Her voice was soft. Wally glanced up and briefly met her gaze. Her face was smooth and her long, shiny blonde hair flowed around her ears. She scared Wally less than Mrs. Brenda, but he still closed his eyes and covered his face with his forearm when she asked him, “Can you tell me what happened?”

Mrs. Brenda had already told her what happened, so Wally didn’t say anything…

Principal Anderson leaned forward and rested her elbows on the desk, “Is your dad outside?”

Wally looked up and shook his head with wide eyes. He didn’t want her to call his dad. He turned his neck to look outside for Mr. Evans again.

“Who are you looking for?” Principal Anderson asked.

“Sarah’s dad,” Wally replied.

The door swung back open, “Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too, Mrs. Brenda! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction,” Mr. Evans hollered.

Mr. Evans was tall and skinny, and had a scruffy beard like a wizard. The hair on top of his head was just thin enough to catch glimpses of his scalp under the fluorescent lights, but thick, wiry hair sprang from the sides of his head like sections of a Slinky. Wally perked his head up when he saw Mr. Evans and felt an urge to run to him and hug his leg. He wanted to point out that he was still wearing sweatpants and that Mrs. Evans said none of them were allowed to wear sweats past ten in the morning. Then he remembered he was in trouble and dropped his head back onto his backpack.

“Hey, Bud,” Mr. Evans said to Wally. He knelt down beside him and rested his hand on Wally’s shoulder. “What happened?”

When Wally didn’t say anything, Principal Anderson spoke up, “Apparently he stole a doll from his classmate, then ran from the teacher when he got caught.”

“Is that true, Wally?” Mr. Evans asked.

Wally was crying now. He looked up at Mr. Evans and nodded his head, then smushed his face into his backpack.

“Whose doll?” Mr. Evans asked.

“A girl named Olivia,” Principal Anderson replied.

Mr. Evans rose to his feet. “Sarah had her over to play a few weeks ago. She’s very sensitive. Maybe there was a misunderstanding?”

“Sarah didn’t see what happened?”

Mr. Evans shook his head. “She just told me Wally got in trouble.”

“He won’t tell me what happened, so I’m going to have to give him a red card,” Principal Anderson said. Wally’s heart rate jumped, his heart pounding rapidly against his chest. Nobody in his class had gotten a red card. They suspend you from school for one day, which Wally always thought sounded pleasant as far as punishments go, but he worried it would make his dad so sad, even the meaning of life wouldn’t cheer him up. He curled back up and sobbed into his arms.

“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Mr. Evans asked.

Wally peeked through the gap between his forehead and arm to see Principal Anderson nod, then lean onto her desk and push herself to her feet. She was pregnant and had a big belly, so she waddled like a duck as she walked with Mr. Evans outside her office.

Wally heard whispers and made out some of their conversation, but not the whole thing.

“His dad…” he heard Mr. Evans say, “It’s a difficult time at home…”

“…can’t become a habit…”

“…practically lives at our house…some slack…”

“…you talk to him…”

The door opened.

“Wally, will you come out here?” Principal Anderson asked. “Grab your bow,” she added.

Wally kept his backpack squeezed against his chest as he stood up and plodded toward them with his head down, grabbing his bow and quiver on the way.

“I’m going to let you off with a warning this time,” Principal Anderson told him, “but that doesn’t mean what you did today was OK. I want you to think about it over holiday break.”

Wally nodded his head.

“OK, Bud, ready to leave?” Mr. Evans asked.

There are more free chapters of "Wally and the Holiday Jailbreak" available on my website, but if you're ready to purchase the full book, you can do so here.
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