Haven Shorts – Chapter 5 – Episode 10 – A Stranger Magic
Chapter 5 – Episode 10
When first period rolled around Sam was beginning to feel a little optimistic about the last day of eighth grade. But before long the optimism vanished. His first class was gym, a class that he did not excel in at all.
Coach Pillars was a tall, rather portly, balding man. He had the brilliant idea of playing dodgeball for the last day of the year. Sam hated the idea. Having balls thrown at his head at light speed did not sound like fun to him.
Like always, Sam was chosen last, next to David Johnson who had broken his leg about six months ago and still had a limp. And, like always, he was the first person to get out. This time it was Mark Preston, ex-football player, who threw the ball from the opposite end of the gym and smacked Sam in the chest. The sheer force of the impact took Sam off his feet. Next to get out was David; he took a ball to the face.
When class ended Sam made his way into the locker room to find his locker door wide open. His deodorant, towel, pants, and shower gel were all on the floor. But there was no shirt. His vintage 1976 KISS Destroyer t-shirt was gone. Sam began to panic. He got that shirt for Christmas last year from his mother, and there was no telling how much she spent on it. It was his favorite t-shirt!
Sam looked to the two remaining people in the locker room, David Johnson and Steve Allen.
“Hey, did either of you see who did this? My shirt is gone!”
David, who had been hit in the head eight times out of the nine games they played, was sitting on one of the locker room benches with his face in his hands.
“I can’t see my hands Sam, much less anything else,” he said.
Steve shut his locker and said as he walked by, “Just so you know—it wasn’t me, but if I were you, I would start with the toilet stalls.” Then he smiled and left the room.
“What? Noooo!” Sam cried in disbelief. He ran to the first stall and kicked the door open. There was no shirt. Sam continued to kick open each door one after another until he came to last stall. There he saw his vintage KISS t-shirt on the edge of the toilet. To his relief it was not in the water. But as he stepped closer it became all too clear. The vintage t-shirt had been torn into three separate pieces, two of which were floating in the used toiled bowel.
Sam’s heart sank. He loved that shirt and now it was gone forever. How in the world was he going to explain this to his mother?
After putting on his pants he threw the remains of his locker in the garbage. Sam was not taking any chances; there was no telling what the perpetrator had done to those things. He quickly made his way to the school office. He felt ridiculous walking through the hallway wearing his sweaty gray t-shirt from gym class. But that was far better than the t-shirt he found in the lost-and-found. Since it was the last day of school there were only two shirts left—one red, one pink. Sam chose the red. As fate would have it the t-shirt had white letters that said, “I See Ninjas!” in bold across the front.
He tried to talk the principal into letting him go home early or wearing his gym shirt the rest of the day. Both ideas were shot down. The gym shirt was school-issued and needed to be turned in that day. Leaving early was not an option, not without written permission or a phone call from a parent, or having his mother pick him up at school. All of which were never going to happen. The last thing Sam wanted to do was tell his mother about his KISS t-shirt lying in several pieces at the bottom of a toilet.
Unfortunately, gym would be the highlight of his day. School seemed to drag on. Thank God it’s the last day, Sam thought.
He made it through the rest of the morning unscathed. By lunch time he was starving. As he approached his locker with his stomach growling, Sam recalled the first thing Travis had said to him that morning: “Hey, your mom said pack a lunch”. He never had.
Sam slowly stopped walking, took in a deep breath and told himself, Just breathe, Sam, just breathe. He turned and grudgingly walked back in the direction of the lunch room.
He only had fifty cents to his name so he got a carton of milk for lunch. It would have to hold him over till he got home, if he made it that long without starving to death. He spent the entire lunch hour waiting for Travis, but Travis never showed up. He had gym right before lunch. Travis was always late, but never missed lunch. Sam knew that was not a good sign.
When the school bell finally rang at the end of last period Sam had to contain himself from bolting through the doors and screaming out FREEDOM AT LAST!
Kids ran from all corners of the building. They looked like ants leaving their hill. Sam, who was feeling extremely self-conscious in his new adopted wardrobe, waited pa-tiently for Travis in front of the school. Like always, Travis was late. Finally, after about twenty minutes or so, he sur-faced. At first, Sam did not recognize him. His head was hanging low, and he was wearing a different shirt too.
As Travis came closer what had happened became all too clear. Sam could feel his blood pressure starting to skyrocket as he stared at Travis, appalled. The sheer humility Travis wore on his face spoke volumes as he weaved through the crowd of kids who were laughing at him.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Sam said through grit-ted teeth.
