The following contains scenes of sexual
activity between males. If it is illegal for you to read this in your
jurisdiction or if you feel you may be offended by doing so, please
read no further. The characters portrayed in this story may engage in
behaviors that would today be considered unwise and unsafe. The author
does not encourage such behavior: nor does he condone the violation of
any laws. Please respect yourself and your partners. Please do not copy
or distribute this story without the knowledge or permission of the
This story contains some elements of a previous
story of mine, The Secrets of Waldo.
If you would like to read other works by me, go to the Nifty Home Page
and click on the FreeThinker link under Prolific Authors.
I am also writing another story entitled A Curious Set of Misfits in the
Nifty Young Friends section.
Note: the Russian composers mentioned in the story,
Dmitri and Alexander Koronov, as well as the playwright Alexei Koronov,
are completely fictional, as are the numerous compositions alluded to,
for reasons that will become apparent later in the story. There is no Austin Evening Reporter, and the
city of Sheffield is completely fictional.. All characters in the story
are fictional and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is
purely coincidental. This is fiction and a fantasy. It did not happen.
Any use of racial epithets is not intended to be
offensive in any way, but is used to show the state of mind of the
character using them. The author rejects all forms of bigotry and
racism, as the story will show.
I would like to know what you think. If you have any
comments or suggestions, please email them to my address: chriswriter@ operamail.com,
(this is not a hyperlink). Thank you so much for reading my story and
for the wonderful support you have given me over the last three years.
Courage and Passion
school-boy, above all others, is not the simple being the world
imagines. In that young bosom, are often stirring passions as strong as
our own, desires not less violent, a volition not less supreme. In that
young bosom, what burning love, what intense ambition, what avarice,
what lust of power, envy that fiends might emulate, hate that men might
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime
Minister and author, Coningsby, 1844
Confusion to Brooks of Sheffield
There seemed to be something very comical
in the reputation of Mr. Brooks of Sheffield, for both the gentlemen
laughed heartily when he was mentioned, and Mr. Murdstone was a good
deal amused also. After some laughing, the gentleman whom he had called
'And what is the
opinion of Brooks of Sheffield, in reference to the projected
'Why, I don't know
that Brooks understands much about it at present,' replied Mr.
Murdstone; 'but he is not generally favourable, I believe.'
There was more
laughter at this, and Mr. Quinion said he would ring the bell for some
sherry in which to drink to Brooks. This he did; and when the wine
came, he made me have a little, with a biscuit, and, before I drank it,
stand up and say, 'Confusion to Brooks of Sheffield!' The toast was
received with great applause, and such hearty laughter that it made me
laugh too; at which they laughed the more. In short, we quite
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849-1850
It may not seem apparent to most boys at first, but
there is an advantage to living only half a block from school. You can
set your alarm clock a little later than others do and still make it to
school on time. Not having to ride the bus or walk three miles to
school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways is probably the only
advantage to living so close, but it definitely can be useful. It
certainly was for Robby McDonnell on the first day of school. Not
accustomed to getting up at seven in the morning, after three months of
indolence, Robby was shocked out of his mind when the alarm went off
and the station to which he had set the radio suddenly blared the
scream at the beginning of the Beatles’ “Revolution.” Robby irritably
hit the snooze button, or thought he had, and rolled over. Fifteen
minutes later, his mother’s equally disturbing scream of “Robby! Get
your ass out of bed!” served as the motivating factor he needed. It was
only after two minutes of near panic, as he looked at himself in the
mirror, now clad in his new school clothes, a blue short-sleeved
button-down with blue plaid slacks and black penny-loafers, that he was
coming his hair and remembered that he wasn’t a mile from school, as he
had been the previous year in Austin, but a short two minute walk. He
rolled his eyes and sighed with exasperation.
The kitchen was unusually quiet for a school
morning. Brian and Megan were on their way out the door, their walk to
school being longer than Robby’s, leaving Robby alone with his mother,
not so much a blessing, in Robby’s mind, as he thought it might be as
it left him the center of his mother’s attention, as well as her
“You need to get your ass down here when the others
do. I don’t feel like cooking breakfast twice.”
Well, maybe if you weren’t hung over, you might,
Robby wanted to say. However, bitter experience had taught him to
remain silent. He also remained silent when she dropped a slice of
burnt toast on the plate in front of him and handed him an orange.
Robby suppressed his frown and silently spread his peanut butter on the
toast. His mother disappeared back up the stairs to her bedroom without
another word as he consumed his breakfast, much to his relief, and when
he was finished, he gathered his violin case and the new backpack full
of the supplies he would need for the new school year and, without
saying good-bye, slipped out the front door.
It was a beautiful morning, warn and clear, the kind
of morning that made Robby suddenly wish he hadn’t spent the entire
summer burrowed up in his room. Well, it was too late now. There were
already several other kids walking up the sidewalks on both sides of
Sycamore toward the school and their chatter seemed to compete with the
morning squawking of the starlings and blue jays in the trees. Robby
joined the migration though, as he looked around at the other kids walk
toward Emerson Middle School, it seemed they were oblivious of his
existence. He shrugged.
Chaos reigned in front of the school, as it did in
front of every school on the first day of classes. Seventh and eighth
graders were welcoming each other back and surveying the incoming sixth
graders to see who would be good cannon fodder. The sixth graders were
greeting each other and commenting on how cool it was they no longer
had to associate with the little kids in elementary school. Several
administrators were present to keep the level of pandemonium to an
acceptable level; and, several teachers were guiding lost souls to
Robby felt a sense of excitement that he was
embarking on the next stage of life, having left the world of little
kids and elementary school behind. Though he missed Austin, he was glad
of one thing. Back home, sixth grade was still in elementary school and
one didn’t progress to junior high until the seventh grade. Even though
Austin was a much cooler place than Sheffield, he liked the
organization of the schools more in his new city.
Robby waited for the Safety Patrol the crossing the
street, even though several kids went on without waiting. Robby felt
like a dork for waiting, but he wasn’t ready yet to start challenging
authority until he was surer of the situation. While waiting for the
Safety to hold up his stop sign, he glanced at the house on the corner
and saw, emerging from the front door, the chubby kid with the almost
white blond hair he had seen sitting on the benches the day before. He
watched as the boy stood apprehensively on the front porch, looking
fearfully at the crowds in front of the school. It was obvious he was
scared. Robby started to wait for him, but the Safety was already in
the middle of 18th St.
