Music City Madness: Chapter 10

Jonathan leaned his chair back until his head touched the wall behind him in the principal’s office. So far, nothing about public school excited him. He hated the kids. He hated the teachers. And he hated the food. Most of all, he hated being away from his friends at the Belle Meade private school he’d attended since first grade. “Is she out there?” he asked his brother.

Adam peeked through the blinds at the open office area. “Not yet.” He plopped himself in the chair beside Jonathan and picked at his braces. “I miss our old school.”

“Me too.”

“Why can’t we go back?”

“Mom’s broke.”

“How do you know?”

“Why do you think she fired Yolanda and the pool guy? Why do you think she sold the Bentley? The next thing you know she’ll be driving us to school in a station wagon and Tomás will be bagging our groceries.”

Adam choked on his own words. “She can’t fire Tomás.”

“She fired Yolanda.”

“Yolanda quit.”

“That’s what Mom wants us to think,” said Jonathan. He leaned his chair back. “Mom’s been home a lot lately. She hasn’t been on tour in years.”

“So? She has lots of money.”

“Not enough to keep Yolanda or the Bentley.”

“Do you think we’ll have to move?”


Adam poked his tongue against his braces, where the wire protruded from the band around his back molar and irritated the fleshy part inside his mouth. He wanted a snack and a sparkling water. More than anything, he wanted to clamp down on a fat wad of grape-flavored gum, the thought of which made him salivate. “How much longer do we have to wait here?”

Jonathan shrugged. “Maybe the principal forgot about us.”

“She doesn’t seem like she forgets about anything.”

“No one saw us.”

“Then why are we here?” Adam pondered.

Jonathan rocked his chair back and forth in place. “Check this out.”

“You’re going to break it.”

“You mean like this?” Jonathan lifted his butt off the chair to rip a loud fart at his brother.

Adam grabbed an empty folder from the principal’s desk and fanned the air. “Don’t crack a rat in here!”

“The lunch food makes me fart.”

Adam pinched his nose. “Did you even wipe this morning?”

“Shut up,” Jonathan retorted, jabbing his brother in the shoulder. He got up to inspect the prosthetic forearm on the cabinet beside the principal’s desk.

“Don’t touch it,” Adam warned.

“I’m not going to break it,” said Jonathan. He picked up the arm, surprised by the hefty weight.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m just checking it out. I’ve never seen one before.”

“Put it back before she gets here.”

Jonathan tapped the desk with the prosthesis. “Check this out…” He waved the arm side to side. “I know an eighth grader in our old school who saw a movie where an arm like this came to life.”

“Put it away!”

Jonathan bent the fingers back toward the palm, leaving the middle finger protruding in an upright position.

“You’re going to break it!”

Jonathan put the arm back and plopped himself next to his brother. “Do you think she knows?”

Adam leaned over to raise his butt off the chair. “I know this much,” he said, launching his own fart in retaliation.

* * *

Principal Hendrix dropped a crumpled brown lunch bag on her desk and opened a cabinet drawer for an aerosol bottle of Febreeze. “Gentlemen,” she started as she sprayed the air inside the closed office space, “you’ve had quite a day.” She checked her office phone for messages. “Is there anything you’d like to share with me?”

“We didn’t do it,” said Jonathan.

Principal Hendrix moved away from the window and reached inside the brown bag to pull out a large jockstrap. She held it up with two fingers and laid it on her desk. “This was found at the top of our flag pole this morning. Any idea how it got there?”

The brothers looked at each other and moved their heads side to side in unison.

“You sure?” She confronted her accused, unflinching and unwavering in her commitment to prod a full confession. “A student saw one of you climb the pole.”

“Wasn’t us.”

Principal Hendrix took a smart phone from her pocket and played a video for the boys. “You tell me.”

Adam leaned in closer to see the image of himself laughing at his brother who shimmied up the pole with the jockstrap hanging out of his back pocket. “We were just having fun.”

“You call defacing school property, having fun?

The boys sank back in their chairs.

“We thought it would be funny,” Adam confessed.

“I don’t find this amusing at all. I find it disturbing how two intelligent young men could exhibit this behavior in light of their previous academic achievements.” She squinted at Adam. “You tested out of sixth grade and jumped right into seventh. Somehow your intellect advanced, but your integrity got left behind.” She stepped toward Jonathan. “And you, Mr. Hamilton, should learn to lead by example. You are the older brother in this equation, are you not?”

“Barely,” said Adam.

Jonathan nudged his brother in protest for the snide remark.

Principal Hendrix leaned against her desk. She eyed the prosthesis above her cabinet and scowled at the boys. “I called your mother and explained the situation. She wasn’t happy.”

“Are we done?” asked Jonathan.

Principal Hendrix stuffed the jockstrap back in the bag. “This sort of thing might have been sanctioned at your previous school, but I assure you, it will not be tolerated here. Since this is your first offense, I’ll let you both off with twenty hours of detention, the first two hours of which you will serve today in the cafeteria after school.”

“That’s not fair!” exclaimed Adam.

“Fair is me not asking where you procured this article of clothing. Fair is not having you expelled in the last month of school. Fair is not calling the police to have you charged with vandalism.”

“Our driver will be here after school,” said Jonathan. “What are we supposed to tell him when we’re two hours late?”

“Tell him to adjust his schedule. Because you two are going to be running late for the next few weeks.”