Harry groaned at the shrill beeping of his alarm clock. He reached
over and slammed his fist on it. Immediately it shut off. He rolled out of
bed and looked out the window. Last night's snow had fallen nicely onto the
ground, creating a perfect white blanket. Gently, the snow continued to
fall. Harry walked away from the window and into the bathroom to wash his
face. He brushed his teeth and changed into a suit and a dark gray tie.
Harry examined himself in the mirror. He grabbed a comb that lay on his
dresser, and began running it through his messy, dark brown hair. His hair
wouldn't cooperate. It continued to stand up in different places.
Realizing he would be late, Harry threw the comb on the bed and left his
bedroom. He walked to the main door and just before opening it; he grabbed
a bagel and left his small, crammed apartment.
He shambled into the Teacher's Lounge, clutching his briefcase at his
right hand and at the same time, holding the newspaper in his left. Among
the loud chatter and the noise outside in the hall, no one seemed to notice
his entrance. Harry plopped right down on the couch and opened up his
paper. After only scanning the pages for a few seconds, Ronnie sat down
next to him with her cup of coffee in her hand.
"Hey," she cheerfully greeted.
"Hey," Harry mumbled, not looking up from his paper.
Ronnie took a sip of her coffee. "What's up?"
"Nothing, just, reading up on how our world is so civilized," Harry
said sarcastically. He put his paper down on the table in front of them and
looked at Ronnie. "How about you?"
"God, what happened to you?" Ronnie asked, noticing the dark circles
under his eyes, his unkempt hair, and his scruffy face.
Harry yawned. "I didn't get any fucking sleep last night, my fucking
hair won't cooperate with me, and I didn't shave because I didn't have any
fucking time to."
Ronnie placed her coffee on the table. "Why couldn't you sleep? And
why are you saying fuck so excessively?"
"I stayed up watching all the American Pie movies last night," Harry
laughed. "Stifler kicked ass."
The bell rang. Ronnie shook her head. "Whatever." She touched his arm
as she stood up and took her coffee. Harry got his paper and followed
Ronnie out the door.
"Bye Harry," Ronnie said before she headed up the stairs to her
"Bye Ron," Harry replied. Harry opened the door into the basement and
walked down the stairs into The Dungeon. As he opened the door, he saw
Aaron and Brad bullying Evan, a real quiet kid who no one never really paid
attention to. Aaron and Brad were pushing Evan around, yelling at him too.
"Hey, hey! Stop it!" Harry yelled as he pushed Aaron and Brad away
from Evan. "What the hell is going on?"
"The little nerd here took our seats," Brad said.
"Is that all? Jesus. Okay, you know what? Just, go back to your
seats, everyone. Except for you, Brad and Aaron." The class moved back to
their seats. Evan sat in the back. "Brad, Aaron, go to Guber."
"What?" Aaron and Brad said in unison.
"I said go to Guber!" Harry shouted. Brad and Aaron cursed under
their breath as they left the classroom; their hands shoved in their
Harry ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. "Take out your
homework and pass it up front." It was too damn early for this.
Ninety minutes went by and the bell rang. "Hey, don't forget to bring
your books next class!" Harry yelled above the noise of his students
leaving. Evan was about to leave the classroom, when Harry stopped him.
"Hey, um, Evan, could you stay after for a few seconds? I just want to talk
"Uh, s-sure," Evan said quietly.
"Are you okay? I mean, after this morning." Evan wouldn't make eye
contact. He kept looking down on the floor.
"Y-yeah, Mr. Senate. I'm fine."
Evan nodded. "Yeah."
"All right. Thanks." Harry watched with a look of concern as Evan
left the classroom.
Harry caught up to Scott in the hallway. "Scott!"
"Oh hi, Harry," Scott said as he walked down to his office.
"Hey, um, what did you do with Brad and Aaron?" Harry asked.
"Oh I gave them detention," Scott replied. "Now if you'll excuse me,
Harry, I really must get to work."
"Yeah, thanks," Harry said and walked into the Teacher's Lounge. He
went to the coffee machine and poured himself a cup. He sat down at the
table next to Ronnie with his hot cup of black coffee, no sugar or cream
"Hey," Ronnie said as she finished marking the test in front of her.
