Ch 15. High School Ritual: Scholarly Pursuits (SepSceneWriMo)

Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.

Chad sped home from the library, trying to soothe his anger. He hadn’t gotten a chance to borrow any of the books he wanted, and not only did he not get to even look at them, he now ran the risk of someone else taking them before he could.

When he went inside his apartment, he turned on his new record player and  gently waltzed around his apartment to the tune of “The Blue Danube.” Just for the fun of it, he mentally planned tomorrow’s self-imposed schedule of academic pursuits. Organic chemistry to warm up for quantum physics, a brief lunch, then ancient Greek—he was working on a brand new translation of Homer—then Russian literature—

The doorbell rang. He ran to the door.

“Why, it’s you, Vanessa! What a surprise! I am sorry about what just happened.”

“Well, those two freaks—”

“Never mind, my dear. Let me say, you look simply radiant today, the very picture of health and beauty. Will you please come in? I have a little time before I commence tonight’s studies—would you like a small glass of cognac? It’s my parents’ though, so we mustn’t imbibe too deeply, heh heh!”

“Chad? Why are you wearing tweed? Where’s your jersey?”

“Oh, that tattered nothing? Haven’t a use for it any longer, dear, dear Vanessa. Things are different now.”

“Um, yeah I can see that.”

Vanessa slunk around the apartment. The shelving unit where he once kept all of the many trophies he had earned was now filled with books. There were so many books he had to pile them on the floors and tables. On his desk was a typewriter with a ream of typed pages next to it.

“And what is this?” she lifted one of the sheets and Chad sprinted over.

“Vanessa, I beg you, put that down posthaste! That’s my book—it’s a new genre of memoir, physics, philosophy, and botany—in fact, see my sketches—” He took her elbow and led her over to another desk with leaves and careful drawings in pencil.

“I have also decided to rent a laboratory—I believe I can fuse biomechanics and botany—oh, how I love botany, I wish to fuse it with everything—”

Her face was white and her lipstick was smeared on her teeth from twisting her mouth all around. “What the hell is wrong with you, Chad? Aren’t you upset about losing your scholarship? Why don’t you realize your life is over?”

Chad was silent for a moment. He took a deep breath and lifted one of his drawings. “You see, the life cycle of the plant inspired me—from a tiny seed—why, it’s like that poem by the celebrated Johnson—’It is not growing like a tree, in bulk doth make Man better be—’ Vanessa, don’t you understand? I was that tree once, but no more—I was felled as a log, but now, a new life—”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Who the hell is Johnson, your coach? You’re making no sense! I don’t even know you anymore!”

Chad looked heartbroken. “I am Chadworth, and until just now, I believed I was your boyfriend.”

“’Chadworth?’ That’s not your name, what the fuck?” She finally just cut to the chase. “Why the hell didn’t you call me after the night of the game?”

“I had to go to work early.”

“You don’t have a job, you liar!”

Chad thought. “Vanessa, I want to make this up to you. ‘The Magic Flute’ is playing at the Lincoln Center and I want you to come with me. Please, Vanessa, will you attend the opera with me?”

She backed away. “Um, hello, you’re insane, I am never going to an opera! That’s for losers!”

He lifted the needle on the turntable and placed it aside. The room was silent now. “What are you saying, Vanessa? Are you trying to say you don’t care about Mozart? Because I don’t see how you and I—”

“I’m saying I hate you and I hope things get a lot worse than just losing your scholarship!”

Chad turned his face away. “Then you ought to leave.”

Vanessa grabbed her purse and slammed the door on her way out.

But she smiled on the other side of it.

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