It wasn't actually my first day at the school but it was my first supposedly normal day. The range of my dad's nomadic lifestyle meant that records from my previous schools weren't really much help in assessing the state of my progress in various subjects, so I had visited the school several times the previous week to undergo a barrage of tests. I had already been shown around and allocated my timetable, a pile of textbooks and a locker ready for today, plus I had been assigned the help of a mentor, Claire Reynolds, who was supposed to be my shadow for the first week or so until I was acclimatised.
Claire was waiting for me at the school gates. I recognised the chubby girl immediately from her school yearbook photo, although she had added yet more weight in the intervening months. She was holding a card with the name 'Mister Natalie' on it, as though at an airport. Claire had an open, honest face and seemed genuinely pleased to meet me when I introduced myself. We both had a good laugh when I pointed out my name was Natalie Minster, and I soon decided that I liked her.
We walked up the school driveway together and entered the main school building through a side entrance because it was the quickest way to the lockers. Braving the throng and the hubbub, Claire introduced me to several girls, all of whom matched the label 'misfit'. It seemed I would be joining the misfit clique at this school, although that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. In my experience the misfits were usually ignored.
Opening my locker, I sorted out the books I needed for my first lesson and put the remainder on the shelves in my locker. I reluctantly added my smartphone to the pile. According to the copy of the school rules I had thoroughly digested over the weekend, phones weren't allowed in lessons and my locker seemed the safest place for it.
My dad and I had matching phones from when we lived in Japan. They were a generation ahead of anything currently available in America. Although there were no laws against it, traditionally their latest tech isn't sold to foreigners, but the Japanese were so grateful for the work my dad did for them that they made an exception. Fortunately the phones weren't as ostentatious as, for example, iPhones. But even if someone did steal my phone, the remotely activateable GPS tracker should enable its retrieval.
Suddenly the hubbub died away, much as birds stopping singing just before a thunderstorm. My dad had taught me situational awareness but just how dangerous could a school be? The answer came when a large, meaty paw reached round me and landed on my right boob.
Knowing that nothing good was going to come from the situation, I tilted my phone to an appropriate angle and set it to record. Then I turned round to face my assailant. The boy with his hand on my boob was a least a foot taller than me, built like a tank and had a large, stupid-looking face, as though endowed with too many recessive genes...
"Seriously?" I asked, indicating the offending hand.
The boy grinned then squeezed.
My boobs are pretty small and I haven't had them long but they're my boobs and they're very tender. So slightly less than two seconds later, the retard was lying flat on the floor with his offending hand pinned as far up his back as I could manage without dislocating or breaking anything. Then I sought out his balls with my free hand and squeezed hard; if he could squeeze my tender bits, I could certainly squeeze his. The retard squealed like a pig, which was followed by a spontaneous cheer and round of applause from the onlookers.
"Fighting is not allowed on the school grounds. Go to the Principal now!" barked a man's voice.
"If I were fighting, I'd have broken something by now," I replied, then I looked up to see who had spoken.
The man was effeminate looking, probably gay. Dramatic Arts, Music, Art or possibly English I guessed. I realised he was standing absolutely motionless so he hadn't just arrived.
"You were watching the whole time," I accused. "You saw him grope me and did nothing."
"I thought it was an accident," said Mr Effeminate, not meeting my eyes.
"He's done this before, hasn't he! You're afraid of this retard, aren't you!"
Mr Effeminate looked down at his shoes.
"Well here's what's going to happen," I announced. "The retard will apologise for groping me, and he'd better make it sound as though he means it. The retard will also promise not to molest any more girls on school property. Then we're going to go our separate ways and, as usual, you're going to say nothing, aren't you Mr Three Monkeys!"
Mr Three Monkeys continued to stare at his shoes.
"Time to apologise, retard."
"Fuck you, bitch," the retard whispered.
"Wrong answer, retard!"
I gave his balls an even harder squeeze and was rewarded with a very loud and satisfying squeal.
"Okay, I apologise," he panted, after I relaxed my grip.
"And you're not going to molest any more girls, are you?"
The answer was slow in coming, so I gave his balls another little squeeze as a reminder.
"No, I promise."
"There, that wasn't so hard was it! Now off you go."
I let the retard get up and returned to my locker. The hubbub started up again then instantly died back down. Feeling the timbre of the air change and catching a partial reflection from the metallic locker, I shimmied out of the way of the retard's haymaker. Hearing the crunch of bones as his fist hit my locker full force followed by his subsequent screaming, I knew the retard had done himself serious damage. Fearing the inevitable, I sent copies of the video to my home computer, my cloud storage and my dad.
An hour later I was sitting outside the Principal's office, still waiting for him to see me. His secretary, a blonde woman who appeared little older than a schoolgirl herself, kept throwing nervous glances at me. A buzzer sounded on the secretary's intercom.
"Mr Dobringer will see you now," she announced.
I entered the Principal's office and took the seat he indicated. Mr Three Monkeys was also in the office.
