The Graduate, Part 1

(by, 27 December 2000)

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The Graduate: 
A continuation of The Corruptor

Part 1: The Principal 
The gymnasium was a sauna. The heat forecasted for June 9th was right on the
money for a change. At 12:00 noon, the temperature was already 85 degrees.
Add 300 student bodies, and a few thousand relatives, you get a sauna. The
masses tried to keep cool by fanning themselves with their programs but it
did little to help. It made a steady droning 'swoosh' sound, which threatened
to drown out the Principals voice. Never the less, he continued.

"Paul Dennehy" he said into the microphone. 

Paul walked forward in his cap and gown. A small cheer and applause came from
somewhere within. Paul shook the principal's hand with his right, and
accepted his diploma with his left. A photographer captured the moment and
then Paul was forgotten.

"Abigail Dilman" he continued...

Karrie sat fanning herself as well. Her row would be called in about 10
minutes she estimated. She checked her watch again, quickly calculating. The
ceremonies started promptly at 12:30. It was currently 1:10. She could have
another cigarette in about 1 hour and twenty minutes or so. Her foot tapped
lightly in anticipation.

"Angela Everest..."

The next row stood and began making their way to the stage.

Ashley sat in the row behind Karries, and two seats to the left. Karrie could
feel Ashley's eyes burning a hole in her back. They hadn't spoken since their
falling out. Karrie felt awful about it. She was too blinded by the lust and
intrigue of Bonnie Kelly to notice that Ashley was a true friend, possibly
more. Karrie turned her head purposefully and made eye contact with Ashley,
not sure what the result would bring. She mouthed the word "Hi" and tried to
make her eyes say I'm sorry. 

Ashley let out an audible sigh and reached into her purse. She pulled out a
small notepad and a pen and began to write quickly. Karrie turned to let her
write. Ashley reached over and tapped Karrie on the shoulder. Karrie turned,
smiling, and took the pad and pen that were handed to her.

She tried to keep the note private, so she read quickly.

"Hi Karrie - you going to the party tonight? Still friends aren't we?"

Karrie felt a ton of weight lifted off her shoulders. She flipped to a blank
page and wrote herself.

"Of course we are. I've been such a jackass, I don't' know how to start
explaining things. Yeah, going to the party. My mom is having a little thing
at the house before hand. Want to swing by early and pick me up?" 

She closed the notepad and passed it back to Ashley.

Ashley quickly scribbled something and handed it back.

"Yeah, I'll be by around 5:30. You can EXPLAIN AND APOLOGIZE later."

Karrie giggled in relief. Things would be OK between them. She wrote a quick
note. Before closing the notepad, she puckered her lips and lightly pressed
her lips against the bottom of the page. She passed it back to Ashley,

Karrie watched Ashley's face as she read the note. Ashley's eyes opened wide
and a blush came across her face and then she quickly closed the pad and
stuck it back into her purse.

Karries row stood and she gave Ashley a quick wink as she went to accept her
walking papers.

"Karrie! Honey! Over Here!" Joyce half screamed. She waved excitedly over the
thick crowd of parents hugging their children and posing for pictures. Karrie
rolled her eyes and smiled and made her way to her mother. Joyce was dressed
in a light cotton jump suit and looked great. With a little prodding from
Karrie, the two of them had spent a day at the same salon Bonnie had treated
Karrie to. Joyce was still a little reluctant to the change but Karrie was
making sure she was coming around.

The two women hugged and Joyce said "I'm proud of you honey..." She stood
back and looked her daughter up and down. Tears formed in her eyes and she
quickly wiped them away and put on sunglasses. "Isn't she beautiful Bill?"

Bill stood next to Joyce and he agreed sincerely. "She certainly does, Joyce.
Congratulations Karrie." He leaned forward and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
The kiss lingered just a second to long and his mustache brushed her face.
The sensation made Karrie squirm just a bit. 

"Thanks Mom, thanks Bill," she said smiling. "Mom, do you have a cigarette,
I'm dying for one."

