If you haven’t read the first part of Sam’s story, here it is.
I hope you enjoy the conclusion of Doom, Glitter, and IPhone: A Sam Short Story
The water soaked through my clothes in an instant, the chlorine stinging my eyes. I clawed for the surface for a moment before a thought hit me. If I stayed under the water for as long as I could, King wouldn’t see me when he looked in the pool room. I was already soaked. It wasn’t like a few more seconds underwater would kill me.
I congratulated myself on my quick thinking. Why hadn’t this sudden wisdom come to me before? Perhaps my mind needed warming up. I stayed underwater until my lungs burned, then surfaced and clung to the side, gasping.
All the swimmers plus the coach stared at me. Funny how they didn’t check to see if I was drowning. I gave them a halfhearted wave then glanced toward the door.
No King. Phew. I was getting good at this running game.
A thought hit me like a two-by-four and my heart plummeted. James’s phone was in my pocket, which was completely submerged.
I clambered out of the pool and started scrubbing the phone on my shirt. Realizing my shirt wasn’t dry I ran for a towel. I furiously dried the thing. Please don’t die, please don’t die.
I hesitantly pressed the power button. The screen lit up. I’d never been so grateful to see a girl in all my life. I leaned my head back. Thank the Lord above. If I broke James’s phone he’d be ticked. He wouldn’t speak to me for weeks.
Those would be some very lonely weeks.
I used the rest of the towel to dry myself off as much as possible before journeying on. I reached the other door, and, having learned my lesson, looked both ways before entering the hallway. The coast was clear.
Or so I thought.
I walked down the hall, quite proud of myself for losing King. Sure, it had been a complete accident, but I’d still done it. The only problem was the water. The janitor wouldn’t be happy with all the puddles I was leaving behind.
Voices drifted down the hall. I froze. What now? If a teacher saw me like this, he’d try to interfere, and I needed to give James his stupid phone so I could go home and find some dry clothes.
It was going to be a cold walk home. Perhaps I could steal James’s Mustang. I deserved that at least.
The voices grew clearer. One of them was decidedly girly. Brittney.
Why did she keep showing up at the wrong times? I didn’t look around the corner but the rising volume of their voices told me they were getting closer. I could now make out their words.
“So why are you wandering the halls?” It was King.
“I’m looking for Sam,” Brittney said.
“I saw him a little bit ago. He said he was retrieving a friend’s phone.”
Brittany was looking for me? Why? I couldn’t let her see me like this. She’d think…well, I don’t know what she’d think. I don’t even know what I’d think if I saw a random guy wandering around in full attire, soaking wet.
She’d probably think I was a weirdo. I mean I was, but I didn’t want her thinking that.
I scanned the hall for an escape. Identical brown doors lined the walls, each leading into other classrooms. I’d hide in one of those till King and Brittney passed.
I picked the nearest door and entered only to find myself in a classroom that was still in session.
The teacher, Miss Lainson, was as deaf as a bat was blind, so she didn’t notice me enter. Posters and statues made from various recyclables occupied every inch of wall space. This must be the art class.
A few students glanced back at me. I slashed my hand across my neck, trying to tell them to be quiet. They rolled their eyes, most likely thinking, Ugh it’s Sam. I wonder when he’ll drop off the edge of the earth. I know that sounds mean, but you didn’t see their bored expressions.
Miss Lainson was facing the white board, drawing a picture worthy of Michelangelo. This was on a white board with dry-erase markers, mind you, and she somehow still pulled it off.
I dragged my attention away from the masterpiece and edged along the wall. This was one of those two door classrooms with an extra door that led into another room. I’d make my way through there and out into the next hallway.
I slid next to a shelf. I had to admit, I was pretty good at this sneaking around thing. I was as smooth as a spy, as silent as the-
Miss Lainson turned around and immediately spotted me. Curse that artistic eye of hers. I leaned on the shelf and waved, trying to look natural. She stared at me for a second.
The shelf collapsed, bringing me down with it. Something slid down the shelf and hit the side of my head, its sparkling contents pouring over me like water.
Oh no. Not glitter.
I untangled myself and stood, franticly rubbing my hair. I might as well have been coated with glue because the glitter wasn’t coming out. The few pieces that came loose stuck to my hands. I stopped and scrubbed them on the front of my shirt only to realize it too was covered in glitter. Pink, sparkly glitter. I now looked like a living Valentine’s card.
The entire class had gone silent. Everyone was staring at me, just as the swimmers had done a few moments ago. Their minds were probably questioning whether this had actually happened. I couldn’t believe it myself. I slouched to the opposite door. Of all the mistakes I could have made, of all the shelves I could have leaned on, it had to be that one.
I wrenched open the door, stomped through the next classroom, and entered the hall. Now the puddles I left behind were sprinkled with glitter like some unicorn had melted in the hallway.
It will only take five minutes to get my phone, James had said. It’s no big deal he’d said.
When I finally reached James I was going to give him a huge hug. Then I was going to slug him in the face.
I trudged down the halls, glancing around the corners every once and a while to make sure I was alone. The only thing that could make this worse would be if someone caught me long enough to take a picture. Then to Instagram it would go and my chances of catching a date with any girl, much less my chances at a normal life for six months, would plummet like a fat hippo through thin ice.
I was almost to the auditorium. What if all the drama people saw me? Perhaps I’d just throw James his phone from the shadows and run. I was fast enough to escape King. If anyone tried to follow, they’d be eating my glitter-tainted dust.
