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June 6, 2012

I Hraet You (12)

Beat 12: The Lost Kingdom of Lloyd B. Hoigleheimer

For a moment, Lloyd couldn’t do much more than watch May head off -- but in a moment of insight, decided against inaction.  It would behoove me to not let this chance slip away, he thought, stroking his chin.  What sort of information could she have acquired?  I may have quite the reputation, but still…something about this puts me in a fretful mood.

He started after her, covering his mouth all the while.  Hmmm…it’s possible that she heard about me in regards to the accident at High Tide Park.  Has word of mouth spread that quickly?  Or could it be that she was there as a witness?  Or perhaps…perhaps she caught a glimpse of me connecting with Miss Walters.  His fingers tightened around his mouth.  Circumstantially there’s no telling how long our session lasted.  If Miss May saw us from the shore, then she’d have no reason to forget me.  How would any given person react to seeing two young adults standing in the water while completely still?

This could be problematic if I let things progress too far.  Best to start cutting down my problems while the chance still remains.  He raised a hand. “Miss May!  A moment of your time, if you would!”

She didn’t bother turning back around.  She just took a right turn, and headed toward one of the parking lots.  “Miss May!  As adorable as your quirks may be, I’ll thank you to retain your etiquette!”  But Lloyd’s calls went unheeded, forcing him to continue his pursuit.  “Miss May!  It will take far more than a desire to avoid a conversation to evade me!  If you want a chase, I’ll give you one -- a chase that will only end with the decay of my mortal flesh!”

Lloyd broke into a brisk jog -- and stopped three seconds later.  At that moment, someone came out of the doors on his right.  A big guy, decked out in construction gear, with a face like a Neanderthal…

“Rosco!  My arch-nemesis!” Lloyd gasped.

Rosco plodded down the steps and turned to Lloyd.  “Oh.  The pointin’ kid again.  Your finger still work?”

“Yes, I’ll have you know that a strict regimen of digital calisthenics has helped me make a full recovery.”  Lloyd shook his head.  “But enough pleasantries.  Why have you come to this school?  Looking to line your pockets with the blood of the new generation, I presume?”

Rosco nodded and shot him a dry smirk.  “Yeah, that’s it, kid.  I just wrung a whole buncha necks, and now I’m off to cash my pay check.  You mad?”

“D-dastard!  Fiend of the highest caliber!  If not for your previous antics, I’d have thrust my finger at you in earnest by now!”

“Cool off.  I was just jokin’ around.”  Rosco shot a thumb toward the building.  “I’m here doin’ work.  The suits needed some room to get smashed, so me and my boys went to town.”

“So you worked in tandem with your team to demolish a part of the school,” said Lloyd, deciding to ignore the woe creeping up him like May’s pocketed ants.  “Deciding to sever one of this establishment’s limbs for your next meal.  Fair enough…but what part of the school did you attack?”

Rosco’s smirk stretched a bit wider.  “I think you’re gonna get a real kick outta this.”

*

ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS:
Effective immediately, L. Bernstein High School’s drama club has been dissolved.  The cause if this is related to myriad monetary issues, a continued disinterest in the club’s membership and performances, and the unfortunate charges and arrest placed upon its coordinator and sponsor, Mr. Edward Hooke.  All returning members of the club are advised to join clubs elsewhere throughout the school, as are all incoming freshmen. 

To that end, the theater club room, all props, all materials, and all tools have been collected and liquefied by the school board, and shall remain off-limits indefinitely.

We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment we may have caused, and hope you have a pleasant and delightful school year regardless.

Lloyd fell to his knees.  “The drama club is…is no more?” he asked, struggling to breathe.  He fell on all fours.  “This can’t be.  This just cannot be!  Why, of all things, would they attack the paragon of the arts?  What could they possibly gain from such heartless actions?!”

Rosco stared at the door, hoping that Lloyd wouldn’t start rubbing his body all over it.  The note from the school’s higher-ups had been pinned to it, and crookedly at that.  Still, they’d managed to cover the door’s window with duct tape, just in case anyone got the idea to try and peek in.  “Guess the club’s got no love,” he offered, albeit with little sympathy. 

“But why?  And what could they replace the club with?”

Rosco slid a key into the door and swung it open.  What stood before Lloyd wasn’t a room anymore.  It was…

“Bricks?  You filled the room with BRICKS?!”

“Hey, it ain’t my place to make a ruckus.  I just do what I’m told.”  He shrugged.  “Maybe your principal’s got a thing for bricks.”

“But bricks can’t act!  BRICKS! CAN’T! ACT!”

“Can’t be helped.  Kids today...well, I doubt they’re all that crazy about Romeo and Juliet.”

Lloyd fell back on his rear and stared at the ceiling, oblivious to the delirious smile inching across his face.  “It was going to be my year,” he gabbed.  “After years of dedicated service and delightful memories, it was finally my turn to inherit the title of club president.  I would give the club every bit of my being, and excite audiences near and wide.  But to think it would come to this…”  He pressed a hand to his forehead and laughed.  “This, more than any other tale, is a tragedy.  A cruel end to a story that had barely even begun.”

Rosco stared blankly at Lloyd.  For a moment he thought the prince might let the tears start running -- a thought that lasted only for a moment.  He kept his eyes dry, and locked on the buzzing light overhead; rather than frown or whimper, he stayed silent and put on a smile that almost seemed whimsical.  Rosco could feel the air sour and grow weighty around him, but Lloyd hid his anguish well.  As expected of a would-be actor.

“Well, I’m outta here.  Gonna go eat a Sloppy Joe.”  Rosco headed down the hall, hands in his pockets.  “Later, kid.  Try not to get too down; the ladies like a man who’s all grins.”

