Posts Tagged ‘HIgh School’

*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*

You can read parts one through fifteen HERE!

Gladys inhales deeply. Even the measly electronic cig manages to get her blood pumping in her euphoria. Sure she’d had to stoop to a little rub and tug, but what was that compared to what she scored in return? No skin off her nose and certainly nothing she hadn’t resorted to before to get what she wanted out of William.

Her drive home is long and smooth. She dangles her arm out her open window the entire way, while tune after tune has her singing at the top of her lungs.

It isn’t until darkness falls that familiar landmarks start to appear. She flashes left and pulls into a mini-mart close to home. Her mood still light, she decides she’ll bring home mojos and a tub of fudge ice cream – two of Helena’s favorite things.

Entering the market, she dials home hoping to talk to Helena, but has to leave a message instead.

Probably in the shower, she thinks. Where does that kid ever go?

She strolls through the aisles, still humming and putting a little more in her basket than she initially intended. She hasn’t eaten all day. She doesn’t count the coffee and odd nip of whiskey.


Her last sip had been at the bait shop just before taking care of business with Will. She’d excused herself and crouched on the grody toilet lid in the stunted rotting bathroom, taking not one, but two large burning slugs from her flask. For good measure, she’d swiped some over her hands once back in her car, thinking it couldn’t hurt.

She grabs some potato chips. Salt and vinegar, they both like those. And a few bananas and a tub of yogurt out of guilt.

“Ms. Harris! You’re in late tonight.”

She looks at Sharona, a cashier she usually tries to avoid. Strange girl. Always fishing for gossip and a nosy twit by Gladys’ standards.

“Yeah, I guess it is late, Sharona. Whaddya know?”

“Oh, funny you should ask! I actually did hear something interesting tonight.”

The beeps from her scanner punch the air as she slowly slides each item over it. Gladys can see the ice cream is already starting to melt.

Sharona pauses for encouragement. Sensing none, she manages to muster up the enthusiasm to continue on her own.

“The high school. Some kinda trouble tonight.” She squints at the bag of mojos, frustrated its barcode won’t scan. “Yeah, there was a cop in here earlier. Got the last doughnut and the dregs from the coffee urn just before the deli shut down. Heard the call on his walkie. Cuz he paid at my till, right?”

“Are you asking me?”

She ignores Gladys’ snide snip and types in the crumpled barcode by hand, her nails clicking loudly on the keys.

“Turned it off though, before I could hear the whole thing. Guess I looked too interested.” She raises her over-tweezed eyebrows expecting praise. Confirmation she’d done well.

No longer anxious about her melting ice cream, Gladys pays and rushes to her car, fumbling for the keys.

Why isn’t Helena answering the phone?


Read Full Post »

*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*

I’m counting on you reading parts one through seven HERE!


Helena chooses a seat at the very end, as far away from everyone as possible and right next to the window. As she swings her bag across the table and onto the chair in front of her, a familiar voice disrupts any peace she thought she might be able to steal.

“Bags don’t get a seat. House rules.”

“And rules were made to be broken.” Helena replies without looking up.

“Do you really believe that, or are you on autopilot?” The voice asks, moving to stand in plain view.

Helena is forced to look at her. Small and plain, the girl’s perfectly trimmed hair runs up and around the curves of her ears and the long pieces in front are swept to one side, revealing her dark, dramatically arched brows. Her thickly feathered lashes cast shadows on her sun-covered cheeks and her tiny nose barely pushes out past her top lip.

“Autopilot’s kind of what I do.” Helena uses her fork to make bruise patterns across the withered leaves of lettuce on her plate.

“Bitty,” the girl says as she sits down next to the illegally parked backpack. Seeing a vague look of disbelief cross Helena’s face, she says; “It’s short for Bettina.”

“Oh. Okay well, Helena.” Helena surrenders reluctantly.

“Not sure that suits you,” she says. “I think I’ve finally come to accept you as a Sinead.”

“I have way more hair.”

“Yeah, I guess I was right the first time around. You’re a Sinead like I’m a Bettina.”

“Bitty it is.” Helena agrees.

