(Prequel to set up J.R. Parz's "Master PC" universe.) In 1990 a bully and a huge-breasted schoolteacher ruin the life of a nerd, Myron. But Myron has a PC running DOS...

Many thanks to J.R. Parz, inventor of the "MASTER PC" stories.

No copyright infringement is intended toward "The Millionaire" television show, which ran from 1955-1960. This story is intended for the non-commercial enjoyment of the author and of free-site story readers. No profit will be made from the distribution of this story.


part 1

by Addled Tosevite

email: grim_ghost AT hotmail.com

teen, hs, magic

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Sometime in your past, you've received MASTER PC as a mysterious e-mail attachment. MASTER PC certainly has changed your life; hopefully, it has improved your life as well. Well, I'm the man who coded MASTER PC and sent it to you. I write you now to tell you why and how you got this gift.

I'm writing this in 2006, but if you're reading this much later, it means that (a) I've just died, (b) you've outlived me, and (c) you live in the big area of USA/Canada that the "Master" version of MASTER PC can reach. The "Master" version of MASTER PC has tracked you down and is sending you this message, by my posthumous command.

Many stories start when a man gets done wrong by a beautiful woman, and my story is one of those. Beth Henderson, bra-buster, is the "lady" who messed up my life.

But my life got ruined first, and my life got ruined more, by a man: John B. "Bubba" Smith. You who reads this, you the receiver of MASTER PC, come read how your life now is completely different because Bubba was a total shit back in 1990.

Blond-haired Bubba had facial hair in sixth grade. He had to shave every day by seventh grade. He had the deepest voice in high school (even deeper than Mr. McAllister's) by tenth grade. Sometime after seventh grade, he'd taken up bodybuilding. By the summer before our senior year, Bubba looked like a cross between a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Gorton's Fisherman, with the voice of Barry White.

Bubba used to brag, "The most manly man at Truman High School is still a boy."

Everything that Bubba was, I was not. And everything that I was, Bubba was not. I, Myron Tipton, was of average height, above-average weight (none of it muscle), and the class champ at mathematics, computer programming, and zits. I also wore glasses.

Put Bubba and me together, and the result was bullying—trippings in the hallways, "accidental" jostlings, and knocking me into lockers. Not to mention, he made digs and verbal putdowns about me when pretty girls were around. Back then I couldn't fight him, so all these thousand insults of Bubba's I bore as best I could.

I don't think Bubba was rock-stupid, not quite, but he passed his classes by male-bonding with the male teachers. Bubba also passed Miss Henderson's class; when I was a Senior, I had my suspicions why.

It was September 1990, and school had started less than a week earlier. Both Bubba and I were in Beth Henderson's second-period Senior English class. I got myself in trouble while Miss Henderson was calling the roll: "Tipton?"

I perked up in my seat. "Here. May I say, Miss Henderson, that you look photogenic today?"

And boy, did she. She was twenty-two (and some months) old. She had long hair—it was too red to call `brunette', and was too dark to call `red'. Her brown eyes were almost the color of her hair. She was wearing a dark green blouse and dark green shoes (two-inch heel), and a skirt whose hem came to an inch above her knee. The skirt was white—Miss Henderson had great legs and a muscular butt.

Now, Miss Henderson has great hair. In any large shopping mall, you could find one woman with butt and legs as shapely as Miss Henderson's—heck, at Christmastime, you might even find two such women. But as good as they were, Miss Henderson's butt and legs and hair were outclassed by her tits. She had enormous tits that I expected to see only in Playboy, in strip clubs, or in porn—not on my Shakespeare teacher.

Miss Henderson's smile was plastic, and didn't reach her eyes. "Myron, thanks for the compliment, but it's not appropriate for you to comment on my looks."

But as soon as roll-call was over, and Miss Henderson was walking the attendance slip out to the hallway, Bubba piped up. "Beth, I gotta agree with Coke-Bottle Glasses—you do look good." This earned Bubba a glare from Helen Baxter, Bubba's buxom blond cheerleader girlfriend.

Attendance-slip filed, Miss Henderson turned to face Bubba, hands on hips. "John, I will not tolerate hurtful nicknames for Myron or anyone else in my class." Well and good, but then her voice changed: "And you are to address me as `Miss Henderson', not `Beth'. And as I said before, you shouldn't comment on my looks in class."

Her words said keep it professional, but her husky voice said Tell me again I'm sexy!

Later that hour, Bubba threw down his copy of Romeo and Juliet in disgust. "Miss Henderson, I have a problem."

She left the blackboard to stand by his desk. "What's wrong?"

"I just can't understand this play, with all these old words in it. Your free period is fifth, right?"

"That's right," she said smiling.

"Then mayhap I should come here then," Bubba said, his eyes sweeping her up and down. Helen frowned at Bubba, and Bubba flashed Helen a disarming grin, before turning his eyes back to Miss Henderson.

I don't think anyone noticed, but just for a second, Miss Henderson gave Bubba a pouty smile. "I'll look forward to seeing you," she said in her impersonal, professional "teacher" voice.

Bubba could be counted on to charm female teachers while barely passing his classes. Meanwhile, good ol' Myron Tipton could be counted on to bust the curve and to be ignored by the pretty girls.

It sounds like I'm whining and complaining about my life. I'm not. I was happy in high school—until the second month of Bubba's and my senior year.

It was lunchtime, and I was putting some books in my locker. Bubba, Steve Rivton the quarterback, and some other jocks were walking down the hallway. Bubba bumped me and I fell down, and my glasses fell off. Maybe it was an accident, and maybe it wasn't.

