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a sports enthusiast. He writes adult horror under another name, but thought of
the idea for Becky’s Kiss while
coaching his son’s baseball team. Since the story involved high school drama he
decided to write his first young adult piece. When not writing or teaching,
Nicholas Fisher enjoys pizza, reality television, and playing the banjo. He
lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and his son goes to Arizona State
Connect with the Author Here:
the Principal’s office because she threw an orange across the cafeteria at a
bully named Cody Hatcher, and knocked him out cold with it.
Dr. Edward McGovern, the Principal here,” he said. He glanced at a couple of things in the file,
closed it and leaned back, hands webbed behind the head, elbows out, face no
less serious. “Twenty minutes ago there
was an incident in the cafeteria. Can
you explain it?”
was pinching at the skin of her forearm and she made herself stop. Her voice sounded small.
was sitting with Joey.”
Joey Chen,” Horseshoe-head interrupted. “An excellent student, advanced in the
sciences…” His voice trailed off because
Principal McGovern and Rent-a-Cop were staring at him. “Sorry,” he muttered, getting out a pair of
bifocals and a pocket-sized spiral notebook to study. Becky gave a little cough and went on.
Hatcher was bullying us. I’ve got witnesses, but nobody likes me…well, not
until today…but I mean before, like when Cody hit Joey with an eraser and put
his dirty foot on my chair, and…” Now
she faded off. She was making no sense
whatsoever, and she closed her eyes to concentrate.
Michigan,” Principal McGovern said. She
opened her eyes and saw that everyone at the table was looking at each other
rather uncomfortably. “I don’t think you
really realize why you’re here, and that in itself is a surprise to us. I’m probably going to get a call from Cody
Hatcher’s father tonight and an email from his lawyer. I am going to have to set up a meeting with a
member of the board, a union representative for each teacher patrolling the
lunch room, a disinterested third party, and a stenographer. Do you know why I am going to have to go to
I threw the orange?” Becky whispered.
This was a nightmare, a cold nightmare.
How was her mother going to handle this?
Her father would never speak to her again. She would wind up going to one of those
special juvi schools, where sections were overcrowded with kids that had police
records, and the classes were monitored by uniformed security guards with
an orange,” Horseshoe-head said reflectively.
He was smiling slightly, and again, Principal McGovern and Rent-a-Cop
looked over at him. He went back to his
notes and starting writing stuff furiously.
Principal McGovern breathed hard through his nose, sat forward, folded
his hands, and spoke at them.
run the clip.”
Ladd went over to a control panel over by the bookcase and hit a few
buttons. A Sony flatscreen mounted in
the corner flashed on, and twenty or so small squares came visible. Video monitors. Becky recognized the image by
the front entrance and another outside the gym where there was the water
fountain and the stairwell, though the angles were overhead from their ceiling
mounts and slightly tilted.
number twelve,” Principal McGovern said.
The image flickered, and one camera shot filled the screen. It was a black and white film of the
cafeteria, just above where Becky and Joey had been sitting, the Frederick
Douglass poster there, his cheek ripped a bit from the Tic-Tac. The room was vacant.
Principal McGovern said. Ladd clicked
away, and on the screen, the room filled with kids walking backwards, coming to
rest in their seats, then Becky being seemingly escorted back in and
half-circling down into a seat without looking.
her new friends threaded off one at a time in backward mimics of their timid approaches,
and the grainy black and white image of herself was suddenly displaced into the
aisle, bent over in the follow-through position, and then across and down to
the right the orange exploded back into itself and shot in return to her hand. There was the ‘wind-up’ that looked all
herky-jerky backward and sped up, and then she popped back over to the chair
across from Joey Chen.
