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Enter The April Fool (standard:adventure, 2008 words)
Author: G.H. HaddenAdded: Apr 05 2007Views/Reads: 2044/1222Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Cole should’ve known better than to think a simple change of address would wipe the slate clean. This excerpt is from a work in progress entitled Country Dark.

Enter the April Fool 

By G.H. Hadden 

Seeing Cole crouched in the shadows behind the town founder's gravestone
in the churchyard gave Jeff a charge. He couldn't contain his smile, 
for which he gave his last ounce of energy.  His mad dash was 
positively comical. He waved as he approached and crash landed hard on 
both knees doubled over for breath like a man in cardiac arrest.  He 
looked like he'd just run a marathon.  It's a hot sultry night and he 
smells like Teen Spirit, like a kid just come in from gym class with a 
sheen of sweat projecting moonlight on his brow. He's trembling too, 
like a caffeine junkie, and his normally drawn cheeks puff like a steam 
engine—and like always, he has that special khaki knapsack on his back. 

And If Cole was to be a black cat tonight then Jeff had him easily beat;
deciding to come dressed up like the backwoods itself.  He finally 
showed up (better late than never) head to toe in forest green 
camouflage.  His T-shirt, cargo pants, and black military boots made 
him look every bit the young renegade with nothing left to loose.  
Tonight he's a fifteen-year-old Rambo out with his friend after curfew; 
he's a lanky kid with sass and wild shoulder length hair that pours 
like dark blond ale. Tomorrow he'll go back to being that brooding 
silent grunge-rocker at the back of homeroom—the boy who sits with 
quiet disdain and looks with wide dreamy eyes out the window the way a 
prisoner might. 

Funny—that first day back from Christmas vacation Jeff didn't even
acknowledge Cole's existence with so much as a sidelong glance.  In 
deed no one did, at least not until the speakers perked up everyone's 
ears, and Cole was summoned right away, on his very first day at this 
strange new school, into the principal's office.  That got his 
attention—or more precisely, it made Jeff a little curious. ‘Who was 
this punk-ass bed-head boy from Queens—this city kid who's taken over 
MY room?' The bitterness of losing THEIR house to the cruelty of a bank 
foreclosure while they waited for Daddy's insurance money to kick in is 
all at once renewed. That house on Fifth Street was STOLEN from him by 
the friendly bastards at Bank of America, and then turned over to THEM! 
Not an easy thing for anyone to forgive. 

But eventually, some kind of forgiveness did come. A week or so later
Cole sat alone at the back of what all the kids at Stony Creek Regional 
affectionately call the Mc Caf  (immovable tables with plasticky swivel 
seats, those wood paneled garbage bins embossed with the words ‘THANK 
YOU', small brown tiles so slippery when wet) on a dreary Thursday noon 
hour nibbling from his baloney bun sandwich and sipping a vending 
machine Coke—just him alone with his sketch book, doodling the time 
away when he noticed Jeff approach from the corner of his eye.  No 
biggie, Cole really didn't think much about it—often if Jeff was in one 
of his bear moods he would isolate himself from the others and withdraw 
to the blaring world of his Walkman headphones—but not this time. 

“Hey.” Jeff said, taking a seat next to him, “What did Wilkinson want
with you that first day?”  He cocked his head and smiled wanly.  
“Personally, I think he's a real speechifying madman when you get him 

“What'd you want?”   And so it begins.  Cole knows all about the way it
works for the loners in the lunchroom.  He's seen it first hand—lived 
it, and finally rose above it at his old Middle School.  But here he's 
the low man again—just a nobody.  So sooner or later some tough guy ‘s 
bound to try and collect a price for admission—but he never thought it 
world be Jeff. 

Both prepare for a Mexican Standoff, each unsure of the other's

“Just makin' conversation.” 

Of course, that's how it always starts.  Then the conversation sooner or
later comes down to money—and how much the bully wants.  But Cole's not 
biting.  He's nobody's fool. 

“Lookit.” Jeff confided:  “Everyone wants me to talk to you.  They think

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