"I'm very disappointed in you Miss Minster," said Mr Dobringer. "Your first day at school and you assaulted and injured another pupil. Mr McHughton here has given me a full account. I am suspending you for a fortnight."
I got up and made for the door.
"Where are you going?" asked Mr Dobringer.
"To my lessons."
"Don't you get it? You're suspended."
"No, I'm not, because you haven't fulfilled the school rules for a suspension hearing. I have the right to a hearing at which I have the right to representation and the right to call witnesses. Did you know that Mr Three Monkeys here has been turning a blind eye to sexual assaults by the retard who attacked me today? It's all on video on my phone."
"Don't call me that," muttered Mr McHughton.
"Show me the video," demanded Mr Dobringer.
I uploaded the video to Mr Dobringer's computer and he hit play. Mr HcHughton's eyes dropped to his shoes again. He seemed to spend a lot of his time staring at his shoes.
"Thank you Mr McHughton, you can go now," said Mr Dobringer.
Mr Three Monkeys bolted from the room.
"Give me your phone," demanded Mr Dobringer.
"Because I said so."
"There's nothing in the school rules saying I can't have my phone with me, except in lessons. Therefore you're trying to steal it and I am entitled to resist. The only way you're getting this phone is by prising it from my cold, dead fingers."
Mr Dobringer made a sudden grab for my phone. We ended up on the floor with Mr Dobringer on his back, immobilised in a headlock. I was shocked when I saw the tent in his pants. I immediately thought of a way I might exploit it, although I'd never done anything remotely like it before.
"My God, you're getting off on this, aren't you!. Stand up and drop your pants then lean over your desk."
As soon as I released him, Mr Dobringer did as I had commanded. Underneath his pants he was wearing a pair of cotton boxer shorts covered in cartoon characters. I considered making him drop the boxer shorts too, then decided the sight would be too gross. I put my phone on a filing cabinet and started to record.
I couldn't see any convenient object I could use for my purpose so I had to resort to using my hands. By the time I had given him twenty hard spanks on each flabby buttock, my hand was stining and needed a rest. I groped between Mr Dobringer's legs and gently squeezed his balls. Suddenly he stiffened and grunted and the air became tainted with the bleachy smell of fresh semen. And I hadn't even touched his cock.
"Get out," he whispered, more a plea than a command.
I collected my phone and left Mr Dobringer to his sore butt and soggy underwear. I winked at his secretary and she blushed. I wondered whether she had overheard everything that had happened in the office.
I copied the video to my home computer and my cloud storage. No need for my dad to see this one.
I made it just in time for the start of my third scheduled lesson of the day, Advanced French. The teacher was a Miss Sylvester, who looked as though she'd barely finished college. She seemed to know her stuff but her accent was dreadful. She fired a question my way and I answered in quickfire French.
"Please could you repeat that?" she asked.
I repeated my answer, only more slowly.
"Yes, that's right, but why aren't you pronouncing the words like me?"
"Well Miss Sylvester, I lived for a year just outside Paris, at the end of which people said I spoke like a native. I think I can learn a lot from you in terms of spelling and grammar, but I'd rather not unlearn everything I know about pronunciation in the process."
Miss Sylvester hesitated, then reached a decision.
"You're right, Miss Minster. I'm only a stand-in while Mrs Sims is on maternity leave. I've never actually been to France. Would you be prepared to help me by teaching the correct pronunciations?"
And so I was roped into helping the teacher during our Advanced French lessons.
At lunchtime, it was quite a task to find anything vaguely healthy and edible amongst all the standard crappy American junk food fare. What a come-down from the school cuisine in Japan and France. I was corralled by Claire and dragged over to the misfits table, where I was introduced to all her friends for the second time. They made it clear that I was now something of a school hero and wanted to know what had happened in the Principal's office. All I would tell them was that we had reached an understanding.
"Are you going to the dance on Friday?" I was asked by Sameena Pritchard, a very pretty girl who seemed to have acquired misfit status purely from being mixed race.
"The last Friday of every month when school's in session, the school holds a dance in the Main Hall," explained Claire. "It's policed by a mixture of teachers and volunteer parents to ensure no drugs, alcohol or inappropriate displays of affection."
"What sort of dancing? Ballroom, disco, country and western, line dancing?"
"Whatever you like. The main reason for going is to hang out. They lay on soft drinks and snacks," said Cathy Alburton, an extremely shy archetypal nerd.
"If you're all going then I suppose I should too," I said.
"Who are you going with?" asked Sameena.
"What's the convention?"
"It's normal to go with a dance partner of the opposite sex, although I don't suppose that matters since you're new," said Claire.
"I suppose I could bring the retard but I don't think he'd be up to much dancing with his hand in plaster," I said, feigning seriousness.
Cola snorted out of Sameena's nose and the other girls patted her on the back to stop her choking.
"Do you know who the retard is?" asked a girl named Nicolette Williamson, who seemed to qualify as a misfit because everything she wore was imprinted with flowers.
"Not a clue."
"His name's Jason Kovacs. He's the football team's star running back, at least in his own mind. His dad is Mason Kovacs."
"And who is Mason Kovacs?"
