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Yes, Master: Rise of the Witch
Never was there a Saint with Red Hair
– Old Russian Proverb
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Chapter One: I Dream of Jeannie
When I first met Jeannie, I was in the eighth grade, and she was the new girl who had just moved to our school. It was the first day for her, but the middle of the year for the rest of us.
The home room teacher Ms. Payne checked her office slip, wrote her name in her attendance book, and asked her if she would like to introduce herself, while still standing in-front of the entire class.
As a new student, I would have been horrified. I mean it would have been a struggle for me just to remember my name, if Ms. Payne had put me on the spot front of a room full of strangers.
I got in so much trouble sitting next to my two friends, Kyle and Carlos, that our teacher moved me to the other side of the room.
Jeannie seemed very comfortable however, and introduced herself with a poker face that hid any underlying fear. Plus she spoke in an organized manner that almost sounded like a speech she had rehearsed.
Jeanie started by telling us where she was from, the name of her old school, how badly she missed her friends, and how happy she was for the opportunity to make some new ones, and finally the reason she moved here in the first place.
Jeanie’s dad got a promotion, but if he accepted they would have to relocate within 30 days. Her father did not have a choice about the timing, other wise her parents would have waited until the end of the school year instead.
Then Jeannie concluded by looking over at Ms. Payne to see if she was satisfied. Ms. Payne told Jeanie that we were happy to have her.
And we were.
I know I was because Jeanie, was hotter than hell. I have never seen a red-head look so beautiful. There was only one other empty desk in the classroom, and that was in front of me. I sat in the second seat behind her. The student who previously sat there was an authentic Native American named Johnny Wolf. And he lived on a reservation with several other Indian families that composed an actual tribe.
I called him Johnny “Howling Wolf” because of his allergies, as he was constantly itching, sneezing, and coughing, and it was non-stop. Nothing against his heritage, but I hated sitting next to him because of it. One day it got so bad, I waited after class to complain to the teacher.
“Ms. Payne I want to be moved back to my old seat.”
“No, I’m not going to do that, she said.”
“I don’t care where you move me just anywhere away from Johnny, I said.”
“Forget it, she said dismissively.”
“You can move Carlos and Kyle to Johnny instead and move me to where their sitting.”
“Thank You for telling me what I can do, she said.”
Truth be told, I didn’t even want to breathe the same air with Johnny let alone sit next to him.”
“You’re exaggerating, besides it only sounds like Johnny has hay-fever, Ms. Payne replied offhandedly.”
Hay-fever, Bullshit, how did she know, was she a fucking doctor now, I think not?
I mean I never heard of someone coughing up a lung because of Hay-Fever? Hell, my grandfather had bronchitis and he didn’t sound that bad, Mark stewed silently.
“Ms. Payne, what if whatever Johnny has is contagious?”
“Then I assume we’d all been coughing, she said.”
She won this round.
Another month passed, and and Ms. Payne gave each student in the first row a stack of tests, and then would take one and pass the remaining back. Of course I was behind Johnny, and suddenly as he turned I guess he lost control and coughed right in my face.
He didn’t even try to cover his mouth with the tests. I was so disgusted that in a fit of rage, I lost it, “Cover that shit hole, you filthy savage, I shouted out loud.”
Ms. Payne had her back turned so she hadn’t seen how Johnny had just thrown up on my face.”
“Mark Winters, you apologize this instant, Ms. Payne demanded.”
“I got up and told her that I had to go to the bathroom to wash up first, because Johnny didn’t cover his mouth, before he puked all over me, and that I was the on who deserved the apology.”
After class I stayed again, to tell Mrs. Payne my side of the story, and that had I been moved, this whole thing could have been avoided.
“Ms. Payne, Johnny’s condition sounds like it’s getting worse. I think he needs some modern medicine and not whatever their giving him out there on that reservation, because it’s not working.”
Ms. Payne, looking annoyed, “What are you talking Mark?”
“I’m talking about you blatantly overlooking your duties as a teacher, and ignoring one of your student’s ailments, I replied.”
“My duties, ailments, Ms. Payne repeated?”
“Well, I don’t have him in any of my other classes, Mark answered.”
“It is not the school’s policy to recommend treatment or medication, nor are we authorized to give it. Now if you have a problem with that, maybe you should take it up with Principle White, Ms. Payne answered curtly, in fact I was going to sent you to his office anyway.”