McGovern said. “And play it in live
soundless tape played out, Becky sitting across from Joey Chen, her face hidden
by the positioning of the camera above and behind her. To the right, Cody Hatcher was punching his
friend in the arm, eating grapes, and spitting one or two across the table at
his other friend, a burly boy in a dark tee-shirt who seemed to be threatening
that he was going to knock Hatcher’s tray off the table if he didn’t cut it
out. Then, Hatcher seemed to spy Becky
across the room, next tapping and elbowing, like ‘Look here, guys.’ He picked
off a grape, pushed up to a half-squat, and whipped it. Across the space, it was evident that it hit
Becky, because her hair moved. Hatcher
sat back down hard, and looked around, all innocent, as his friends bent in
fits of laughter. He picked off a couple
more grapes and hurled them in a similar manner.
quite a shot himself,” Horseshoe head muttered.
for it,” Principal McGovern said.
the screen seemed to explode into motion, and some of it was so quick that it
blurred. One moment Becky was sitting
there, shoulders slightly slumped, familiar in that odd displaced way that
video tended to portray people, and then she was a snap of motion. She grabbed the orange and leapt into the
throwing lane. Then there was the wind
up and the pitch, and suddenly Becky didn’t look like herself. She seemed to grow taller, and everything
about her motion and mechanics looked…professional,
for lack of a better word. And she
didn’t “throw like a girl.” She didn’t
even throw like the typical boy. The
exchange was a rhythmic flurry of knees and elbows and hips and backbone,
fierce and balletic, vicious and beautiful, and the orange shot out of her hand
like a dark messenger on a rope. There
was a moment that it disappeared behind the concrete pillar obstructing the
view, and then it resurfaced on the far side, a streak shooting and exploding
in Cody Hatcher’s face. The Rent-a-Cop
shifted in his seat and spoke for the first time, voice soft.
you right to the marrow, doesn’t it?”
head was still scratching away in his note book, and Principal McGovern
how far is Hatcher sitting away from her?”
feet, give or take six inches or so.” He
smiled wide enough to show his fillings.
“My students would get a kick out of this. You simply approximate…”
McGovern interrupted him by putting up his hand.
what’s the distance between home plate and the pitching rubber on a standard
baseball field, high school or pro?”
didn’t miss a beat.
what’s the weight of a big league hard ball?
and an eighth ounces.”
McGovern turned to Horseshoe head.
much does a Florida Sunkist weigh?”
first you have to consider…”
adjusted his position, ankle up on the knee.
“Right,” he said. “The average
orange would be around seven ounces.” He
nodded his head then, all smiles and squinting eyes. “I know, I know. Yes, even with the differential, you have a
basic match. The common orange is
slightly bigger than a baseball in terms of circumference, and this one, by
appearance is of the smaller variety…”
it’s a match all right,” Rent-a-Cop said.
“Lock, stock, and barrel.”
heart sank and she looked down. Why
couldn’t there be ‘differential,’ or whatever, just this once? Gosh. Daddy
was going to kill her!
Michigan.” Becky raised her head and
felt her bottom lip trembling. Principal
McGovern still had his hands folded, his eyes hard and his expression entirely
you ever done something like this before?”
Becky pleaded. “I swear! I never picked up a baseball, let alone an
orange in my entire life! Well, I’m
sorry, I’m sure I’ve eaten an orange or two, but I don’t even like them
McGovern had his ‘shush’ hand up again. He
gently closed his eyes.
how fast did she throw that thing, please?”
the approximate weight of the projectile and the distance, compared with the
visual I would estimate…mmm…eighty miles per hour or so.”
I’d wager Paul is being too conservative here.
I’ve seen plenty in this life, but I’d swear she hit eighty-seven,
wonder or disgust, it was difficult to tell.
noses.” He looked around the table and
said, to no one really, “And where do they pretty much set the bar for major
league pitching, please?”
herself from talking ‘MLB’ with the rest of them. “But there’s no way I could have hit
eighty-eight. It’s impossible.”
hands at his gut.
back there? Tell the truth, now.”
polished. I slipped an inch or two on
the follow-through, and there was no mound slope to let me come downhill.”
she’d never been on an actual mound in the first place?
none, and this is a weird fluke, and I never meant to break any laws!
admitted, looking down and shrugging.
“But I don’t know where they came from, I swear. I mean, the police can’t arrest me for what I
dream, can they?”
said. Becky tilted up her chin and
nodded over toward Rent-a-Cop. Dr.
McGovern gave a short laugh.
Michigan. He teaches shop and wears a
radio so he can call in injuries faster.
Liabilities and such.”
He works here and coaches my varsity baseball team. You interested?”
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