Read High School 2 - Diversity - The Clash Online
Authors: Paul Swearingen
Tags: #relationships, #el dia de los muertos, #corvette, #day of the dead, #mexican american, #car chase, #hispanic, #mustang
“Me? On a commercial? I don’t think so!”
“Listen, it’s just for a couple of words.”
He looked at the papers again. “Try it: ‘Henry, we’re late
“Look, what makes you th… .”
A hand seemed to materialize on top of her
head. “Out of the way, midget. I got work to do and no time to do
it.” Marv brushed by her and settled into the swivel chair in front
of the console. He typed furiously for a few seconds, moved the
mouse and clicked, and the screen filled.
“Hold on, I’m on.” He pulled the microphone
in front of him and cleared his throat.
Bob rolled his eyes, pulled her out of the
studio, and shut the door.
“I’m sure we can do better than ‘Midget’ for
a name for you, right?”
She looked up at him. “It’s Carla. And …
“Okay, Carla, I don’t have much time. You’ve
got a good voice. Try it: ‘Henry, we’re late already.’”
She giggled. “All right. ‘Henry, we’re LATE
“No, it’s ‘late alREADy’.”
“‘Henry-we’re-late-alREADy’. I know, I know;
I just didn’t want to be perfect the first time and show you up.
Okay, I’ll do it, but I really need to get back into town. And … er
Bob turned and looked at a clock. “Okay, I
get it. You’re just on a little vacation this morning. And what if
I dropped you off right in front of the high school instead? You DO
go to high school, don’t you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Maybe I’m a
hotshot college student like you. What do you think about
Bob eyed her up and down. “I don’t think so.
But let’s not start, okay?”
“Fine. What do you want me to do?”
He pointed down the hallway. “Door. In.”
She hoisted her backpack over a shoulder and
walked through the door.
“Just drop that in the corner over there. I
don’t want any noise getting on the commercial.” Bob pointed behind
her. “And close the door. Don’t worry, I won’t bite. And this won’t
take long, I hope.”
She watched him make some adjustments to
some equipment and move a suspended microphone closer to her. “This
is the only mike we have working right now, so we’ll have to share
it. I hope you don’t spit when you talk. Now, here’s the script. I
do most of the talking, except for right here.” He put his finger
on the paper. “That’s where you say your line … ”
“Henry, we’re late alREADy.” She grinned at
“That’s just fine. We’ll just do the voices
now, and when I come back later this afternoon I’ll edit in the
music bed and special effects. You ready?”
She nodded, and he punched a button and
began to read in a surprisingly resonant voice. And stopped, swore
under his breath, punched a button, and began to read again. She
watched the script and read her line, and he finished and punched a
button on the console and then double-clicked the computer mouse.
Their voices floated from a speaker above her head. She compressed
her lips as her voice played, but Bob nodded his head.
“That should do it.” He moved to a computer
console, typed in a few words, clicked the mouse, and turned to
“Well, you should be on the air tomorrow.
Meanwhile, why don’t we get ourselves some breakfast? You like
“Well … ”
“Everyone likes doughnuts. And the Doughnut
Hole in town gives us a pretty good discount, so we REALLY like
doughnuts here at KNTK. Let’s get out of here.”
Bob’s car didn’t seem to be nearly as rusty
as Marvelous Marv’s, although she could tell it had about only half
the horsepower, but it ran smoothly, and Bob didn’t try to snap her
head off when he pulled out of the parking lot.
The Doughnut Hole seemed to have every old
guy in town along the counter and at most of the tables, but Bob
navigated her to a two-chair table.
“Coffee? Doughnuts? Bear claw? It’s on me
“Mmm … how about a couple of applesauce
doughnuts? And some orange juice.”
“Done.” He worked his way through the crowd
and in less time than she expected he laid her doughnuts and a
plastic container of juice in front of her.
“All right – thanks. I owe you one.
Cornflakes only go so far.” She shook the plastic juice container
and peeled off the foil top and took a sip of juice. It definitely
wasn’t fresh-squeezed, but it was better than nothing.
