I was anxious should someone discover the true nature of my octopus. Nonetheless, even this apparent mishap revealed itself as fortune. I was passing through the cafeteria during the lunch period, ready to take my lunch, as usual, on the lawn in the back of the school alone with Duane, and I noticed Clement standing over the table. In fact he was leaning on his hands with his torso hovering over the napkin dispenser. He was talking to Felice who was seated opposite him.
I sat down and pulled out my remote, thinking it good enough to ink two out of three. I was prepared to unleash my revenge, but I waited nonetheless, gambling on the possibility that Frankie might join them. My gamble paid off, since ten minutes later Frankie started to approach. Felice stood up to give her a hug. As they were facing the octopus but just before they had a chance to sit, I pressed the first button and the second in immediate succession.
My device worked perfectly. The first button opened it up and the two sides of the dispenser fell to the sides like an armed bear trap. Upon pressing the second button, the ink began to squirt. The sprinkler spun and a circle of ink spread simultaneously in all directions. Several large splotches of ink landed on all three of them at once, and, though they raised their arms to protect themselves and recoiled, the damage had already been done. Black dots great and small covered their shirts, faces and arms and they all looked dismayed and humiliated. Of course, everyone that was in the cafeteria turned to see them and there was a loud collective gasp of shock, followed by a bounteous laugh as everyone saw the sight of them.
Clement’s face grew red with anger and he ran out of the room, forcefully pushing aside everyone that might impede his path. Frankie appeared to be on the verge of tears as she fled the room. Felice remained frozen where she was, her annoying, perpetual smile wiped from her face.
It was a pleasure to see all three of them simultaneously deflated. They’d been robbed, at least temporarily, of all their arrogance and pretension. Though assuredly they’d all return to being conceited miscreants within days, perhaps even hours, or even minutes, they’d at least been knocked off their perches for a time.
The only thing left was to collect and dispose of the evidence. Inking them during lunch was less than ideal since the lunch crowds made it nigh impossible to remove the octopus without witnesses. I figured that when the bell for fifth period rang, everyone would rise from their seats and I could acquire it under the concealment of the crowd. After a long wait, the bell rang, and the room was turned into a chaotic mass of people. I walked up to the table, pushing through the crowds and swiftly swept the device into a plastic bag.
The table where the device had been was now stained in a characteristic pattern: a square in the center and the two wings from the sides of the dispenser remained untouched, but the rest of the table was splattered with the black ink in a radial pattern.1 I presumed that from hereon Clement and his allies would no longer be using the table.
My relish was put to a stop when a hand gripped hard on my wrist. I turned to look and saw the assistant principle, Mr. Tutela, latching onto it.
“My office, now!” he said, and dragged me there straightaway.
It would’ve been pointless to deny that I had done it. I was caught in flagrante delicto.2 I was, of course, resentful that I should be punished for meting out the punishment that the school had failed to deliver to these three delinquents for their crimes against me, but I admitted freely what I’d done as a man of honor, unembarrassed by it and prepared to face the consequences: what’s done is done, the dye has been cast, quite literally in this case.
1. Tutela actually asked me to try and clean this table. No luck with that. What Jed says about the ink is true. I just spray painted over it and moved it to another part of the school where someone could make use of a black-painted table. -Bob↩
2. Latin for “In blazing offence.” But really, you should know what this one means without my footnote. –Bob ↩