The shirt Travis wore was bright pink with large, bold black letters that said, “I Don’t Skinny Dip, I Chunky Dip.”
“What happened to your shirt?” Sam asked quietly, try-ing desperately not to draw any more attention to them than necessary.
“Someone stole it in gym!” Travis replied, defeated and embarrassed. “Hey, what happened to yours?”
“Don’t ask!” Sam replied. “Let’s go and find a rock to crawl under.”
They both turned in time to see Daniel Harris, the school prankster, walk by with his group of knuckle-draggers.
“Aw, look at the twins! Did you fish that out of the toilet too?” he yelled pointing at Travis. They all laughed and pointed in Sam’s and Travis’s direction while climbing into Daniel’s SUV.
Suddenly it all made sense. Daniel was in Travis’s gym class and Billy, Bobby, Timmy, and Todd were in Sam’s. Sam’s and Travis’s numbers had finally come up. Daniel and his group of idiots had been the ones to take their shirts. They had pulled one last prank before school ended and Sam and Travis had been the victims.
“Can this day get any worse?” Sam moaned as he turned and walked toward home.
“Hey, I kind of like your shirt,” Travis said.
“Figures,” Sam replied.
The walk home was less than thrilling. Travis rambled on about Star Wars.
“You know I love the movie but come on! First you try to save the princess, then you kiss her, then you find out she’s your sister! I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I would have shot myself in the face with a blaster!”
Sam paid no attention to Travis’s ramblings, except for the part about Travis sucking Jell-O off Paul Axtell’s plate. Apparently Travis took a late lunch after acquiring a new shirt. He went with the detention group. They always took the late lunch to keep them separated from the rest of the student body as part of their punishment.
“So, I ask him, ‘Can I have your Jell-O?’ He says, ‘No.’ So I put my finger in it. He said, ‘I don’t care what you do to it, Travis, I’m going to eat my Jell-O.’ So I look around to make sure there were no teachers standing by. Then I leaned over and sucked it right off his plate!” Travis laughed, “You should have seen his face!”
Sam laughed too. He found that entertaining in a strange kind of way, mostly because Paul deserved it. Paul was always putting his finger in people’s food at lunch.
It was starting to get cloudy. Things cooled off as a light breeze blew in from the north. The weatherman had talked about rain for days, and it looked like he was going to be right for a change. They needed the rain.
Sam had waited all day to ask Travis about the chocolate wrapper he had found last night. He was sure it wasn’t from around here. But, one more opinion wouldn’t hurt, he thought.
“Hey, Trav, you ever heard of Becker’s Famous Choco-lates?” he asked in his best nonchalant voice.
“Yeah, take a look at this.” Sam dug into his pocket, pulled out the now crumpled piece of white and red paper and gave it Travis.
Travis took the wrapper and smoothed it out with his fingers, then brought it to his nose and inhaled, as if to smell the bouquet of a fine wine.
“Hmmm, it’s a dark chocolate … maybe extra-dark.” Travis took the wrapper away from his nose and repeated the process.
“It’s expensive cocoa butter too, not that stuff flavored with cheap sugar, vegetable fat, or powdered milk.”
Sam was amazed. Travis may be a social outcast in eighth grade, but he was definitely the man when it came to chocolate.
“Becker’s huh? No, never heard of it. Where’s it made?” he asked, as a look of curiosity set in.
He turned the wrapper over and read aloud the fine print on its back.
Becker’s Famous Chocolates
Hatter’s Cove Rd., Swan’s Cove
Ingredients: Family Secret
Sam hadn’t thought about the back of the wrapper. He had been too caught up with who it belonged to that he simply hadn’t thought of it.
“Um, I don’t think it’s from around here. I mean, you can’t get away with just saying “Family Secret” for the in-gredients. Maybe it’s from overseas or something,” Travis said as he twisted the paper back and forth, examining it more closely.
Sam was more puzzled than before. “Yeah, but where is Swan’s Cove and why isn’t there a state or country listed?”
“You got me. I don’t have a clue,” Travis said, handing the wrapper back to Sam.
Sam was bursting at the seams to tell him everything, but that wasn’t going to happen. How could he tell Travis something he wasn’t sure he understood himself? No, it was best to wait until he could think it over and figure it out on his own.
It wasn’t long before Travis had changed the subject and began to ramble on about something Sam had no interest in. Sam, however, was still too focused on the stranger and the chocolate from nowhere to think about anything else.
**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.
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