The Smuggler

“Good evening, Mr. Stock.  Step over here so we may have a look in that backpack, please,” bellowed the school’s vice principal, Mr. Stuckley.  “Planning to do homework at the homecoming dance, are we?”

Trophies by Mr.Fink’s Finest Photos is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I turned my head to see who Mr. Stuckley was speaking to.  So did the two volunteer mothers manning the ticket table, and I found amusement as both their facial expressions drew noticeably uncomfortable once seeing the target of Mr. Stuckley’s attention.  It was Adam Stock, another sophomore in my class who was dressed-to-impress this evening wearing black jeans, a tuxedo-printed t-shirt, polished cowboy boots, and a top hat that would make Slash envious.

“You know the routine,” said the vice principal, his arms folded across his puffed-up chest.  “Let’s see the contents of your backpack, Mr. Stock.”

Adam flung his neon-green backpack off his shoulder and onto the folding table set up beside the trophy case.  His swift movement stirred the air enough that I managed to catch a whiff of patchouli oil, a scent I try to avoid whenever within a short radius of Adam.  He reached into his backpack and pulled out a small nested tripod, a hand-held Sony digital video camera, two weathered spiral-bound notebooks with a pen stuffed into the spiral of one of them, and a soft-covered book titled The Dune Chronicles.

“Very well, Mr. Stock, thank you” said Mr. Stuckley, his voice softening a bit this time.

I’m still amused how Mr. Stuckley can maintain speaking in a voice clearly forced two octave lower than his normal register.  He must drink a lot of herbal tea each night to prepare for the next day of school.

Adam stuffed the items back into his bag, handed one of the mothers a crumbled five, and shot me a quick glance before walking into the gymnasium.

Amateur, I thought.  He never checked the top hat.