“Hey! You gonna cross or what?” he snarled.
Robby grinned sheepishly and ran across the street.
By the time he reached the opposite curb, the boy on the porch was
forgotten and Robby was negotiating his way through the milling kids.
As he approached the steps leading up to the front doors, he noticed
the inscription above the door, apparently from the school’s namesake,
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.”
What kind of Commie freak was this Emerson guy,
Robby wondered as he frowned with distaste. However, before he could
ponder this question more, he suddenly found himself sprawled on the
steps and rubbing a bruise on his left arm as several boys walked past
him, chuckling derisively.
“Hey, dip,” one of them spat. He was wearing
obviously expensive slacks and an alligator pullover with perfectly
shined penny loafers. His dark hair was cut perfectly and combed
perfectly. In fact, everything about the boy seemed perfect, even the
fact that Robby could already tell he was a perfect buttface. “Watch
where you’re going.”
Robby stood and was about to respond by shoving the
jerk from behind when he saw a surly man with a belly protruding from
his jacket and hanging over his belt. He was standing near the steps
watching. Robby looked at him as if to say, ‘Aren’t you going to do
The man merely gave Robby a contemptuous look and
turned toward a nearby crowd of screeching and giggling girls. Robby
took a deep breath, rearranged himself, picked up his violin case
and climbed the steps to the school.
He was to report to room 124. It was a moment before
he realized he was going in the wrong direction. When he stopped to
turn around, another boy, once again a little bigger than he, ran into
him and, once again, knocked him down.
“Hey!” Robby snarled as the boy stopped and looked
at him with surprise. “Watch where you’re going!”
The kid grabbed Robby by his shirt and threw him up
against the lockers along the nearest wall. His eyes grew wide and
menacing, with an almost crazed gleam in them, as his face came to
within inches of Robby’s. His breath was putrid and Robby tried not to
gag as his assailant waited a moment to speak.
However, after a few seconds, the kid released Robby
and simply walked away, turning to give him one last menacing look
before moving on.
This was not quite the auspicious beginning to
the school year Robby had expected or hoped for. Well, he thought
as he once again put himself back together, it can’t get any worse than
However, he soon realized that he was sadly
mistaken, for when he doubled back and found Room 124 on the other side
of the building, he entered the classroom and found sitting by the
window on the opposite side of the class, Hippykid, gazing out at
the northbound traffic on State St, which ran along the eastern
side of the school. Robby sighed and rolled his eyes before proceeding
down the first aisle and choosing a desk toward the back. He set the
violin under the desk and slid his backpack into the rack beneath the
seat before sitting down.
Robby settled down to watch the parade of kids
entering the class. A rough looking boy in a plaid shirt and tight
jeans entered. His reddish brown hair was strangely parted in the
middle, rather like Hippykid’s, though it was not a long. He had
freckles across his nose and cheeks and almost looked cute, (well, no,
he wasn’t cute; no, not at all; well, maybe). However, the way he
bulled his way into the room and down the next aisle over let Robby
know this wasn’t someone to cross. Robby’s eyes landed on Hippykid and
he shook his head with disgust when he saw the boy had pulled his dirty
blond hair back into a ponytail. Man, he could never have gotten away
with that back home. Austin had a lot of hippies and it may have been
1969, but he still couldn’t have gotten away with a ponytail in the
sixth grade. He wondered if the teacher was going to send him home.
Several girls entered and stood in the front,
checking out the boys and giggling with each other. Robby raised an
eyebrow and looked away just as another boy nervously entered. He stood
beside the door, surveying the room and brushing his short, dark blond
hair of his forehead. He, too, carried a violin case, a brand new one,
it appeared. Robby watched him take a deep breath and then quickly
claim the very first desk by the door, four desks up from his.
The room was almost full when Robby’s heart sank.
The fearful chubby boy he had seen earlier entered and was shoved
roughly out of the way by the Perfect Buttface. He landed against the
chalkboard and dropped his backpack on the floor. Robby cringed as he
saw Buttface saunter carelessly over to a desk in the center of the
room, a couple of rows away while the chubby boy nervously picked up
his backpack. He surveyed the room and found an empty desk next to the
freckled tough kid. As he stepped away from the chalkboard, the bell
rang for Homeroom and a tall, skinny man with longish, strawberry blond
hair entered the room. He smiled at the chubby kid, who scampered down
the aisle to his chosen desk, to the accompaniment of a number of
whispered insults. The teacher glanced about the room, noting the
sources of the comments, as he organized his desk, as a slight curl
formed at the sides of his mouth.
“Well, boys and girls,” he announced with
exaggerated cheerfulness, “welcome to Waldo, otherwise known to the
outside world of the uninitiated as Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School!
I am Mr. David F. Osborn and I will be your guide, your mentor, your
host as your begin your peregrinations through the fascinating world of
“Huh?” grunted one particularly dim looking boy
behind Hippykid. Mr. Osborn smiled indulgently.
“I’m your teacher.”
There were chuckles and giggles from around the room
and Robby immediately began to relax. He glanced to his left and saw
that even the nervous kid seemed to calm down a bit.
“Well, the school board and the Administration have
all sorts of fun things planned for us today, such as filling out
paperwork, assigning lockers, etcetera, etcetera.” This last part was
done in the Yul Brynner voice from The
King and I.
“But, first, I have an exciting little ritual that I
hope you will all enjoy.”
“Is this guy a dork or what?” Perfect Buttface
whispered to a boy beside him who appeared to be a not-so-Perfect
“Yes!” Mr. Osborn declared joyfully. “I am, indeed,
a dork, which brings us to the point of our next exercise. So that we
may get to know each other, each and every one of you will stand and
address the class, giving name, rank, and serial number, after which
you will recount to us in vivid detail and living color the most
embarrassing and humiliating moment of your short and angst-ridden
lives. And, to show that I don’t play favorites and that I can take it
as well as dish it out, I shall begin.”
Robby was grinning as he glanced about the room.
Hippykid was also grinning, but Buttface was rolling his eyes. The
nervous chubby boy looked scared to death. Up front, the nervous skinny
boy appeared to be totally perplexed, as if he had absolutely no
earthly idea what was happening about him.
“To begin, I am still David R. Osborn and this is my
very first year as a teacher and, in fact, my very first class period
to teach. I began my teaching career four minutes ago! But, before any
of pariahs or piranhas get any ideas about ingenious ways of disrupting
what will be the most interesting class you take this year, be aware
that it was just a few years ago, that I sat in THAT chair,” (here, he
pointed dramatically to the Perfect Buttface, as he opened his eyes
manically), and committed all sorts of heinous acts. You can do nothing
that I haven’t already done, so don’t EVEN try.”
