This is a test of the Discord Fiction Workshop System. I'm publishing this, then putting it through the workshop, and we'll see how it comes out the other end.
The story itself was written while I was subbing for an English teacher in a local junior high. The kids were supposed to watch a movie, so after I told them about myself, they challenged me to write a complete short before the end of class. This is what I wrote. The teacher's name in the story is the one I subbed for, and both of the kids were in the class.
Best Served Cold
“Pineapple. Definitely use a pineapple.” Noah peered over the edge of the school building. Heads bobbed, walking, running, shouting. Post-lunch recess sprawled out before him.
“Are you crazy?” Jennifer said. “A pineapple could kill someone from this high.”
“You think so? This one’s pretty squishy.” He gave it a squeeze. There was definitely some give in the skin, and drops of juice oozed out.
Jennifer shook her head. “Still. We’re getting attention, not revenge.”
“Revenge is more fun,” Noah said, but he put the pineapple back in the sack. He rummaged for a moment and pulled out a water balloon. It sloshed, wet and purple, with sticky fingerprints where Noah’s pineappley hands had touched it.
Jennifer stuck out her hand and craned her neck over the lip of the roof. “Gimme,” she said. “He’s right below us.”
Noah seemed reluctant, but handed it over. His eyes hooded, he waited for Jennifer to turn her head and took another one from his sack. She kept her eyes focused on the elementary-school playground below, inching the balloon toward launching position. Noah loomed over her, his balloon in both hands, high above. She didn’t see him; she was focused.
“One more step…” She said. “Just one more…”
Noah launched. The balloon bounced off the edge of Jennifer’s head and arced out into space.
“Noah!” Jennifer gasped, but there was no calling it back. Down it plummeted, smooth, silent, and horrifyingly accurate. It exploded. Right on top of Mr. Dalton’s head.
“You idiot!” Jennifer screamed, and winged her balloon at Noah. It, too, was accurate, but she was so close that the blast radius soaked them both. She shrieked. Noah looked vaguely horrified, but also like he thought it was cool. Until the access door whipped open and a drenched teacher came barreling through it. Water still dripped from his forehead and hair, and cascaded down his shirt and puddled around his shoes. It wouldn’t for long, though, judging from the steam coming off his head. His lips curled back.
“Noah and Jennifer. I’m surprised about one of these two things. Suppose you explain to me why I shouldn’t pitch you off the roof, since you seem to like throwing things so much.”
Jennifer stared at her shoes, her face red. Noah tried to hide behind her.
“You have four seconds to explain.” Mr. Dalton’s gaze whipped back and forth between them. “Shall I count?”
“No!” Jennifer said. “It wasn’t...we weren’t…”
“She wasn’t trying to get anyone wet, actually,” Noah said.
“With a water balloon, she wasn't trying to get anyone wet?” He seemed to notice that they were dripping, too. “And you got three targets with this lack of intention?”
“No,” she said, “I mean, yes, but that wasn’t…”
“You weren’t the target. We weren’t even going to hit anyone. We just wanted to scare Ty.”
“Because he’s awful. He tortures the little kids when nobody is watching. None of the monitors ever catch him at it.”
“So you thought this was the way, then? To throw water balloons at him?”
“Near him,” Jennifer said, but she hung her head. “Not a good idea, I guess.”
“I wanted to use a pineapple,” Noah said, hefting the sack. “Much stickier splatter.”
The steam went out of Mr. Dalton’s face. “Really, really stupid idea,” he said, “and the execution was even worse.” Just then there was a cry, floating up over the building’s edge. Mr. Dalton stepped over to the side and looked down. The two kids edged up beside him.
Below them, a dark head stood, and arms reached out, grabbing the shoulders of a smaller, red-headed girl. He shook her. She cried out again, and he hissed at her to shut up. “Lunch money,” he said, looking around to make sure he was unseen.
Mr. Dalton said, “Well, the little…” He looked back at Noah. “You got more in that sack?”
Noah’s face lit up in a grin. “Yeah. I made four more balloons, in case we missed.”
Mr. Dalton looked down at the scene below. The little girl ran off, sobbing. He held out a hand. “Forget the balloon,” he said. “Give me that pineapple.”