“Listen, Carla, you have a pretty decent
radio voice. Most high school girls have squeaky voices, but yours
sounds … you know, mature.”
Carla giggled. “I’ve never been accused of
being mature before. Most people think I’m still in grade
Bob shook his head. “You’re at least
Carla eyed him. “Who wants to know, and what
“The station manager might want to know. He
said something about needing another person to help out with
production at the station, and maybe you’d fit the bill.” He
finished his doughnut and wiped his hands on a napkin.
Bob tossed the napkin onto the table and
stood. “Well, it’s a possibility; I’m not promising anything, but
why don’t you come by the station … say after 3 pm, when he gets
off his sales run, and talk to him about it? Couldn’t hurt
“Well … I don’t know …”
“Your call; I’m not gonna force you. You
wanna ride somewhere?”
Carla looked at the second doughnut on her
plate. “No, I can make it … okay, to school by myself, thank you.
And thanks for breakfast.”
“All right. Maybe I’ll see you out at the
He smiled. “Just do it. We actually have a
lot of fun out there, although the pay isn’t all that great. Oh,
and if you need a ride again, you might want to think twice before
you ask Marv. He … um … well, let’s just say that high school girls
may be less than completely safe around him, okay?”
She nodded. “I figured that one out all by
myself after I climbed into that thing he calls a car. But
“No problem. All right, I gotta get to
class.” And he turned and walked through the crowd and the
This day didn’t start out so badly after
all, she thought to herself. Bob seemed to be a nice guy, unlike
Marvin the Marvelous Molester with his ride, Rusty the Mustang.
She finished her doughnut and orange juice,
stood and turned to leave. And found herself face-to-face with
Sandra. She froze.
“Well, Carla. How nice to see you again. You
selling ads, too, or something?”
Carla glared at her. “No. And you?”
Sandra waved an NCR form at her. “Yearbook
ads. At least we have permission to leave school.”
“I bet you do. And now if you’ll excuse me
“I’m sure.” Sandra stalked towards the back
of the shop without a backward glance, but Carla heard a muttered
word that sounded like “
”. She opened her mouth to
utter a rejoinder, but Sandra was already too far away, and by now
most of the old guys in the doughnut shop were watching either her
She fixed one of them with a glare, and he
turned back to his coffee. She didn’t know which was worse, she
thought as she pushed open the door: Sandra’s mouth or old guys
staring at her.
The high school was only a few blocks away
from the Doughnut Hole, and by the time Carla walked boldly through
the front door of the school, she had warmed up. No one was visible
from inside the door; the hallway was completely empty, and she
tip-toed down the hall to her locker, pulled a few books and
notebooks from her backpack, stuffed a pencil and pen into the
pockets of her hoodie, and left her backpack inside the locker and
as quietly as possible closed the locker door.
She opened the door to her English classroom
and shot her best dazzling smile at Mrs. Hill, who rolled her eyes
and pointed at the assignment chalked on the board: “Study pg.
242-249; choose one question from Respond pg. 250, and write a
short response of at least 200 words.”
She nodded and slid into her seat at the
back of the room and opened her literature textbook. A couple of
people turned and stared at her for a few seconds, but she mouthed
a “What?!” at them, and they turned around and ignored her for the
rest of the period.
* * *
After school she managed to mingle with a
crowd of other students leaving the building, although she never
did see Miranda or any of her friends. But this time she saw Bob’s
car approaching the crosswalk.
The car slid to a stop just in front of her,
and a long arm opened the passenger-side door.
“Thought you might be wandering around here.
You want a ride out to the station?”
“What, again? You silver-tongued devils want
to kidnap me one more time?”
A horn beeped insistently behind Bob’s car.
“No, goofball, the station manager said he’d definitely like to
talk to you. Now, get in. Okay, only if you want to.”
Carla tossed her backpack onto the floor and
slid in. No rust this time.
“I forgot all about what you said earlier. I
guess I didn’t think you were serious.”