His eyes darted back and forth comically, causing
some to chuckle and others to roll theirs.
“Now, as for my worst moment of abject humiliation,
I graduated from Sheffield State University last spring Magna Cum
Laude, which, for those of you who do not as yet speak Latin, means
‘With High Honors. However, as I was proudly marching across stage to
receive my diploma from the Chancellor, with my parents proudly seated
not a hundred feet away, as I reached forward to grasp the sheepskin,
so to speak… I very sonorously… broke wind.”
The classroom was deathly silent, until Dimboy once
again grunted, “Huh?”
Mr. Osborn’s eyes grew wide again as he focused in
on Dimboy and explained, “I farted.”
The class erupted in hilarity, except for Buttface
and the nervous boy up front, who looked about the room in abject
confusion. Robby could barely contain himself.
As the laughter gradually died, Mr. Osborn smiled
and sat back against the edge of his desk. Robby smiled as he watched
the teacher, probably the coolest teacher he had ever had, brush his
longish hair from his forehead. When silence returned, Mr. Osborn stood
silently for a moment until he suddenly whipped his arm out and
dramatically pointed to the nervous kid in the front corner desk, who
looked as if he were about to wet his pants.
“You sir! Stand! Your name! And, your humiliation!”
The boy couldn’t have looked more terrified if the
finger pointing at him were a gun. Trembling, he stood, almost at
attention. Robby thought for a moment that he was going to klick his
heels. The boy took a breath, paused, and, then said, rather loudly,
“Moya imya Yevgeny Alexeivich Koronov, tovar… um, uh, Teacher Osborn!”
Mr. Osborn looked surprised for a moment, the same
moment it took before the class erupted in laughter. The boy looked
about the class with complete confusion to the point that Robby thought
he was going to burst into tears. Robby felt a sudden compassion for
him and a sudden anger at the class. Mr. Osborn gathered his senses and
smiled. He held a hand up to the class, which settled down, and then
held it up reassuringly to the boy.
“At ease, there, soldier. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.”
This did nothing to ease the boy’s confusion. Mr.
Osborn realized what was happening and grinned at the boy. He walked
over and patted him on the shoulder.
“Tui govorish p’angliskii?” he asked.
A look of heavenly relief flooded over the boy’s
face as a sudden flood of Russian poured forth, beginning with, “Da!
Mr. Osborn smiled and squeezed the boy’s shoulder
before he could go any further.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a very important
person in our class.”
Mr. Osborn patted the boy on the shoulder and
smiled. The boy relaxed and almost smiled.
“Yevgeny, here, is the son of Alexei Koronov, a very
famous writer from the Soviet Union. You may have heard on the news
that Yevgeny and his father escaped from Czechoslovakia last year as
the Warsaw Pact was invading. They have come to America to live.”
Mr. Osborn spun angrily toward the source of the
“You!” he declared, pointing to the freckled tough
The kid stood.
“One. I will not allow that language in my room. You
will never say that first word OR that second word in my presence ever
again! Do you understand?”
“Yeah,” the kid answered insolently.
The kid did as he was told, though sullenly. Mr.
Osborn turned back to the boy and smiled again, before addressing the
“Yevgeny and his father made a dramatic escape from
Prague just before the invasion last August and if they had been
captured, his father would surely have been shot and Yevgeny, here,
well, it would not have been pleasant. I think we all welcome you to
America and to our class!”
The class applauded, though the Perfect Buttface and
Almost Perfect Buttface did so without much enthusiasm, Robby noted.
Hippykid, however, seemed almost beside himself with excitement, as if
he were going to jump out of his seat, rush over, and kiss the boy!
Robby raised a skeptical eyebrow, but just as Hippykid looked his way.
The kid smiled warmly at him.
What was up with this guy, Robby wondered as he
quickly turned his gaze back to the Russian boy.
“So,” Mr. Osborn continued, “what do you want to be
The boy swallowed and replied slowly, “My, um, how
you say, friendly name…”
The boy shrugged and smiled bashfully.
“My nickname is Zhenya.”
“Zhenya? Very good. Then Zhenya it is. I have to
say, Zhenya, that you speak very good English.”
“In Soviet Union, all students learn English.”
“Very commendable,” said Mr. Osborn. “I wish
American schools required foreign languages at such an early age.”
He turned to the class and asked, “By the way, is
anyone in here taking a language this year?”
Only a few people raised their hands, including
Buttface and Hippykid. Mr. Osborn pointed to Buttface and asked, “What
are you taking?”
“Spanish,” was the reply.
“Anyone taking anything else?”
He pointed to Robby.
“Fag,” said Buttface under his breath.
“Stand!” Mr. Osborn declared, his arm pointing
rigidly at Buttface.
Buttface raised an eyebrow and with an insolent
chuckle replied, “Gavin Dietrich.”
Mr. Osborn paused for a second, which not lost on
the student, before replaying.
“Well, Mr. Dietrich. We finally meet.”
Dietrich simply raised an eyebrow and sneered.
“I’ve heard a lot about you. You have quite a
reputation in the education community in Sheffield.”
Dietrich’s sneer grew.
“I’m not impressed. I’ll be watching you. I don’t
want to hear that word again. Now, sit.”
Dietrich remained standing just long enough to make
a point without being obviously insolent and, only then, resumed his
seat. Mr. Osborn continued to hold eye contact for several seconds
after the boy sat.
“I think we may need some serious
consciousness-raising in this class,” he said as he walked around
behind his desk and sat down. He looked at Zhenya and smiled.
“I think, Zhenya, you don’t have to share your most
embarrassing moment with us. I think we just experienced it with you.”
There were good-natured chuckles around the class as
he turned to the girl behind Zhenya. Robby, however, began to feel a
slight sense of trepidation. He was afraid of what was going to happen
when it was his turn. He wasn’t certain because he had not experienced
much abuse or teasing back in Austin, but this was a new environment
and one could not be certain, in light of what he had already seen and
His fears proved to be well-founded.
“Very good Melissa,” said Mr. Osborn as the
dark-haired girl in front of Robby took her seat following her
introduction. “And, now, it’s your turn,” he said to Robby.
Looking as casual as he could, Robby stood and
announced, “I’m Robby McDonnell.”