“Well before you do, I just want to make sure that I have my facts straight, the school’s position is to just pretend that Johnny’s health problems don’t really exist, I mean at least officially. And if anything does happen to Johnny while he’s still on school property, the District can claim to have no prior knowledge, so if he dies, the Board won’t get sued for negligence by the Native American Council.”
“I do not make those decisions, Ms. Payne, retorted, turning red, looking embarrassed.”
“What about your Hypocritical oath, Mark asked?”
“My Hypocritical what, Ms. Payne replied?”
“What if what Johnny has is terminal, I mean those Native American’s have all the money in the world because of the casino’s, but they still choose to live out there on their reservations, like a bunch of…”
“Savages, Ms. Payne completed?”
“Yea, that’s right, savages, I mean why is it that the Indians are so self-sufficient with everything else, except when it comes to home-schooling their own children, Mark asked?”
“Maybe they want to modernize, and start indoctrinating themselves into society, Ms. Payne replied.”
“That’s fine, let them modernize, I’m not a racist, but I don’t want to suffer from whatever it is that Johnny’s suffering from, I mean just because they don’t believe in the “White Man’s Medicine, Mark said making quotation marks, is no reason for of us to suffer.”
Ms. Payne was getting more upset, “Well, I can’t very well tell Johnny that he can’t come to class now can I?”
You don’t want have the authority, I bet Mr. White doesn’t either, Mark thought to himself?
Why don’t you just call in the Army then, tell them its an outbreak, let the (CDC), storm in here and quarantine the entire town. Just give me a heads-up first, so I can sneak out, I mean, I would hate to wind up on the wrong side of the plastic bubble, if you know what I mean, Mark said with a straight face.”
Ms. Payne burst out laughing.
Mark stared back at Ms. Payne in total amazement, more like shock. He wasn’t even trying to be funny, but whenever he got really upset about something, he started running off at the mouth, and then he couldn’t stop.
He waited for her to finish laughing because she was still going.
“You know Ms. Payne, this is the first time, I think I ever heard you laugh, It sounded more like a revelation than a statement the way Mark said it.
Ms. Payne just kept smiling.
“I didn’t know you could laugh, Mark continued.”
“Look, I can’t make any promises, but I’ll talk to Principal White myself, maybe there’s something that he can do, but as for me, my hands are tied.”
Despite her age and profession, Ms. Payne revealed herself to be a warm human being who actually had a sense of humor. She could even treat a student with respect, instead of just being another condescending adult.
Mark suddenly realized, that she was really just another person stuck in the same horrible situation that he was in. Now they shared a common tragedy. It was like a worker from the boiler room of the “Titanic” talking to a passenger from first class. Or the captain himself, it didn’t matter they were all in the same boat now.
Could it be, that Ms. Payne was just as disgusted about Johnny’s condition as he was? But unlike Mark, she didn’t have the luxury of complaining about it, because she had a job to protect.
“You hate Johnny being in your class, as much as I do, Mark said out loud.”
Ms. Payne looked up at him again, but this time she looked startled, she studied Mark and he saw a look of panic on her face.
She wondered if maybe she had said too much, and then after a delayed moment, her composure returned and she said dismissively, “Goodbye, Mark.”
Ms. Payne, the teacher had returned.
Mark slung his backpack over his shoulders and headed out. But before he left the classroom he stopped at the doorway and turned around.
“Ms. Payne, I would like to tell everybody that you have a very contagious laugh. But I don’t think they would believe me, maybe if they heard it from you themselves, you could help me convince them, and then Mark left without saying a word, not even “Good-bye.”
Now Ms. Payne was stunned.
Never in her eighteen years of teaching could she remember a student giving her a compliment on anything. Not on her looks, not on her hair, not on her outfits. Nothing. Margaret Payne continued staring at the empty doorway.
Mark did learn that Ms. Payne had made good on her word however, because something finally did change regarding Johnny.
His parents admitted him into a regular hospital, where they discovered that much of his illness was due to allergies. But it wasn’t just hay-fever, Johnny had a rare condition because his lungs were super-sensitive.
The allergies from the dust and pollen created a constant state of irritation within the air sacks themselves. So given enough time, and left untreated, his condition could have become fatal.
