Read Dispatch Online

Authors: Bentley Little

Dispatch (10 page)

BOOK: Dispatch
12.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

"You're quite a young man."

I nodded, allowing myself a pained smile. "Thank you, sir."

He frowned. "Is there anything wrong?"

I shook my head. "It's just..." I trailed off, pretending to think the better of what I'd been about to say. "No. Nothing. Thank you, sir. Everything's fine."

"What is it, Jason? You can tell me."

"Well, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. It's important work, I think. I just wish it didn't take so much time away from school. Mrs. Zivney said I won't be able to get any scholarships, since my grades are good but not spectacular and I'm not involved in any extracurricular activities. And with my dad being ... well, you know ... my parents don't have enough money to send me to college."

"This is a travesty!" the principal announced. He led me down the corridor to Mrs. Zivney's office. "There should be plenty of scholarships available for a student with your qualifications. Let's talk to your counselor."

Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Zivney had me taking home an essay question for a full scholarship offered by a private philanthropist's foundation, had given me applications for two private-corporation scholarships and had given me the paperwork for a Pell Grant. In order to boost my profile and make me look better to financial-aid administrators, Principal Poole had appointed me to the school's Student Advisory Committee. "I think you'll be a fine addition to our little group," he said, "and I look forward to getting your unique take on some of the problems confronting our school today. Your input will be invaluable."

I smiled as I walked out of the office. Yesterday, the principal would not have recognized me if I'd bitten him on the ass. Today I was his bosom buddy. I thought of
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
. Koba-yashi Maru. When in doubt, cheat. If it was good enough for Captain Kirk, it was good enough for me.

Word spread, as I'd hoped it would. Soon all of my teachers knew that I was this great secret do-gooder, and across the board their attitudes toward me changed. They began to read profundity into my silences, began to interpret my vague and general answers in a more positive way. I had no doubt that my grades for this quarter would be greatly improved over the past.

A call to the school from the mayor, extolling my virtues and praising RBH High for turning out such a fine student as myself, did not hurt.

If any of my friends suspected anything, they didn't say. Robert and Edson, in particular, knew that I wasn't involved in any groups that were helping recovering alcoholics. Hell, between school and hanging out and the tight leash my parents kept on me, I didn't have
to do anything else. But for some reason we didn't talk about it, pretended I wasn't getting all of this sudden attention. We were best friends, but we weren't being honest with each other and we knew we weren't being honest with each other. There was a barrier between us, and it reminded me of when we were in fifth grade and involved with the Pen Pal Program. I realized for the first time that the three of us would not always be friends, that our friendship might not even survive past high school.

Sandra Fortuna, editor of the
Hayes Report
, our school newspaper, contacted me through Ms. Steinhart, my English teacher, and arranged to interview me about my community work the period after lunch in the cafeteria. I'd admired Sandra from afar for the past three years, ever since she'd been in my freshman PE class. I was a gawky, geeky guy doing my desperate best not to embarrass myself, and she was a poised, self-confident beauty. One time when she bent down to pick up a tennis ball, I caught a flash of panty, and from then on I was hooked. When I found out later that she was not only gorgeous and athletic but at the top of our class academically, I knew that I had no chance in hell with her—not that I would have been brave enough to approach her anyway.

So I intended to milk this interview for all it was worth.

We met at a corner table near the trash cans. She brought along a photographer, a goofy kid from my math class who snapped a few shots and then left, but Sandra remained, pen and notebook in hand, asking me how I'd gotten involved with helping alcoholics, where I'd gotten the idea to solicit donations and contributions from corporations, how I'd hooked up with the Sobriety Institute, why I kept it all so quiet and hid my light under a bushel. I lied extravagantly, building myself up in the humblest way possible, repeating and embellishing upon the biography that Hiram Merritt, the Sobriety Institute's fictional president, had sent to Principal Poole. There was one close call when she wanted me to give her the name and phone number of Merritt or someone else from the institute, but I convinced her that none of them would want to speak on the record because working with alcoholics required a certain degree of anonymity.

