Ferris's Last Day of School
MR. BUELLER GOES TO WASHINGTON
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and all related characters and indicia are registered trademarks of Paramount Pictures Corporation and the John Hughes Estate or whatever similar entity would apply. And now, as always, sit back and enjoy the story.
“Those moments. Those once in a lifetime moments you remember for the rest of your life. The moments where you know you’ve crossed a threshold from which there’s no going back. This is one of them: the very last day of school.”
With a deep grin, Ferris Bueller rolled onto his back on his bed and stared dreamily at his ceiling in the early morning light. “Thirteen years I’ve waited for this moment. The day I wouldn’t have to worry about going to school anymore. Now it’s here,” he declared out loud, as if somehow narrating to an invisible person in the room, “How do I feel? Glad, of course; school’s too much of a drag to not be glad to see it go. But leaving behind the world you’ve known for so long...well, even for someone like me, that’s a little hard. To say goodbye for good to all those familiar faces you’ve become friends with, to know most of them you’ll only see at reunions from here on...yeah, it’s a little hard. But, like all things in life, it’s something we’ve got to do. Especially with the world waiting for you. Now in my case...”
There came a knock on the door. “Ferris, breakfast’s going to be ready in about five minutes,” his mother stuck her head through the door.
“Right, I’ll be down in a flash, Mom,” Ferris gave her a thumbs-up and hauled himself out of bed. “I’ll also admit, part of me will miss the home environment here after I move on to college, knowing I won’t be able to pull things as easily in the real world as I have here,” he continued his pseudo-narration to seemingly no one in particular, “And even though they have to be the most gullible people on the planet, fact is, my parents have been good to me, and I will miss them,” a slightly crestfallen look crossed his face. He quickly shook it off, though, with a grin and, “But, the real world waits for no one, and running from it isn’t going to do anyone any good. So might as well charge right into it and see what happens.”
He dressed quickly and bustled downstairs into the living room, making straight for the sofa, which was covered with several large blankets. “Cameron, rise and shine, it’s last day of school time!” he declared grandly, shaking the blankets. There was a low groan underneath them. “Do I really have to get up now, Ferris?” came the almost frustrated voice underneath, “I was just having the greatest dream I’ve ever had, that I strapped my dad into the Ferrari and shoved him and it over the Grand Canyon. I want to keep reliving it.”
“Perhaps tonight, my friend; right now, we are just eight hours away from the end of school as we know it, and you don’t want to miss that, do you?” Ferris urged him. With another groan, the blankets slowly toppled to the floor. “Figures my good dreams can’t last,” Cameron Frye grumbled, rising up and wiping his eyes.
“Morning, Cameron,” Mr. Bueller, coming down the stairs himself, greeted Ferris’s friend, “Have a good night sleep?”
“Yeah, thanks, Mr. Bueller,” Cameron cracked a small grin. “You probably already guessed, Ferris, but I wish it could have been like this for longer than just a few months,” he confessed to his friend, “Finally, here, I feel like I’m really home. And now, it’s going to have to end again...”
With a sad shake of his head, he lumbered upstairs to get dressed. Ferris nodded softly. “If you’ve been wondering,” he spoke out loud again to some imagined audience, “Cameron’s father didn’t take the Ferrari being wrecked well at all. In fact, he pulled a gun and went on a rampage. Thank God nobody got hurt; Cameron locked himself in the closet and called the cops, and they got there in time. Now Mr. Morris Frye is Illinois inmate number 45-2349 for the next five years on reckless endangerment charges-a bit cruel to take in, perhaps, but given the man loved his car more than his son, perhaps hard time’ll teach him a good hard lesson on life. The funny thing is, without her husband to scream at anymore, Cameron’s mother had a nervous breakdown and had to be institutionalized. Oh, she’ll be all right in a couple months, but it strange to think all the hate for Cameron’s father kept her sane. Anyway, my parents offered Cameron the chance to stay here until graduation, and to be honest, I don’t think he’s been happier than since he arrived. I’ve always known he felt more at home here than he did at his house. Maybe Mom and Dad should have tried it years ago; then...”
“What on earth are you doing!?” his sister was now at the bottom of the stairs, giving him a bizarre look, “Why do you keep on monologuing like that when no one’s around!?”
“Well plot exposition has to go somewhere, Jeannie,” Ferris explained matter-of-factually.
“What plot exposition!? It’s not like we’re...” Jeannie started to protest.
“Jeannie, breakfast’s on the table,” her mother came down the stairs, her tone practically shooing her daughter off. Rolling her eyes, Jeannie trudged for the kitchen. “All right, Ferris, stand right over there by the front door,” grinning, his mother had a camera in hand, “Let’s try and freeze this moment forever.”
