The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-One part two
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Friday January 13, 1995
Not everyone had seen the police car and ambulance that had taken away Bobby Hilton and Dean Jackson respectively but by lunch they were all talking about it. At the first table the remaining students clustered around Pam and Ronnie and talked in hushed tones, further down Brie and Evan found themselves ostracized. The Magnificent Seven's table was equally under populated but the conversation was no less animated.
“It was amazing.” Warren said with a smile, “Mr. Erdoes sent a bunch of us up to the board to do problems. Then all of a sudden Bobby whips around and pulls Mr.Erdoes pants down. His legs looked like they should have a message tied to them.”
Rich shook a finger at Warren, “Careful with that joke it’s an antique.”
Greg sat at the table as far from Tristam as he dared, “This is not funny. It never was funny. We are talking about possession here, the bible talks a lot about possession too.”
Warren scowled, “Give it a rest.”
Yusuf had an uneasy look on his face, “Some of this might be funny if it wasn’t for this hospital and police thing.”
“That was spur of the moment.” Tristam explained, “I did it for Adelphos. Dean Jackson had no right to expel him, besides I remember that he once told my mother that he couldn't protect me from getting beat up. That it wasn't his job. He said learning to deal with bullying was an important life lesson.”
Warren nodded, “I've heard similar.”
“You think he got the lesson now?”
Greg's tone was frightened and angry, “Can you hear yourself? You're talking about assault.”
Tristam raised an eyebrow, “Hey I never laid a hand on the guy”
“This has to stop.”
“Why because it offends your delicate Christian sensibilities?”
Up at the front table Evan shouted something to Ronnie, Ronnie glared back. Pam flipped him off. Linda Kaspary was seated somewhere between Ronnie and Brie, she had never before looked so uncomfortable.
Of all the looks she's worn I think this is my favorite. Tristam thought to himself. He wondered how Bobby and the Dean were doing right now, one looking at juvenile hall the other at reconstructive surgery. Tristam considered it his best work yet. The only drawback was the phantom discomfort lingering in his right hand, Phil had warned him that when he was occupying someone else's body he might find his own body echoing their pleasures and pains later on.
Sometimes it happened sometimes it didn't, Phil was at a loss to explain why.
“I am not a Christian.” Yusuf said, “And I too am disturbed by this. I thought we would play pranks, perhaps learn a secret or two. Someone is going to get killed if we are not careful.”
Greg breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank you.”
“Tell me something.” Tristam said, “Do you think those shit bags over there would ever have the same considerations? You think if they couldn't do the same things to us that they wouldn't?”
Warren agreed, “Look at what they did to us already, and they don't even have any powers.”
“Aside from being wealthy, white and good-looking.”
Rich laughed, “That's a super power? Heck I'm two thirds of the way there.”
“How can you be making jokes about this?” Greg said, “This is dangerous and scary stuff.”
Yusuf said, “I think we should stop.”
“You pussies.” Warren sneered.
Rich suggested, “Couldn't we just tone it down? Make it less rough. Make them tie their shoes together and lose their car keys? Maybe make a few of the girls forget to take their birth control pills?”
“Are you out of your mind?” Greg shouted.
Tristam said, “What are you so worried about? No one can tell what I'm doing. They think they're just going crazy. Heck, Ronnie and my sister think that this is all being caused by bad drugs. No one can see us. No one can touch us.”
“What about God?”
“What about God?” Warren sneered.
Tristam grinned a little, “If there was a God why isn't he stopping me? Unless of course, maybe God approves of what I'm doing. Either way I'm covered.”
At the front table the war of insults between Evan and Ronnie started up again. Soon enough the whole table was bickering back and forth. Evan spat something and it hit Pam on the cheek. There was a collective gasp from the other cheerleaders. Fists clenching Ronnie slowly stood. Evan threw himself out of his chair and at Ronnie with such force that he knocked Brie to the floor. Pam was shouting at her boyfriend to stop. The cafeteria staff got between them before they could come to blows.
When it was over and both boys had been taken to the office, and the staff cleared the cafeteria. No one was allowed to take their food with them. All the students were been ordered to wait in the nearby hallway for the assistant Dean to come by and give them a collective scolding. Warren asked, “Tristam, did you do that?”
Tristam shook his head, “No. I'm saving Evan for last and trust me it will be spectacular.”
Greg's voice was agonized, “Tristam please…”
“But I do think I should pay his latest girlfriend a visit but don't worry - I won’t cause any permanent damage.”
Rich nodded approvingly, “With a name like Brie she's already suffering enough.”