By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
By Richard Connelly
By Jeff Balke
By Casey Michel
By Craig Hlavaty
At 10:30 a.m., three hours after Boone met with Lucas's mother, he held an emergency assembly for the entire school. Panic and rumors were spreading; John's girlfriend heard that he was going to jail for six years. Students were afraid that the trench coat mafia had moved in. A reporter and photographer from the Clute daily newspaper, The Facts, showed up for the assembly.
Boone read the Death Bird note to the student body and talked about how he prayed nothing like Littleton would happen at their high school. Boone didn't name names, but he announced that "the suspects" had been cleared of all wrongdoing. The school's other students, he said, were not to torment the Korn Clubbers. Ever.
"If I catch you saying anything, I will nail your butt to the wall, and that is a promise," The Facts reported Boone saying. "You leave them alone, and don't say nothing to them."
Unfortunately, that command wasn't obeyed.
After the assembly, people stared at the Korn Club kids. Whenever Lucas talked to a teacher, he heard snickers that he had a bomb. Kids told him not to bomb the school until after they graduated. If "666" was written on the flag, kids told each other, go home; it meant "the freaks" were going to blow up the school.
The next day, Thursday, did nothing to calm the school. John Reynolds was expelled for having a dirty joke on his computer disk. While he was cleaning out his locker, he allegedly threatened some sort of retaliation against Boone and was turned in by another kid. (John doesn't remember talking to anybody.) Friday night he was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony. Bail was set at $100,000.
Scared, Boone had tried to make the school a safe place for its students. But by having the Korn Club arrested, he made those students scared to come to school afraid they'd be arrested again and they felt more like outcasts than ever.
After the arrests, some of the Korn Clubbers cut classes and talked about dropping out. Tabitha Leavey's grades plummeted because she ran to the bathroom whenever she saw an officer at school. She had nightmares about the cops coming to her house, finding nothing but arresting her anyway because it happened before (she has the scars from her handcuffs to remind her). She tacked Boone's picture up in her bed-room, wrote "dumbass" across his forehead and added devil horns and red eyes. Some of the other kids started fighting more. John Lyle, the surfer, beat someone nearly unconscious and thought of killing himself. He skipped a couple of his finals and failed all his classes but algebra.
Lucas figured that if he was arrested once, it could happen again. He didn't want to go to school anymore. He isn't the kind of kid who'd build a bomb. And it made him angry that people believed he was.
Lucas's mother went on Channel 2 news, talked on the radio and faxed letters to the American Civil Liberties Union. It took her case. Jeremy's mother joined her, and their attorney, Robert Rosenberg, sent demand letters to the principal, mayor, police chief and everyone involved in the June 30 incident.
They're not yet sure what they want to win.
"Luke, what do you want?" Caroline asks him.
He twirls his hair and doesn't answer.
"I want them to suffer," she says. He sort of laughs and looks away, saying yeah-right-mom without opening his mouth.
"I do," she says.
And she wants Boone fired.
Lucas just wants to be happy again. He's not sure how or when that's going to happen. Before the arrest, he felt great. Now he can't sleep. His doctor prescribed more Zoloft, but that hasn't helped much. He thinks he needs a stronger dose.
In the sleepless nights after the arrest, Lucas painted a picture he hasn't named. The new picture is a long way from Ode to the Unity of Man. A bald, blue-gray figure is in a black pit, screaming, reaching toward a light that's too far away. His hand disappears into the darkness. Lucas's mother thinks the anguished man looks like an alien, an outcast, like Lucas. They both have blue eyes.
Lucas stays up late reading about quantum physics. He'd like to leap through time like in the old TV show Quantum Leap he'd like to leave. He loves the idea of parallel universes, that somewhere things are different-but-the-same, that somewhere someone else is feeling the same things he does.
He thinks changing schools will help. He absolutely doesn't want to return to Brazosport High School. His mom's enrolling him at Brazoswood. She thinks the two schools six miles apart aren't much different. But Brazoswood is nearly twice the size of Brazosport, and Lucas is sure it will be better. In a bigger school, he'll be better able to blend into the background, the place he always wanted to be.
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