His family moved Johnny to another tribe further North of the state, and Johnny lived on another reservation, but one near a clinic that specialized in his type of illness.
After Johnny left no one from the school ever heard from him again, Mark never got so much as a Thank You” let alone an acknowledgment, but if Johnny got the help he needed, that’s all that really mattered.
Anyway, Johnny’s exodus was the only reason why there was an empty seat in the classroom to begin with. And now the new girl Jeannie would be sitting there instead. Mark could not have dreamed up a better replacement himself.
Jeanie was so beautiful that Mark had to turn away as she walked towards him, and also so that he would not stare, but that was almost impossible, her beauty seemed magnetic.
Mark thought Jeanie might have been one of the most beautiful eighth grader in the entire world. And that was also because she matured early; as she already had the body of an adult woman.
Mark had read somewhere that girls were maturing much earlier now than any time before in history. There was this theory that it was because of all the hormones, and steroids that they put in the cow’s milk. Well if Jeanie ate her Frosted Flakes, she was proof of that.
She might have had the face of a 13-year-old girl, young, fresh, and innocent, but she had the mature body of a curvy, voluptuous vixen.
Her tits were fucking huge!!!
The contrast between her youthful, innocent looks, and her mature well-endowed body, only enhanced the other that much more.
Mark couldn’t help but wonder, if Jeanie’s body was as innocent as her face looked. And then as she sat down, Mark began to have a hard time concentrating. What he felt was a headache, but the pain quickly got so bad that he had to close his eyes.
He rubbed his forehead, and then his temples and try to relieve some of the pain. If it got any worse Mark thought he might cry out or even pass out.
And then suddenly he started to get flashes of images. They were about Jeanie the new girl. Sometimes Mark got “visions,” for lack of a better definition. It didn’t happen with everyone. I mean he wasn’t psychic in the broad sense.
Usually it was just a female who Mark found extremely attractive. Sexually attractive. Sometimes the pictures were accompanied by a sound, or a feeling, but mostly they were just pictures.
The last time this happened to him was with a blonde girl named Tiffany who was the first girl who had given him oral sex. Aside from kissing a girl or feeling one or two up, since fourth grade, she was Mark’s first sexual experience.
Tiffany was one of the most popular, and attractive girls at the school, but she was selfish and ultimately the visions of her leaving him broken-hearted always overshadowed any sexual desire he felt for her.
Tiffany would destroy any man who loved her, she would punish them for it. And when she was finished she would move on to another to do the same.thing.
Girls had conquests too.
And it was always the getting and not the having with Tiffany.
Now Mark was receiving the same images from the new girl, Jeanie, was this a warning?
Mark didn’t know why but Jeanie had suddenly “activated” these flashing images within him the same as Tiffany had done before her.
And when Jeanie sat down next to Mark the pictures started popping off in his head like silent flashbulbs, one exploding after another.
<Pop, pop, pop!>
Sometimes the images were of a person’s past and other times it was of their present or current situation. Some times Mark even got glimpses of a future event. Sometimes it was all three !!!
Mark had the feeling that he could see things about the other person without them even being aware of it. I mean if they knew, they would have reacted right?
He would have.
But Mark didn’t know if his “mental-story images” of the person were even accurate or if they were merely generated by his own imagination as fantasy.
He never got confirmation because he never asked the other person who he got the visions to get confirmation.
How could he, without sounding like a crazy person or maybe a mutant freak from another world?
Mark made it a point, never to tell anyone about these “visions.”
Not to his friends, not to his teacher and certainly not to his parents. His father would quietly take him to a shrink, in another city to “fix” him.
You see, one day Marks father John was planning to run for public office, and he didn’t need his only son on record with a history of mental illness. Not only would he be an embarrassment, but it would ruin his chances for public office forever.
I mean the little people always thought the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And Mark wasn’t going to let no fucking quack put him on some experimental psychotropic medication that would do him more harm than good.
Once they prescribed you that, you never got off.But worse than that, seen by a shrink would get him labeled as “crazy,” and for the rest of his life.
Being crazy was one thing; being confirmed as crazy was something else. And Mark would rather die first.
He closed his eyes and started rubbing them to try and stop the flood of images that were pouring in. After Mark started to see enough of them, the images would start to repeat themselves, and formulate a story, like pieces of a puzzle that eventually completed a picture.
