Going The Extra Mile

One man’s journey through open campus lunch

Jeremy Hargrove

More stories from Jeremy Hargrove


7/11’s Slurpee Machine; the promised land for free-range high schoolers in the Californian desert.

Before the word was even spoken, the seniors were already rising from the bleachers to enjoy one of the most coveted parts of the high school experience: getting lunch off of the campus. I whipped around to climb up the bleachers and enjoy the sun outside of the school’s gates.

But before I could even speak, my stomach dropped. I forgot my ID at home, which is the equivalent of accidentally eating your golden ticket to the Wonka factory. I look to my right to deliver the harsh news to senior, and Sage’s resident goth, Juliette Evans. Her response was a valid one.

“Why didn’t you bring your wallet? Why did you think you wouldn’t need it?”

I sprang to the nearest pillar for protection from the onslaught of hungry teenagers. As the crowd began to dwindle, school counselor Roger Brown looked at me. He asked how my day was and, tears welling in the corners of my eyes, I informed him of my predicament. Brown looked into my eyes, the windows of my soul, and said he could vouch for me as a senior.

My eyes widened and I turned to the pearly gates. I was getting out of this school when others thought it was impossible. I pull out my phone to drop the news on Evans. My phone rang six times before she answered. She told me she was still in the lower lot, and I ran. Correction, I put all of my willpower into my legs and hopped to the lower lot. I jumped in the car and we were on our way. But I had unfinished business.

“Could we stop by my house so I can get my wallet?” I asked, hoping my good streak would hang on just a little longer.

She didn’t mind, so we went by my house. I rolled out before she could park, swung my door open, and grabbed my wallet like it was a treasure in Indiana Jones. Before the boulder (my French bulldog) could catch up with me, we were flooring it to our destination: Extra Mile to get some slushies.

I’ve been to that gas station so many times, I practically know it more than I know my own house. We didn’t stop for pleasantries with the employees, we had bigger fish to fry. But it was the end of my golden streak. The run was over; the cherry slushie machine wasn’t working.

Should this stop me? If I were a weaker man, it would stop me. But I wasn’t going to let the machine’s defroster prevent me from my spoils. Money was thrown at the cashier, I swiped up my drink, and took a swig. I immediately regretted this decision, and I can only pray it won’t haunt me every waking moment. It was practically just sugary water with red coloring. But I drank it, and I learned to enjoy it. Evans started the car, and we made our trek back to the homeland of Sage Creek High School.

Slushies in hand, red coloring on our teeth, we were stopped by our principal, Mr. Morales, as he asked us what we got. We presented the bounty, and he laughed. It may have been trivial or even novel to him, but this was more than just a slushie. It was a monument to our victory, a diabetes-inducing trophy earned fair and square.

Off-school lunch? Success. Hopefully they fix the slushie machine for next time. I can only pity the poor souls that get the short end of that stick.