“Thanks a lot, midg … ah, Carla. Dang right
I’m serious. Basketball season is coming up, and the number of
commercials during basketball season nearly doubles. I suppose it’s
because basketball’s a much bigger thing in this town than football
is. I definitely need some help, and the boss agreed. He listened
to your commercial and liked what he heard, and trust me – if
Marvelous Marv can run the equipment, you can. It’s not a big deal.
You can use a computer, can’t you?”
Carla considered her computer skills. “Well,
I can type, I took a class in Integrated Computer Applications, I
can create a database …”
“Okay! Sounds good so far. And you have a
social security number?”
“Sure do. Had that since I was a baby.”
“Fine. Just don’t drool when you’re talking
to the boss, and look him right in the eye. I think you’re in.”
* * *
The interview with the station manager
lasted all of ten minutes; another ten minutes of paperwork, and
she was employed at slightly above minimum wage. She spent the rest
of the afternoon watching Bob cut commercials in the production
studio and trying to remember his explanation of running the
console, recording to a hard drive, mixing, levels, timing, and
naming and filing each spot, or commercial, until her head
Suddenly, she looked at the clock above the
“Oh, my god! I forgot about calling Pop! I
think today’s his day to get off early.”
“What time does he expect you home?”
“An hour ago! He’ll kill me!”
“I doubt it. I guess we’re done here. I can
drop you off, I suppose, although in the future my schedule
probably won’t fit yours; you probably need to get a bus schedule –
there’s a stop just down the road from here, and I think the bus
runs by the school.”
“Okay, okay. Thank you. Let’s get outta
here. Maybe if you just drop me off I can convince him that I was
at the library studying …”
“Har-de-har-har. The midget studies. That’s
a new one.”
“Very funny. Ha. Ha. Now, can we ple-e-e-ase
* * *
She convinced Bob to drop her off a
half-block from her house, and she ran down the sidewalk but
stopped short and plodded the rest of the way when she caught sight
of her father’s pickup parked in the driveway. The first thing that
she heard as she walked through the front door of her house was her
“Carla. I’m in the kitchen.” It was a
command for her to appear.
“Damn!” she muttered under her breath. “I
really am dead meat now.” She tossed her backpack onto the living
room couch and as slowly as possible stepped into the kitchen.
“Carla, you’re late. And the school called.
Seems as if they missed you first hour. And you were late to
second. Or maybe you just hid behind some football player in the
back of the room?”
“Ha, ha.” Her father stood only a hand span
taller than she, and she knew that short jokes were about both of
them, not just her. “Pop, I had a little … conflict with someone,
and I decided that avoiding him would be in my best interests
“I’m sure. And after school? You should have
been here an hour ago.”
“I was hiding out?” It was a joke, not a
lie. “I’m sorry, but … Guess what, Pop? I got a job!”
Her father gave her a long look. “Behind
bars? Or out so far that they don’t have phones?”
“No … nothing like that. Pop, I’m gonna be a
radio announcer! I got a job at the radio station!”
She expected him to yell at her. She even
took a small step backwards in anticipation of a very negative
reaction. But she wasn’t prepared for what came next. Slowly, his
face crumpled, and he sagged against the counter first but then
took a step forward and slowly put his arms around her.
…” He hadn’t called her that
since she was in kindergarten, when her mother had called her that,
Carla leaned her head on his shoulder for a
moment and then pulled away from him.
“Pop. What’s wrong? Is it because I didn’t
call? I’m sorry; I was so-o-o into watching Bob record commercials
that I simply forgot what time it was.”
Her father caught one of her hands and
pulled her down into a kitchen chair and then sank into another one
next to her.
“No, daughter of mine. It’s not that.
Although next time you get a hot-shot job … and we need to talk
about that … you need to let me know where you are and what you are
doing. I thought … well … I’ve been noticing that you haven’t been
too happy lately, like you used to be when you were …” And he
buried his head in his hands. “I’m sorry, Carla, I thought you
might have run away.”
She looked at him in astonishment. “Pop.
That’s just not possible.”
“Okay. Okay. But I guess I need to tell you
something. About your mother.”