The Smuggler

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

“Good evening, Mr. Stock.  Please 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?”

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.