As Bitty turns her face towards the window, Helena tries to make out the tiny tattoo behind her left ear.


Read Full Post »

*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*

I’m counting on you reading parts one through six HERE!


Anass knows by her ring that she’s fairly newly wed. It’s one of those made to look antiques every fresh bride he’s come across in the last five years wears but it’s platinum rather than yellow gold and a baguette setting instead of a solitaire. It’s loose on her finger and he watches her twisting it back and forth. Her nails are freshly polished and shine like a display case boasting a precious jewel.

“When exactly did you become aware of this?” He asks, leaning in a little too far.

“Well, Friday…”

“You’ve known since Friday and you’re only telling me now?”

Mrs. Statton’s face prickles with heat and she’s not sure if it’s the embarrassment or frustration.

“I found it just before our lunch meeting but I was running late, so I threw it in my briefcase,” she pauses. “And, well, I’ll admit I forgot about it over the weekend. I didn’t open my bag again until this morning.”

“I don’t have to tell you the problems this could have caused for the school should something have happened.”

“I would have been late for Manger Corbeau if I’d have read it then. You said twelve-thirty sharp, remember?” Mrs. Statton leans in to meet him in the middle. “And we all know how you hate to wait, Mr. Anass.”

Anass backs off, if only slightly.

“And frankly, I think Mr. Crawford could have done more than throw it in a basket full of paperwork and walk away, don’t you?” Stephanie smiles her sweetest smile.

“I suppose…”

“So, if anyone is responsible for potentially causing problems for the school, Mr. Anass, I think Crawford should be considered.” She leans in even further, ensuring he has a clear view of the bright blue V-neck she’d pulled over her matching bra this morning.

“Mmm,” Rick had murmured as he watched her dress. “Come back to bed.”

Mr. Anass clears his throat.

“Yes. Yes, I’ll be chatting with Crawford as well.” His voice shakes a touch but he recovers quickly. “However, in the meantime, let’s you and I discuss strategy.”


As Stephanie walks down the hall back to the safety of her office, she tries to shudder off what she and some of the young, female teachers have to come to call “Whatanass’ Circadian Spurt.”

Once inside she breaks her own open door policy and drops the essay on her desk with an uncertain sigh.



Read Full Post »

Part One, Helena, is HERE

Part Two, Gladys, is HERE

Part Three, Mrs. Statton, is HERE

It’s just like any other day, Gladys decides as she applies her mascara, lifting each lash to its fullest extent. She fills the arch of her brow and shimmers her cheekbones before taking another sip of her lukewarm coffee.

Except it isn’t really. Today, she won’t be there to pick Helena up from school. She won’t be home to make dinner. And she may not even be back to watch the season finale of True Detective.

Her tummy does a bit of a flip. She smooths down the front of her blouse, smacks her lips and heads for the kitchen. After chucking her half full mug in the sink, she rummages through her purse and manages to round up sixteen dollars. Quickly scrawling something to the effect of get whatever this will buy you for dinner on a piece of scrap paper, Gladys takes one swig from the flask tucked behind the empty fridge and heads for the door.

Lying at the bottom of a stack of paperwork that’s taken me through ‘til nearly lunchtime, I come across a cluster of pages stapled together, sporting a hot pink Post-it. It’s covered with Mr. Crawford’s loosely looped handwriting – Stephanie, You need to read this, he advises. It’s a doozy.

I glance wistfully at the clock on the wall across from my desk. As tempted as I am to dive into the text, I know I don’t have time. I scan my calendar for a prompt on my lunch appointment and am reminded of what an unfortunate name Mr. Anass is for a high school Principal.

As the school Counselor, I’ve seen my fair share of varied troubling data, but have never been passed a student essay before. I sigh. It’ll have to wait. I tuck it into my briefcase, take a sip from my water bottle and set out to Manger Corbeau, where Anass will be waiting. During the drive I muse over the possible scenarios that could have led to naming the restaurant Eat Crow, but fail to come up with anything plausible.

It makes sense that it’s Anass’ favorite place to eat.

Eat Crow

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: