short fiction

Flash fiction – High School Methical

I once saw this movie where a guy grew marijuana in public toilets. Not in the toilet itself, or out in the open, but inside the walls. He cut open the tops of the pipes and inserted seed beds, with the hydroponic plants growing up inside the wall cavities. Completely impossible, but a great idea.

Actually, I’m not sure if it was a movie. It might have been a dream. I get those mixed up sometimes.

Anyway, that’s what gave me the idea to build a meth lab inside the actual toilets of my high school.

I didn’t really want to build a meth lab, but Jordie said we had no choice. ‘We got no choice, Oliver. If I can’t scare up twenty grand in the next two months, Royale will cut off my fucking toes.’ Royale was the guy Jordie did jobs for, but the last job had gone bad and Jordie had lost all the money he’d been given. ‘There’s no way I can get the money legally. You gotta help me, kiddo!’

Of course I had to help him. He’s my big brother.

I read about methamphetamine online and it didn’t seem too hard to create. We had some Sudafed in the medicine cabinet, so I took it out to my lab in the shed and set up a still using the fuel mixer from my model rockets. The police took my rockets away when one crashed and set fire to a barn, but I made those when I was twelve and I didn’t know as much about chemistry. Now I was fourteen and, apart from one time when a pocket of gas caught fire and burned off all the hair on my left arm, making the drug was pretty easy.

But it wasn’t enough. ‘This isn’t enough, Oliver,’ Jordie said when I showed him the clump of crystals. ‘This is like a hundred bucks worth, tops. We gotta make more and we gotta make it fast.’

That’s when I thought of making it in the unfinished toilet block at my school. They started building it a couple of years ago but then ran out of money, so it just sat at the edge of the school, locked up and covered in graffiti, while the lines to get into the working toilets got longer every day and most of the older boys just pissed up the side of the wall. No-one went there and it had working pipes and drains, so we snuck in one night to check it out. Jordie thought I could pick the padlocks, but I don’t know how to do that. Instead I just dissolved them with some acid and we brought new ones to replace them.

The toilet block smelled bad and didn’t have any electricity, but I used car battery to power some hooded lamps and then built stills inside the toilet bowls. Jordie got a bunch of Sudafed from Royale and stole some fertilizer and lye, and after a couple of nights of work we got everything percolating.

Jordie gave me a hug. ‘This is some supervillain shit right here, Oliver. You’re an evil genius! Next you’ll be making fembots or something.’ I blushed when he said that, because I thought he must have found out about my fembot research, but he was just making a joke.

Fembots are really hard to make.

So everything went really well for a month or so. We cooked a lot of meth for Royale, the janitors never found the lab and we only had a couple of small explosions. If I’d stopped to think about what we were doing I would probably have felt bad, so I didn’t do that. I just focused on the chemistry, which was much more fun. I didn’t go to many classes that month, but the teachers didn’t notice. I was always pretty quiet.

I was working one night when Jordie came in. I noticed that he’d been shot. ‘Ollie, I’ve been shot,’ he said. I treated the wound in his arm with some iodine while he told me that the police had raided Royale’s place and there’d been a shootout. ‘We gotta clean this place up before they come for us!’

That was a shame, because the lab was really good. I’d been hoping to build a hovercraft here once we were finished with the meth. But these things happen, so we started flushing all the chemicals away. It got pretty messy, and Jordie soon passed out from the fumes and blood loss. So I dragged him outside and then set fire to the toilet block.

It made a pretty awesome explosion when it went up. I made sure to record it on my camera to watch again later. Anyway, the explosion woke Jordie up, and he got pretty angry when he realised I’d left the meth in the lab. ‘You left the meth in the lab? You fuckin’ idiot freak!’

That made me really upset. Jordie never called me things like that normally. But I figured that the meth he’d been taking had made him irritable and paranoid, which is why I’d burned it all up. To make him feel better, I took the fall when the police arrived. I told them I’d been making fireworks, and after all the times they’d confiscated my chemistry stuff over the years I guess they believed me.

Anyway, juvie is actually pretty good. I get time to read and study without school or Dad getting in the way, and the other kids have been really nice to me since I built the vodka still in the laundry. Once I get out in a few months and Jordie’s finished with rehab, I think we should try making another secret laboratory and making something different. Like ecstasy, or maybe nitro-glycerine. Or Kryptonite.

I like the idea of being a supervillain. I think that’s definitely next on my to-do list. Once I finally work out how to make fembots.


Once again, a little prod from Chuck Wendig was enough to get me moving on an idea I’d had but never worked on. Well, to be honest all I’d had was the opening lines and the terrible play on words in the title, but sometimes that’s all you need.

Also, 1000 words is hard sometimes. It meant I had to drop the idea of having the police raid during the final night of the school’s musical and the subsequent car chase through the auditorium. But it’s all about killing your darlings, a phrase that writers love and homicide police don’t accept as a defence in a court of law.

This gets added to the set of stories that will eventually come out in Nine Flash Nine. Back in January I said that would be ready around April, which just goes to show that I am entirely full of shit about my work schedule. But it’s coming along – just a couple more stories and it should be good to go. I just need to write those in and around working on Raven’s Blood and Arcadia.

Easy fucking peasy.

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