SHORT STORY

 Warren's Song
by Shane Sellar

       Now I don't care what school ya went to.  In what state, province, or country.  Everyone had a Warren in their class.  He was the kid that just appeared in your class one morning, parents just moved to town or sumpin'.

     Now Warrens ain't usually the richest kids on the block, nor the cleanest for that matter.  They can go a couple of days with wearing the same old sweatpants and t-shirt combo.  Now the one thing that sets this Warren apart from all them others, is that this Warren always carried around a tape recorder and whenever it was a break in class or just out for recess he would play Chopin-Nocturne No. 9 on that damn thing.  Now no one knew why he'd play that the same old song over and over again any chance he got but one day I brought it up in one of our conversations and do you know what he told me?  He said that that-there Chopin-Nocturne No. 9 always made him feel like he was diving into an ice cold swimming pool in the middle of a hot July day.  Funny thing is I never could imagine seeing Warren in a swimming pool.

     Now as I was saying, Warren and I shared a lot of stories and laughs.  I remember the first time he made me laugh; it was during Math class when he made a pig's face at me from across the room.  I laughed and we both got kicked out and sent to see the Principal.  From then on we were friends.  Which was good for me; see I wasn't the most popular kid in grade 4 and neither was Warren.  So it only seemed right that we would be friends.

     My mom worked all the time and so did Warren's, so after school we would go play war in the forest using sticks we'd find as our guns.  We always fought over who would be the German and who was the American, Warren usually gave up pretty easily and would be the German, he said he could relate to them, due to the fact that they always lost.  I was just happy to have a friend in Warren, but it did creep me out though when I'd shoot him dead with my stick gun and he would always fall to the ground and press play on that damn recorder and that song would echo through out the forest.

     Now Warren was a tough kid.  I guess you have to be if you move from town to town and have to deal with the bullies in every new school you go to and that was no exception at this one.  They would taunt him and the clothes his mom would buy him at K-Mart.  They just didn't like him and what they didn't like the most about Warren was he would never cry or tattle, he'd take his beating and taunting and just walk away.

     Now this "grain of salt" thing didn't go over well with the bullies, one imparticular; Chris Turcott.  Now this kid hated Warren, I'm not sure why, but when all them kids were picking on Warren, Chris Turcott seemed to do it out of hatred.

     Warren was lucky most of the time, I would run and get help from a teacher and they'd break it up before it got too serious.

     I remember asking Warren once, "Why don't you just run away?" and do you know what he said to me?  "To where?"  I guess as a kid the first thought to that answer would be a teacher, parent or policeman, they would protect you.  I guess Warren never thought about going to them or maybe he just felt like there was no point, but on June 15, 1976, I wish he had, because then I wouldn't be sitting here twenty years later relating this eerie tale to y'all.

     As I said before, I was usually around to run and get help when them bullies started with Warren but I left school early that day for a dentist appointment.  I remember he stuck his tongue out at me as I gathered my books to leave. I crossed my eyes back at him.

     Now here's where the story gets a bit blurry.  It seems after school that day Warren decided to stay at school and play on the slide.  As far as I can figure Chris Turcott and his friends showed up at the slide and start to pick on Warren who was listening to his recorder.  Now my facts ain't the clearest but I reckon that some of those guys came straight up the slide and Chris Turcott and some others came up the ladder and there stood Warren and his recorder stuck in the middle of 'em.  Now it's a bold statement to say that Warren falling from the top of the slide was his own doing.  I choose to believe that that hate-filled boy Chris Turcott had a hand in it.

     Now as tales spread throughout classrooms and schools they tend to get a bit stretched.  I heard stuff about a suicide letter he left behind and that his daddy done it to him or that when the police found him, that Chopin-Nocturne No. 9 was playing on his recorder.

     Now I know for a fact that Warren wasn't suicidal and he ain't never knowed his daddy.  But the recorder still playing when the found him, I can see that.

     But I'm sure that one of the biggest rumors that most of you heard about a boy named Warren falling off the slide was the truest one of 'em all.  I know 'cause I was there when it happened and it's the reason I place my bet on that Chris Turcott helping Warren exit this world.

     It took place the very next day, before I even knew what happened.  I did find it strange that Warren wasn't in class.  He usually was and besides I brought some of those plastic gloves from the dentist's office that we could blow up at recess.

     Now before Math class, Miss Humains took a moment to calm the class and with a sad face began to explain to us what happened to Warren the day before.  And I swear to the sweet Lord above just as soon as Miss Humains started to tell us how poor little Warren slipped on the slide and accidentally fell of broke his neck, static came over the P.A. system.

     Now this is part is tough to swallow but as soon as Miss.Humans began to place the blame of my friendís death on an unsafe play structure, Chopin-Nocturne No. 9 began to play from the P.A. system.

     At first Miss. Humans tried to carry on with her fable but the song wouldn't stop.  She tried to turn off the P.A. system but still nothing.  I looked around the class to see if people were as creeped out as I was and that's when I seen Chris Turcott begin to cry as the song got louder and louder.  And that's how I know it was him that done Warren wrong.

     Now they never did find out where the song was coming from and they never really got it to stop playing. They actually had people come in and rip out the P.A system to find the source.  They never did find it though.  Now the school closed a year later, not entirely because of the phantom symphony playing in the P.A. system but I reckon it was a part of it.

     Now 20 years later I think about Warren and that song of his and how it echoed throughout the hallways of that school.  Not trying to point the blame on the fellas that did that horrible thing to him (although I did hear that Chris Turcott went a little nutty afterwards) but trying to do what he was trying to do all along by playing that song on that recorder of his; get people to listen to the beauty of it and make people feel like they was jumping into an ice cold pool on a hot July day.

     I listen to that song every time my life ain't going my way and I just want to give up and run away from the world.  And every time I listen to that song I think of Warren's answer when I asked him why he didn't run from them bullies. And every time I listen to that song I understand what he meant.

END

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