Now the images were repeating themselves again. Marks first impression(s) was that Jeanie had involved herself with something taboo.
She was in a cult. No, she was a student of the occult. Wicca, she practiced witchcraft. Jeanie had belonged to a school, no a coven. She had a natural talent for Wicca. But something had happened. She was a novice, a very gifted student, but inexperienced and undisciplined.
Pain. Regret. Horror. Reckless. Love.
Jeanie was “expelled” from the coven because as a student she practiced on her own, outside of any supervision, which was dangerous and forbidden.
Suddenly Mark wondered it this tied in with her move, the real reason for her relocation.
Was she banished?
Jealousy. Rivalry. Pain. Suffering.
Wicca, was a religion, witchcraft were simply rituals.
Every religion had rules, but the rules of Wicca were stricter than most. And Jeanie had disobeyed theirs.
Sex? Love? Desire?
A boy. No, he was a man. In her other school there was an older boy, named Joe, John, Josh. His name was Josh, and Jeanie became instantly attracted to him. Josh was her first crush.
He was older but because of her intelligence Jeanie was mentally, if not emotionally, his equal. The two of them even shared some of the same classes, Jeanie was allowed to skip a grade (actually two), because of how intelligent she was.
But Josh never seemed to notice her, Jeanie was very attractive, but in a girlish way. Cute, not sexy. Jeanie did not know why Josh was not interested in her; it was because she still looked “under-developed,” more like a child than a woman. And Josh was a breast-man.
One day Jeanie overheard Josh talking to a friend of his, and that he needed to go to the Mall this weekend to buy some new shoes. Jeanie made plans to be there before him so that she could “accidentally” run into him.
He didn’t say what time he was going exactly, so Jeanie had to get there early, actually she was there when the Mall opened and waited nearby just on the chance that Josh might show up.
When she finally saw Josh walk in, Jeanie walked over and made up an excuse to talk to him. He smiled, flirted, complimented her, and even laughed at her jokes, Jeanie was sure that Josh was going to ask her out.
But then just like a scene staged from a heartbreaking romantic comedy, a very well-endowed female walked past them, and her timing could not have been worse for Jeanie.
Like an electric magnet that had suddenly switched polarities, Josh’s attention immediately switched from Jeanie to the other girl in an instant.
Jeanie stared at the woman who captured her “boyfriend’s” attraction, and she became vaguely aware that she had seen this girl before, her name was Brenda, and she was also in the same class that she and Josh shared.
Josh made up some horribly, transparent excuse to leave Jeanie so that he could catch up with the other girl before Brenda, got away. Jeanie had been outclassed, simple as that. Game, Set, and Match.
Josh’s reaction was so abrupt that it would have been comical under different circumstances, but the shock of his sudden abandonment was devastating, and the humiliation she felt in his absence was monumental. Jeanie couldn’t even move at first, her body frozen with her mind refusing to accept what had happened.
He left me for Brenda?
Yes, she was an older, mature, and more endowed girl, but certainly not prettier???
And he left her for Brenda right in the middle of the mall where everybody could see her humiliation. She might as well been the lead actress in a tragedy. Her face turned red from embarrassment.
She could not stop it. In fact she could feel the heat coming off her body from her embarrassment,Jeanie wished she could suddenly turn invisible so that nobody could see her while she forced one foot in front of the other, feeling like a fool, trying to maintain her dignity, and even holding her breath hoping that it prevent her from crying in public, at least not until she made it to the bathroom.
Jeanie was in the stall for almost twenty minutes, crying long enough to make sure she got it all out of her system. She wanted to make sure that she made it out of the mall before she started up again.
She wanted to at least make it home, this time. Josh was Jeanie’s first crush and he was devastating; she cried herself to sleep that night wondering what she did wrong, and why she wasn’t good enough for Josh.
For the rest of the week Jeanie was inconsolable, she wouldn’t eat, or sleep, or confide in anyone, until she could no longer deny the truth. And that was when she was determined to win Josh’s affection at any cost. It was unfair what had happened to her.
She felt like she had been setup. Why did that bitch have to walk past her at the exact moment Josh was about the ask her out?
Now she had heard that they were even dating, but this girl Brenda, had not won Josh, she had stolen him, and with an unfair advantage!!!