Who was I kidding? I wasn’t going to survive this disaster with my social life unscathed. I realized the truth of it once I turned the corner.
King, Dylan, and Brittney stood in the hallway in front of the auditorium entrance. By the time I realized they were there, I’d already been seen.
I froze in the middle of the hall. King smirked. Brittney’s eyes widened. Having nothing else to lose I sighed and waved.
“Nice outfit, Sam,” King said.
“Thanks. It’s the new look. I like to call it-“
The hall jolted as someone slapped me upside the head; James’s phone was torn out of my hand. Levi jogged to King and handed him the phone.
“Hey!” I lunged forward then stopped short. I needed to slow down and think. I wasn’t a genius but I could count. Three against one. I didn’t stand a chance unless…
…unless I convinced Brittney to help me. We made eye contact. She looked at me with a mixture of pity and something I couldn’t name. Disgust? Disbelief?
She mouthed something to me, but I couldn’t read lips. Was she saying stay or hay?
“Brittney…”I started. Wait a second. She was standing pretty close to King. Were they a couple? Call it adding insult to injury.
A click echoed off the lockers as King captured my sparkled self forever in the annals of photography. Great. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse.
“Why are you working with King?” I asked her. I mean, it couldn’t hurt. I’d already ruined…well….everything.
“She’s my girlfriend,” King glanced up from his phone.
“Ah. No wonder she didn’t want her boyfriend’s face as her wallpaper.” I said. King glared at me, but I thought I saw Brittney smile, just a little.
She wasn’t going to help me, especially if she was King’s girl, but I still had to get James’s phone back. I took a step forward. “King, give me the phone. What could you possibly need it for?” I asked.
King pocketed the phone, that jerk, and smiled like a crocodile. “You already took a trip to the pool, it looks like. James will find his phone inside the pool filter. It wouldn’t take a genius to see you did it.”
No. King couldn’t sabotage my friendship like that. James had trusted me, and if he thought I blew it…
Then maybe he shouldn’t have trusted me in the first place.
King turned around and started down the hallway, his goons trailing like goslings after their mother goose. I stood, shocked. What could I do?
I decided to ignore my previous snippet of common sense and charged. King turned the hall corner.
“Sam, stop!” Brittney said. I ignored her.
Something hit my leg and I tripped. I flailed my arms, trying to catch my balance, but it was too late. I crashed onto my stomach. Brittney had tripped me.
I pressed my palms against the floor, ready to rise.
“Sam, stay down,” Brittney said.
Why? I had to get James’s phone back.
But I stayed where I lay. It was too late, anyway. I couldn’t defeat King. I didn’t know what I’d been thinking. I dropped my face to the floor.
The footsteps faded as the last of King’s gang turned the corner. That was it. I had failed, completely and utterly. I’d tell James my story, but who knew if he’d believe me. I’d get the blame for his broken phone. His mom would take away his Xbox privileges and, as previously mentioned, he wouldn’t speak to me for weeks.
Brittney sighed. “You could have avoided all this, you know.”
I hesitantly raised my head. Britany knelt beside me, long hair brushing the ground. Why was she still here anyway? She slid her phone toward me. I stared at it like an idiot, not comprehending.
“You didn’t have my phone at the gym, but I didn’t realize it,” She said.
What? What was that supposed to mean? I picked up the phone and pressed the home button. The boy I had seen earlier smiled at me once again, but now I recognized him as James. What was a picture of James doing on Brittney’s phone?
Then it hit me. Brittney wanted me to stop in the gym because she had the wrong phone. She’d tried to find me so we could switch.
“The phone I gave you in the gym was James,” I said.
“Yep,” She smiled, a soft sort of smile I could get used to. I grinned back. Leave it to James to have a selfie as his wallpaper, that narcissist.
“Thank you.” I said. She nodded.
I sat up. “But wait, King has your phone! He’s going to destroy it!” I said.
“True. Which means I have to go,” She stood up. I scrambled to my feet, dusting off my clothes as if it would make me less of a disaster.
“You said that already.” Brittany smiled again.
Man I loved that smile. “You know King’s a jerk,”
“To some,” She said. Then she turned and walked away. I watched her go.
Sometimes I wondered if angels had wings after all.
Ignoring the smear of sparkles I’d left on the concrete, I made my way into the auditorium. Perhaps I wouldn’t punch James in the face.
He still had that hug coming though.
“And that’s how I got sparkleified.” I said.
Mom continued to stare at me, eyebrows raised. They’d been that way the entire story, which confused me. I thought she’d be used to my strangeness by now.
“You need to clean up that glitter.” She said. I sighed. Of course I did. I headed toward the living room.
“And pay more attention.” She continued. “If you would have slowed down for a moment and thought, you would have been home a half hour earlier without all that glitter. You were so focused on your goal that you almost failed to achieve it.”
That was probably true. I bowed. “Thank you master Jedi, for your sage wisdom.”
I stepped back to dodge her smack. She glared at me. “For that you’re doing the dishes tonight. Now go vacuum the living room and be grateful for my advice. I won’t always be here to give it.”
I smirked. “Yes mother.”
She sighed but I caught a hint of a smile before she turned away.
I retrieved the vacuum and attacked the floor. Now that I thought about it, the sparkles looked sort of nice against the carpet. Perhaps I could convince mom to let me leave a few.
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The Great Rising Puzzlement (A.K.A. Gabrielle Pollack)