The Duel

By Truro

Chapter 1

On a clear day, with a warm cobalt sky, Algernon Papadopulos strolled through the gates of Bullworth academy, bringing his mission to the comic book store to a successful conclusion. Or so he thought.

'Hey nerd! You just bought some new diapers?'

Biff, the school boxing champion, and heir to a vast fortune, popular among his fellow preppies, blocked Algie's path back to the boy's dorm.

At his Anti-nerd attitude, and unfounded insult Algie's plump face began to redden.

'No!' said Algie 'How could I fit a pack of diapers into this little bag?'

'You can if they're for your Barbie!' laughed Biff.

Biff approached, admiring his reflection in Algie's glasses, and intent on taking the flat paper bag.

Fearing the worst, Algie held the bag behind his back with one hand, and backed away. Biff's distance closed. By now, he was so close that the nerd would have smelled his antagonist's aftershave, if the smell of fear, from under his belt hadn't just become noticeable.

'Looks like those extra large diapers would have come in handy!' Biff extended his huge arm, with its grappling claw.

Quick as an obese flash, Algie whipped a sachet of itching powder out of his pocket, and burst it on his oppressor.

As fast as his short, stubby hooves could carry him, Algie made a dash for the library.

One of the most fatal mistakes one can make, Algie soon discovered, was thinking an obese, bespectacled specimen with a weak bladder could outrun a trained boxer, who religiously jogged five miles every morning.

His laces coming undone, Algie tripped. His foot fell behind him, and he hit the hard stone with a crash. His spectacles flew off his face.

Tears building in his eyes, he turned onto his back and saw the blurred image of Biff drawing closer, and then taking flight with a high yell, in a tiger-like pounce.

With a high pitched shriek, Algie brought his hands to his face, protecting his second least favourite place to be hit.

A crunch was heard. Yet Algie felt no pain.

'Aw, did the big baby fall down, and go boom?' a voiced, bitterly coated with mock affection greeted Algie's ears instead of the snapping of his own bones. He noticed that the mockery wasn't in Biff's voice. Hearing Biff's voice emit the typical groan of pain, that he himself spouted a moment ago, he also realised that the insult hadn't necessarily been aimed at him.

'What do you think you're doing Hopkins?' That voice was definitely Biff's.

Algie felt around for his glasses, and placed them back on his nose. Biff was picking himself off the ground, and making a face like thunder, (though Algie couldn't see it) at the third person.

Jimmy Hopkins was a juvenile delinquent, who had recently enrolled at Bullworth. A fearless brawler, who seemed to prefer making enemies to beat up, than friends to play cards with.

Jimmy shrugged his broad shoulders, 'You suck so much at pretending to be a tough guy that you deserve a beating.'

With a growl, Biff pounced at Jimmy, who raised his boxing guard.

'You owe me for this Algie!' said Jimmy, grinning with anticipation.

Algie made the rest of his dash to the library, wondering how much Jimmy would want. Jimmy was a loner, but he had actually helped the nerds, when he would benefit.

None the less, Algernon did feel a trifle concerned for his rescuer, when he heard 'Stop that, evildoers! Or else I'll beat the pair of you!' the battle cry of Seth. The hugest, meanest, stupidest prefect with Super Hero delusions you could ever meet.

Algernon hoped that Jimmy had the good sense to run away. Or at least had some kryptonite handy.

Finally, he entered the library. Sanctuary of the Nerds, where no jerk ass jock would ever dare to enter.

He went to a secluded corner, to open the package he bought. He couldn't let anyone see his secret weapon before the big Grottos and Gremlins match tonight.

However, the corner was not so secluded at it usually was. This time, he saw something that was as rare as a solar eclipse. The odds of seeing it were about one in five hundred. And yet, there it was, sitting in front of him, plain as day.

A girl? In the library?

Females of the species had been known to use the library, but never this one who sat on his usual chair, at the corner table. She radiated the sweet blossoming sent of vanilla perfume, and she was dressed in the latest designer Aquaberry vest, over a shirt so white and clean you'd think she was a newly opened games consol, ready to play its first disk. Her slender arms bent on the table, while her small hands massaged her skull. Her hair was hazelnut. Chocolate brown and soft, with a velvet texture.

As she strained at her book, she emitted a distressed moan.

For the first time, seeing a real damsel, in potential distress, Algie leapt at the opportunity.

'Are you okay?'

She turned to face him. And what a face she had indeed. As finely formed and delicate as sculptured marble. Her hazelnut brown eyes were moist with tears.

'Do I look like I'm okay?'

Algie froze. He had such little experience talking to girls who didn't run for the hills when he showed up. Talking to one who was in such a state was indeed a challenge for our intrepid protagonist. He raised his hands, in the defensive position; he was so used to performing.

Her expression softened. She no longer had the face of a territorial she-wolf, but the face of a lost little puppy.

'I'm sorry.' She said. 'It's just that none of these books make any sense.'

She motioned her hand, like a beautiful game show assistant, showing him the books of chemistry.

'What part don't you understand?'

'I can't make heads or tails out of any of this!'

Algie looked at the books. They were actually pretty simple considering he knew how to make fire crackers, stink bombs and itching powder with the chemistry set in his room.

'No offence.' He said, 'But why are you getting so worked up over simple chemicals?'

'I am a princess!' she pounded the table, 'And do you know what happens to Princesses who disappoint the king? They can forget about owning a race horse, for a start!'

'I-I-I could help you if you like!' the words shot out like bullets from a machine gun, he rashly picked up, touched the trigger like an idiot, panicked, and held it down, like an even bigger idiot..

One of his bullets apparently hit their target, because Pinkie's hysterical expression faded into a hopeful wide-eyed delight.

'You can translate this stuff?'

'Sure! I've read most of those from cover to cover!' and he took a seat next to her.

For all Algie's flaws (Obesity, lack of fashion sense, weak bladder, and being a mummy's boy) he knew more about polymerisation and the elemental chart than most of the jocks knew about football. Only Chemistry for Dummies could have given Pinky a clearer explanation of the subject.

When she finished taking notes, she stood up.

Wow. She's tall. Thought Algie.

Her hand went to the diagonal zip pocket on her skirt, drawing Algie's attention directly to her long legs.

Whoa…

She wove a 20 bill and handed it to the boy.

'Thank you so much! I'd kiss you if you didn't have acne! So here's some money instead.'

Algie was frozen. This was better than a dream.

Pinky picked up her note book and headed for the door.

'Okay, I'm going back to the dorm to work on my report. Thanks again!'

It took Algie twenty minutes to recover from the shock. A high maintenance girl actually talked to him! Not only did she talk to him, she actually thanked him, and said she could have kissed him!

Bubbling over, Algernon skipped to the nearest phone booth to call mommy, and tell that her little Prince Algie had found his Princess.

However, that was Algie's mistake- Mistaking gratitude for affection, and confusing affection for attraction.