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Authors: David Marlow


BOOK: Yearbook
11.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





David Marlow





, Inc.

San Jose New York Lincoln Shanghai




All Rights Reserved © 1976, 2000 by David Marlow


No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher.


Published by, Inc.


For information address:, Inc.
620 North 48th Street, Suite 201
Lincoln, NE 68504-3467


Originally published by Arbor House


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


ISBN: 0-595-13259-6

ISBN: 978-1-4502-4733-7 (eBook)


Printed in the United States of America




for Amanda




“Oh, no! It was not the airplanes.
It was Beauty killed the beast!”


Last line from 1932 RKO film,
King Kong


The Venture
































The Venture





















The Venture





The Venture




at the top of Edson hill at
and knew he was never going to live through the day.

Monday, the twelfth of September, he made an entry in his mental diary: My last sunrise.

Hordes of strangers milled about the flagpole, forming cliques of varying sizes. A busy ant colony, they exchanged perfunctory greetings after a long summer s separation.

Weathered bricks and white colonnades reflected neither warmth nor welcome in their cold intimidation.

Two upper classmen, Marlboros drooping, poked each other. One pointed to Guy and remarked, “Will you just look at that? I swear, they get smaller every year.”

As Guy walked by, doing his best to appear inconspicuous, one of the boys blew a puff of smoke in his face. “Tell the truth, sonny. You really a sophomore?”

Guy looked up and pulled an imaginary string atop his head. “No,” he said, “fm a ventriloquist’s dummy!”

Amused, the tall boy let him pass.

Relieved, Guy lowered his head and walked under the arch and through the metal doors into Waterfield High.

Down in the girls’ locker room, beautiful and bouncy, giggling and gossiping, a voluptuous Ro-Anne Sommers zipped herself into her snug red and yellow outfit and looked at the ID bracelet she was wearing: CORKY.

She sat down on the low locker bench to make a major decision. What to do? Cheerleading regulations stated most clearly:
No jewelry while jumping.
Still … she wanted all new girls at the assembly that morning to know damn well, right from the start—Corky Henderson is spoken for. All mine. Hands off.

Ro-Anne dotted a few thick plops of white cream down her long legs and replaced the bottle inside her locker. She gently massaged the expensive moisturizer into her still-tanned skin.

“Finish up, girls!” Marlene, captain of the cheerleaders, clapped hands three times.

Ro-Anne made sure her braceleted wrist was behind her back as she took her place in line. Once certain Marlene hadn’t noticed her indiscretion, she relaxed. Who cared if she broke a tiny, silly rule, anyway? Pretty girls can get away with murder.

At 8:55, Amy Silverstein carried her five-foot-nine frame into the
office. She begged Leonard Hauser to let her off the hook. The last story she cared to cover was the sappy assembly for new students.

“Tough titty.” Leonard yawned from behind his desk. “Someone’s got to do it. Who else has your wit, your style, your deathless purple prose?”

Amy held up a thin, open hand. “Talked me into it! But I promise, once they start teaching those brats the alma mater, I’m leaving. I refuse to get nauseous before lunch. Cafeteria food will do that for me, as is.”

Leonard peered up at Amy through thick eyeglasses, wondering as he did every time he saw her just how she had managed so well to miss out on nature’s blessings—a girl whose hair was not just curly, but kinky; a complexion not just troubled with acne, but riddled; teeth not just crooked, but wired top to bottom, with marionette rubber bands which restricted movement as they were suspended from teeny hooks. Then there was the matter of that nose.

A regular baked potato.

“You’re my star reporter!” The editor-in-chief, no perfection of nature himself, clicked his teeth.

Amy recognized Leonard’s appraising look. Rather than pretend it wasn’t there, she met it head on, saying as she walked out the door, “You bet, Leonard. Lois Lane with pimples!”

There was no one else in the boys’ washroom as Guy rinsed his hands for the third time. He pulled a paper towel from the metal bin and heard all over again the dining room conversation of less than an hour ago.

“He’s so creepy, Dad,” Butch had complained, not knowing his younger brother was listening at the door. “Throws just like a girl. Honest. He’s always picked last. Always.”

Guy now regretted having eavesdropped. He also regretted the rest of what he’d overheard.

“I don’t care.” His father attacked a stack of pancakes. “One of you has to walk Guy to school. Just this first morning.”

“Not me!” His sister Rose smiled sweetly.

“Not me!” Butch held up buttered fingers of protest. “Anyone who doesn’t know we’re related might mistake us for friends.”

Guy’s father tapped an impatient finger against his empty mug, looked from son to daughter and poured himself more coffee.

Birdie, Guy’s mother, collected dirty dishes. “What Guy needs from all of you is a little encouragement. He’s just sensitive is all.”