Jeanie was going to use a magical incantation that would emulate the body of this other woman, that way Josh would be as interested in Jeanie as he was this Brenda, and then Jeanie would be able to compete against this other woman on a level playing field.
But this incantation was a very dangerous thing to attempt. First, Jeanie did not the experience, Second the spell was not a one-person ritual, and third, she did not have permission from the coven to perform it.
None of this mattered to Jeanie, and she convinced herself she was doing the right thing. Besides she knew if she asked, that her request would be denied on principle.
Plus, Jeanie didn’t even think she could even bring herself to ask for a sexual endowment, it would be humiliating. Childish, immature, unrealistic, and insane.
You could not rush nature any more than you could persuade, but there were those who would try to force it out of balance. And now Jeanie was motivated.
A woman scorned, a woman in love, she could move mountains, and God help the fool that stood in her way, they would be crushed. Jeanie was a brilliant student of the Wiccan arts, and a gifted apprentice, but she was young, and did not have the power, confidence or experience, to complete such a complicated ritual correctly, if there even was one.
Jeanie had performed the magic rite meticulously, and it had been effective, despite her inexperience, partly because Jeanie herself was still in puberty, and so her body began to quickly change and the results were astonishing.
Her body began to grow into the same form and shape of this other woman. But something went wrong. And that is why there is no substitution for experience in any field.
Some variation, or deviation, something unnoticed or forgotten, Jeanie didn’t know specifically, but the ritual had not completed correctly, or if it had, something was left out, or overlooked, and as a result the other woman died.
When the elders found out what Jeanie had done; the mother superior, Janice, shook her head in both shock and amazement. She told Jeanie that she could not believe that she herself had not been killed during the incantation.
What she attempted, had never been tried before, which was a true testament of her abilities, and her potential. Jeanie was by far the most gifted student Janice had ever tutored. In time Jeanie, herself would have been the one to replace Janice, because of her ability.
It was only natural for her to be the next to lead in succession, for Jeanie was the most capable, the most gifted. No one could deny her ability. But now none of that would ever be possible.
Janis was Jeanie’s mentor, and personal teacher, and she was unable to have children of her own. So she loved Jeanie like her own daughter, and she was the most protective of Jeanie, especially with her being the youngest member of the coven. But Jeanie had to be held accountable for her actions the same as everyone else. No one was above Wiccan Law.
During the next full moon all thirteen members of the coven gathered outside the courtyard. Twelve in a circle and and Jeanie in the middle. Every woman present was clothed only in a hooded robe, and crying miserable, and that included both Janice and Jeanie themselves.
Another senior member of the council, Teresa, a beautiful blonde, seductive and alluring tried to speak in Jeanie’s defense, “Mother Janis, forgive this child, I beg thee, her intention were not malice.
“Yes, she was reckless. yes, she was foolish, but this folly was for first loves sake, and who among us has not been deceived by love, or made a fool of by the same, not once but many times even afterwards.
It suddenly started raining in large, cold and heavy drops. And every woman except for Jeanie, put the hood of their robes over her heads to keep their hair from getting wet.
Janice could not rule on intention, but on outcome alone. Jeanie could not have preferential treatment.
Janis spoke, “I did not make the laws, sister Teresa, and Jeanie was aware of them from the onset, the laws are in place to prevent exactly what happened, from happening, now we all have blood on our hands.”
Another woman, Cassandra now hooded, and her face hidden in the shadow of the moonlight spoke up, “She is but a child, Mother Superior, have mercy on her for she is young, she is young and her heart is pure, Cassandra repeated.”
But Janice shook her head. “She was old enough, old enough to know better, yet she chose against the law, and now she must be held accountable because of it.”
Jeanie took off her robe and even thou she was completely naked underneath, she threw herself on the ground, kneeling before Janice and begged her for an alternate form of punishment, it was bad form to beg for forgiveness before the verdict was even given.
“I will take the lash until my back bleeds and scars, she said. Or the fire until it scorches and burns my flesh, They could even scrub her skin with steel wool, and salt water afterwards, until even the first three layers were peeled back.
The wind started to howl, and it carried Jeanie’s appeal to the heavens, but there was would be no latitude given from Janis, she alone would make the decision, and her decision would be final.
