Clad in a blue T-shirt and white shorts, Robert York sped down Main Street on his bike as fast as his five foot seven frame could carry him. The seventeen year old was in such a rush that he'd almost collided with a delivery truck back on Russell Way. As he turned onto Victoria Street, the dark haired teen glanced up at the clock on the old library and realized that he was already a half-hour late. It was already almost seven-thirty.
Robert practically jumped off his bike as he reached his destination, Collins' Drug Store. Leaving his bike against the wall, he rushed inside, a small slip of white paper in his hand.
"Whoa, slow down, Bobby," John Collins said from behind the counter as he looked up and saw his delivery boy rush in. "Where's the fire?"
Robert really hated it when people called him Bobby, much preferring the more adult Robert. After all, he was only two weeks from his eighteenth birthday and six weeks from going way to college. Still, Mr. Collins had known him since he was in diapers, so certain allowances had to be made.
"Sorry, Mr. Collins," Robert said as he came to a stop at the countertop. "I'm running a little late."
"Still no reason to rush around like that," Mr. Collins admonished, "Damn fool thing to break your neck trying to make up a few minutes. The world will still be there an hour later."
Thinking back to his near miss with the delivery truck back on Russell Way, the slim teenager had to agree with the older man's advice. He had too much going for him to throw it all away in a stupid accident.
"Anyway, here's Mrs. O'Neill's prescription," Robert said as he handed the white slip of paper to the Pharmacist. "She insisted that I hand it to you personally."
Mrs. Alice O'Neill was the widow of Thomas O'Neill III, the founder and late President of Northfork Station's largest bank. A position now held by her oldest son. As such, even at ninety-two, she wasn't someone anyone in town could afford to treat with disrespect. Or at least any action that she might perceive as disrespect.
Over twenty-five years ago, long before Robert had even been born, a clerk at another Drug Store had made an error in copying down a prescription that had been called in by one of her doctors. Thankfully, it hadn't been a harmful mistake, but it had made her insist that any future prescription be delivered in writing.
"I'll have Johnny run it out to the O'Neill house as soon as I'm done," Mr. Collins said as he read the form, causing Robert to let out a small sigh of relief that he wasn't going to have to make himself even later by having to go back.
"I'll be going then," Robert said as he again glanced up at the closest clock.
"That would be fine," Mr. Collins replied as he took a moment to remember on what shelf he would find the pills called for in the prescription. "Oh by the way, your mother called about an hour ago."
"Thanks Mr. Collins," Robert said, "I'll call her before I leave."
Leaving the Pharmacist to his work, Robert moved to the payphone on the wall near the door and dropped in a quarter. His home phone was busy and continued to be so when he tried a second and third time. He finally gave up, thinking if it had been anything really important, his Mom would've left a message.
"Goodnight, Mr. Collins," Robert called out as he waved good-bye.
Absorbed in his work, Mr. Collins didn't even notice him leave.
Racing again through the streets of Northfork Station, Robert kept Mr. Collins' advice in mind and went a little more carefully. After all, it wasn't like it was going to be the end of the world if he missed his tutoring session.
Two months before, Robert had graduated with the rest of his friends from Lincoln High. Although he passed all of his classes, his math grades had dropped to a level that didn't make his parents happy.
He tried to explain that it wasn't totally his fault. True, he had at least partly fallen into the "let it slide" syndrome that many high school seniors become afflicted with their last semester. With their college acceptance already in hand, it was hard to concentrate on good grades.
Yet, part of the drop in his math grade had to also be attributed to his having Miss Freyne as a teacher. The old joke, that the elderly teacher had been there when the school had been built wasn't far from the truth. Not only had Robert's parents endured her uninspiring lessons, but his grandparent's as well. There hadn't been a student in Robert's class who hadn't seen their math grade drop at least ten points.
Robert's parents had suggested, rather incessantly, that their son take a refresher course over the summer to prevent his being at a disadvantage when he started his freshman year in the fall. Robert had resisted the idea, not wanted to spend his summer in a classroom. A compromise had finally been reached when they agreed to hire a private tutor instead. Deciding it was the lesser of two evils, Robert gave in.
There were few teachers in the small town that did private tutoring, mostly some of older ones who didn't have any real plans for the summer. So it was a pleasant shock to the young man when he discovered that his parents had hired Emily Samuels as his tutor.
Emily Samuels was thirty years old and had just started at Lincoln High the previous year. There were a lot of rumors that came with her, some of which had proven true and others just speculation.
It was true that she'd grown up in Northfork Station, having gone to the same school where she now taught. It was also true, although a lot of the details were sketchy, that she had returned to the small town after having moved to the big city almost a decade before, gotten married and then divorced.
Whatever the reason, she had been warmly received by the student body. The girls liked her because she was more in tune with the world today, and not constantly going on about the way it used to be. The boys didn't need any reason other than the way she looked when she walked in the door every morning. Five six and a hundred and thirty pounds, Emily Samuels had short, dark red hair that she wore cut just a few inches above her neck. She had a slim build that accented her small rounded breasts. A check of the year's attendance record would reveal that few students of either sex missed her class. Robert had been no exception.
She had gotten the rare teaching position, since Miss Freyne was living proof that most teachers at Lincoln High stayed there forever, through the strong recommendation of Danielle Cody, the school's vice principal. Another product of the small town, the heavy set black woman had been a teacher when Emily had been a student.
Danielle Cody had been the vice principal for the last five years and as such was responsible for discipline in the school. Few students who had a run in with her in that capacity ever forgot it. Robert himself had the misfortune to be among that number during his last month at Lincoln.
It had all come about because of what had been known for years as simply 'The List'. Somewhat of a tradition at Lincoln High, it wasn't exactly one that the school was proud of. That was quite understandable, seeing as the list was a collection of all the girls in the senior class, ranking them as far as sexual assets.
This year, the list had taken on a whole new dimension when it added a column depicting many of the girls' sexual history. To further compound the indignation, someone hacked into the school's official web site and posted it there. Many parents had gone into a rage to find that their darling daughters not only weren't virgins, according to the list, but that they swallowed as well.
One of the students who had access to the web site, Robert had undergone a very intimidating interrogation by Miss Cody. He was never so thankful to be able to say he knew nothing, as the old line he saw on TV Land went.
Throughout his interrogation, Robert couldn't help but get the impression that Danielle Cody seemed to be secretly amused by the whole thing. His desire to keep a straight face wasn't helped by that idea or the fact that even at forty-two, the vice principal was a pretty attractive woman.
Five foot five, Danielle Cody had dark mahogany skin and short salt and pepper hair that she wore close cropped to her scalp. With a robust build that carried well her hundred and sixty pounds, it was her 40D breasts that had given her the nickname of "Juggs" in her younger years. A name still used by some of the students, but of course none of them would ever use that to her face.
But of course there was nothing to prevent the nickname from repeating itself endlessly in Robert's mind as he listened to her questions and tried to convince her of his innocence. Especially with the inspiration for the nickname practically hanging a few feet from his face.
In the end, it was determined that neither Robert, nor any of other students questioned, had anything to do with the desecration of the web site. It was only after graduation that he learned, from someone who had actually been involved, that the whole thing had been the work of Sarah Golden, the President of the Computer Club. A little piece of revenge on all the popular girls who had looked down on her as being unfit to be in their little circle.
.... There is more of this story ...