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Fiddleback

FIDDLEBACK


A Novel by Jeff Vrolyks

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 Jeff Vrolyks


Prologue


Mr. Thompson locked the classroom door with Mrs. Cuthbert standing behind him with an appraising stare. She speculated what a young Mrs. Thompson might look like, then wondered if Freddy Thompson did the same to her. Granted she was on the wrong side of her twenties and he probably still wore the same clothes as he did at Cal State, but she liked to think she was still in his league. Freddy pocketed the keys and turned to a welcoming grin from the neighboring Jameson grade-school teacher. With three months employment under his belt, Freddy still marveled that the school grounds could be as desolate and muted as they were at the quitting time of 3:30, just thirty quiet and sacred minutes after the bell rang and two dozen knee-highs shrieked and wailed their delight, jettisoned through the door to become ghosts of Freddy’s imagination for the next sixteen hours.

They coursed the covered walkway side by side through the tightly knit complex of classroom units toward the parking lot.

“What’s the good word, Beth?”

“Oh, you know… another day of washing paste out of a child’s hair. The usual.”

“Jacob again?”

“Surprisingly, no. Not this time. A little booger named Wilhelm. Regal name, hell-on-wheels boy. His parents probably adore the hours he’s my ward.”

They passed the admin office. Up ahead was the final clump of buildings. A grassy field (a popular recess destination) lay ahead. Before it stood a double-row of fiberglass bench-tables painted orange with maple trees providing shade. Blocked from sight behind Mrs. Edward’s classroom was another popular recess destination: a sand box. A playground. It was a smaller, secondary playground, only ten yards by ten yards, with two sets of two swings and a teeter-totter, enclosed by recessed railroad ties that were infamous for giving kids splinters.

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