Welcome to Part II of “The Ladore Luger.” When we last left Billy Hamilton, he had just finished tormenting a complete stranger at a bus stop. He was then offered a chance to ride with a jerk from his school and you were given the chance to vote for what you wanted him to do. Of course, Billy is a very kind and loveable person, so there is no way he would get himself tangled up with the likes of that terrible bully in the car.
Um… it seems you voted that he would get tangled up with the likes of that terrible bully in the car. Apparently you don’t care for Billy the way I do.
Anyway, we join Billy back at that bus stop as he has decided to get into the jerk’s car.
Billy picked up his backpack off of the sidewalk and threw it over his shoulder. Maybe this year really would be different, he thought. He had never been invited to spend any amount of time with a person as popular as this guy must be. Stepping off of the edge of the curb, he felt the chill of the passenger door handle.
Then, it was gone.
There, where the car had previously set, was a great deal of nothingness. Only feet away, the nervous kid made eye contact for Billy, just long enough to show a lack of sympathy towards his verbal assailant. That momentary glance might as well have been a quick punch to the gut.
Just ahead of him, the driver stuck his head out of his window.
“Ha! See you at school! Enjoy the bus!” he cackled as he pulled his head back into the car before tearing away from the bus stop.
Billy stood there in the middle of the street, dumbfounded. How could he have been that stupid? Just because it was a new school did not mean he stood a chance of being cool. He was, once again, left to be friends with the losers and rejects, stuck with the kids who did not shower often enough or thought wearing their Dungeons and Dragons cape to school was, for some reason, a good idea.
He was stuck with the nervous kid he had just insulted.
“Wow! Your new friend sure seems cool,” said the kid, getting enough nerve up to torment his one-time tormentor. “I bet you guys are going to hang out so much! Do you think he’ll invite you over for a sleepover with his cool football buddies? Yeah, you and Dave Barkley are pretty much inseparable. Like Thelma and Louise, except one of you have to ride the bus! I mean, seriously? Dave Barkley! I…”
As the taunting continued, Billy took off walking. There was no way he was going to wait for a bus with that kid. He would rather hike the mile and half to school than listen to that for one more second. He pulled his backpack up over his shoulder and took off.
With a block to go, Billy heard the bell ring. The bus he had left behind had passed him 15 minutes ago and, after a brief minute of fuming that the nervous kid was pointing and laughing at him as it passed, had picked up his pace. Still, he was going to be late for his first day at North Ladore High.
By the time he pushed open the front door, the hallway had emptied. He found himself in a virtual ghost town. The only person he saw was the heavy-set secretary stationed next to the door.
“You got a pass?” she said, nearly sneering. Even though it was only four words, her sentence seemed to last forever.
“Um… no… I…”
The heavy-set woman interrupted. “You got to see Principal Stewart,” she said slowly, motioning to the door behind her. Billy walked past her, the woman never taking her eyes off of the role sheet she was so carefully policing.
The office was quiet, sans one loud booming voice.
“Come in!” it shouted, echoing off of the bare cinder block walls and into the hall Billy had just come from. He looked around. No one else seemed to move, everyone continuing to look at their computers. A door opened wide and the owner of the voice, a very slight man, appeared.
“Come on in,” he insisted with a smile. Billy had no choice, taking the seat the man motioned towards.
“Hi. I’m Principal Stewart. I don’t believe we’ve met.” The same smile set there. At first glance it seemed insincere, a phony smile to put students at ease. On closer inspection, he just seemed happy. Incredibly happy in fact. Maybe it was his Garfield calendar or his “#1 PrinciPAL” mug that made him happy, but for whatever reason this man seemed genuinely thrilled to be there.
“Billy Hamilton,” Billy said, being met with a firm handshake.
“Well, Billy, I see you’re late to your first day.” Principal Stewart looked down at a file on his desk before looking back up at Billy. “Did you miss the bus?”
“Uh…yeah.” He decided to leave out the details of his walk to school. No reason to go into the nitty-gritty.
“Well, punctuality is important. You really should be more careful.”
“I remember,” Principal Stewart interrupted, “a time when I was frequently late to things. I found that once I started showing up on time, my life really began to take shape. I got promoted and now I have all of this.” He motioned towards his office. Billy raised an eyebrow. Apparently punctuality does not get you too far in life.
Before Principal Stewart could continue, a man peeked his head inside the door.
“Stewart, you got a second?” he said, walking in. “I have the numbers.”
Principal Stewart stood, taking it from the man. “Coach Anderson,” he said, “this is Billy Hamilton. Billy is new to North Ladore High.”
“Hi Billy,” said the coach, before immediately returning his look to Principal Stewart. “Do you have second to talk about the numbers?”
Stewart looked at Billy, and nervously back at the coach. Sitting the file down on the desk, he took a step towards the door before turning back. “I will be right back, Billy,” he said, his smile gone. He glanced about the office and began to speak with the coach. Their conversation was barely audible over the buzz of the fluorescent lights and tapping of keyboards outside of the office, their hushed tones disguised by the sounds around them.
Suddenly, it was much louder.
“What do you mean you think they know?” Stewart said, his shock bringing a stop to the typing for a brief second.
Billy set there, awkwardly. Clearly he was not meant to be here. He did not want to be here. He would rather be in class or, even better, at home away from this chaos. He thought back to this morning’s exchange and immediately shuddered. It was only nine o’clockand already his day had been filled with a jumbo-sized portion of awkwardness.
Glancing around, he saw the two men duck into a nearby conference room. He was alone. He looked around, hoping to find a magazine or maybe a school newspaper to look at while he waited. He had already experienced enough uncomfortable moments today. Sitting alone in an office for an extended period of time did not seem like something he wanted to tack on to that.
There, on the desk, a paper had slid halfway out from the file that had led to the frenzied meeting that was being held in the room next door.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: “The Ladore Luger: Part 1″ (badlandsbadley.wordpress.com)