?” Nathan protested. “Neither of my sons are sensitive, thank you, and Guy could learn to play ball like anyone else. He’s just one of your late growers. He’d be fine, Birdie, if you’d get him away from those goddamn hobbies. And stop giving him money for the movies every time they change the program. …”

Guy discarded the recent memory with the soiled towel and looked out the bathroom window onto an empty athletic field. He inhaled deeply, hoping to calm down, hoping the month would change back to August.

There was a disturbing quality to the day. Not quite a summer warmth, not yet an autumn crispness. A transitional season with no name. Something in the air which suggested an uncertain future Guy was not yet ready to face.

As he turned to leave he caught his reflection above the row of sinks. He stared several moments, sizing himself up with regret.

The mirror told the tale.

Fifteen and pencil thin. Still the smallest kid on the block—in the neighborhood. Fifteen and still the owner of a high-pitched, Mickey Mouse voice. Just turned fifteen and alone, still a stranger not only to the rest of his robust family, but to himself.

He could almost understand Butch and Rose’s reluctance to accompany him to school. Hell, he didn’t want to be seen with himself, either.

Three hundred hands crossed three hundred hearts, pledging loyalties.

Dr. Potter—educator, disciplinarian, idealist—stood on stage, behind a podium. American flag to his left, New York State flag to his right, the principal instructed his congregation for seventeen minutes on what it meant to be educated. Eight student leaders sat clumped together behind the good doctor, pretending attention.

Amy sat in the last row of the auditorium, taking notes in a fast scribble. She loved Dr. Potter. He never caught on to the tongue-in-cheek manner in which she summarized his pompous remarks. He always thought Amy’s barbs were valentines. Such was the power of her press.

Dr. Potter concluded his welcoming address, and those of the audience still alert applauded politely. “I now turn the program over to Ken Crawley, your Student Council President!”

In dark gray flannel suit, spanking white button-down shirt and skinny black tie, Ken Crawley smiled his way to the podium and looked out over a sea of constituents, counting votes. After an extensive greeting and a promise to clean up the hallways, he introduced the other student leaders onstage. In turn, he announced, “Senior class president and captain of our Eagles’ trophy-bound football team … Corky Henderson!”

Corky rose to his feet, waved and conquered.

The girls wanted him.

The boys wanted to be him.

Tall and uncommonly handsome, charming, popular and powerfully built, Corky Henderson stood onstage, way up at the top of the totem pole, coolest of them all. Each short wave of his carefully parted dark hair was thicker than the next. His green eyes smiled at his appreciative audience and his dimples deepened with good reason: barely eighteen and already a legend.

Clapping in the wings with the other cheerleaders, Ro-Anne tingled with excitement. Her firm nipples rubbed against her bra. She loved seeing Corky cheered and adored. It meant they were applauding her too. Fame by association.

From an open field of pretty faces Corky had taken his pick. And many a fantasy had been fulfilled when he’d displayed the good taste to have chosen Ro-Anne, the loveliest flower of them all.

She rubbed her ID with affection.

No doubt about it. She was in love.

Guy applauded too. His stomach gurgled. Adrenaline shot every which way. In all his life he’d never seen anyone he’d so instantly admired. For whatever Guy Fowler wasn’t, Corky Henderson most assuredly was.

Guy calculated what it would take to be like the amazing fellow now center stage, soaking up all that limelight. Just another twelve inches off the ground; sixty additional pounds of sinewy muscle; the smile, the confidence, the right clothes, the rugged, casual, jocklike air and he’d have it all. Nothing to it.

He wanted to slash his wrists.

Repulsive nonsense, thought Amy as her eyes canvassed the new students idolizing Corky. Look at him up there, King Eagle, bulging out of his letter sweater.

She jotted down the following:
Shame our new students dont display the same enthusiastic reception for the Chairman of the Science Fair as for the Captain of the football squad. Even in our atomic age, cavemen still capture the hour.

Amy knew Leonard Hauser would delete the pointed observation with his manic blue pencil, so she wouldn’t include it in her piece. Still, she was glad to have noted it.

No doubt about it. She was not in love.

The next part of the assembly found the cheerleaders running onstage. White gloves clap-clapped, tennis sneakers stomp-stomped. Statuesque 34-B cups moved up and down as healthy lungs filled with oxygen. Ro-Anne and her sisters leapt gaily about in spread-eagled flights of fancy. Their prized genitalia became the center of gravity as they performed clean-cut cartwheels and splits, and as white thighs kicked out of red and yellow bloomers, black-and-white composition notebooks dropped to laps, covering up the response of sophomore males to so much school-spirit-raising.

BOOK: Yearbook
11.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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