The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Twenty-six part two
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Wednesday December 21, 1994
Pamela Bloom flipped through a copy of Sports Illustrated and waited. The florescent lighting in the hallway that connected the Industrial Arts building to the rest of the school was just crappy enough that it made anything more than simply looking at the pictures irritating. Ronnie worried that it might be more than that, that it might be her eyes. She was beginning to notice that it was getting harder and harder to see things at a distance. It looked like there were contact lenses in her future but she wondered how she might look in glasses instead. Brainy chicks like that girl from the X-Files were in these days.
“That had to be the most ball busting exam I’ve ever had.” Ronnie said.
Pam set her magazine down, “I’m sure you’ll get an A.”
“I'll be lucky if I get a C+,” he ran his hands through his hair, “I’m not sure if I can still spell my name!”
She gave him a hug, pressing her body against his, feeling his warmth. “You did fine. You had that stuff down cold.”
“Did you hear the latest?” He kissed her cheek, then her lips.
“Oh Lord,” she rolled her eyes, “what happened?”
He shrugged, “Psycho threw a rock through the windshield of Freddie’s car.”
“God he's nuts!” Pam said, “Did they do anything to provoke him?”
“Freddie says no and he’s got a whole car full of witnesses to back him up.”
“The drama continues…”
Ronnie said, “I don’t know what's going on with the geeks around here. Remember when the geeks used to be just… Geeks? Now we have your brother being all crazy, Smudge turning into a turbo slut and Psycho in the hospital.”
The door squealed open and a pair of freshmen wandered by. One of them looked a little tipsy and Pam wondered briefly what kind of mischief they'd been in to. It was a known fact that the convenience store two blocks down the road would sell students cigarettes and alcohol if you paid twice the marked amount.
“Psycho's in the hospital?” Pam asked.
“Freddie and Bobby and the others beat the shit out of him for what he did to the car. It was four against one.” Ronnie explained.
“Man.” She had always thought Adelphos was kind of handsome, she wondered what he looked like now.
“And some of the other parents are pushing to get Psycho expelled, they’re saying he's dangerous.”
“If they kept my brother they sure as Hell aren’t going to toss him.”
“I guess. Of course now Evan is all excited because he can whomp on the rest of the losers without having to worry about getting a beatdown from Psycho.” Ronnie frowned.
“I almost feel sorry for my brother.”
“Thing is I'm worried this is all going to go too far. Like it's going to get all like The Chocolate War.”
Pam laughed, “And Mrs. Kheun said you didn't do the assigned reading.”
“Still though,” Ronnie said, “I gotta wonder what this is all coming to.”
Pam looked at her shoes, “Are you afraid that one of those geeks is going to go on a rampage?” She said, “Aside from my brother and Psycho the losers in this school know their place.”
“Still though. I think we should try and get the others to lay off a little.”
“Good luck with that. Half the school would rather listen to Evan than us.”
“I'm just saying that next time we see one of the underclassmen going off on one of the geeks we could just distract them.”
“Distract them? Do you understand that they just need an excuse to turn on us? “
Ronnie ran his fingers through Pam’s hair, “That's kind of dramatic.”
“I hear what Yvonne and Linda say about me. We're supposed to be friends but all they can do is cut me up behind my back.”
“The guys are no better. I just don't take it seriously.”
Pam crossed her arms and pulled away, “It's such bullcrap. I mean this is our senior year, we aren’t supposed to have to put up with this. We're supposed to all be friends.”
“With friends like these…” Ronnie laughed a little.
“Sometimes…” She gave him a sad little smile, “Sometimes I think it's been in my system for too long, all the cliques and the craziness. I feel like I’m smothering.”
“Ron?” They both jolted at the sound of Tristam's voice. He stood there, wet mud stained his lower legs and one of his shoes was missing, “Pam?”
Pamela was silent but Ronnie answered, “What happened to you?”
He licked his lips before speaking again “Have either of you seen my shoe?”
“You lost one of your shoes?” Pam said, “Mom's gonna kill you!”
Ronnie asked “What happened?”
“I got jumped by Kenny and Fred.”
“And they took your shoes?”
“No.” Tristam sighed, “They took one of my shoes. Do you know where they or my shoe might be?”
“No.” Pam said.
“Sorry” Ronnie shrugged, “I haven't seen either of those two since this morning.”
“Great.” Tristam ran back down the hallway, “Thanks for nothing.”
They watched him go; they heard him talking to the janitor before moving on.
Ronnie kissed Pamela until her scowl faded, “You'll miss him someday.”
“I doubt that. I want to have my own life Ronnie, then when I'm older I can invite my Mother over on Christmas just to show her how good I'm doing.”
“And your brother?”
Her voice and eyes turned cold, “When this is over I'm never talking to him again. He's not even my real brother anyway. I wish- I wish he'd never been born. Doyou know he almost wasn’t?”
“He was born not breathing- he couldn’t even get that right. If only they’d had a slightly worse doctor I’d be all set.”
“Your brother's Dad pays for your tuition. If he'd never been born you would never have been sent here. You would never have met me.”
“You know, I never thought of that but I still hate him.”
Ronnie slipped his arm around her waist, “Come on, lets get some lunch.”
“OK.” She kissed him, “But let’s go off campus. I’ve had enough of this place”