In a diner not far from Adamsville High School, four friends sat at their usual table, strategically positioned to see and be seen, yet remain isolated should they prefer a private conversation. With their heads close together over the usual basket of fries and glasses of coke, they were an island of relative calm amidst students shooting straw papers, bouncing from table to table and speaking in voices that would make a drill sergeant proud.
Friends since early childhood, the four shared little more than past history once they entered high school, though they’d formed two loose pairs during their high school years based on similar interests. Josh topped six feet by a couple of inches, looked like a refrigerator with a head stuck on top and wore his dark hair cropped military short. His position as captain of the football team made he and Amy a natural combination. Her sun-streaked hair flowed down her back in natural waves, a pixie face topping her 5 foot nothing frame. Her primary interests involved being head cheerleader and a member of the prestigious Show Choir. Neither cared much about scholastic achievements, believing they’d get into college with a combination of their talents and their parents’ influence.
Paul and Mary were their friends’ intellectual opposites. Paul was as tall as Josh, but lean and wiry. His sparrow-brown hair was constantly falling in his eyes and the horn-rimmed glasses he wore gave him the look of a wisened owl. Mary’s ink black hair fell to the middle of her back but was usually worn in a tail bound high on her head. Though she was quite a bit taller than Amy, she was a good half foot shorter than Paul. Paul described Mary as having ‘warm, soft curves’, usually with a dreamy look in his eyes. Paul was Student Body President and Mary, Editor of the school newspaper. They shared an inquisitive nature and the persistence to both find the answers and mold their world according to the visions they’d created. They loved to argue and their favorite topics were of little interest to Josh and Amy, leaving them to spend most of their time in each other’s company.
“Did you see the look on her face when her locker wouldn’t open?” hooted Josh
“When they found the open tube of super glue inside, I thought she was going to die! I was hoping she’d cry, or go off on us or something. Wish I could’ve been there when Principal Adams reamed her. Damaging school property is a criminal offense in his book. I’ll bet she gets life in detention without parole.” Amy’s expression was smug as she sipped her coke.
Looking thoughtful, Paul mused “D’you know what’s really weird? No matter what we do to her, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her cry. She looked like a whipped dog today. Made me feel a little guilty about the way we’ve treated her.”
“You going soft on us, Paulie?” Josh taunted. “You gonna go all knight-in-shining-armor for the girl? She’s an outsider and we aren’t treating her an...