By James T. Ha
Derick was conceived from a simple and common act of passion; One of little distinction. Yet that one night, would change the world forever.
August 3rd, 1989
tab The weatherman, whose custom khaki pants from the local men’s XL garments boutique clung to his waist, had pointed out a supposedly “large percentage” of “humidity clouds” in the area, which would cause the temperatures to skyrocket to the high nineties. This information delighted the town. But, to the prodigious man’s misfortune, the alleged “humidity clouds” did not arrive, and instead was substituted for two feet of snow, and a high temperature of forty degrees Celsius. The town’s population grumbled and groaned in low unison as they layered themselves with coats and jackets, and prepared for the predictably horrendous day ahead.
tab Derick’s young father’s voice supplied the town with his own groans as he treaded slowly through the powder white snow, shivering as the sharp wind pressed down like needles against his rosy cheeks, and the fallen snow buried his feet with each heavy step. Derick’s father, Jonathan Rodgner, burrowed his hands deep within the pockets of his flannel jacket. He curled his neck downward, shielding his lightly freckled face from the piercing wind. His dirty blond hair jutted out from the mouth of his baseball cap, bearing the county’s team logo, a red cardinal with wings outstretched, as if in prayer to some unknown God. Jonathan had given the illustration a nickname, one that he would never reveal to anyone. Yes, that secret would be kept to the grave, for fear of losing the respect of his friends and peers; Self image was top priority in this young man’s mind.
tab “God bless it!”,young John exclaimed as he reached the foot of the stairs, leading up to the front doors of the small town’s high school. It was nearly deserted, excluding the few teachers that managed to make the risky trek to school.
A rather plain building, the school consisted of three similar buildings: The Administration building, usually teeming with hurrying teachers as they rushed to the mail room, students awaiting their punishment for a variety of misdeeds,(from disobeying instructions to fighting, and possession of alcohol to sexual misconduct), and administrators whose fingers diligently typed away at their computer keyboards, recording the necessary information needed to keep the school from collapsing within itself.
tab The gym, where the “trés petite” cheerleaders practiced their drills, as well as the town’s basketball team. The gym was what Jonathan called, “The Student Administration Office”. The gym acquired this title because, as the office was always occupied with adults, the gym was the site of innumerable students speaking of their weekends prior and days planned ahead. Some students snuck away from the crowd and smoked in the back, among other illicit activities. Yes, truly the gymnasium was the youth equivalent of the Administration building.
tab Adjacent to the gym, was the main building, which held the majority of classrooms and a moderately sized cafeteria. The main building could always be found nearly deserted before the school bell rang. Those that did linger there were the more educated, (and with that, popularity lacking), students. They clustered together, helping each other study for upcoming tests and arguing over the physics of their favorite scientific/horror films.
Each building had the same basic style and color scheme. Each building was made from common red brick, painted blue with white stripes crossing horizontally at irregular intervals. All three bore the school emblem, the same as Jon’s ball cap, a red cardinal with outstretched wings. Although the school’s emblem also had the phrase, “La conoscenza è potere”. Tunéno Providence had a vast amount of Italian blood, coursing through the populous’ veins.
tab The reason for Jonathan’s outburst was a small, hand-written notice on the school’s courtyard entrance:
Due to weather conditions, school will be closed from today,(August 3rd), to August 5th.
Head of Providence High School Administration
tab There Jonathan stood, in the chilled winter morning of early August, exhausted from trekking through three feet of snow, and an inch from dying of hypothermia. He clenched his fists in an attempt to contain his rage. He sighed, then walked away from the school building, headed for Suzanne Tenino’s house.
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