The next day, our school went into a lock-down.
Lock-down – v. A time when all the people in a certain area get locked into the room or place they are currently located in. Lock-downs are primarily used when there is a known threat in the vicinity or when there is an assumption of immanent danger.
A lock-down makes you a sitting duck. When a person wielding a gun enters a school, a lock-down is issued. It gives the gunman time to walk from room to room, doing what they want.
There was a small movement a few years back where they attempted to change some gym curriculum to teach self-defense in the face of an armed threat. It didn’t go far, and not because adults were in denial about children needing to know how to be prepared when an armed threat occurs. It was because people didn’t want to take away any gym-based education. God forbid we lose a week of baseball.
The lock-down on Tuesday took up the entire day. None of the teachers wanted to teach all day and mess up their lesson plans, so once they did their quota, they let us sit around and talk.
There had been a real bomb threat to the school this time. No bomb though.
Having a free day was fun. A bomb threat without a bomb? We could get used to those.
On Wednesday, three Chevys created a 25 car pile up on the 405 in California. We had been hit again. Yellow smoke covered the scene and there were no survivors.
We had three separate lock-downs that same day. All bomb threats to get us out of real work.
That night, it was issued that no Chevy was allowed on the roads. If you were seen driving a Chevy, you would be considered armed and dangerous.
Who ordered this? We still don’t know. It could have been a rumor for all I know. But it was on TV and on the Internet, so people believed it.
Thursday morning, a man who didn’t own a TV or frequent the Internet drove his Chevy to work. His car was surrounded by police cars the second he hit the highway.
They yelled at him to put his hands up.
He didn’t have a chance to blink. They had warned him, even if it was for a split second. They opened fire. His car was riddled with bullet wholes, and his body was hit 78 times. That’s what you get for not owning a TV.
Internal bleeding begins
This made the news, but no one batted an eye. This man was obviously not following the rules and was simply being punished.
A new Frogger came out. You were still the frog trying to cross the roads, but now, the only cars on the road were Chevys. It was the exact same game, just different cars. Oh yeah, and all the cars were driven by caricatured Muslims.
All the news channels set reporters on all the major highways in their area, hoping to be the first ones to report a crash. They wanted to be the first ones with the newest terrorist attack. Some news experts started to speculate where the next attack would take place. Every day, the anchors warned everyone to stay alert and be on the lookout for any suspicious looking characters.
With the growing frequency of our lock-downs, the teachers started complaining about the bomb threats interfering with their lesson plans. The real “cool” kids hated them because they wanted to learn. The majority loved missing all the school. It was like going on a vacation every day.
My school’s mascot was a walrus. We had the best looking mascot of all the other schools in our area. At the half time of the basketball games, our school walrus, Wally, would inch across the floor while we cheered from the bleachers.
Whenever I talked to people from other schools, back when they existed, everyone always seemed so proud to be a Crane or a Meatball. But I wasn’t proud to be a Walrus. The fact that we have to have all our mascots either be food or an animal pissed me off. Being a person or group of people always got someone outraged. Normally, the people outrages weren’t even the ones being portrayed.
And it wasn’t a racial thing, because obviously those team names and mascots are fucked up, but those stopped a while ago. My school used to be the Pirates. Then we were sued. Not by Pirates, I assure you. We were sued by a group of people who thought our representation of Pirates was not respectful. At homecoming, everyone went to the game dressed as a Pirate. A patch on the eye, boots, maybe a striped shirt or a pirate hat. The girls wore makeup and some of the really committed would get a fake gold tooth or something. We were proud to be pirates, skull and cross bones and all. Everything we wore was taught to us. We acted the way we were told Pirates acted. Like in Peter Pan. Oh, but I forgot to mention. There’s no such thing as Disney anymore.
They were sued by a million different people for giving bad representation of a bunch of different cultures. Did I mention that the USA doesn’t have movies anymore? They were shut down forever. No matter what kind of conflict the movies had, someone sued for bad representation. Hollywood is weird now.
One year ago, the ex movie stars were still political. Now they are all jailed, missing, or dead. Sean Penn was executed a few months ago for speaking out and they put it on TV. That shut George Clooney up, for sure.