“Is ‘Robby’ short for Robert?” Mr. Osborn asked.
Here it comes, thought Robby, as his face began to
“Um, no. Robin.”
“Ah, good,” said Mr. Osborn as he consulted his
class role. “Robin McDonnell.”
“Ronald McDonald?” someone asked. Several giggles
and chuckles broke out around the class and, in seconds, the class was
"Ronald McDonald!” declared Almost Perfect
Buttface. “He even looks like Ronald McDonald!”
“Man! Look at that red hair!”
Robby closed his eyes and waited for it to end.
“Alright, that’s enough,” Mr. Osborn said with a
smile. “So, aside from your parents naming you after a clown,” he
quipped with a grin and a wink, “what’s your most embarrassing moment?”
Robby was grateful to have the subject so artfully
“Well, once when we were driving to Padre on
vacation, I got car sick and upchucked all over my brother.”
This was met with a number of appropriate
expressions of disgust. Mr. Osborn said, “Well, that’s not very
original. Who hasn’t hurled on their siblings. But, I think that was
humiliating enough. Very good.”
Robby gratefully smiled and started to take a seat
when Mr. Osborn added, “Just a second, Robby. I notice you have a
southern accent. Did you just move to Sheffield?”
“Yes, sir. From Austin, Texas.”
His teacher raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“Really, now. What brings you to Sheffield?”
Robby hesitated before answering.
“Well, my dad was a reporter and he was killed in
Vietnam and we moved here to be close to my grandparents.”
This was met by the class with an embarrassed
silence. However, Mr. Osborn’s sympathetic look quickly changed to one
“Not Patrick McDonnell?” he asked.
Robby was surprised.
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
“Well, class, we have two celebrities in our midst.
Robby’s father wrote a series of very famous and insightful articles
about the war while in he was in Vietnam last summer.”
Robby was surprised.
“You read the Austin
“No, but they were syndicated in the Sheffield Times. They were very
good. Very courageous. Your father was a very brave man.”
Robby was embarrassed; he was also very moved by his
teacher’s remarks and, suddenly, he felt tears form in his eyes. He
quickly sat down and Mr. Osborn, noticing, quickly moved on to the girl
Robby paid little attention to the names and
humiliations after his own introduction. He did, however, notice that a
quiet boy near the front with jet black hair and pale skin, was named
Tim Zitisky and that the nervous, almost chubby boy was named Sean
Lindquist. Sean had a way blushing that Robby found cute, but he tried
to suppress that thought. The tough kid was named Matt Hunter and
nothing embarrassing had ever happened to him. Apparently, Gavin
Dietrich had led a life remarkably free of embarrassments, as well.
When it came time for the Almost Perfect Buttface to reveal himself to
the class, Mr. Osborn was prepared.
“Well, I’m sorry Biff LaFrance. I don’t believe that
you, too, have never experienced anything embarrassing or
humiliating. But, perhaps, we’ll just simply accept that living
in the shadow of Mr. Dietrich, here, is humiliating enough for our
Gavin simply sneered contemptuously while Biff
“Sit down, Mr. LaFrance,” said Mr. Osborn
indulgently. Robby saw Hippykid cover a grin with his hand.
Hippykid. Robby’s eyes focused on him. The dark gold
of his hair seemed to glow in the morning sun as it shined through the
window he sat in front of. The hair was parted in the middle and pulled
back into a ponytail. He sat with his right elbow resting on his desk
and his chin resting on his heel of his hand, his fingers curled beside
his chin, a serene smile on his almost feminine face. Well, it really
wasn’t feminine; it was definitely a boy’s face. Yet, there was an
almost pretty quality to it.
Robby was hard again.
Darn! Hard in the middle of class. Well, he thought
angrily, it’ll probably go down before second period.
When it was Hippykid’s turn, he stood and faced the
class with that same weird, spaced-out smile. That was it, Robby
thought. He’s on drugs! He has to be. He’s got a ponytail. He was
sitting in the park meditating. He looks spaced out. He has to be on
What a loser, Robby thought, even as his dick
throbbed in his pants.
“Well, my name is Ethan Spenser and I guess the most
embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was when I told Allen
Ginsberg that his poetry was pedestrian.”
He looked about the room with a perfectly honest and
sincere smile. The class, every single member of the class, looked
uncomprehendingly at him. Mr. Osborn took a double take.
“Excuse me. You told… Allen Ginsberg… Allen
Ginsberg, the famous Beat Poet… you told Allen Ginsberg his poetry was
“Yeah. I was only nine, so what did I know? But,
looking back on it, I feel a little embarrassed about being so
precocious and obnoxious.”
Mr. Osborn seemed to be the only one in the class
who knew who Allen Ginsberg was. The students still looked at Ethan as
if he were an alien. The teacher seemed to be having trouble fathoming
the possibility that Ethan could know one of the most famous poets in
“Well, one, had you actually read his poetry and,
two, how did you happen to meet him?”
“Oh, he was having dinner with us. My parents know
him. And, yeah. I’ve read his poetry.”
“Spenser,” Mr. Osborn said with dawning realization.
“He’s my dad. Except, he and Mom got a divorce. He
still lives in the City.”
Mr. Osborn raised his eyebrows in surprise and
“Well, we have a pretty illustrious class here, and
it keeps getting more illustrious. Ethan’s father is a famous poet.
This is quite unusual and we’re quite fortunate to have such
interesting people in our class.”
Ethan shrugged as if his own contribution to the
class’s uniqueness was inconsequential.
“Um, I must say, however, Mr. Spenser, that there is
a good chance that your ponytail is probably in violation of the school
dress code, and, though I have no particular problem with it, it is
possible that Mr. Huber may find it a tad objectionable.”
Ethan smiled and said, “Whoso would be a man must be
Mr. Osborn smiled at the boys quote of the school’s
“Well, I’m sure Mr. Emerson would have no problem.
Unfortunately, Mr. Huber is not as liberal as Mr. Emerson. Just be
aware that there is the possibility that you may get to have a
conversation with The Man before this day is over.”
Ethan seemed completely at ease with this news.
Robby shook his head in disbelief. What was up with this freak?
Mr. Osborn finished the rest of the class, moved on
to paperwork, and assigned lockers. Before handing out the text books
for Social Studies, he directed everyone with musical instruments to
take them up to the music room. Robby pulled his violin out from under
his desk and saw several other kids remove their instruments. One boy
had a French horn in the back that he retrieved. He saw Zhenya pull out
his violin case and wait obediently. Sean pulled out a flute case. Oh,
man, Robby thought. This kid wants to get the whatever beat out of him.