"Brad and Aaron were bullying this kid, Evan." Harry sipped his
coffee and rolled up his sleeves.
"Really? This Evan, glasses, baggy clothes, dark brown hair?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. Evan Baxter. Why, do you have him, too?"
"Yeah. In fact, I have him today."
Harry sighed and took another sip of coffee.
The final bell sounded and the end of Tuesday was here. The halls
were immediately filled with students rushing to get to their lockers,
hurrying to get home. Within fifteen minutes, most kids were gone, and the
halls were pretty much empty. Some people stayed after for sports and
whatever activity they had, but other than that, everyone had gone home. At
4:25, Harry and Ronnie walked out of Winslow. Harry shoved his hands into
his pockets as they walked to their cars.
"Wait." Harry stood in the snow, listening intently.
"What?" Ronnie asked.
Harry turned around and headed for the side of the building. There was
Aaron and Brad, punching Evan, kicking him, slamming him against the brick
"Hey!" Harry yelled as he ran towards them. Brad and Aaron spotted
Harry, and after punching Evan one last time, they ran off as fast as they
could down the sidewalk, laughing. Harry decided not to go after them. He
knelt beside Evan, who was sprawled on the snow with his face to the
"Evan," Harry nudged slowly turned him so that he was facing him.
Harry grimaced. "Jesus." A torrent of blood flowed down from his nose and
from the large gash above his right eye. A black and purple bruise was
evident under his left eye.
Ronnie rushed to Harry's side. "Oh my God."
Harry gently shook Evan. "Evan, speak to me, please. Evan?" Evan moved his
lips, but no words came out.
"Evan?" Harry turned to Ronnie. "C-call and ambulance."
"Is he all right?" Ronnie asked Harry as they walked into the
Teacher's Lounge the next morning.
"Yeah. I spoke with his father. He should be back in school
tomorrow." Just as they sat down at the table, Danny walked in.
"Hey, I heard about what's-his-face." He walked over to the coffee
machine to warm himself up from the cold outside.
"It's Evan," Harry replied, with a hint of annoyance. How could Danny
not know the name of the kid that got severely beaten up yesterday?
"Yeah, yeah, Evan. How is he?" Danny gently blew his coffee, hoping
to cool it down a little.
"He's fine. He'll be back in school tomorrow."
"Yeah? That's good." Danny sipped his coffee. "Hey, do you know who
did that to him? I heard he got beaten up pretty bad."
Harry thought for a moment. "Yeah, but I don't think it'll help. They ran
away when they saw me coming." The bell rang and the teachers left the
lounge to go to their sixth period classes.
Harry stepped into his class and told them to quiet down. Brad and
Aaron were there, sitting up front. He stood leaning against his desk.
"Okay I said be quiet! Everyone place your papers on my desk and start
reading chapter 11 please." Harry walked around his desk and sat in his
chair. A few seconds later, he was staring at about half the class's
assignments on a messy pile on his desk.
"Does anyone still have their homework?" Harry asked. Brad, who was
talking to Aaron about Evan, stood and walked up to the front. He placed
his and Aaron's paper on top of the others.
"Here you go, Mr. Senate." Harry just glared. Brad smiled and turned
back around to his seat.
"Okay, read chapter 11. I expect to hear nothing but the pages of
your books turning." Harry took the small pile of papers and began grading
them. Every once in a while, he would glance up to see what Brad and Aaron
were doing. They were just reading. He knew that they were the ones who did
that to Evan. But he couldn't do anything about it. Even he couldn't see
their faces through the snow and the shadows.
Brad and Aaron started snickering. "I said be quiet!" Harry yelled.
Immediately, Brad and Aaron stopped and went back to reading.
It was nearly the end of break the next day, a 15-minute interval
between 1st and 2nd period. Students either hung out in the hallway or the
cafeteria, but mostly in the hallway. Harry and Danny were sitting at the
"That Evan kid. He supposed to be here today?" Marla asked from her
spot at the couch.
"Yeah," Harry replied.
"Are you going to ask him who did that to him?" Lauren asked from the
table next to Harry's.
Harry ran his fingers through his hair. "Of course I will." The bell rang,
signaling the end of break. The teachers headed out the Lounge and into the
crowded hallway. Kids were at their lockers getting their stuff for next
class. As Ronnie walked out the door, the tests she was holding in her hand
somehow slipped out of her hand and fell to the floor.
