Every week on this site, I post either op-eds or interviews. One of my friends who frequently reads my articles told me that I should try posting some of my more creative writing. So, for the first time ever I will be posting a fictional essay.
This story – titled “Letter to my friend” – won an award for “Best Fiction Writing” at Interlochen Arts School. Let me know your thoughts, and whether I should post more fiction or keep it to news.
Letter To My Friend
By Hank Sanders
I don’t think you remember me. Hell, I barely remember you. I know we graduated ten years ago, but a friend is a friend and you were one of them so I am writing to you because my New Year’s resolution was to write to a friend of mine from high school. As you can tell, I am not the finest of authors, I don’t enjoy writing, writing is merely something that I have to do at this point in time right now currently because I made a New Year’s resolution that I would write to my best high school friends and you were at one point for whatever reason-one of them. But still, you might not remember me, because I barely remember you. Mainly because we were friends for one day, then you went back to just that kid I saw in math class. So let me tell you how we became friends for a day then you may start to remember me, my face, maybe seeing me in math class. We had math together.
I had been looking for a partner in crime for a while. I asked all the usual idiots, you know, Jason, Jack, Douglas. I remember I had this idea. One that would make my high school future so much brighter. Well, my future and one other kid’s. I just needed that other kid, and Jason and Jack and Doug were all goody-two-shoes for the shit I had planned. But then there was you. You were walking with Jack who was walking with me. I guess that’s when we first really met. Before that, I just knew you as that kid in my math class.
So I was telling all of the boys about the plan I had. I told all of you about how bad my grades were and I had this fool proof way to hack the school’s grade system, a way to just totally piss on their software and the way they record GPA. I told you how I needed to do this not only because I wanted to actually graduate high school but also because I wanted to show the school that being computer smart is just as important than being book smart. I told you all how I accidentally tweaked an algorithm in Comp Science class and I threw the computer into a fritz. As I was about to tell the teacher what had happened, my math teacher came into the room and started talking to my Computer Science teacher about how the whole school software had crashed. Coincidence? I think not. I did it again the next day and the same thing happened. But this day instead of Mr. Dorris, in came Principal Anders. I did it one more day and timed that the fritz lasted 14 minutes, exactly.
For the next twelve hours, you and I devised a series of well orchestrated moves that would allow us to break into the system and Anders’ computer and give us a grade that you and I didn’t have the drive to get ourselves with a bit of hard work. But that’s ok, somehow we did have the work ethic to cheat.
My Computer science class was right before lunch. I typed in the algorithm right before class ended, and started my timer. I walked briskly out of class, saw you coming out of English, we nodded and we both walked separate ways. You went down the staircase to the bathroom, the one with two entrance doors, one of which was an emergency door. You locked the main entrance door so no one could enter without sounding an alarm.
I made my way into Anders’ office. He was typing away madly at his computer while talking to a room full of teachers about how the software had gone down again for the fourth time in a week. “Unacceptable“Ridiculous, they yelled. I just sat there. It was like the Iraq war up in here
About five minutes had passed before a fat kid who needed to use the restroom had sounded off the fire alarm, calling all personnel out of their offices and into fire lines in the courtyard out front. As they were hustling out of their office, I politely let my elders go ahead of me.
As the last one walked out the door, I carefully dropped back. They were more worried about their software dilemma then they were about a potentially burning child in their office. I opened the Principle’s computer. It had a password, but the idiot had the password written on a sticky on his keyboard so he wouldn’t forget it. On the opening screen was the grade sheet. I saw the thousands of names, letters, and GPAs. I searched my name. That semester I was gonna get a 2.3. Let’s make that a 3.9, unweighted.
Then I searched up your name. What I saw hit me. You had all As. Not a B, not even an A-. All As and A+s. Why did you help me? You didn’t need it. I thought about it for too long before realizing that I had five minutes left.
.I stepped back into the rows of people waiting out on the lawn right as the fire trucks turned up Davis street. You and I made eye contact and from then on we continued on with life, our friendship nothing more then that kid in my math class.
But Donny. I still don’t know why you helped me. You didn’t need grades, you would get them all on your own. But you helped me. That’s why I remember you and that’s why I’m writing you because I think of you as being one of my best friends in high school and my New Year’s resolution was to write to my best high school friends.
I hope you remember me, I don’t expect you to.