In the space of a couple of days we actually had, not one, but two actual fire alarms at the high school. Pretty interesting stuff you consider we have a fire drill at least every month. The first was your run-of-the-mill elevator shaft filled with smoke because of leaking hydraulic fluid which was dripping onto the elevator motor.
On Monday, that was the biggie. A student, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they would gain respect and kudos from the student body by igniting a fire within one of the boy’s bathrooms. While the entirety of building was out of the curb cursing yet another fire drill, the fire engines started rolling in. We knew we were in for the long haul. For about twenty-five minutes we stood outside of the school, watching firefighters, the police, and district maintenance people going to and fro with fans. After that, we were allowed to go into the somewhat hazy and very dank halls and back into our rooms.
By the end of the next period, our principal was on the intercom saying that if anyone had any information about who had put flame to the bathroom, that there would be a handsome three hundred dollar reward for that person with such information. Luckily, this period also happened to be my prep period; as per my usual routine, I wandered down to office to check my mailbox to make slightly insightful yet humorous remarks to the office staff. When I walked into the office, there was a line of at least fifteen students outside the principal’s office, waiting to give up information for three crisp Ben Franklins. Keep in mind it had only been about three minutes since the announcement. Apparently the school’s firebug had also been boastful prior to ignition, shown by the population of students outside the office.
As it turned out, the saying about ‘loose lips’ and their destructive power over ships proved to be true and the person was quickly dealt with by the school. the lesson I took from this is to never underestimate the coercive power of money. Friends, foes, and strangers in passing will line up to tell of your misdeeds in order to grease their palm. But, of course, if you’re brave enough to regale a crowd with story, I guess you’ve got it coming.