Code Red

I wrote a 500 word story for Furious Fiction. It’s loosely based on something that happened at my primary school.


Code red. Jack was kneeling in the thick scrub, his blunt machete concealed between his worn out Kmart sneakers and his head between his knees. Heart pounding in his chest he chanced a sneaky look to assess the extent of his detection.

Not good. The tennis match had been completely abandoned and the girls in their navy blue wide-brimmed hats were pressed up against the wire fence staring in his direction.


“We can see you, Jack!”


Laughter. “Oh my god what is he even doing in there? He definitely didn’t get permission. ”


“Jack, you’re out of bounds!”




Consumed with panic Jack crouched even lower behind some golden wattle. He contemplated the threat he had wrought upon their secret operation. This had been his first guard mission, he hadn’t expected to actually come across any adversaries, as a result he had neglected his patrol duties to focus on slashing wildly at a stringy bark with the machete.


“We’re dobbing!”


Overwhelmed, Jack abandoned all hope of concealment and blasted off along the narrow bush path clutching his legionnaire’s hat to his grown out bowl cut. Unable to stifle his panic, he started hooting and hollering cries of warning as he struggled his way up the hill. He could hear the girls laughing as they ran off to find the teacher on duty.

Traditionally, Jack wasn’t the fastest runner, in fact, due to his severe asthma he was possibly the slowest in the school and it was obvious that his shortcomings as an athlete had a negative effect on his social standing. Mercifully it never occurred to Jack that diminished popularity might have played a part in his selection for sentry duty.


As he approached the club house he felt the familiar stabs of tightness in his chest, feeling like an absolute maverick, he whipped his trusty puffer out of his pocket and huffed Ventolin without missing a step.


Hearing the commotion, riled up boys spilled out of the disused sports shed wielding broken wickets and wooden tennis racquets with old leathery grips.

“Code red! Code red!” Jack wheezed, hands on knees in a big show of how hard he had pushed himself for the cause.


In a flurry of chaos, eleven year old arms bundled with contraband scurried around the sports shed not knowing what to do. Some of the more seasoned trouble makers pulled the old ‘ditch and wander’ in an effort to distance themselves from the impending disaster.


Mr Barnes arrived at the scene in the midst of the big cover up and caught them all red-handed. As he inspected the collection of glossy porn magazines, kitchen knives and garden tools he grew larger and redder. The girls looked on with glee as he entered the clubhouse to discover Jack calmly having one of his signature asthma attacks.


Whilst tending to Jack Mr Barnes bellowed in his angriest teacher voice, “PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE! NOW!” In their quietest student voices, the boys shuffled past the sniggering girls murmuring.


“Girls suck.”