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Jocking, The: Kai Cole
|To all the student who came to school the first day, they had not idea what changes had occurred. Most had heard that Burton had retired, but only rumors had circulated as to who the new principal was. For the athletes, Briggs was a victory, while the academic kids felt strangely discarded. The biggest shock came in Chemistry. The formerly nerdy teacher was one hell of a hunk, and coaching football. For a man who had despised dumb kids, he certainly had experienced a change of heart. His clothes now pressed against his chest, stretching the fabric of his polo to the extreme. He spoke, but almost no one heard, as the kids were amazed at the changes. While most accepted it, one boy had a huge problem. Darren Brock knew, without a doubt, that such physical changes were impossible. Sitting 6'2 himself, the height gain confirmed for Darren that nothing about the change was natural. Having known the teacher from previous years, he also did not believe that the teacher would have ever asked to be called Cast before.
Darren spent most of the day pondering the extreme makeover of Nicholas, he had always called him Nicholas- for four years, and now he wanted to be called Cast or . . . Coach. Why? Darren had a conspiracy theory streak in him, but it was never this large. He couldnít help but notice that the new principal looked extremely pleased all day. The school had one thousand seniors, plus three thousand underclassmen. It was huge and noticing anything unusual or missing was near impossible. Except for Darren, who kept running into trouble. He had all male teachers this year, and after two uneventful hours, fourth period held a surprise, Allen Windstock, history teacher, had done some gaining. The jocks in the room were impressed with their offensive coachís changes. He was in charge of offensive linemen, specialty- the centers. Darren was actually the only guy who wasnít fawning over Windstock. The rest of the day proceeded normally, except that he couldnít help but think that Briggs was being too smug all day. He was too pleased with himself. He acted like his team had just won state, and they started practice this afternoon. Summer practice had been cancelled do to flooding, a once in a millennium occurrence, so all the players seemed eager to begin.
Darren decided to hang around and spy, watch the football practice. Oddly, they were holding their first meeting outside. Hmm, I always thought they did this in the locker room? Of course, I am gone most of the summer. He noticed that Briggs kept looking in his direction. Was he smiling? That wasnít a happy smile, that was a . . . what was it? All knowing. He knows, and he knows I know something is up. He is laughing at me! Because I have no idea what is going on, but I notice something amiss. Bastard. Of all the - wait, whereís Nicholas? He scanned the crowd once, then got up and ran. Down the stands, into the entry and out the gate. Outside, he bumped into Cast.
"Yo, woah! Little dude, whatís the matter?"
"Oh nothing, Nich-" Cast coughed, and a little saliva came out.
"Cast, bro, call me Cast or Coach. Nicholas makes me sound like a pussy."
"Sure, yeah, whatever. Look I gotta run. Jobís waiting." He tried to leave but Cast stepped in his path.
"You know, youíre pretty quick. We could use someone like you on the team."
"You know that would be fun, but, I have to work. Bills donít pay themselves."
"Dare, you could always move in with me." It was a common offer. Darrenís parents had been killed on his eighteenth birthday, and he had been working ever since. Nicholas had been there for him. He had almost considered the offer, but not now.
"Gotta run!" Darren sidestepped Cast was dashed to his car. Cast just stood there smiling, just like Briggs.
Aliens, drugs, government conspiracies. . . .damn. Darren couldnít invent a solution to the problem. What the hell. He was awake at 2 a.m. trying to process the events of the day. Briggs was in charge, Windstock was a bodybuilder, and Cast was a dumb jock. No, no, no . . . .but it was all true. He didnít do drugs, he hadnít hallucinated, it had been real. What then? What to do? Go back, pretend everything is normal. No, I canít do that. I need to find out what happened to Nicholas. I could accept this if it happened to anyone else, but not him. I need him. Shit, what the hell am I doing, it could be natural. I didnít see Cast all summer, miracles do happen. . . except growth spurts at forty. No, it was wrong. The meeting was outside, so whatís going on in the locker room. Tomorrow, I will stay late, grade papers for Nicholas, get a ride home from him. Use the time to snoop around. Huh, never thought I would try to break into the football locker room. With that he turned, and slept.
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