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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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The Party - Sequel Part 4

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She had a friend.

      Tom, Meaghan, and Jeremy were almost home. Tom and Meaghan rode in their parents’ van, with Meaghan driving, and Jeremy, eager to perform another experiment of his idea, tailed along behind on a skateboard, having tied himself to a rope that was secured to the vehicle’s rear bumper. His inspiration was largely the skateboard stunts in the Back to the Future films. Unlike in the films, he’d already sideswiped a dozen cars, walls, poles, trees, and other obstacles lining the roads and highway during their drive home. Neither sibling had heard his cries or screams due to the fact that Jeremy had forgotten to include two-way radios to communicate (not that he’d have managed to keep his radio in hand for more than ten seconds). Meaghan was too distracted from all the anxious drivers honking their horns because her mind was concentrated on the amazing rugby game.
       “I’ve got to find and add Paige on Facebook. She’s an amazing player,” Meaghan mused.
       “I noticed,” Tom replied drearily. “What a bloody game.”
       “It was memorable. I’m going to do that all the time from now on.”
       “Do you have to?” Tom asked in pain, barely registering the sound of Jeremy’s body knocking over a couple of green bins placed at the side of the road.
       “You never know the kind of people you might engage, and how good they might be,” Meaghan explained. She honked her horn. “Stupid police, why’d you cut me off?” She sped around the cruiser and turned off at the next street, entering their neighbourhood. The young police officer in his car, having been trying to get Meaghan’s attention, cringed and almost fainted as he heard and felt Jeremy hit the trunk and tumble up the rear window. It happened to be the first day he was alone in a cruiser without his older partner. Jeremy proved to be the perfect distraction from the van’s license plate and make.
       “Next time, then, can you not invite me?” Tom asked. “Rugby is too rowdy for me.”
       “I’ll think about it,” Meaghan decided as she coasted around a corner and found their driveway. “I’ve got to order more rugby balls for Uncle Rob’s place, they blew one of mine up.”
“I wonder how Jeremy is,” Tom wondered. They got out of the car and found Jeremy sprawled on the lawn, barely recovering from hyperventilation. Tom looked down at him as Meaghan blithely went into the house, not worried or concerned about her older brother on the grass. He was covered in bruises, dirt, small cuts and scrapes, and his left shoulder appeared to be dislocated. There was a gash on his head and he thoroughly resembled the tossed-about Duncan, though a lot worse off.
Tom sighed. “I’ll go get you some water.”
“Thank you,” Jeremy breathed. “I…tried calling…you.”
“Didn’t get any call,” Tom replied.
“Meaghan,” he sighed.
“No, her phone was silent. Where’s yours?”
Jeremy had no more energy to speak, but he vividly recounted in his mind how it had gotten flung fifty yards down the Queensway when he’d frantically tried connecting with his sister, the device having been ejected violently from his hand as he ricocheted off a light standard.

Sitting at his computer, Evan Mochizuki was reviewing the footage he’d caught of the party earlier that day. He’d just published it on YouTube, and had sent Ryan the link via e-mail when his phone suddenly rung. Picking it up, he barely had time to speak when Joel Graham’s voice said, “Lounge. Now.”
“Why?” Mochizuki asked lamely. He had no interest in leaving home when he’d only arrived twenty minutes ago, especially if it was because Joel wanted to have super-secret meetings.
“I have to deal with that destructive cad and I need to bounce some ideas off of you and the others.”
Mochizuki sighed. “When is this going to end?”
“When I say so.” He hung up.
With extreme reluctance mixed with self resignation, the drama teacher grabbed his car keys and made for the door.
Cleaning the dishes at home, Doug Elliot got a similar phone call moments later. It annoyed him, but he was always a resourceful, helpful person, and he knew what his priorities were. The dishes had just been nullified as his main priority in favor of his friend Joel – even if it wasn’t for a very good reason.
Kevin Mellow really, really wanted to talk back to his friend and colleague. But there was something about Joel’s commanding voice that always made his annoyed demeanour falter, his feelings hesitate. So he said nothing as Joel said, “lounge, now” and hung up. He put his beer in the fridge and exited his house wordlessly, as polarized to his old colleague Jamey Pender in his silence as Jamey was to his stream of nearly incoherent rambling.

