The tomato splattered across my face–ow.
My first thought was: Who brings a whole tomato to school lunch?
My second thought was: The signal!
I leapt on top of the cafeteria table so quickly I almost fell, then looked to Jack, standing guard by the double doors at the front of the room, who gave me a single nod when I caught his gaze. Coast is clear.
I took a deep breath, thrust my fist in the air, then bellowed a battle cry.
The sight of three hundred-odd teens flinging themselves out of their seats in unison, armed with foods and screaming bloody murder as they advanced on the underclassmen side of the lunchroom was enough to bring tears to my eyes.
Watching a ******* freshman get marinara sauce dumped on his over-gelled hair undid me. I dropped to my knees atop the sticky table, laughing hysterically and nearly sobbing as food slung across the scuffed linoleum, and a nearby junior girl smeared a rubbery slice of pizza on the back of a jock’s jersey (Who hurt her?).
Some sophomores had tipped over a circular table and were using it as cover, periodically popping up, hitting people in the back of the head with chicken nuggets that shot toward the unprotected craniums like bullets, then ducking back down so fast it was like they’d never been there in the first place. I smacked away at least two bologna sandwiches just before they hit me in the face.
It was disgusting. It was beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, probably.
And I’d made it happen. I’d done it.
This food fight would no doubt go down in Saldige High’s history as the best senior prank since back when stuff like this was allowed.
Now it definitely wasn’t, and the entire senior class’d been threatened with having their finals scores voided if we decided to disregard principal Harvey’s strict no-class-prank-policy.
Well, we were most definitely stomping and spitting on that rule, but Harvey couldn’t punish every single senior, could he?
Guess we’d find out soon enough.
I had to admit, I’d been skeptical when Antonia had told me her grand plan for a food fight for a senior prank. I thought it was kind of lame. Something that happened in a stupid 90s movie. But now, standing in all of its nasty glory, anything else would have paled in comparison to this.
The seniors were relentless; four years of pointless school work, acne, awkward first relationships, and phony friends all somehow being channeled into this moment.
Some girl had brought a slingshot made for water balloons and was running the length of the lunchroom and was shooting rock-hard cafeteria rolls in every direction.
Just then, I saw Dylan, yelling like a madman, sprinting toward a horde of juniors, pelting the seniors with soggy crinkle fries, trying to dent their forces
The swarm followed him as if he were some war commander from one of his video games.
This was probably the best day I’d ever had at this school. Or any school.
It even topped that one time Sarah W. kissed me at recess under the slide in fifth grade.
The only day that came remotely close to this one was when Antonia, Jack, and Bea brought an entire cake to class on my birthday last fall. Still didn’t beat it.
Also, getting to chuck a tomato at Antonia as a ‘signal’ was a plus.
So I wasn’t going to let some random juniors **** around and ruin it.
I reached into my pocket for the wads of food I’d scooped off the floor, (disgusting, but necessary) and started bombarding the juniors’ outfit.
Their arsenal consisted of fries and apple cores, and they managed to take down a few good soldiers, but ran out quickly.
We had them cornered soon enough, with more than enough ammunition to finish them for good, but then the apparent leader of the 11th graders stepped forward with her hands up, her class following, surrendering, dropping all their food. They made to trudge away in defeat, but I stopped the girl.
“So you’re just going to walk away and let the freshman win this thing?”
I was supposed to distract the lunch ladies for the period. That’s it. My one job.
Apparently I couldn’t do even that. Which sucked, because Jack and Dylan wanted me to just stay out of the way and do nothing. Antonia was the one who insisted I have at least one part in this whole deal. And that was only because I was dating her.
It looked like the dudes were right, because in less than ten minutes, despite my feeble excuses for the noise and best attempts to keep them in their break room, the ladies had called the administrators.
And when Harvey arrived to break up the fight and assess the damage, he demanded to know who was responsible for this.
Every hand in the lunchroom pointed to my three friends.
The four friends sat together on the floor outside the principal’s office, his secretary eyeing their food-covered forms.
Antonia spoke as she pulled a piece of brownish lettuce from her hair.
“I don’t regret ****. No matter what Harvey does, I’ll be glad we did it.”
“Agreed,” chimed Dylan.
Jack made a face, but there was warmth behind it.
“Are you guys definitely going to remember this year and each other now?” said Bea sarcastically.
“Oh,” Antonia replied. “Babe, I just said that BS to get you to go along with distracting the lunch ladies.”
Jack came to the rescue as he saw Bea’s eyes flash with anger. “Of course we would have remembered each other without some grand spectacle, but, I’ll admit, this was fun as hell.”
“True, bro,” Dylan said.
They sat in silence, awaiting the wrath of a power-hungry principal.
After a good while, Bea declared, “I guess it was a little fun.”