Tom smiled at his friends as they all jogged out of the gym, sweaty from practice and ready to hit the showers. He’d played a mean game of football today and he knew his muscles were going to be sore in the morning. Waving at Brian, he turned and walked towards the men’s locker room, intent on standing beneath the shower head for at least five minutes on it’s hottest setting, longer if he could manage it.
Class would start soon so he didn’t have that much time to spend in the shower. Plus, he wanted to stop by the administration building to sign up for the talent show. While it may sound corny, the prize was enough to tantalize even the most antisocial of students.
Five-thousand dollars cash, donated by some businessmen in order to spur on students to try and do activities other than hanging out and getting into trouble. Tom smiled as he walked into the locker room, nodding at David as he passed; that money would be his!
Changing out of his work-out clothes and hitting the showers, Tom thought of the things he could buy with five-thousand dollars. He already had nine-hundred saved up for expenses he expected to arise during his eventual attempt at “making it big” on the internet. His magic acts from when he was a young boy had only gotten better over the years as he tried new and exciting things. He already had a few tricks he wanted to use, but they were trivial in nature compared to what he needed as his finale.
And that was where he came up short… Tom wrapped a towel around his waist and walked out of the shower, stretching out the kinks in his muscles. Scowling as he thought of his failed attempts at creating a great closing act, Tom changed into his school clothes and slung his satchel over his shoulder. Tugging on his green jacket and tugging his tie into place, Tom jogged out of the locker room and out of the buildings at the back of the school and towards the administration building, next to the Literature building where his English class was next in… fifteen minutes!
“Got plenty of time…” Tom muttered, pushing his way through a gaggle of freshmen. They all squawked indignantly but Tom ignored them; what were freshmen going to do?
Walking across the fountain outside the cafeteria, Tom smiled when he caught sight of his other reason for entering the talent contest: Abigail. A tall girl with skin the color of fresh cream and brilliant red hair, he stared at her as she spoke with a few of her friends, her hand playing with the end of her regulation brown skirt, ending just below the knee, while she sat with her back to the fountain on the lip of the great waste of water.
Tom looked away just as he noticed Abigail look his way, fighting against the heat that was traveling up his ears and into his cheeks. He strode onward, purposely putting distance between Abigail and himself, even when he heard her call his name.
The girl was someone Tom had followed throughout his years in school, from kindergarten all the way to high school, where she excelled in academics and chaired the student council… while he goofed off as a jock, scraping by with B’s and C’s in his classes. Whenever they did talk it was always her lecturing him over doing something better with his time. She seemed to think he wasted it throwing around a football when he could be learning and trying to ready himself for college. When he pointed out that a football scholarship would be a fine way to get into college, she would usually storm off.
His friends always said that he’d never bag her, but Tom knew that if he could show her he was smart, like with a perfect magic act in the talent show! Tom had already scouted out the stores in town and, having made enough phone calls, had learned they simply didn’t have the supplies he needed to create his desired show. But all the time spent on the phone, looking up numbers from his computer, had not been in vain; he’d learned of a shop close by, in the next town over, that was dedicated entirely to magic. Located at 311 Herston Road in Alice Grove, Texas; Oswald’s Blind Eye was the shop that he’d been looking for.
So he’d roped the guys into driving him over to the next town, using David’s truck, so that he could shop around and get the supplies he needed. Maybe he could find a few simple tricks that were better than what he had?
Tom pushed the doors of the administration building open, smiling at Ms. Tuttle as he walked past her. The old Geometry teacher was built like a pear, stooped over from age. She always wore a cardigan, be it summer or winter; she was always cold. Students often complained with how hot her room was, as she had portable heaters set up around her desk usually set to full blast
Thankfully Tom had opted out of Geometry and taken Algebra II, something that all of his friends had suggested knowing the old women’s tendency to verbally lash any athlete to come into her class. Nobody knew why, but all of the football and basketball players had learned to tell incoming sophomores about her, warning that if they wanted to play as Varsity and take her class, they’d have to move the heavens and earth.
Ms. Tuttle ignored Tom and shuffled past him, pulling a shawl closer around her body despite the fact it was ninety degrees out.