"Crap," she muttered as she bent down to pick up the papers.
Harry knelt down beside her and began picking up papers. "Here," he said,
giving her the papers.
"Thanks," Ronnie replied. As they were about to walk to their
classes, they heard a gunshot. Then, closely followed by that, another one
"Oh, shit!" Harry yelled. He pulled Ronnie down to the floor.
Everyone around was yelling, cowering on the floor. The whole hallway was
"Stay down!" Harry yelled, hoping some people would hear him. He
turned back around to Ronnie. "I'll be right back." Ronnie nodded her head.
Harry, practically crawling, made his way down the hall to where the
source of the gunshots came from. His best guess was the boy's bathroom. He
sat, leaning against the wall next to the bathroom door. Not far down the
hall from him, a girl was crying.
"Hey, hey, it's okay. It's okay," Harry said, hoping to assuage her
fear. He was looking for more words to say. "J-just stay down, okay?" The
girl nodded and sat up against her locker. Across the hallway from him,
students were murmuring among themselves, some crying, some lying still,
Two more gun shots. Screams erupted, people started yelling. This
time, it was for sure that it came from the bathroom. Harry stayed low. He
opened the door to find Evan, leaning against the wall, gunshot wound to
his head. He was dead. The gun lay not far from him. Harry shook his head
and walked in the bathroom. The door closed behind him, making him jump. He
spotted a small stream of blood, coming out from underneath a closed stall.
With all the courage he could muster, Harry slowly opened the door.
Aaron was slumped against the toilet with his eyes wide open. Two
shots were fired right in the middle of his forehead and to his chest.
Blood ran down his face, staining the gold letters of his letterman jacket.
Disgusted, Harry ran out of the bathroom, gasping for air.
"Holy shit. Holy shit." He kept saying over and over. Finally, police
officers burst through the main doors of Winslow, which was just down the
hall from the bathroom.
"Everybody stay low!" One officer shouted. Noticing Harry wasn't
obeying, he yelled again. "Sir! Get down!"
"He's in there, dammit!" Harry shouted, pointing to the bathroom. The
police officers looked at each other and ran into the bathroom. Everyone
was talking among themselves. More police officers came in.
"All right, everyone remain calm! We are going to evacuate the
school! Please remain low and exit through the main doors!" Some officers
walked down the hall, helping people up and telling them which way to go.
Everybody rushed out of the school, students and teachers alike. One of the
officers who was in the bathroom, came out. Harry saw him speak to another
"Sir, we are ordered to evacuate everyone," an officer said, as he
"Yeah, sorry." Harry walked out the school. He shielded his eyes from
the bright sun and the reflection of it that bounced off of the white,
glistening snow. More police cars arrived along with two ambulances.
"Everybody move back, please!" An officer was saying through a
megaphone. Harry spotted Ronnie and Marilyn standing next to each other,
talking. He staggered through the snow towards them.
"Harry!" Ronnie called. "Harry, are you okay?"
Harry shook his head. He turned to the bush next to him, and vomited.
It was in the papers the next day: School shooting takes 3 lives.
Harry scanned through the article, looking for names. Evan Baxter, 17,
Aaron Williams, 17, Bradley Cooper, 17. Harry didn't remember seeing Brad
in the bathroom. But, apparently, Brad was just in the next stall to Aaron.
Harry shook his head and put the paper down. He flipped on the TV and
surfed through the channels. He decided on The Simpsons, hoping to forget
about the shooting for 30 minutes and just watch TV.
A week and a half later, Steven and Scott reopened school. As usual,
in the morning before first period, the teachers hung out at the Teacher's
Lounge. Steven walked in, yawning.
"Hey, what's up?" Danny asked.
"Interviews, questions, phone calls," Steven said in a gruff voice.
"Hey, I'll be talking to the rest of the faculty, but since you guys are
here, I'll tell you now. First period, spend ten, twenty, however many
minutes you want, spend it talking about the shooting. Ask your students if
they have questions and if they have trouble coping, send them to Bob Lick.
