Episode 18 – Back to School

The bus pulls up, and we rush out…leap up the steps, and are immediately greeted by my buds Neal and Carl…it’s awesome to see them.

“Hey, dudes!” I exclaim, as Azalea and I swing into the seat behind them. As usual, Neal’s crammed in, knees to his head…has a bitch of a time getting his 6’5″ body into seats made for kindergartners

“Where were you guys yesterday?” He asks. “Nobody knew squat.”

Azalea and I look at each other…can’t help laughing.

“You wouldn’t believe it if we told you,” she replies.

I’m worried she’s gonna say we spent the day naked, but whew! She explains her house is in the sticks, and her crazy father kicked us out.

Neal turns to me. ‘Why didn’t you call your dad?”

“We left our cells at Azalea’s and forgot ’em when her father went nuts.”

“Fuck! What a bummer,” Neal says. “Can you get them back?”

I shrug. “Not with her dad around.”

Carl’s staring out the window, motionless…not saying shit.

“Carl, how you doing?” I ask. “Is something wrong?” He doesn’t look himself. Isn’t wearing one of his typical wild outfits…just jeans, sneakers and a white tee.

He tells us Mr. Baker’s on him constantly. “The fucker keeps hassling me…like I’m the only kid in class. Stares at me every second. Stops me for bullshit reasons like my sneaker’s untied. Talks about restaurants in town. What’s that about? Makes no sense. I’ll never see him off school grounds. This year’ll be friggin’ hell with him around. I’d switch to private school, but I’d never see you guys.”

“He’s gotta be a pedophile,” Azalea says. “It’s the only logical thing. You’re too damned good looking for a boy.”

It’s totally true. With golden hair, fair skin and blue eyes, Carl sticks out like a sore thumb.

“It’s a fucking curse,” he mumbles. Drops his forehead against the seat in front. Stares at the floor. “Fuck!!!!! Why me?”

“Dude,” I say, “You better tell somebody…before things get out of hand. Maybe he’s like that Sandusky perv at Penn State?”

“Jeez….now he’s harassing me about my test scores. Says I’ve got unlimited potential…wants to tutor me…even emailed my folks…and they’re fucking psyched! Shit!”

I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Girls lust after Carl, but never a teacher. I want to help the poor guy, but haven’t a clue how…except for talk, nothing’s happened. If I had a normal dad, I’d go to him.

“It’s fucked up,” Carl adds, “my parents are ecstatic…swallow everything he says…tell me how lucky I am a teacher’s taking an interest. Fuck! If they only knew. I’ve tried to explain he’s a pain in my ass, but my father keeps regurgitating shit like: ‘You’re gonna have to work for a change. No excuses! This is just the medicine you need!’ It’s fucking up my life big time…kids notice. Baker’s acting queer as shit, so when I talk to him, it makes me look queer too. I never caught shit before, but now I get these strange looks! What the fuck am I gonna do?”

“Give him shit right back!” Azalea says.

“I try to ignore him, but he doesn’t take the hint!”

Unfortunately, Carl’s one of those guys who attracts attention….has a really cool vibe. Acts like he doesn’t give a shit and does wild stunts…the guy’s an obsessed mountain biker and rock climber…does really dangerous shit…in incredible shape, but Baker has him freaked…never seen him so down. When the bus reaches school, he doesn’t want to get off…but, we finally coax him….drags himself to homeroom like a prisoner facing the death penalty.

The minute we enter the room, Baker notices and hurries over. “Carl, we need to talk.” Pulls him aside. They have a tense discussion. Baker’s talking a mile a minute…Carl glares defiantly…hardly says a thing.

Everybody takes their seats except them. Kids are staring, whispering. I lean toward Azalea. “It’s looking bad.”

Suddenly Carl loses it. Screams, “fuck this!” and charges out of the room.

We’re stunned, silent. Baker shakes his head and walks to his desk. Shuffles his papers…looks blankly at Azalea and me. “Oh, yes…you two are wanted in the Principal’s office.”

We stare at each other, wide-eyed…get up. “This isn’t exactly unexpected,” I whisper.

We slip out of the classroom and head down the hall. “I hope they suspend us,” Azalea says. “We’ll have a blast!”

As we pass the main entrance, Carl’s outside on a bench, staring at his sneakers. “Let’s find out what happened,” I stay, turning toward him.

To be continued….Read next episode!