Red Roses

I remember something like this from my childhood. This was posted by Stan Kegel on the shaggydog group on

There was a boy in high school we will call Joey. One day Joey leaned over to the girl sitting next to him in class and whispered, “Red roses.” The shocked girl stood up, slapped Joey in the face and went crying to the teacher. The teacher called Joey to the desk and asked what he had said. “Red roses” was Joey’s reply, at which the teacher screamed and sent poor Joey to the principal’s office.

As Joey waited in the lobby to be called in, he pondered what was happening to him. His thoughts where cut short by the sound of the secretary saying he could go in. Joey walked into the office and was told to take a seat, which he did.

After telling the story of how he had been wrongly accused and how he knew there was some mistake, the principal smiled and asked “OK, Joey, I understand. What did you say to her?” Joey was sure the principal would be a reasonable man and responded “Red roses.” you could watch as the principal turned red and shouted “YOU’RE EXPELLED! GET OUT!” Joey asked to wait for the bus to take him home, since he lived some distance away. “NO!” Then Joey was informed that if he was caught on the premises again, he would be arrested for trespassing.

Very distraught, Joey set out on his way home. He had made it about a mile down the road when Old Man Jones, the local pig farmer, stopped and offered a ride home. Joey, being very upset, of course, accepted the ride. Not more than a mile down the road, Old Man Jones asked why Joey wasn’t in school, so Joey told the story of the events that had happened that day.

At the end of the story, the old man said that it sounded like Joey had quite a rough time of it “Oh, and what did you say?” Joey hesitated — should he tell the man what he said, or not? He decided to tell him. “Red roses.” The tires squealed as the truck ground to a halt. Old Man Jones reached over and opened the door and pushed Joey out on his ear. Now very angry, Joey got up, brushed himself off, and continued on his way home.

Upon arriving at home, Joey’s mother, Mrs.. Campbell, saw that her son wasn’t looking too good, and asked why he hadn’t caught the bus. Joey told her. She fixed Joey a bowl of soup, then asked, “Joey, dear, what on earth did you say to that little girl?”

Joey wasn’t sure what to do. He knew his mother loved him, but he didn’t want her to have the same reaction everyone else had. But he told her anyway. “Red roses.”

Joey waited in his room with a bruised ego and a sore bottom, wondering what would happen when his father got home. Six o’clock came around and Joey’s father got home. He could hear his parents arguing outside his door, then suddenly it was quiet.

Mr.. Campbell came into the room and said, “Your mother told me you had some trouble at school, but I told her you and I would figure it out. But the first thing is you have to tell me what you said.” “OK, Dad, I said ‘red roses’,” was Joey’s response. “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, YOU”RE NO SON OF MINE!”

The next morning, Joey decided he needed to get a job. It was a while before he found anyone who would hire a 15-year-old who had been expelled from high school and kicked out of the house. But Joey wasn’t a quitter, and he did find a job working at a gas station in a neighboring town. After a few months, Joey had managed to get settled in his new job and had even moved into the apartment over his boss’ garage.

On a particularly slow day at work, Joey’s boss asked what had happened that caused everything that had happened to happen. Joey went into a long story of emotional stress, misunderstood youth, the pain of having lost all of his friends and family in one fateful day. The tale Joey spun was so powerful, his boss was moved to tears and, out of compassion, offered to adopt Joey. With the first smile to cross his lips in months, Joey accepted.

On the way to the court proceedings a few days later, Joey’s boss asked him, “Exactly, what did you say to her?” Without thinking, Joey replied, “Red roses.” His boss grew as white as a ghost and said, “That was my niece, you little pervert!”

Once again, Joey was without a friend in the world. The next day Joey took all the money he had managed to save and bought a bus ticket “to wherever the farthest place from here is.” As he waited for his bus, a little old lady sat down next to him on the bench. Even though he didn’t want to, she started talking, and before you knew it, she had heard almost the whole story. But she interrupted and asked what he had said. “Ma’am, I said ‘red roses’.” Well, the words were just barely out of his mouth when she started beating him with her cane. In order to flee the fury of the old woman, he ran across the road, but he never made it to the other side. He was hit by a speeding Mack truck and he died.

The moral of this story is: Always look both ways before crossing the street.

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