Janis spoke: “Jeanie you have caused the death of another, although unintentional, you were selfish, reckless, and dangerous. You knew the law, but ye broke it anyway. Had this other woman lived, another punishment may have been considered, but as it stands, the punishment will fit the crime.
Jeanie was already crying hysterically.
Janice raise her voice so she could be heard above the wind, “Jeanie, you are now excommunicated from our sisterhood forever, and swear an oath upon your life that you will never practice witchcraft again, either now or in the future, with or without assistance, and then Janis looked down on her, that is the judgement.”
The group of women repeated their response in unison, “So mote it be.”
Jeanie looked up at the Janice and pleaded, “Please Mother, you are my only family, do not abandon me, I would rather you kill me, than banish me, death itself would be a kinder fate, but to live without my sisters, that is unbearable, Jeanie cried.”
“Some punishments in life are worse than death, Janis replied, and you more than anyone should know that, and they exchanged a knowing look between them.
“Swear the Oath, or suffer the curse Janice warned.”
“Please you are the only mother I have ever known, Jeanie pleaded.”
Janice slapped Jeanie in her face hard, and Jeanie fell on her side and into the mud, which covered one side of her face and body. Janice waited patiently for Jeanie to get up and then repeated her demand, “Swear the Oath or suffer the curse, Janice repeated.”
Jeanie did not see hatred in the eyes of Janis, she saw pity, anger, but most of all disappointment. Both woman were broken-heated.
“I will suffer the curse Jeanie said.”
And so the mother superior announced what her fate was to be.
To never be loved!!!
And after Janice announced her judgement, she warned Jeanie, “Do not call me your mother, or these other women your sisters, for we are not your family anymore, nor shall we ever be again.
The lightning illuminated the sky as if for effect.
And then Janis walked away from Jeanie as the rain continued to come down, but now even harder. It was as if even Nature itself was washing its hands of Jeanie. Now she was no longer kneeling, Jeanie fell into the fetal position, and screamed hysterically, “I am alone, I am alone, I am alone, I have no one, I have no one, I have no one, she yelled over and over.”
And each time she cried out, the lightning flickered and the thunder sounded above to drown her out. Yet no member of the coven would stay to comfort Jeanie, help her up, cover her with her robe, or even look back to see if she would be okay.
The group silently followed Janis, back into their small concrete fortress that was the courtyard, and shut the iron gate behind them, which locked with a metallic rattle.
“Mr. Winters, can you give me the answer, Ms. Payne asked?
“Mark jumped back in his seat, his “visions” were gone, the story was over. Hearing Ms. Payne’s voice brought Mark back to the present. To the here and now.
“The Answer?” Mark said, clearing his throat.”
“Yes, the answer, weren’t you paying attention, Ms. Payne asked?”
Hell no, I wasn’t paying attention, Mark thought to himself?
How could she even ask him that with a straight face, isn’t that why you called on me in the first place?
Mark already decided to ask Jeanie out, like on a date, but if Ms. Payne made him look like a fool, it could ruin his chances with her, and he hadn’t even introduced himself yet, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
“I’m sorry Ms. Payne, I couldn’t hear you, can you repeat the question, again, Mark asked.”
Ms. Payne scoffed.
“Who shot our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, Ms. Payne repeated?”
“Uh……That John…. Telephone…… Booth guy, Mark finished quickly.
The entire class erupted in laughter.
“That-is-not-funny, Ms. Payne said, enunciating each word carefully to let the room know she meant business. All of you quiet down this instant, Ms. Payne commanded.”
“When the class quieted down, Ms. Payne picked up right where she left off, and turning to Mark she asked, “You mean John “Wilkes” Booth, Ms. Payne corrected?”
“Yes, that’s exactly who I meant, Mark answered.
I guess Ms. Payne didn’t want to look like a fool in front of the new girl either, Mark thought to himself.”
“Then why didn’t you say so in the first place, Ms. Payne asked, putting him on the spot again?”
What? Are you fucking kidding me?
I gave you the right answer now move on bitch, Mark thought to himself.
Why was Ms. Payne giving him such a hard time?
Mark felt like Ms. Payne wanted to deliberately embarrass him in front of the new girl, because she had never acted like this before.