Several others noticed, as well, because he heard chuckles from around
the room as Sean blushed fiercely and stood uncertainly.
However, it was when Ethan the Hippy pulled his
violin case out from under his desk that Robby sighed with
discouragement again. He’s gonna follow me everywhere, he thought as
Mr. Osborn led them to the hallway and gave them the directions to the
He had decided that he would try to strike up a
conversation with Zhenya as they walked up, but before he could come up
beside him, Ethan the Hippy beat him to it.
“So, Zhenya,” he gushed. “How do you like it here?”
The Russian boy blushed and smiled shyly.
“It is wery nice here; wery different, but wery
“I saw one of your Dad’s plays in New York once. Off
Broadway. Way off Broadway. The
Falcon. You know, the one about the doctor who’s killed by the
capitalists to keep him from curing the terrible epidemic.”
“My father hates that play.”
Robby stifled a chuckle as Ethan looked a little
“Really? How come?”
“Because he… wrote play to make Khrushchev happy. He
says it is wery bad play.”
“Well, everyone in New York thought it was great.”
They were approaching the stairway at the end of the
hall and Robby saw a chance to butt in. He came up beside the Russian
boy as they reached the stairs and said, “Hey, Zhenya. I was wondering.
Since your name is Koronov, are you related to Dmitri Koronov? He’s
like my favorite composer.”
Zhenya’s face broke into a wide smile as they
climbed the stairs.
“Yes! He is my grandfather’s uncle,” he replied
proudly. Robby grinned broadly, stunned to be speaking to a descendent
of the great Dmitri Koronov, composer of The Ice Prince. He was also
secretly thrilled that he seemed to score a point over Hippy Ethan,
though Ethan looked just as happy.
“I saw The Ice
Prince on TV last Christmas,” Robby said. “It was beautiful. I
love it. It’s my favorite composition.”
“I have never seen it performed,” said Zhenya. “My
father will take me to New York on December to see it.”
“You’ve never seen it?” Robby asked in disbelief.
As they reached the top of the stairs, Zhenya
replied, “Dmitri Koronov was, um, forbidden by Soviet government
because he was, um, how you say, um, against revolution? What is
“Counter-revolutionary?” Ethan offered.
“Da. I mean, yes. And, he was bourgeois. I never
heard his music until my, um, my friend-teacher, um, what you call
teacher for only one studyent?”
“Tutor?” Ethan suggested.
“My tutor in Praha played “The Dance of the Wolves,”
from The Ice Prince and it
He paused, embarrassed. Robby smiled.
“That’s OK. It made me cry the first time I heard
Robby saw Ethan look at him and nod with
understanding. Well, maybe Ethan wasn’t quite such a freak.
They reached the music room and the teacher, Mr.
Stern, inventoried their instruments and directed them to the proper
shelves before sending them back to class.
“So, Zhenya,” said Ethan as they left the music room
to return to Homeroom, “You must be related to Alexander Koronov, too.”
Zhenya, however, seemed reluctant to discuss this.
Ethan was gushing again as they walked toward the
top of the stairs.
Symphony is one of my favorites. It’s so… bold and… I guess,
courageous! It makes you want to go out and overthrow the government!”
Robby was shocked to hear Ethan say something so
treasonous! Zhenya simply frowned.
“Dyedushka was evil man.”
It was Ethan’s turn to be shocked.
“Why? He was a great composer! I have lots of his
Zhenya said nothing more as they descended the
stairs. Ethan looked perplexed and said nothing more. Robby tried to
think of something to say, but Zhenya definitely did not seem to be in
the mood for further conversation. The group proceeded back to Homeroom
in silence. Robby was sorry that Zhenya seemed unhappy after the
conversation, but he felt a slight degree of satisfaction that Ethan
the Hippy seemed to be the cause.
The remainder of First Period was taken up with
distributing the Social Studies textbooks and introducing the course.
Robby was almost disappointed when the bell rang. He took his time
gathering his textbook and backpack, watching as Zhenya hurried out the
door, followed by the rest of the class. Hippy Ethan didn’t seem in a
hurry to follow Zhenya, Robby noted with a smirk. But, he wasn’t
pleased to see Gavin Dietrich and Biff LaFrance get in line behind him
as they made their way to the door. Nor was he surprised when he
suddenly found himself sprawled on the floor in the doorway with the
two Buttfaces crawling over him.
“Dietrich!” Mr. Osborn yelled.
“It was an accident,” Gavin protested before
disappearing down the hall. Robby quickly recovered and moved out of
the way in search of his locker.
When he found it, he was able to get the lock’s
combination on the first try. However, as he opened the door, his heart
sank yet again as Ethan suddenly materialized at his side and said, as
he began working the lock on the neighboring locker, “That Gavin
Dietrich guy seems to have a few hostilities inside him.”
Robby simply grunted. He set his book on the shelf,
placed his backpack on the bottom of the locker and shut the door.
He had less trouble finding his Second Period class,
French. He noticed Sean the Shyboy entering the class ahead of him and
he was glad that he wouldn’t be the only boy in French. He had feared
that it would be all girls. He took a seat next to Sean at the side of
the class just as Zhenya walked in. He smiled at the Russian boy and
waved; Zhenya seemed relieved and hurried over to claim the desk in
front of Sean.
And, then, entered Ethan.
Oh, for Pete’s sake! Robby muttered under his
breath. He heard a quick burst of breath from Sean, as if he were
silently chuckling. Ethan noticed the three boys and smiled broadly
before coming over and taking the desk in front of Robby and beside
Zhenya, who offered no reaction.
“Hey, guys!” he said with a cheerful grin.
Robby gave a polite smile and then looked out the
window. Sean blushed and softly replied, “Hi.” Zhenya nodded and folded
“Looks like we’re the only guys in here!” Ethan
commented enthusiastically. “Four guys and a dozen girls. Looks like
good odds to me.”
He looked carefully at the other boys as he said
this. Robby thought it strange that he should say this and then look so
intently at them.
“Yeah, I guess.”
Sean simply blushed and looked down at his clenched
Madame Creneau seemed to be a no-nonsense kind
of teacher. She marched into class, dropped her materials on her desk,
and immediately began speaking to the class in incomprehensible French.