“With pleasure, Mom,” Ferris walked to the door and struck a comical pose with his arms outstretched. Laughing, Mrs. Bueller took his picture. “Cameron, come stand with Ferris,” she told him as he came back downstairs, fully dressed now, “For being Ferris’s best friend all these years, you deserve it too.”
Again cracking a small smile, Cameron walked over to the door, allowing Ferris to playfully put him in a headlock for the next photo. “Very cute, boys,” Mrs. Bueller chuckled, “OK, breakfast’s on the table.”
“Blueberry pancakes?” Ferris asked knowingly.
“For my soon to be high school graduate, of course,” she rubbed his shoulder. Ferris bustled into the kitchen, where his father had just finished brewing coffee. “Hey, good morning, high school grad,” he greeted his son warmly, shaking his hand, “I’m so proud of you, Ferris-you too, Cameron,” he greeted Ferris’s friend, “How does it feel to have made it to the last day?”
“Amazing, Dad; never thought I’d make it,” Ferris said quickly, “I’m just glad school’s finally over and done with.”
“I know you are...” Jeannie mumbled under her breath at the table.
“Now Jeannie, be nice,” Mrs. Bueller gave her a firm look, “We’ve made it clear we’re not going to tolerate any sibling rivalries in this house anymore...”
“Don’t worry about it, Mom; I know she didn’t mean anything by it,” Ferris told her; although he didn’t often show it openly, he had vowed to cover Jeannie’s back after she’d bailed him out at the end of his day off a few months ago, which he figured was the least he could do for her given she’d managed to keep him from serving another year of high school.
“Oh, OK then,” Mr. Bueller accepted this. “And good morning to you, my lovely,” he gave his wife a kiss, “Think you’ll finally get the Vermont deal done today?”
“I hope so, provided nothing else goes wrong,” Mrs. Bueller shot Jeannie another stern look, “If not, it probably won’t take too much longer. How about you?”
“Mr. Shirley wants me to look over some new marketing ideas he has in mind for cereals; I’ll be going over the notes with Clark right after lunch. I’ll have to make it quick, though, he’ll be going on vacation to Hawaii at the end of the week. Hope he comes out all right with that; every time the poor guy goes out on vacation, something goes horribly wrong for him.”
“I guess that’s how it is with some people, Dad,” Ferris shrugged, “But we all need a vacation sometimes. President Simmons, for example,” he pointed at the kitchen TV, where the president could be seen boarding Air Force One, “I think he’ll need his two weeks in the Middle East to get away from all the backbiting in Washington.”
“Half of which he caused,” Mr. Bueller rolled his eyes, “Don’t ever enter politics, Ferris; they turn you into something you’ll hate later. Oh, by the way, has your class decided where you’re going on their senior trip yet?”
“Nope. There’s been too much back and forth between everyone; no one can seem to agree. I hope they can soon; I really want to...”
A car horn blew out front. “And that’s our ride; Cameron,” Ferris nodded at his friend, who took a quick final bite of his pancakes and rose up, “Have a good day Mom, Dad.”
“Have a great day, son,” his father hugged him, “We’re so proud of you, again.”
“We’re proud of you too, Cameron; you deserve this after everything you’ve been through,” Mrs. Bueller hugged Cameron as well. “Thanks, Mrs. Bueller,” Cameron cracked a wide smile this time. He followed Ferris out the door, where a familiar car was waiting for them at the curb. “You’re a little early today,” he told the driver.
“I asked her to be, Cameron; might as well savor the final moments before we enter Shermer High for the last time. And how is the loveliest cheerleader on the squad?” Ferris leaned in the driver’s side window.
“So proud of the most popular kid in school finally earning the right to get out of it,” smiling herself, Sloane Petersen leaned forward and gave him a kiss, “A little sad, though, that I’ll have a year left without you or Cameron...” her expression fell.
“Though my physical body may leave Shermer High forever after today, my spirit shall walk the halls forever,” Ferris proclaimed grandly, climbing into the front passenger seat while Cameron climbed in the back, “Tell all the other undergraduates to remember that always.”
“I’ll try,” she pulled out into traffic, “Longest possible route without being late?”
“You know it,” Ferris leaned back confidently in his seat, “You know, it has been quite a ride to get to here, and I’m quite glad to have shared it with you a good part of the way,” he affectionately stroked his girlfriend’s hair, “Now what I’d wish for is one last hurrah of some kind. One last big way to leave my mark in Shermer High before I leave for good.”
“Even though you hate the place with every ounce of your being?” Cameron cracked from the back seat.
“Just because I don’t like school doesn’t mean I don’t have hometown pride, or the wish to make a big difference, Cameron,” Ferris reminded him, “And I just know that opportunity will present itself if we just wait for it.”