“Ms. Payne, you told us last semester that if we couldn’t actually remember the answer; to associate something with it instead, like an image, So, I took the last name “Booth,” and I tried to think of a picture that I could associate with his last name. And Telephone Booth was all that I could come up with. Telephone Booth & John Wilkes Booth, Mark said, putting his two hands together as if connecting the two.
Ms. Payne was both, amazed and confused, the latter because she never told the class to link words with pictures. Mark had made that shit up on the spot. While she was still trying to remember, Mark sensed that she might also be trying to think of a comeback, so he preëmpted her response with a comeback of his own, before she could.
“Look, Ms. Payne, I don’t know why you’re always picking on me, unlike these snobby rich girls, I like your casual shoes, he said pointing at them for effect and nodding his head in approval. Mark wanted the attention off him and back on Ms. Payne.
Ms. Payne herself even looked down at her shoes, and then, once she knew that she’s been had, lifted one of them up to check and see if anything was underneath it.
“They look comfortable, Mark said, giving her the okay sign.”
The entire class erupted in laughter, again.
This time she didn’t yell at the room to quiet down, she waited for them patiently. Maybe Mark had earned that laugh. But before she could speak again, Mark panicked, maybe he had gone too far this time, and that he should have stopped while he was ahead.
He couldn’t help himself, he was still reeling from the images that he’d seen from Jeanie’s past and now his mind was racing into over-drive. Mark couldn’t have stopped his mouth even if that meant a one-way ticket straight to the principal’s office. Better to die a rebel than a fool.
Now that the class was quiet again, a composed Ms. Payne with a Mona-Lisa smile scanned the classroom. Her body language proclaimed: I am the adult here, and the bigger person.
Her tone and mood seemed much lighter when she spoke, “Well, I hope the rest of you will be able to associate pretty pictures with answers this Friday, because there’s going a test, and you can bet that question will be on there, Ms. Payne guaranteed.”
The entire class grumbled as if in protest and then Ms. Payne stood in front of Jeanie’s desk, “I’m sorry, honey, but that includes you as well.”
Jeanie nodded without looking at her. Suddenly the bell rang, and everybody got up and filtered out of the classroom and into the hallways. Mark straggled behind as most of the class disappeared, some of the girls turned around to size Jeanie up before they left.
Mark’s two friends, Kyle and Carlos, who sat together on the other side of the classroom, and were waiting for him by the door, but he waved them on impatiently to leave, trying not to be too obvious.
He didn’t need those idiots sticking around, he needed to have Jeanie alone when he spoke to her, if they stayed they would only fuck things up for him.
Jeannie didn’t act like she was in a hurry to get to her next class. So, while she was taking her time and collecting her things, Mark kept pace with her, while desperately thinking up an excuse to talk to her.
Now It was common for Ms. Payne to leave for the teachers’ lounge and refill her coffee in-between classes. She left with the rest of the class after the bell rang, so Mark took that as a good sign, and when he turned to face Jeanie, she was already looking up at him, and caught off guard, he froze and a moment of awkward silence passed between them.
“You were funny, Jeanie said.”
“What do you mean, Mark asked?”
“Complimenting her shoes, Jeanie returned.”
“Oh that, yea, but I wasn’t trying to be funny because Ms. Payne really did catch me daydreaming, and then he checked the doorway to make sure she didn’t double-back.”
“So, you were lying when you said you like her shoe’s, Jeanie smiled.”
“There okay, but I’d wish she buy some new ones, she wears the same outfits on the same days of the week.”
“Really, Jeanie asked.”
“I like your shoes a lot better, Mark smiled.”
Jeanie laughed, she had on a cute pair of “shoe-boots” that were a fashionable style at that time.
“Our teacher “Ms. Payne,” is well named because she loves to try to and cause me grief, every chance she gets.”
“Bad boy, huh, Jeanie asked?”
“Well, this time my distraction was legitimate Mark answered.”
“What distraction was that, Jeanie flirted.”
She didn’t mean to sound flirtatious, it just came out that way and she couldn’t prevent it.
“Well for one thing, Ms. Payne’s voice itself is a distraction. You ever hear the voice of the guy that does Garfield the cat in the Movies.”
“Yes, Jeanie said.”
“Ms. Payne’s voice is like that, she has no inflection, and someone who has a “boring” voice but enjoys constantly talking, puts me to sleep.
“Are you sure you’re not exaggerating just a little, Jeanie asked?