“…Duly noted,” said Lloyd.

“Oh, and don’t get too attached to the auditorium.  Good chance that that’s gettin’ the brick treatment too.” 

“WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” Lloyd screamed.  But he didn’t get an answer.  Rosco just trudged down the hall and out the door; only his echo bounced back to him, asking him the exact same question.  “Damned, miserable trick of the fates…this is nothing less than an injustice.  A crime against man and woman alike!”  He climbed to his feet.  “If I were to stand here in silence and allow it to progress unimpeded, I’d be no better than the fiends who put this foul decision in motion!  And therefore --!”

He cut his speech short; someone had chosen to prod him in the shoulder.  “Hmmm?  O-oh, it’s you!”

May took a step back and nodded curtly. 

“Ah.  I suppose you heard my declaration, then.”  Lloyd folded his arms.  “Yes.  In a perfect world, the drama club would have free reign over the student body.  While I cannot claim to be able to make said world, I can at least do my part.  I’ll do all I can to --”

“You’re loud,” May said flightily.  “You’re not good at ‘silence.’”

“E-er…perhaps not.  Nevertheless, my claim holds true.  I’m a man who does everything in his power to make his aims a reality; this is but one of many tasks I’ll undertake for my fellow men.”

“Huh.”

“You’re confused, I take it?”

May glanced aside.  “Wonder if I can find a nice beetle around here somewhere.   They’re good for fighting.  Also, handsome.  Better than any human.”

Lloyd opened his mouth to object, but decided against it; he had plenty of work to do already, and decoding May’s thought processes would have to wait.  “So, Miss May.  I take it you know me from somewhere?”

May nodded.

“Something flattering, I hope.”

She shook her head.  “The beach.  I was there.”

“Did you…see anything interesting?” 

“Lots of sand,” she answered, noting a few ants scrambling across her arm.  She brushed them into one hand and slid them into her pocket. 

“And that’s it?  That’s all you know me from?”

“No.”

“Then --”

May took off her cap and scratched her hair, sending a few wasps buzzing down the hall (and making Lloyd leap back a few feet).  “Oh, right.  The beach.”  She slid her hat back on.  “You were using magic.  Or something.”

Lloyd swallowed hard; he’d have to put his inquiry aside and give an explanation.  “O-oh, that?  Well, yes, about that…how should I explain it?  I’ve only just uncovered it myself, but as I understand it --”

“Don’t care,” said May, brushing at her bands (and knocking a worm out of them).  “Not important.”

“Not important?  You’re certain?  Why, just think of the implications!”  Lloyd pumped his fists up and down, unable to restrain his own excitement.  “If my theory’s correct, it’s a means to increase your mood!  Unlocking the mental limits that lie within!  Driving you to be all you can be -- and feel all you can feel!    Surely that tickles your fancy!”

“Can it help me find more bugs?”

“Of course!  Well…maybe!  Probably!  I certainly hope so!”

“Then do it.”  She stared at him with the same callous gaze -- and then, raised her hands toward him.  “Whatever you did to her, do it to me.”

Lloyd took a step back.  “Now hold on there, Miss May.  Much as I would like to use my powers, I think it’s a little too early to be using them so recklessly.  There ARE risks.  Until I’ve had enough practice with them, I’d prefer not to --”

“Then practice on me.”  She stepped forward, hands still held at the ready.  “You don’t practice, you don’t improve.  Don’t improve, don’t succeed.  It’s simple.  So do it.”

“My, my.  Rather forthright, aren’t we?” 

May gave him a blank look.

The day’s barely begun, yet I already feel exhausted, Lloyd thought.  In spite of that, he stepped forward and started raising his hands.  “Very well.  I suppose I’ll have to use this power eventually -- and better to master it sooner rather than later.  But when we’re done, I hope to have a nice, long discussion with you about the matter, and understand the benefits and repercussions.”

“All you do is talk.  No difference.”

Lloyd winced.  “Forthright AND a sharp tongue…”  He sighed deeply, and then, with a swell of courage, seized May’s hands in his own.  And then…

…And then…

…And then

“Need to warm up?” May asked.

Lloyd shook his head rapidly.  “It didn’t take nearly this long last time.  Something must be wrong.”  He ran his eyes over her body.  “Oh, of course!  It must be because of your gloves!  If you could take them off for a moment, I’m sure we’ll be able to proceed.”

May did as asked, and let them plop to the floor. 

“Now then, let’s give this another try.”  Lloyd grabbed her hands, and then…

…Nothing.

He clutched her hands tighter.  He shook them up and down.  He even broke the grip to rub his hands together and build up heat.  But every time he touched them -- once, twice, three times -- nothing happened.  They stood in the same hall, all alone, without even a hint of the audition room taking root.

After the eighth try, May broke free and slipped her gloves back on.  “You’re weird.  All that work for this…”  She started heading down the hall.  “Serial hand-holder.  You’re lamer than I thought.”

“W-wait!  Hold on a minute!  I can get it to work, I swear!  I only need one more chance to…”  No use.  By the time he started trotting after her, she’d left the hall.  Frustrated, he stared at his hands with clenched teeth.  Impossible…I should be getting better at using these powers, not worse!  How could I have failed to activate them?  Was it only a temporary ability?  Does Miss May have some secret defense?

His hands started to tremble.  Where did I go wrong? 

And then, he pouted.  And I am most certainly not lame!

TO BE HEARTINUED…



1 comment:

  1. "BRICKS! CAN'T! ACT!" That part made me laugh. Oh, Lloyd...

    ReplyDelete