“Mmm,” was the best Cameron could come up with in return. He glanced at the window at the streets of Shermer rolling by. “Who do you think the guest speaker for the last day of school sendoff’s going to be? Knowing Rooney, it’ll probably be the Joliet warden saying he’ll be glad to see all of us ten years after graduation.”
“Nah, I think Mr. Rooney’s been cowed a little bit after he couldn’t catch me on our day off,” Ferris predicted, “Still, it is interesting to guess who they did choose this year...”
“Therefore, it is my distinct honor to introduce to you a former aluminum...uh, alumni of this school, who, from bumble roots...HUMBLE roots, has risen up to a position of exalted status. Boys and girls, please give a big hand to your senior United States Senator from Illinois, Mr. Robert J. Tannen,” school secretary Grace Vine stumbled through her introductory speech to the packed Shermer High gymnasium. The applause was scattered and half-hearted, including Ferris’s atop the bleachers. “If he was the best they could come up with, they must have really been desperate this year,” he asided to Sloane and Cameron next to him.
“Well I’ve heard he and Mr. Rooney go way back as friends,” Sloane surmised. She turned her gaze to the podium in the middle of the gym as Senator Tannen stepped to the microphone. “Good afternoon, Shermer High, and go Bulldogs!” he declared loudly with a fist pump, getting a somewhat louder applause, “You know, in my twelve years in Washington, I’ve come to serve on a lot of key committees that help make life in this great nation of ours great. But I’ve never forgotten where I’ve come from, right here in Shermer, Illinois. It seems like just yesterday I was one of you, walking these halls,” he did an over the top exhale, “It seems like a lifetime ago. I came from a poor family, so we had to struggle to keep me in school. But it was worth it, and from my degree, I’ve spun the career you see on the nightly news every day. So all you kids remember, stay in school, and you’ll go far, just like me. In fact, since I’m here, I’m going to let you kids be the first to know a big announcement I’ve had in the works for a while now: I have decided to run for President of the United States!”
Again, the applause was half-hearted at best. “President of the United States!” Tannen declared again, confused at the tepid response. “I’ve decided that I can best serve my country by leading it. I think I am best qualified for the job out of all the candidates who have committed to the next election so far. With my record of cleaning up urban blight and putting Illinoisans back to work, I would do the same for the country and lead it back to full greatness...”
“YOU LIAR!” came a sudden strong shout from the bottom of the bleachers, snapping Ferris out of the funk the speech had been putting him in. He looked up to see a boy with glasses jump up and storm towards the podium despite several of his classmates’ attempts to pull him back. “You ruined my family, Tannen!” he shouted furiously at the senator, “”You got my father’s store shut down...!”
“Uh, I’m sorry, young man, I don’t think we’ve met before...” Tannen squinted at him.
“Yes you have! I’m Jerry Greenfield, in case you don’t remember, and you stood outside my dad’s grocery in Glencoe and said it was a relic that had to be swept away! Don’t you remember that!? Or were you too busy taking the money from the developers!?”
“All right, that’s enough, young man!” came the angry shout that sent a chill down Ferris’s spine even while safely atop the bleachers. The intimidating figure of Edward R. Rooney, Dean of Students, rose up from his chair next to the podium. “Either take a seat right now, buster, or it’s detention!” he warned the boy, “Because I will not tolerate an attack on Senator Tannen when he’s taken time out of his busy schedule to be here today!”
“He worked hand in hand with the developers to ruin us, Mr. Rooney; somebody’s got to confront him on...!”
“All right, that’s detention, mister!” Rooney grabbed the boy’s arm roughly and dragged him out of the gym, pausing only to shout, “Shut up!” at the other students booing him. “Uh, well, anyway,” Senator Tannen started again, wiping sweat from his forehead, “I honestly don’t know what that was about, kids, as I don’t know whoever that was, but as I was saying, you are this country’s future, and with me as president, you’ll have ample opportunity to...”
“Hmm,” Ferris mused atop the bleachers, his brow furling, “Remember what I said about that opportunity earlier to make an impact, guys?” he turned to Sloane and Cameron, unconcerned with the rest of Tannen’s speech, “I think that opportunity just presented itself to us now.”
“But are we sure he’s got actual beef with the senator?” Cameron seemed unconvinced.
“Cameron, why would he stand up and intercede if there wasn’t?” Sloane was frowning, “Something did happen between them.”
“Yeah; our good friend Mr. Tannen went visibly pale when he stood up and shouted him down,” Ferris nodded, “And look, he’s still sweating good,” he pointed to the senator, “Something touched a nerve with him. So, with that in mind, what do you say we crash detention afterwards and see what the whole story is? If it is what I think it might be, we could be on the verge of making a bigger difference than I’d even hoped this morning.”