“Didn’t you have a Ms. Payne at your school, Mark asked?”
Jeanie thought back to old school.
“Yea, but her name was Ms. Paige, Jeanie agreed.”
“See, I knew you were cool.”
“And you had me distracted, Mark said.”
“Why me, she asked?”
Why you! Don’t you own a fucking mirror? It might have something to do with those two-bowling ball titties strapped to your chest, Mark thought to himself.
“Well, it’s not every day we get to meet a new student from a faraway school, and that’s very exciting, Mark answered.”
“Exciting, Jeanie repeated, what do you mean by exciting, she asked?”
“You’re a mystery Jeanie, nobody knows anything about you, Mark explained.”
She noticed Mark was using her first name a lot, and he seemed very comfortable doing so, for a girl he just met.
“Even after I told you and the entire class my life’s story, Jeanie exclaimed.”
“Yea, I can’t believe Ms. Payne made you do that, I hate standing up front just to give a book report, let alone telling a bunch of strangers my life’s history, Mark agreed.”
“Oh, my God, Mark, I was so embarrassed, please tell me I didn’t look like a fool, Jeanie begged.”
“No, you were cool, maybe a little shy, but for your first day, you did great, Mark complimented her.”
“I have to admit, out of all my teachers Ms. Payne was the only one who made me do that, Jeanie said.”
Mark moved in to whisper to Jeanie, she smelled of expensive perfume. It was intoxicating.
“I should warn you Jeanie, Ms. Payne is a real bitch, so don’t take anything she does personal, I heard she even drinks in between classes.”
“Thank you, Mark, Jeanie said, smiling, you’re good at making a new girl feel better.”
“Well, I wasn’t born here either, so I was a new student myself but at least had the luxury of starting fresh in September like everybody else, it can’t be easy moving in the middle of the year, Mark said compassionately.”
“You don’t know the half of it, Jeanie replied.”
“But I’d like to, and then Mark handed her his pen and paper, if you give me your number I can call you after school, we don’t have time now, he turned around again.”
Jeanie stared at him, and behind those emerald-green eyes, Mark could see her trying to decide if this was a good idea or not. He nodded slightly as if silently encouraging her.
“Mark, I don’t even know your last name maybe we shouldn’t rush into anything, Jeanie said.”
“My last name is Winters, he replied.”
“Yea, and I’m the new girl, Mr. Winters, and this is my first day of class, Jeanie said a little defensively.”
“I would like to be your first friend, Mark said sincerely.
Jeanie flipped over the front cover to write but stopped when she saw notes from a previous class.
“Uh, can I write on the back page, she asked?”
“You can write over the notes if you want, Mark replied.”
Jeanie laughed as she quickly scribbled, her number.
“Okay there you go Mark Winters, she said.”
“Jeanie Winters, Mark whispered, admiring her signature.”
“What did you say, Jeanie asked immediately?”
Mark looked up at her, “I’m sorry Jeanie, I must have thought one thing while saying another, Mark said on the fly.
Jeanie looked at him a little suspiciously.
“Thank you, Jeanie Grants, Mark corrected himself as he spoke her name correctly the second time.
“Jeanie never took her eyes off him while Mark put his notebook away and slung his backpack around his shoulder; then he picked up Jeanie’s pink backpack and handed it to her.”
“Thank You, she said accepting it.”
“We better go, Jeanie, Mark said, as he noticed the other students for the next class pouring in as he walked beside her.
“Do you know where your next class is, Mark asked.”
“Yes, I memorized my schedule, Jeanie said.”
“Jeannie, I was just thinking, you gave me your number, and that was good, but my timing is bad, so I don’t have to guess, can you give me a specific time to call you, so I don’t wind up talking to your dad, he asked.”
Jeannie laughed, “How about Saturday around noon.”
“Twelve noon, he repeated, it’s a date, Mark confirmed.”
Instinctively Jeannie squeezed her notebook tighter to her chest, and lowered her head.
A date, she thought to herself, and then Jeanie started blushing.
Ms. Payne was returning from the teachers’ lounge to her class with a fresh cup of coffee. She had just poured a shot of baileys crème from a disguised container that she hid in the back of the fridge. This would be her third shot of the day. On her way back she wondered if the Mall would be having a sale on shoes this week-end.
End of Chapter One
-Jason Gabriel Kondrath
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