By the end of the class, Robby realized that she didn’t seem to have a
very high opinion of boys who studied French, though why she should
share the prejudice of other boys was beyond him. One way she
demonstrated that prejudice was to segregate the boys in the back of
the room and, when study partners were chosen, limit them to each
other. Robby had hoped Zhenya would be his partner and that, failing
that, he might get Sean. Of course, Ethan Hippyboy was appointed by
Madame Creneau to be his partner. Zhenya and Sean were paired together.
“Cool!” Ethan enthused as he looked back at Robby
and grinned. Robby caught himself looking at that cute smile. Cute? No!
it was not cute. It was gross. He was a gross, disgusting hippy who did
drugs and protested the war. No. He was not cute.
Robby gave a polite smile and then looked back at
Madame Creneau. Was it possible that he could change his schedule and
take Spanish, instead?
Ironically, English followed French in Robby’s
schedule. Naturally the three other boys had the same class. Robby was
able to slip into a desk at the side in the midst of a group of girls.
He accidentally caught Ethan’s eye and noticed his suggestive wink as
he gestured to the girls around Robby. Robby blushed and looked away.
Actually, sitting in the middle of a bunch of stupid, giggling girls
was the last thing he wanted. Well, not the last thing; but, pretty
“Hi, Ronald,” one of the girls cooed.
“It’s not Ronald,” he responded with a bit more
asperity than he thought was probably necessary. “It’s Robby.”
“Oh,” she said, suggestively. “I think that’s sexy.
You want to go steady?”
The others giggled. Robby looked at the girl as if
she were insane or a disgusting insect needing to be squashed. Or both.
Lunch occurred in the middle of Fourth Period
Science. Once again, Robby had found a desk where Ethan wouldn’t
be able to sit beside him. Unfortunately, that also precluded Zhenya
from doing so, as well, which irritated him. He really wanted to get to
know Zhenya. He would be a fascinating friend, but it looked as if
Ethan was going to try to dominate them both. Sean seemed pretty much
of a wet rag and he wasn’t particularly anxious to have him hanging
around, though he felt sorry for him. However, when the class lined up
to walk to the cafeteria, Ethan insinuated himself between Robby and
Zhenya and tried to make conversation.
“So, Robby, how’d you like Austin?”
Trying to be friendly and polite, but not too much
so, he smiled and replied, “Oh, Austin’s the coolest place on earth.
There’s all sorts of great music there and great food and its really
pretty. The Hill Country is really cool.”
“Yeah, Dad did a reading there once. He said Austin
wasn’t really like the rest of Texas. He said it was an oasis in a
desert of ignorance.”
They were about to enter the cafeteria as Robby,
trying to control the irritation in his voice, looked at Ethan coldly
and replied, in a Texan an accent as he could muster, “There ain’t
nothin’ wrong with Texas!”
“Oh, sorry,” Ethan replied contritely. “I didn’t
mean to make you mad. I was just…”
“Yeah, well. We don’t have hippies in Texas who hate
the war and hate America.”
They were now in line and Zhenya was looking back
Robby with apprehension. He understood most of what was being said,
though not all of it. What he understood, however, was enough to let
him know that Ethan had offended Robby and Robby was not taking it.
Zhenya was unaccustomed to such things as the school he had attended in
Moscow was much more highly disciplined than the American school in
which he now found himself.
“Well, actually, you do. There are lots of people in
Austin who are against the war. And, just because you’re against the
war doesn’t mean you’re against America. My father says that sometimes
the most patriotic thing you can do is to disagree with the government.”
“Yeah?” Robby replied hotly. “Well, your father’s a
Zhenya turned and looked at Robby in horror. Several
other kids in line watched as well, hoping for a fight. They were
disappointed. Ethan simply smiled and replied, “That’s OK. You just
don’t know my father. I’m surprised you’re not against the war, seeing
as how your dad was killed there.”
“It’s the Communists who killed him. My grandfather
says we should bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age and he’s right.”
Ethan continued to smile, but he looked downward for
a second, in thought. When he looked up again, as he picked up a tray,
he said quietly, “Your father was against the war.”
Robby looked outraged as he slammed his tray now on
“He was not!”
Ethan was silent as he moved forward. He took a
plate with meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans from the lady
behind the counter. As the lady handed an identical plate to him, Robby
muttered, “Dad was a journalist. He was a good American. He wasn’t
against the war.”
Ethan took a pint of milk and a dish of tapioca
pudding and moved on to the cashier. Zhenya had already paid and was
quickly walking away, looking for an empty table. Ethan paid and picked
up his tray. He hesitated for a moment and then followed Zhenya. Once
Robby paid, he looked to see where Ethan was going and then
deliberately walked in the opposite direction.
He hadn’t made it far before a kid with a complexion
looking like the lunar landscape slid his chair backward and into
Robby, who fell sideways, throwing his lunch all over a table of girls,
who screamed as Robby and his food landed all over them. The kid who
had triggered the chain reaction laughed hysterically, as did most of
the kids in the cafeteria. One of the girls slapped Robby in the face
as he struggled to stand, accidentally grabbing her left booby.
There was instant compliance as Mr. Osborn
approached. He reached out to Robby to help him up. A janitor was
already on the way to clean up the mess as the teacher looked daggers
at the offender.
“What’s your name?” he demanded.
“Jack,” the kid replied insolently. “What’s yours?”
“Well, Mr. What, nice to meet ya.”
Mr. Osborn’s eyes grew wide. He turned to Robby and
said, “Go back and get another tray after you wipe yourself off. Tell
the cashier I said so. Girls, were you all done? Then go to the girls’
room and clean up. This wasn’t Mr. McDonnell’s fault. As for you, Jack,
we’re going to get to know each other a little better. Come with me.”
“Well, I don’t kiss on the first date,” the kid said
as several chuckles broke out around him. Mr. Osborn took him by the
collar and dragged him away.
After he had gotten a second tray and found an empty
seat in the corner, Robby closed his eyes in fury and humiliation. As
he tried to choke down his meat loaf, he pondered his life, as it had
become. His father was dead, his mother was a drunken slut, his school
was populated with freaks and jerks and buttfaces.
And, his dick was hard as a rock.
He clenched his fist in rage. Why? Why did his dick
have to get hard every darn time he got mad? Why did his dick have to
get hard every darn time he saw a cute boy? Why did his dick have to
get hard whenever he looked at that jerk, Ethan Hippyprick?