After the official interview ended, she hung around, talking. We were both supposed to go back to class, but our passes were good for the whole period, and we remained where we were. I couldn't believe how well we hit it off. I'd had no real experience talking to girls and was by no means good at it, but the conversation flowed naturally. We thought alike, we had similar tastes and similar ideas, and it was as if we'd known each other since kindergarten.

Feeling brave, my self-confidence boosted by my new status, I gathered up the courage to ask Sandra out on a date. I don't know what made me do such a thing, but my standing would never be higher with her than it was at this moment, and I knew I had to act now to take advantage of the momentum. "Would you ... like to go out sometime?" I asked, trying to make it seem as casual as I could.

"Friday's free," she said.

Friday was free? I would have bet that her schedule was booked full a year in advance. Of course, talking to her, I'd discovered that she was not at all what I'd expected. And she'd also decided to be editor of the paper instead of head cheerleader—when she could have been either—so I guess that said something about her.

"Friday would be great," I said before she changed her mind, doing my best to seem pleased but not excited, and definitely not surprised.

That was Tuesday. We ate lunch together the rest of the week, although it wasn't a huddled, lovey-dovey boyfriend-girlfriend thing. It was more casual, more open, and it felt natural—it felt good. We sat, ate, talked and hung out together, and it was as if we'd been friends forever. I usually ate with Robert and Edson, sometimes Frank, but they understood and gave me room. Sandra Fortuna. This was a rare opportunity.

Friday rolled around.

I picked her up at her house just after six. My dad let me borrow his car; he was grateful, I think, for the fact that I was actually going out on a date. Her parents seemed nice but dull—typical parents—but the meeting wasn't
painful. And then we were off. I'd made reservations at Salvatore's, a nice Italian restaurant, and while I was a little nervous that my manners weren't up to snuff, that I'd use the wrong fork or wipe my mouth incorrectly on the napkin, things went well.

After that, we went to a movie. I put my arm around her shoulder in the theater but wasn't brave enough to drop it any lower. It was nice, though, and halfway through, Sandra leaned closer and rested her head on my shoulder. We held hands.

In the car, following the film, we talked. We talked for so long that when I finally looked up and glanced out the window, I saw that the parking lot was practically empty. I turned back toward Sandra. We were sitting close, bodies touching. I didn't know where to go from here, wasn't sure if this date was just a onetime thing or if it was the beginning of some type of relationship.

"So what are we?" I asked hesitantly. "Friends?"

"More than friends," she whispered in the dark, and her words thrilled me, sent a shiver of barely contained excitement coursing through my body.

Especially one part of my body.

She couldn't see it, but she felt it, pressing against her thigh, and she reached out a small graceful hand and stroked me through my jeans. We kissed. Tongues. I slipped my hand under her blouse. No bra.

She was fumbling with my belt and unbuckling my pants. Her lips pulled away from mine, and she bent down and took me into her mouth. I'd never even kissed a girl before tonight, and the most I'd been hoping for this evening was maybe a feel, but now her face was in my lap and she was going to town. Her lips moved up and down my stiff organ, and then I exploded in her mouth with the biggest orgasm I'd ever had, pumping what felt like an endless geyser of sperm down her throat. She kept me there until I was spent and then slowly slid her lips off my softening penis, letting out a low satisfied moan. "Mmmmm."

She brushed the hair away from her eyes as she sat up straight, smiling at me. She pulled up my underwear, patting it, and I rebuckled my pants.

"Do you ... would you ... want to go out tomorrow night?" I asked.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I can't. Bill West asked me out last week, and I can't back out on this short notice. Not that anything's going to happen," she added quickly, snuggling against my chest and holding me close.

Bill West? If a girl like Sandra Fortuna was willing to go out with a dork like Bill West, I could have asked her out long ago. For once my dad had been right. If I'd only had the balls to act on my impulses, I wouldn't have been such a hopeless dweeb.

It was getting late, and while her parents hadn't said anything about a curfew, mine would go ballistic if I came home after midnight. So I drove her home and dropped her off. She told me to call tomorrow, but I lied and said I was busy. We kissed, and I told her I'd see her at school.

