A quiet Thursday afternoon, spent adjusting the pictures they handed in. Call him old fashioned, but there was something special about the feel of the photo paper beneath his fingertips. Something that pixels on a screen just couldn't replace. Then again, maybe he was outdated. Everyone had a camera in their phones, no need for the special cameras and lenses of days long by. Not that people knew how to take good pictures, but they could take an abundance of them. So consumed in his thoughts, he almost didn't notice the freckled face of one of his students poking in, eyes gleaming. With uncertainty, that is, but gleaming, nonetheless. With a smile, Danny set down the photographs. "Good day, isn't it, Susie?"
"Uh, I guess Mr. Johnson," nervously smiled the girl, as she wound her finger through her pink dyed hair.
"So, what brings you to my classroom?"
"I wanted to ask a few questions." Her hands returned to her sweater pockets. Technically it was a hoodie, but Danny could barely keep up with the slang the kids used these days.
"I will do my best to answer any questions that you may have, but I do have to ask, why not go to the counselor?" Gesticulated Danny, as he took a seat upon one of the desks. "Not that I have any problems with assisting you."
"'Cause Mr. Geilman is a creep." Spat out Susie through her rainbow-colored braces. Or was it slurred? Danny had difficulty reading her intentions through the wires.
"Ah, yes." Danny shifted in his mocha colored suit. "I guess he is."
"That friggin perv keeps dress coding us, even though we're not even doing anything wrong!"
"I mean, technically, skirts that are above mid-thigh are against school dress-code, but it is questionable that Mr. Geilman focuses on you lasses."
Susie bashfully tugged her plaid skirt back into school dress-code, but only if he squinted. "Thank you." She huffed, "I talk to half of these other creeps, and they just agree with him!"
"I'll see if I can talk to the VP about that, but I get the feeling you didn't come in here to talk about how some faculty are perverts." Sighed Danny as he took a sip of his thermos. "Take a seat, by the way, no need to lurk at the door."
An obnoxiously pink backpack dropped onto the back support of the chair, swinging. Uneven straps. Would explain why she rolled her shoulders once she sat down in the cheap plastic chair. With a dirty sneaker, she kicked shut the door. "I know. I didn't come here to talk about them." She fidgeted in her teal sweater. "I just… I…"
"It's a private subject." Finished Danny, as he crossed his legs. "Though I would appreciate if you let me know you're closing the door before you do so in the future. Wouldn't want faculty members like Mr. Geilman assuming that a quite scandalous student such as yourself is committing questionable acts with someone like myself. Afterall, I am a student favorite, am I not?"
"You wish," snickered Susie as she leaned onto the desk. "But yeah, sure I'll keep it in mind. Dirty minds of some of these guys, am I right? Asshole even gave me Friday detention."
"Ah, pity." Another sip. "What was it you wanted to talk about?"
"Well…" Her arms resumed their close proximity to her body. Nervousness. But not quite fear. "I sometimes get feelings. Urges, really."
"What kind of urges?"
Her eyes broke contact with his. His dark eyes burrowing into her, waiting for her to speak. "I think about hurting people."
"But its not like the normal kind… Like its…"
"A compulsion. Something you need to do in order to feel-"
"-Complete." Her hazel eyes met his own.
"Ah." Danny nodded as he finished the rest of his thermos. "Well, we have ways of dealing with that, in a controlled environment."
"I get the same urges as well." Confessed Danny. "So, don't worry about it. Just stick with me, and we'll get through it."
To say he screwed the pooch would be an understatement. A large, scarred man towered over him, his already fading grey suit, dirtied even further with back alley dust and muck. Let's call the man Vernon.
"Hey, Vernon, there's no need to get so rough, you know?" He gritted out, through his bloodied teeth. Thank his lucky stars he hadn't lost a tooth yet.
"The name's not Vernon, Visconti." Spat Vernon, as he applied a new sheen of spittle to Ace's glasses. "Pay up."
"I'll have the money to you by Sunday, don't worry about it, buddy." Smiled Ace as he pulled himself to his feet.
The man's gnarled knuckles grabbed his worn suit lapels and slammed him against the wall. "Boss wants the money Visconti. Where's the fuckin money."
"You know, I would just hand it to you if you just asked politely, but I guess you'll just have to wait till Sunday." Ace tasted Vernon's knuckles for his reply. Still worth it. "Not my fault you don't know your manners."
"Why you little-" The man cocked his hand back, and Ace saw stars as he bounced off of the wall onto the floor. The man pulled out his piece and aimed it at him. "I know you know where the money is. Tell me where it is, or I start making you wish you were bulletproof."
Well, his luck had gotten him this far. What's another inch? "Maybe I am, Vernon. Try me."
The man flicked the safety and pulled the hammer back. Then, with a sneer, the man said, "I'm going to enjoy-" before he was rudely interrupted by a glass bottle shattering against his head, causing the gun to go off, firing a round above Ace's head. Vernon dropped to the floor groaning and the gun clattered off to the side. Standing at the mouth of the alleyway, was an obese man, grotesque and gargantuan in size, chuckling to himself.
Scrambling to his feet, Ace kicked the gun off to the side, and towards the man. "Thanks man!" Chirped Ace, as he gave the hero a salute, breaking off into a sprint away and out of the alley. Whatever that beast wanted, Ace wanted none of it, and if he wanted Vernon, then he was happy to let Vernon get what was coming to him. Thank his lucky stars. If anyone asked, he didn't hear nothing, and there was no man named Vernon.
After a quick jaunt across half of town, he came to a pub, aptly named 'Pub at the end of the Week'. While it was both not the end of the week, nor was it at the edge of city limits, he appreciated the sentiment. Stepping in, Ace took his cap under his arm and bowed to his audience, a disgruntled barkeep and a perpetual drunk. "One whiskey and a water please, if you would barkeep?"
The man grunted as he poured the water and fire into the glasses. "Bit early for drinks, don't you think?"
Taking a glass, Ace rinsed out his mouth of the blood, and gave his award-winning smile. "It's never too early. And if you're going to be such a stickler, then what's he doing here?"
"He was here before me."
"When'd you clock in?"
Damn, Vernon really was a go-getter. "Funny," Smiled Ace as he began nursing the glass of water. "You're a funny guy. What's your name?"
Cold brown eyes peered past his buzz cut. "David."
"Nice to meet you David." Smiled Ace as he stuck out his hand. David stared at his hand in response. "Right, right, dirty hands, clean job, my bad." Ace wiped his hands on his suit, only for them to come back dirtier. "Sorry, looks like I've made a mess of myself. Mind if I ask where the washroom is?" David hefted a thumb in the direction of the graffitied door past the unconscious man. "Thank you, good sir."
And, with that, Ace washed his hands of Vernon, and clambered out the window and into the night. He'll have to go back and pay the tab for the water one day, but for now, he's got to bounce.