The Incident


“I will do my best to tell you everything that happened and how it happened.” 

That’s what I told the officer with the light red birthmark near his left eye, when he asked me about my account of what my family now calls “the incident”. It was really quite simple. Or maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know. To me, it was definitely the strangest event in my seventeen years. 

On December 16th, four of my friends and I got a ride from my cousin to the mall. We had just finished our exams and were free for senior year’s Christmas break. So, what better way to start the vacation than a shopping trip to the mall and a nice, juicy, delicious burger from Red Robin? The restaurant was at maybe half capacity when we stood by the door waiting for the hostess to seat us. The five of us chatted about our exams, what we wanted for Christmas, and how we thought the break would be. My best friend since birth, Magdalena, was leaving for Mexico the next morning, and since her birthday was on Christmas Eve, we wanted this lunch to be really special.  

After what seemed like forever, we were finally seated near a family of six. The children all looked to be about six years old or younger. Why did the hostess seat us next to that family? There were so many other tables we could have sat at. Once we chose our seats, we opened our menus and asked for waters right away and two orders of the garlic fries. Almost immediately the kids next us started getting on my nerves. They were so loud and misbehaved that it was practically impossible for me to pay attention to what my friends were saying. And I wasn’t the only one. Jocelyn gets annoyed very quickly, and I could see from the way her eyes squinted and her eyebrows arced that she was on the verge of saying something to the parents. When a fry flew by Jocelyn’s nose, she got up, walked calmly to the front of the restaurant, and spoke with the manager.  

“We’re moving tables,” Jocelyn said when she returned. 

We all looked at each other with looks of surprise then gathered our things and moved over to a large booth in the far corner, away from everyone else. That was more like it. We could finally enjoy ourselves. BUT THEN one of the little kids from that noisy table came over to us and threw a ketchup-covered French fry at Magdalena. It plopped near the collar of her crisp, white sweater. We all just kind of froze. I mean, who does that kind of thing? Before we could even really register what happened, another of the loud kids came over to us. That little boy with blue-framed glasses, who looked all of four years old, threw a handful of mac-and-cheese at my head. I quickly turned my face away, so the wad of food hit my friend Gigi’s forehead. Not to be outdone by his seemingly older brother, a third child with messy hair and an Elmo shirt emptied his short glass of milk onto our table. I jumped up, and in the process, I knocked the boy with the blue-framed glasses over. Jocelyn also jumped up with milk running  down the legs of her black jeans.  

The five of us started talking at once and yelling at the kids. Then the parents came over to us with the manager and complained that we were taunting their kids who then retaliated. And to make it worse, they called the police because I accidentally knocked over their extremely impolite child. They said I assaulted him.  

Maybe five minutes later, two police officers came over to us and started asking questions. The parents had one story and we had another. In the end, we five girls were exonerated of any wrongdoing and were free to hit the mall. By that time, though, the spirit of the day was gone, so we all decided to take an Uber back to my house to watch a movie. It was certainly not the way I planned the start of my Christmas break. 

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