He glanced up just as Zhenya and Ethan were walking
out the door and into the hallway. Ethan glanced over at him, but his
face was neutral as he passed through the door. Sean followed a moment
later, glancing shyly at Robby with what must have been pity.
Oh, great, Robby thought contemptuously. The wussie
feels sorry for me.
The remainder of Fourth Period Science was
uneventful, as was Fifth Period Math, in which he found a desk in the
back of the class next to the freckled tough kid. Apparently, the guy
approved of the way Robby stomped back to his desk. He nodded and said
a tough, but almost friendly, “How’s it goin’?”
Robby was in no mood for small talk. He merely
grunted, which seemed to meet with Toughies approval.
“Matt,” he said, looking over with a slight smile.
“What?” Robby replied as he settled into his seat.
“My name’s Matt.”
“Oh. I’m Robby.”
All further conversation was stifled as the teacher,
a mustachioed geek with black-framed glasses entered and began babbling
something about more paperwork and assigning textbooks. Robby,
apparently, disappointed Matt by paying attention Mr. Worsley, the name
the teacher wrote on the blackboard without comment; and when the bell
rang to end the period, he left the room without comment.
Robby felt no trepidation about Sixth Period
Physical Education, but Sean must have for when Robby entered the
gymnasium, he saw Sean standing near the door to the Coach’s office,
his hands jammed into his pockets and a look on his face as if he were
being led to the executioner.
He’s beggin’ for it, Robby thought as he walked
across the wide expanse of the gymnasium. However, that thought came to
an abrupt end as he suddenly found himself sprawled across the
free-throw line. The kid named Jack who had provided so much
entertainment in the cafeteria was standing over him laughing. Nearby,
the Buttfaces, Gavin and Biff, were laughing hysterically, as was the
moron from early in the morning.
Well, perhaps Gym wasn’t going to be so fun, after
Suddenly, “Jack” found himself on the floor beside
Robby as a bigger kid with nicely cut brown hair and expensive looking
clothes sat on the bully’s back.
“Now, say your sorry to ‘Red,’ here,” he said
holding Jack’s head up by the hair.
“Fuck you,” the punk spat.
“I guess I’m going to have to teach you some
manners,” the older kid said as he jerked Jack’s head back.
“Huffnagle! What the Hell are you doing?”
All eyes in the gym turned toward the office, where
they saw emerging a corpulent man in tight shorts and a knit shirt,
stripped gym shorts up to his knees, and a mustache displaying part of
the day’s lunch.
“Hey, Coach! How was your summer?”
“Huffnagle, get off that boy and tell me what you
“I’m teaching him manners, Coach. He accidentally
knocked ‘Red,’ here, over and didn’t even excuse himself.”
Coach rolled his eyes.
“Get off. Now.”
Huffnagle grinned and stood.
“You, Zit-face. What’s your name?”
“Purvis,” Jack replied with none of the vim and
vigor with which he had addressed Mr. Osborn earlier.
“Get your ass up. I’ll be watching you. You, Red.
What’s your name?”
“McDonnell,” Robby replied as he quickly stood.
“Good. Don’t be a wussy.”
Robby’s eyes widened in disbelief and he was about
to protest when Coach turned to the rest of the class and began to
address the several dozen boys.
“Alright, ladies, listen up. Today, I will be
assigning your lockers and your uniforms, which will consist of shorts,
t-shirt, and jock. You WILL wear these each and every day and you WILL
shower each and every day at the end of class. NO exceptions. There
will be no excuses just because you’re afraid someone will see what
little you have. And, we WILL suit up TOMORROW!”
This was not disturbing news to Robby; he expected
it. However, the sheer terror on Sean’s face was almost laughable.
“Oh, my God,” the Coach suddenly declared. “Someone
got lost on the way to the girl’s gym!”
Everyone turned to see where Coach was looking and,
there in the very center of the boys, leaning on his right leg , his
arms crossed casually, and a perfectly serene smile on his face, stood
There were chuckles throughout the class. Ethan
seemed oblivious to them.
“What… is…your…name?” Coach asked, punctuating each
word as his eyes grew menacing .
“Ethan Spenser. And, yours?”
The man’s eyes grew wide and his face turned red.
“I am your worst nightmare.”
Ethan thought for a second and then reply, “Well,
actually, Richard Nixon’s my worst nightmare, but if it makes you feel
better, you come a close second.”
The look of serenity never left Ethan’s face, but
Robby was about to come unglued. He didn’t know whether to laugh at the
kid’s audacity or be afraid for him. Apparently, the rest of the class
was in eh same quandary.
Coach stood for a full minute looking at him before
saying softly, “Come with me.”
Coach turned and marched toward the office, Ethan
serenely following. As the door to the office closed, the whole class
burst into a raucous cacophony.
“Did you hear him?”
“That was great!”
“Coach is gonna kill him.”
“Coach hates long hair. I’ll bet he cuts off that
Zhenya, who had been standing near Sean, walked over
“What will happen to Ethan?” he asked. “Will they…
“I don’t know. Probably give him a couple of swats.”
Zhenya looked confused, but before he could ask for
clarification, the door to the office opened. Slowly, Ethan emerged
from within, displaying the same serene smile on his face. However, his
face and eyes were a bright red and there was a definite moistness
around them. His fists were clenched and he was not walking normally.
It was as if he were holding something inside. Yet, the serene,
peaceful smile never left his face.
Coach emerged and announced to Ethan, in front of
the entire class, “Tomorrow, you will come to school with a haircut and
you won’t be wearing sandals. Is that understood?”
With a very controlled voice, Ethan replied, “I will
let my mother know.”
“You’ll do more than that!” Coach replied with
Ethan simply nodded formally.
The remainder of the period was spent with official
business. Several boys came up to Ethan, who seemed to have earned some
respect in their eyes. Robby stood watching him, trying to figure him
out. He was definitely the strangest kid he had ever met.
His journey to his seventh and final class,
Orchestra, was uneventful. He was the second person out of the gym,
closely following Sean, who silently led the way up to the music room.