A Walrus won’t sue the school. A Meatball doesn’t have a soul. But now I’m going to get in trouble for saying that because something thinks I just hurt the feelings of any meatball that has ever existed.
My best friend, Norman Miller, was the mascot for my school. He was 5’3, 105 pounds. Just a tiny little dude. Nobody bothered him and he didn’t bother anyone. He had bright green eyes.
He was the only one in the school willing to wear the sauna of a costume that was Wally. In public anyway. At his house, we’d take turns putting it on and throwing each other down the stairs.
He loved other people’s birthdays because it gave him a reason to give them something. His most embarrassing moment was when he changing out of his bathing suit in my room and the girl he had a crush on walked in. He hated his big ears, but girls thought he was adorable.
His mom was pretty easy going. She caught us smoking pot once and didn’t rat on us to his dad. Norman’s dad was the most uptight asshole ever. Before any of this even started, he was one of those people that only watched the news. The loud channels. Every minute of every day, he watched it.
His dad worked for the government in some high ranking position that he couldn’t tell us about. We used to joke that he was a spy. I’ve come to realize that maybe we weren’t far off.
Norman was full of conspiracy theories. The one’s he talked about the most were about the government taking over and that they’ve never had the good of the people in mind. He told me he’d heard phone calls with his dad, and he’d tried to read some papers. He was scared at what could happen and he tried to tell people once the attacks began. No one listened.
My best friend, Norman Miller. Now forget everything I’ve told you about him. Forget every single word. Forget about him the way I had to forget about him. Because Norman’s dead. I had to pretend I didn’t know him for fear or persecution. He would have understood.
He wasn’t ready to die. He was murdered. Little Norman Miller and his mother, too. Gone.
America was giving all the other countries the silent treatment. They didn’t care anyway. None of the other countries liked us anymore.
We lived in a country full of Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast. A slip up could result in a fine. French Toast wasn’t even invented by the French.
My school was a nonstop bomb threat. We didn’t even bring books to school anymore. Most of the days were spent in the gym, because it was “the safest place to hold all the grades.” If anyone was actually going to come through on the threats, they’d know exactly where to put it.
One day, we had a cop come in and yell at us. He got so fired up that his face turned red and most of us tried not to laugh. He compared the kids writing the threats to the terrorists “our nation is dealing with.” Please. I heard one of the bomb threats had misspelled the word “bomb.” That’s a slap in the face to the terrorists.
Every morning, most of us walked straight to the gym and sat down. It was only a matter of time before the first lock-down would be issues and finding a good seat on the bleachers was important. An entirely new social structure can be discovered when you put a bunch of teens on bleachers for days on end. In the middle of the gym, The TV sat on The TV Cart, the news always on for anyone to hear.
At a meeting held for the parents to yell at the administration, one mom complained about her child being brainwashed by a book that came from our Library. The school looked into it, and decided that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was “abusive to the fragile minds of our students.” Instead of donating it to another library, the parents insisted on having it burned. That one and a whole bunch of other books. The held the ceremony in the school parking lot one night and it was a bonfire of idiocy. I’ve never seen more happy parents in one place.
The terrorist attacks kept coming. Airlines were shutting down and limiting their schedules. Rental car companies went bankrupt. Gas prices went up.
CNN was getting more ratings than the other news networks. The other channels raced to find any clues as to where the next attack would take place. CNN had the biggest crew of on-location reporters, the best cameras, the best looking reporters and anchors. They were bigger and better in every way and the other stations knew it.
Now every car was searched before it got on the highway. They closed a lot of exits, so getting around anywhere took a very long time. The designated highway entrances and exits had rows of cop cars around them. Getting onto the highway could take over two hours if you were doing it in the morning commute.
With all the police forces occupied protecting our roads, anarchy rose in the streets. Stores were constantly being robbed and looted. The murder and rape rates went through the roof. It never felt safe to go anywhere. The economy started dropping because people were too afraid to leave their houses.
They tried to recruit more cops, but had to stop when they realized people were signing up to either racially profile or sexually assault. At the highway entrances, any non-white person was taken out of their car and patted down while their cars were thoroughly searched. I’ve never seen more cops work so hard in my life.
The liver fails
Freedom Toast - Part 3 will be published next Friday