The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-Three part one
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Friday January 20 1995
It was all falling apart. The kids that should be admiring him were now eyeing him with suspicion; even the freshman girls were keeping their distance. All because a few of his friends had screwed themselves up. Now somehow it was his fault because they used his weed. Half the school and the new janitor used his weed for Christ’s sake! Evan frowned at the very idea as he sat in History class listening to his teacher drone on and on.
Evan knew who was behind this, Pam Bloom and Ronnie Miller. They’d always had it out for him. A year ago he’d tried to take Ronnie’s spot on the football team. Was it any coincidence that a few months later he was off the team? The whole ‘academic standards’ thing was crap; Bobby and Kenny had grades almost as bad as his and they were still playing.
Once he was off the team they tried to push him out of their little circle, sure he still got invited to their parties but it always seemed like an afterthought. And at those parties didn’t his former teammates treat him differently?
Evan had known he was in danger of being booted down to the middle of the cafeteria with the rest of the wannabees and the plain janes. Two things saved him over the summer; first Pam’s brother got arrested for beating a dog to death and second Evan started buying marijuana from his cousins. They had good connections and they always gave him a decent discount.
He shifted in his seat and glanced up at the clock, about ten more seconds and he could get some lunch. With Brie being all bald and everything he was looking at hooking up with someone new. He had a few cuties in mind already. Maybe he would make a play for Solana, after all she was talking to Tubbo every damn morning so she had to be pretty desperate.
The bell rang and students began to file out. The teacher called out some chapters for them to read, Evan didn’t notice. He felt out of it, he barely remembered getting up this morning or his first few classes. It was all just a blur and not the fun kind.
When he stood he felt an unfamiliar weight shifting. He reached into his pocket and felt the outline of his .22 caliber.
What is that doing there? It was all Evan could do to keep his composure as he filed out of the classroom. He’d gotten the gun a few months ago, he’d traded some kid a stack of CDs for it. It was mostly a prop, something to show off to his new girlfriends. He’d fired it over in the woods by the municipal golf course but hadn’t gotten much of a thrill out of it.
But what is it doing here?
He sure didn’t want to risk being caught carrying it around. Evan sprinted across Blessed Heart’s campus to the hallway in the main building. He’d stow it in his locker for now and then get it back home as soon as the day was over. Then he’d worry about why he didn’t remember bringing it.
Oh man. Am I flipping out like the others did?
Evan buried that thought.
He wished Drew hadn’t moved away. It wasn’t just about the way she took care of him like he was the most important thing in the world, it was that when he was with her he didn’t have to be Evan the Ladies Man, or Evan the Tough Guy or Evan the Guy With Weed. For those little moments when he was with Drew he didn’t have to be anything at all.
Maybe that night at the party had been a mistake. He didn’t think it was a big deal, after all he’d heard college girls got into freaky stuff like that all the time. The problem was that Bobby and Kenny and the others had to go and start teasing her about it, mocking her in the hallways and making prank calls to her Dad. It might have been better if he hadn’t gone along with the taunting but what else was he supposed to do?
One of the nerd squad was standing right there in front of him, blocking his way to the main building. It was that doofy Jesus freak kid, the one that got shot by his best friend- Graveyard Greg.
“Out of my way you four-eyed flamer.”
“Evan, maybe you should go back the way you came.” Graveyard Greg had a weird expression, like he was scared.
He better be scared. Evan thought as he pushed past him.
It wasn’t much longer until the bell that announced the next class period rang. Evan knew that no matter what he did he was going to be late. He rounded the corner and saw the familiar rows of lockers. The hall was oddly empty. Dean Jackson was standing near his locker, a pained expression glaring out from his black eyes and bandaged nose. Evan’s locker door was wide open. Two uniformed cops were pawing through it.
Fine. He thought as his steps slowed to a crawl. It’s not like they’re going to find anyth-
The first officer was pulling bag after bag of marijuana out of the locker. It looked like everything Evan had hidden away in his room and his parents’ garage, the stuff he’d stockpiled to cover him for parties and dates for the remainder of the school year. He’d brought it to school.
All of it.
No I didn’t! I wouldn’t ever!
The second officer was glaring at Evan, staring him down, daring him to run. Dean Jackson was the first to speak, “Young man, I think you need to speak with these policemen.”
All Evan could say was “It’s not mine?”
Now the first officer was pulling out dog-eared glossy magazines and videos with lurid covers. He wrinkled his nose in disgust.
My pornos? I brought my pornos to school?
“Son?” The second officer had his hand on the butt of his pistol, “Could you come here please?”
The gun. Oh shit he’s gonna find the gun and then I am well and truly fucked. I need to make a run for it, try and drop the thing someplace-
A new alien thought roared to life in his head, overwhelming him. “Take the gun out of your pocket.”
Evan felt his hand snaking into his pocket, “No.”
“Hey!” The second officer drew his weapon, “Hands up! Get your hands up!”
What am I doing? What the fuck am I doing?
Evan tried to get his hands up, he wanted nothing more in the world than to reach for the sky like a cornered cowboy.
“Hold it at your side where everyone can see it. That’s good.”
“Gun!” The first officer dropped the armfuls of weed and pornography and grabbed for his own weapon. Dean Jackson dropped to the floor with a yelp.
“Drop the gun now!” The second officer bellowed, “Drop the gun now!”
I want to! Why can’t I? Evan wasn’t in control of his body at all, he couldn’t move a muscle or beg for help.
“OK. Your choice, you can shoot at the cop or shoot yourself.”
What’s happening? What’s happening to me?
“Payback’s a bitch isn’t it?”
Evan raised the weapon. Both officers opened fire.