When they arrived, Mr. Stern was asking what instrument each student
played and then directing them to the proper seats. Naturally, when
everyone was seated, Robby found himself between Zhenya, on one side,
and Ethan, favoring his rear end, on the other. There were several
other boys and girls in the section who Robby guessed must have been
seventh and eighth graders. Several of them looked down on the
three boys with mixtures of indulgence and contempt. Sean, the only boy
in the flute section, seemed to want to melt into his seat. Robby
looked around curiously and saw “Huffnagle” from Gym class sitting in
what he believed was the French horn section. Gavin Buttface was a
trumpet, (why was that not surprising?), and Tim Zitisky sat with the
Mr. Stern made a number of announcements, advised
them of their performance schedule for the year, and notified them that
auditions for seating would be held Wednesday, (the next day). Robby’s
heart sank. It would be a combination of sight-reading a piece
presented by Mr. Stern plus performing a piece of the player’s own
choosing. Robby loved The Ice Prince
and had taught himself to play the melody from the second movement,
“The Dance of the Wolves,” on his violin. That would be his audition
piece. He felt confident that Zhenya wouldn’t play anything by his
illustrious family member and Mr. Stern hadn’t even raised an eyebrow
at Zhenya’s name. However, the sight-reading was what made him nervous.
If he could just make one of the second violin chairs, he would be
happy. He would be totally humiliated if he ended up a third violin.
He was so preoccupied by his worries that he almost
missed Mr. Stern’s announcement that auditions would be held in two
weeks for the Sheffield Youth Symphony. Zhenya and Ethan seemed to be
paying careful attention. His heart sank. He knew, he just knew they
were probably great violinists. With the seventh and eighth graders in
the running with them, not only would he have no chance for even second
violin in the school orchestra, he would never have a chance to even
get IN to the Sheffield Youth Symphony.
“So what are you going to play for your audition,
tomorrow?” Ethan asked Robby as they made their way to the shelves to
get their instruments. Robby saw that Zhenya was well ahead of them,
and grinned as he turned and replied, “The Dance of the Wolves!”
“No way! Zhenya’s gonna play that!”
Robby’s heart stopped.
“How do you know?”
“I heard him playing it last night.”
“Well, I was out walking last night and went past
this house just down the street and heard someone playing it. Today,
Zhenya told me he lives at 18th and Richmond, which is where I was! So,
anyway, he played it pretty good. So, since its his great-great-uncle,
he’ll probably play it.”
“But, he said he never heard any Dmitri Koronov
“No, he said he’s never seen The Ice Prince performed. Since
he’s been in America a year; he’s probably heard all of Dmitri’s work.
Probably plays it all, too.”
Ethan picked up his violin with a heavy heart. His
favorite piece of music was about to be taken from him, and by the
Well, it just figured.
What else could go wrong?
After leaving his locker in the downstairs hall,
Robby caught up with Zhenya and Ethan as they headed out the front door
into the sunlight and heat of the September afternoon.
“So, Zhenya, wanna come over to my place? I just
live down the street there. We could play violins and I could show you
my model ship collection and my stamp collection, and we could play
backgammon maybe, and…”
“Thank you,” Zhenya replied, “but I must go home. My
father is… waiting for me.”
Zhenya seemed genuinely sad and embarrassed, but
Ethan interrupted and said, “That’s OK, I live the same way. I can walk
with you! See you tomorrow, Robby!”
At that moment, Robby McDonnell wanted to shove
Ethan’s violin, bow and all, directly up his happy hippy ass! But,
before he could fully formulate the thought in his head, someone said,
“Hey, Ronald McDonald!” and he almost instantly found himself falling
over the benches circling the flagpole. Gavin Dietrich and Biff
LaFrance strutted by chuckling before climbing into a Mercedes parked
illegally in front of the school.
It was dark outside and Robby could faintly hear the
eleven o’clock news coming on downstairs as he walked back to his
bedroom after brushing his teeth. He walked quietly so as not to
antagonize his mother, whom he had already antagonized by practicing
“The Dance of the Wolves” for two and a half hours that evening. He had
stayed up too late on a school night listening, with the volume on his
record player turned down as low as possible, to the old RCA Victor LP
of The New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein playing The Ice Prince. Had he missed
anything that might help his performance? Was their some subtle nuance
he could find and exploit to beat Zhenya Koronov and show that he was
the master of his favorite piece of music?
He flipped off the wall switch to the ceiling light,
leaving the room in only the pale yellow light of the reading lamp on
his nightstand. He walked to his desk and picked up a clean, brand-new
spiral and his black Flair pen before walking to the bed and climbing
in. Guiltily, he did not knell and say his prayers before crawling
under the sheet. There was a time when he did so every night. Of
course, there was a time when he had friends who liked him, when he was
a daredevil and rode his bike where he wasn’t supposed to, when he was
Well, he wasn’t a kid anymore. His childhood was
gone now. Now, he was in Middle School and almost an adult and he was
facing the disappointments with life that adults faced.
And, his dick was hard.
He had intended to lay in bed until he was sleepy
and work on a new Brooks of Sheffield
story. He needed to escape from the ugly realities of his new life and
become Theophilus Brooks, twelve year-old genius secret agent of the
CIA. After finishing his last story, he was ready to start another,
even better story. This one would blow the other three away! This one
would be the best ever. He would track a Soviet spy, a Russian defector
who was really a Russian secret agent pretending to be a defector.
Hey, he thought. Wait a minute! Nobody escapes from
Russia or Czechoslovakia! Just how DID Zhenya and his father get from
Prague to Germany? What if Zhenya’s father was really a Russian spy?
That would explain why Ethan Hippydick was so
friendly with him! Yeah! Ethan was in on it! His father was that
Communist poet! He had to be helping Zhenya’s father.
But, why would they come to Sheffield? What was here
to spy on? The university didn’t do anything really important when it
came to research and all Sheffield College was famous for was teaching
languages and music and history and stuff like that. Languages. Maybe
that was it. Maybe they were recruiting students at Sheffield College
to betray their country and become spies for the Soviets! And, he,
Robin Patrick McDonnell, was the only person who could expose them!
He was excited. This was even better than one of his
stories! This wasn’t just Theophilus Brooks, boy genius saving America.
This was Robby McDonnell saving America from the evil Russian spy-ring!
He had to plan this out. Yeah, that’s what he had to
do. He had to think it all through, yeah, all… through… all about the
spies… spies playing violins… and dancing wolves… spies riding dancing
wolves and playing violins… and Brooks of Sheffield was going to save
America… and Ethan Hippydick was… playing a violin and sitting on a
dancing wolf… and he had a stiffy… yeah… Ethan’s stiffy… and the
And, so, ends Chapter Two of Courage
and Passion. Tune in again next week to learn if Robby saves
America from the Communist Conspiracy, or at least makes Second Violin
in the auditions. In the meantime, please let me know what you think by
writing to me at chriswriter@
operamail.com. Thank you so much!