“Mr. Young.” Principal Evan’s eyes moved to watch me as I staggered into the chair across from his desk. On the wall behind his desk, Principal Evan’s had hung a large American flag. At the moment he was standing straight and tall directly in front of that flag. I was prepared for him to point at me and say, “Uncle Sam needs you!” I sat closer to the edge of the chair, ready to stand and solute. However, instead Mr. Evan’s sat in the large chair behind his desk.
My mind began to race frantically. If I wasn’t being drafted, why had I been called here? I couldn’t think of anything I had done wrong. This could be about the Professor Sneugler incident, but that hadn’t really been my fault. If anyone, the drummer who had dropped his stick should be sitting here squirming. Leaving things lying around is dangerous! Especially if I’m around! My tortured thoughts became frantic and I was about to fall to my knees begging for forgiveness when Principal Evan’s began to speak.
“It has been brought to my attention, by a reliable source, that you are well known by the entire school body. You have the highest grade point average of anyone in Bethel High, and you have never spent any time in detention.” I was beginning to feel better about being here. I could handle all this praise. I sat up taller in my chair and could feel my chest rising. Maybe having two whole friends didn’t place me in the popular and cool section of well known, but at least everyone in the school seemed to know enough about me to stay away from me.
“For this reason, I have decided that you are the perfect candidate to run for class president.” I began to choke on the breath of air I had just taken. (Breathing can be a dangerous thing sometimes.
“But, but, but…” Principal Evan’s waited patiently for me to finish my motorboat impression and go on. “I, I, I don’t know anything about running for class president!”
Principal Evan’s gave me an indulgent smile. “Mr. Young, no one knows anything about anything until he tries to accomplish it.”
“But, Sir!” I stammered… “I’m allergic to public speaking! Crowds make me break out in hives! Not only that, but you couldn’t pick a worse person to represent the school body! I might catch the school on fire. Besides, I don’t believe in climate change or going green… or, or anything a good, self respecting politician would!” My mind continued to scramble for reasons I could not and should not run for class president. I hoped that Principal Evan’s would listen and believe that I was telling the truth, but he continued to smile at me with that condescending and indulgent smile.
“Mr. Young, I am not asking you to run for president of the United States. You have nothing to worry about. Nothing you do or say will be held against you in a court of law. Think of this as a simple class assignment.”
“But, Sir…” I tried again, but Mr. Evans held up his hand to silence me. He stood up again and put his hands across his heart.
“Some choose greatness, son, and others have it thrust upon them. You must do this for the sake of honor, justice, and school pride.” I could almost see the American flag waving behind him. I could almost hear patriotic music being played. Then the school bell rang.
“That will be all, Mr. Young. You will be given a pamphlet with the rules and regulations for the race within the week.” Principal Evans sat back down and began shuffling through some papers on his desk, effectively dismissing me. I got up in a daze and managed to find the door. I stepped out into the now crowded and noise filled hallway. Which class had I been in before I was summoned to my own execution plan? I pushed my way through the crowd hoping my feet would remember the way. This was going to be a long day.