“I almost expected you all to show up sooner, but that’s okay,” Joel Graham spoke up as the other three arrived. ‘The Lounge’ was Joel’s basement. The other three, knowing that Joel did not favor the image of looking excitedly expectant by glancing through his front windows or popping out on his porch, had waited in turn for each other to arrive boldly out front of his house in the street so they could all walk in together.
“You caught me at a bad time...” “There was traffic...” the others started, but Joel, reclining in a backyard lounger, shushed them. “I’d rather you left your problems at the door.”
“What’s up?” asked Evan Mochizuki.
“It’s what’s down that I’m worried about,” Joel said.
“Can’t you give this shit a break?” Mellow wearily said.
“No. Do you know how much I paid for those glasses?”
“$1437,” Elliot said painfully. Turning to the others, he said, “I totalled the cost after taxes for him.”
“Because he’s a very helpful friend,” Joel answered. Elliot shrugged, while the other two glared at his seemingly sycophantic character.
“What do you want to do?” asked Mochizuki.
“That’s the question, isn’t it?” Joel responded. “You see, I’ve done what I could, in a small way, to pay that dunderhead back ever since he fucked up my original batch of wine glasses four years ago. When he graduated, I thought I was rid of the nuisance. Rid of the cad that destroyed thirty-seven brand-new wine glasses.”
“Joel, come on. That was 2007. It was a stupid-ass circumstance to begin with,” Mellow said.
“Stupid or not, it happened. And while he cleaned it up and brought more down without breaking any more, he was still just...I don’t know. I just want to kill the bastard for knocking over my latest investment. You know one of Scott’s students actually made an entire animation project based around that affair?”
“Only because you made such a big deal out of it,” Mochizuki suggested, “and that was Ryan. It was his comm. Tech. Project.”
“Was it Ryan? Well, anyway, I thought I was rid of him, but he came back. Those boccalinos were supposed to be the centrepiece of Ryan’s party and they were lost.”
Mellow, Elliot, and Mochizuki stood resignedly together, looking at the floor.
“So. If all the stuff I’ve done over the years – ordering him around, screaming freight into him, making him paranoid – if none of that has worked, I need to bounce off some ideas.”
“What kind of ideas?” Elliot asked cautiously.
“Don’t help him, you idiot!” Mellow hissed.
“I’ve got some semblance of a plan drawn up,” Joel said, getting up from his recliner. On an easel stood a giant pad of lined paper, which Joel had borrowed from the school they all taught at (any student would be familiar with this teaching instrument). Flipping a page, he revealed diagrams that almost resembled plays drawn up for the school rugby team; had the party seen such diagrams with Joel’s instruction the game might not have been the mess it turned out to be.
“For the moment, I see a plan that is long-term and covers just about all the bases.” Picking up a metre stick, he prodded at the diagrams as if the team were there to absorb the relevant information. “I think we should focus on the kid’s movements and wait for opportunities where he can be covered. I have more diagrams on sheets of acetate, Elliot, can you grab the overhead projector?”
“Where is it?”
“In the cupboard.”
Mellow and Mochizuki both shook their heads at Elliot, but Elliot only sadly shrugged and walked obediently to the cupboard. Inside, he found a rarely used projector that had obviously started service in the hands of the staff at the long-since defunct J.S. Woodsworth Secondary; it had been transferred, along with many other supplies and furniture, to Merivale High School upon the former’s closure in 2005. Joel had obviously decided to transfer it from there to his basement, no doubt upon his own transfer to the new Longfields school. Elliot picked it up and handled it with care to a table near the recliner. Joel busied himself at a nearby computer desk, evidently looking for the sheets of acetate. Mellow and Mochizuki, their legs tiring, found a couple of ancient school desks Joel had also evidently pilfered.

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