"You've never heard of Mason Kovacs? He owns most of the town. You'd better keep out of his way because he's trouble."
Don't you just love small town America! I made a note to warn my dad that trouble might be brewing.
Looking around the cafeteria, none of the boys looked particularly appealing, including those sitting at their own version of the misfits table.
"Who's that boy there and what's his story?" I asked, pointing to a cute but skinny, black-haired boy sitting on his own, reading a book while he picked at his lunch.
"That's Eric Radley," said Claire. "He's a genius but he's autistic. He had a nasty reaction to a childhood vaccine."
"Is he okay with crowds and loud noises?"
"He doesn't panic or anything, he just sort of shuts down."
"Okay, I can deal with that," I said.
"What, you're thinking of going to the dance with him? He never goes to dances."
"And he never will if nobody will go with him."
I got up and walked to Eric's table, taking the seat opposite.
"Hello Eric, I'm new here. My name's Natalie."
"I know," said Eric, not looking up from his book, 'Mathematical Methods for Scientists'.
"Would you like to go to the dance with me on Friday?"
"I've never been to a dance."
"Neither have I. We can provide mutual support."
"Are you making fun of me? I'm ... different."
"I'm not making fun of you but I am worried about how you'd cope. Claire says you don't react well to crowds and loud noises."
"Claire's nice, I like her."
"So do I, and I've only known her for a few hours."
"I'm okay with music. I don't like any sudden bangs like fireworks or guns. They make me hurt."
He definitely wouldn't be able to do my dad's job.
"I'll have to ask my mom," Eric continued. "She'll want to meet you first."
"Good. Have a talk to her and set something up."
I gave him my home number. Then, just as Eric was about to turn a page, I reached across and clasped his hand.
"Eric, can you look me in the eye?"
It seemed as though his head could move every way except up but finally he got there. His eyes were an intense steel grey, broadcasting the depth of his intellect. Even after all that effort he couldn't seem to focus his eyes on mine.
I gave his hand a gentle squeeze.
"Thank you, Eric. You have very distinctive eyes. I'm very glad to have made your acquaintance."
I released Eric's hand and he returned to his book as though dismissing me.
I returned to the misfits table.
"Oh my God, I can't believe you just did that!" exclaimed Nicolette.
"So did he agree to go with you?" asked Cathy.
"He's going to ask his mom."
"Please, don't hurt him," begged Claire.
"He likes you," I replied. "Would you prefer to go with him yourself?"
"I can't. I have this arrangement with the boy next door. Our parents have been trying to get us together virtually since birth. He's okay, but there's no spark between us. But we don't mind going out together to keep our parents happy."
Before afternoon lessons started, I sent my dad a text message telling him that Mason Kovacs was the father of the boy who had attacked me, and he might present a problem. I also checked that I didn't have any lessons scheduled with Mr Three Monkeys. That would have been problematical.
My first lesson after lunch was Advanced Mathematics, with an elderly teacher by the name of Mr Hopkins. Maths was one of my favourite subjects but Mr Hopkins was well past his 'best before' date. He knew his stuff but had no enthusiasm for teaching it. I realised I was going to have to do a lot of work on my own initiative to maintain my progress in the subject. Eric Radley was also in this class but Mr Hopkins was happy to let Eric continue reading his own maths book and ignore the lesson.
The next lesson was 'Introduction to American Studies'. I was the oldest student in this class by at least a couple of years. Having shared my dad's itinerant lifestyle, I knew far more about world history and geography than most Americans would learn in their lifetimes, but the downside was that I knew very little about American history and geography. To be honest I wasn't that interested, and I tuned out most of the lesson.
My final lesson of the day was English. I was probably stronger in the subject than they'd given me credit but much of my previous tuition had been British English rather than American and that showed in my spelling, punctuation and grammar. I was reasonably well read but I found that the teacher in this class, Mr Kaplinsky, treated certain American writers as world-renowned greats, even though most of the rest of the world had probably never heard of them.
Finally it was time to go home. I stowed all the books needed for my homework in my backpack and set off down the school driveway.
As I approached the school gate, I saw a couple of men waiting. One had a similar, stupid face to the retard and I guessed he was the boy's father. Standing next to him and in front of a car marked 'Sheriff' was a man wearing a sheriff's uniform and badge. I had a bad feeling about this. If the Sheriff were Mr Retard's butt-boy, my martial arts skills wouldn't be much use.
"That's the girl who assaulted my son," said Mr Retard.
"You must be Mr Retard," I said, far more confidently than I felt. "You must be proud of yourself, bringing up your son to molest girls and launch sneak attacks on them from behind."
"That's not true," said Mr Retard, his face reddening. "She attacked my son for no reason."
"Is that true, Mason?" asked the Sheriff. "Doesn't seem to me that a little scrap like that could hurt a hulking great lump like your son."
"I own this town," said Mr Retard, nearly screaming now, "and you do as I say. What I tell you happened is what happened. Now arrest that girl!"
"Natalie Minster, I'm arresting you for assault," said the Sheriff. "You have the right to remain silent..."