"You can't smoke on school grounds honey, you know that. And I'm still a
little shy about smoking in public." Joyce said under her breath.

"For one, I don't go to this school anymore. And two, you need to get over
your silly fears. Now give me a cigarette, mine are in the car." Karrie said
this playfully, yet forcefully.

Joyce glanced around quickly and then dug into her purse. She pulled a box of
Marlboro Light 100's from her purse along with a gold lighter and handed them
to Karrie. Karrie dug two out, handing one to her mother and put the other in
her lips.

"Here, let me get that for you ladies." Bill offered. Karrie handed the
lighter to Bill and he lit it, first offering the flame to Joyce, and then

Karrie drew deeply, with her cheeks hollowing. Her mouth watered as the smoke
filled her mouth. She inhaled deeply and then drew again. She inhaled the
second draw deeper than the first and held it. She lazily exhaled through
both her nose and mouth, and smiled. The light breeze carried the smoke
through the crowds, eliciting several glares.

"Come on, lets get some pictures by the statue," Bill offered. Joyce and
Karrie walked arm in arm and Bill followed closely behind paying close
attention to the cloud of smoke that drifted behind them.

Bill and Joyce had started dating shortly after Joyce officially came out as
a smoker. Bill was 8 years younger than Joyce, handsome, a successful lawyer,
and recently divorced. They had met after work one night when Joyce went to a
bar with a few co-workers after work. It was the first time that Joyce had
smoked publicly. Bill approached the group and although some of the other
women were more attractive than Joyce, and closer to his age, Bill focused
his attention on Joyce.

They had three dates before Joyce invited Bill over for dinner to introduce
him to Karrie. Bill was very polite and tried very hard to be funny.
Sometimes he succeed, sometimes he didn't. Joyce allowed Karrie to have some
wine and they all seemed to loosen up. At the end of dinner, Joyce began
clearing the dishes. Karrie excused herself for a minute, running upstairs.
She returned moments later carrying an ashtray and a freshly lit Marlboro

Bill turned from talking to Joyce in the kitchen to Karrie who just returned
to her chair and stopped his speech mid stream as he watched Karrie exhale a
tight stream towards the ceiling. Shock and surprise quickly fell across his
face. His mouth hung open as he stared.

"You might catch flies in there if you aren't careful Bill." Karrie said.
Normally she wouldn't take offense by someone gawking at her, but this was
her mother's boyfriend whom she had just met an hour before.

Bill now blushed and looked away.

"What did you say honey?" Joyce called over the sound of running water.

"Nothing Mom, just giving Bill some shit." she said.

Joyce returned her attention to the sink, shaking her head. Bill turned to
her, red faced and the two of them made eye contact. Karrie picked her
cigarette up from the ashtray and drew deeply. She blew a loose cone in his
direction to elicit another response. Bill again was lost in a gaze and then
shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He cleared his throat and then spoke.

"Your mom never told me you smoked, Karrie. Sorry if I looked surprised. I
didn't mean to offend you in anyway." he said sheepishly.

Karrie finished her exhale. "Its OK Bill. I get that look from a lot of
guys," she said somewhat flirtatiously. "But usually guys my age."

Bill chuckled. "Accept my apologies?"

"Sure, why not?" Karrie replied. "Mom, great dinner. I'm gonna go to my room
and make some phone calls. Bill, nice to finally meet you. Be good to my mom,

Karrie placed the half smoked cigarette in her lips letting it dangle. She
stood and extended her hand to Bill. Bill hesitated just a moment and then
stood as well. They shook hands and smiled. Bill's hands were clammy and the
touch felt odd to Karrie. She pulled back and Bill held on just a second
longer. It was an awkward second for Karrie. Bill finally released the grip
and turned to Joyce. As he turned, Karrie quickly glanced down and noticed
Bills erection. As he walked towards Joyce, he quickly re-arranged himself.

Karrie, still dangling, drew hard and inhaled. She reached across the table
and dropped the butt into Bills glass of iced tea. It hissed momentarily.
Karrie chuckled nervously and returned to her room and started trying to put
all this into perspective.

End Part 1

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