I made a point of looking up Bill West on Monday. We weren't friends by any stretch of the imagination, but as kids who'd gone to the same schools since the first grade, we knew each other. We didn't have any classes together this semester, but I found him during break, sitting on the low brick wall near the band room with a couple of his buddies.

I made as if I just happened to be walking by. "Bill," I said, nodding in greeting.

He glanced over. "Hey."

"I heard you had a date with Sandra Fortuna."

His friends started laughing. "Dude!" one of them said knowingly.

Something hardened within me. I suddenly knew where this was going, and though I didn't want to hear it, I had to. I stepped up to the wall, feigning sympathetic interest, as though we were all part of the brotherhood of guys and I wanted to hear the juicy details.

"She gave me a BJ," Bill said proudly. "On the first date!"

I felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach. I'd expected it, but to actually hear the words was still a shock. My first impulse was to throttle Bill, to grab his pencil neck and choke the life out of him, banging his head against that stupid wall until there was nothing left but a bloody pulp. Instead, I smiled, nodded and stayed to hear the juicy details. My heart grew hard as I heard the details of my own date repeated back to me by someone else.

I saw Sandra at lunch, and she gave me a bright smile from across the cafeteria, and a little girlish free-fingered wave. My face burned. I imagined her bobbing up and down between Bill West's legs, his cock in her mouth. I heard in my mind that satisfied moan she'd let out after swallowing my orgasm. "Mmmmmm."

I wanted to kill her.

Going back to my usual routine, I carried my lunch over to Robert and Edson's table, turning my back on her. She came over anyway, with bright smiles for all, and I sat there seething, saying nothing to anyone, eating my food. I didn't want to talk to her, didn't even want to see her, but when she got up to get a drink, I followed.

I cornered her by the vending machines. "How did your date go with Bill West?" I asked her.

She pushed my shoulder as if I'd said something ridiculous. "What are you talking about? Nothing happened."

"You didn't blow him?"

The words were out of my mouth before I realized I'd said them, and I saw her features darken. "What gives you the right to ask me that?"

"Nothing," I said, turning away.

I felt her hand on my shoulder. "Wait." Her voice was soft and filled with tenderness. She sounded so much like she had Friday night in the car after the movie that it made me feel sad. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to bite your head off."

I just stared at her.

"Nothing happened with Bill. I swear to you."


"I swear."


I walked away, left my lunch on the table, hid in the boys' bathroom until the bell rang. That afternoon, I wrote a letter to her parents. It was two letters, really. One purporting to be from Mr. Vega, her Spanish teacher, explaining that he had intercepted a series of notes between Sandra and myself, expressing severe disappointment that such an otherwise outstanding student would behave in such a shameful, disgraceful manner. And one from me to Sandra, an example of the graphic correspondence he'd seized. Here I laid it on thick, describing how I'd fucked her hard and taken her up the ass, how she'd been the best I'd ever had, thanking her for taking the initiative to offer such exotic sex, saying, yes, I would recommend her to my friends and, yes, they would be happy to gang bang her if that's what she really wanted.

I dropped the letters in the mailbox.

"Good-bye, Sandra," I said.

I saw the witch downtown the following weekend when I hit the thrift stores looking for records.

She was still around and just as creepy as ever, giving me the evil eye as I passed by her in front of Rod's Camera Shop. I remembered that night with Robert and Edson when we were in grammar school and she pointed her cane at us and a pigeon dropped from the sky. She muttered something as I walked by Rod's that sounded like "Doan trite," and then the staccato clicking of her heels and cane were behind me.

I thought I was safe, but a moment later, when I looked back, I saw that she was following me. She'd been heading in the opposite direction, but now she'd turned and was on my tail, and though I was older now, I felt just as frightened as I had as a little kid. A cold shiver surfed down my spine.

BOOK: Dispatch
12.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Another part of the wood by Beryl Bainbridge
Taken by the Alpha Wolf by Bonnie Vanak
Hunted by T.M. Bledsoe
Business or Blood by Peter Edwards
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Killing Game by Iris Johansen
Bounty by Aubrey St. Clair
Introducing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Introducing...) by Foreman, Elaine Iljon, Pollard, Clair