All right?" Steven looked around the room for a response. The teachers all
"Good." He grabbed the cup of fresh, hot coffee that stood beside the
"Hey, that was mine!" Danny called out. Steven ignored him and left.
Harry walked into his classroom. It was dead quiet. He shivered not
only from the cold, but from the uncomfortable silence. He set his
briefcase down on his chair and walked to the front.
"All right," he began in quiet voice. "Well, we all know what
happened two weeks ago. Evan Baxter came in to school with a gun, fired
some, and killed Aaron Williams and Brad Cooper. All three are. dead."
Harry looked around the room of blank expressions. He took a deep breath
and continued. "Is there any questions from anyone?" No one stirred.
"Anybody want to talk?" One kid who sat up front looked around.
"Matt. You want to say something?"
"Oh, n-no Mr. Senate."
Harry crossed his arms. "All right, then. Questions? Anyone?" Still, no one
made a sound. "Okay, well I have a question for you. Out of curiosity, has
Evan ever been bullied before?" They looked at each other, exchanging
"Come on, don't be afraid to speak up," Harry said in his best
encouraging voice. "Please, say something."
Nancy looked around and then finally, after some hesitation, raised
Harry smiled slightly in relief. "Nancy?"
It came as no surprise, but why hadn't Harry ever seen it before? "Really?
On a regular basis?"
Nancy nodded. "Yeah. Everyday at lunch Brad and Aaron do something to
"Like what?" Harry asked quietly.
Nancy shrugged. "All this stuff."
Harry nodded. "Thank you, Nancy. Is that all? All right, open your books to
Later that day, during the last period where everyone had class, at
2:49 pm, Winslow 1, Winslow's television channel, aired a special event in
recognition of the shooting. Steven sat at behind the desk, ready to speak
into the microphone.
"Everybody shut up and sit down!" Marla yelled to her class. "It's
starting!" Her class obeyed and immediately sat down in their seats. Around
the whole entire school, everyone was watching the TV.
"As we all know, two weeks ago, Evan Baxter came to school with a
gun," Steven began. "He fired four shots, three killing Aaron Williams and
Brad Cooper, and the last one, for himself. Winslow has now been recognized
across the country, through newspapers, through radios, through morning
talk shows, because we are the school with the school shooting.
"We have found out, that Evan was bullied. Bullying is a common
motive for school shootings. We have also found out, that Evan was bullied
throughout this school year, throughout last school year, and the year
before that. You know what? How about I just say he's been bullied since
6th grade. Now that, my friends, is a very long time. Five years. It's hard
to endure torment for five, long years.
"Now, this here, my friends is a harsh warning; a very harsh warning.
It is a warning that alerts us to the real, hard danger of bullying, and
its results. It's hard to say this, but I suppose that a lot of students
here haven't really come to the realization of school shootings. The
terror, the cause. But now, since Winslow has been added to the list, we
now know the terror and the cause. We now have come to the realization of
school shootings. We now know, from first person point of view.
"As I said before, this is a harsh warning. I know that there are
more cases like this, just waiting to happen. If you happen to be one of
the people who just happen to be on the bully side, well, you have seen the
results of your actions. And if you happen to be the ones who are picked
on, teased, and ridiculed, do not be afraid to speak up. Please, come
forward and let us help you. Bob Lick's doors are open all day if you need
Steven took a deep breath and continued. "When I think of this situation, I
think of a weak twig. You bend it and bend it and bend it until finally, it
snaps. and brings a gun to a high school. I ask everyone to be aware of
this situation. And also, I ask everyone to remember Aaron Williams, Brad
Cooper, and Evan Baxter, and to keep them and their families your prayers.
After the end of Steven's speech, the camera scanned to Aaron, Brad,
and Evan's junior yearbook pictures. After that, a collection of home
videos of Aaron, Brad, and Evan was shown in their memory.
Around the school, the halls were empty, the classrooms were silent.
All was focused on the documentary, Aaron, Brad, and Evan, and the
Harry stood leaning against the back wall of his classroom, watching
the TV up front. He couldn't help but notice Brad, Aaron, and Evan's seats.
Brad and Aaron's were in the third row while Evan sat in the far back to
the left. These three seats were now empty, but were filled with the
haunting memory of each boy, and of the shooting that took place two weeks
He uncrossed his arms and ran his fingers through his hair and