Before I could pick up my glasses, Bubba had grabbed them. "Dude, you lost your glasses."

"So give them back," I said as I stood up.

Bubba tossed my glasses to the smirking Calvin Cooper. "Where are your manners, dude? I didn't hear `please.'"

What a clown. "Please give me back my glasses," I said, letting him hear my annoyance.

"I don't think you respect us, dude. Think you're hot shit because you're a smart guy."

Steve piped up with "I might not be able to get an athletic scholarship, because you keep busting the class curve."

"Tell Steve you're sorry for hurting his grades," Bubba said.

"Fuck you all," I replied.

Bubba stepped forward, passing to my right, then spinning around. I felt his right hand grab my right wrist, and his left hand push my back. He jerked my arm back, enough to hurt. "I said, tell Steve you're sorry."

"Fuck you all with a hot poker."

Bubba pulled my arm the wrong way even more. I believe the term for what he had me in was an `immobilization hold'. It hurt, oh god it hurt, and if he pulled up just a little more, something of mine would snap like a pencil. "I'm waiting patiently, Myron."

"Go sodomize a dead sheep, Bubba."

"Is `sodomize' bad?" asked Steve.

Bubba pulled up just a smidge higher. I decided I wouldn't let these clowns see my agony.

"Hey Bubba," said Muhammed Johnston, "you're having all the fun."

"So get on the other side from Steve," Bubba said. "You two alarm-clock him."

Bubba had me turned so that the lockers were on my right side. Now Muhammed went to the right of me, his back against the lockers. Then Muhammed and Steve started pushing me back and forth between themselves. By themselves, Muhammed and Steve would be just an annoyance—I couldn't keep my balace, but was otherwise unharmed. But their alarm-clock play was making Bubba's immobilization hold much more painful.

"It's just a joke, dude," Bubba said. "We're having a few laughs. Have fun, can't you take a joke?"

I replied (through gritted teeth), "The only joke around here is your cocks. I've seen them; they're short."

Bubba must've made a silent signal, because Muhammed suddenly stepped away. I had just enough time to wonder "What's going on?" when Steve pushed me hard. My shoulder and upper arm slammed hard into the locker, even as Bubba still had me in his immobilization hold. I felt something break in my shoulder, and I felt my arm break at the socket.

I screamed.

"You motherfucking musclebound morons, you broke something!" Their smirks and smiles instantly disappeared.

Miss Henderson was walking down the hall, and saw the whole thing. But when she got close, Bubba made eye contact with her, and held her gaze for a full second. Miss Henderson turned her head, ignoring me, and hurried away.

A second later, moving the opposite direction, the jock herd likewise rushed away from me, leaving me alone when I tried to stand up. I heard the bell ring, but I had no interest in going to class. Instead, I picked up my glasses (where Calvin had tossed them on the floor), then I went to the nurse's office. I grimaced with every step.

My parents and I met with Mr. McAllister the next day. My parents had to take time off from work, and the visit was a total waste of our time.

"Mr. and Mrs. Tipton, I'm glad you could meet with me," said Mr. McAllister. "For one student to make a false accusation against another is a grim and serious business."

"False accusation?" I squeaked. "Do you have any idea how much it hurts to move my right arm?"

"My son is no liar!" Mom added.

"My son had to go to the emergency room!" Dad said.

Mr. McAllister held up a hand. "Which makes a problem. Normally when I have a student with high grades like Myron's, combined with an apparent injury—"

"It's more than apparent to me," I said.

"—I must believe his accusation. But here, there are no witnesses to the alleged abuse."

"Yeah, right, like Bubba's friends would rat him out," I said.

"What about other students?" Mom demanded. "Didn't this happen at lunchtime? Plenty of other kids would have seen it."

I shook my head. "Bubba is state wrestling champion. Whoever goes to the principal, Bubba will beat him up after school, and it's going to hurt."

"I don't know that such is the case," Mr. McAllister said. "And Myron cannot deny that he bears a personal grudge against John Smith."

"Because he keeps bullying me! Notice a trend here?"

"So what do you think happened?" Dad demanded. "There's some kind of shoulder-busting virus going around, and Myron caught it?"

"If it weren't for Myron's GPA, I would be disciplining him for self-inflicting an injury and making—"

"This is not `self-inflicted,' and my accusation is not false!" I said.

"—but if Myron were to make a public apology to John Smith, I am prepared to forego punishment."

"I apologize publicly to Bubba? Never!" Then I realized that in all the excitement, I was overlooking something. "What about Miss Henderson? She saw it all."

"She hasn't mentioned any such thing to me."

"So what? Let's call her in here and ask her flat-out."

"She's in class right now. I don't want to disturb her."

"We're missing work to talk to you," Mom said, "and Myron was taken out of class. Get her in here."

Three minutes later, my big-breasted Shakespeare teacher was in Mr. McAllister's office with us. She looked uncomfortable. "Miss Henderson," Mr. McAllister said, "Myron says that John Smith smashed his arm and shoulder hard into a locker, and that you saw everything."

Miss Henderson glanced at me, then turned her eyes back to Mr. McAllister. "I saw no such thing. I don't know how Myron hurt himself."

"But you had to have seen Bubba messing with me!" I said.

"I saw you at lunchtime yesterday, and I saw Bubba, but not at the same place."

"Thank you for your time, Miss Henderson. You may go," said Mr. McAllister. Miss Henderson gave me a nervous glance and rushed out.

Mr. McAllister now turned his attention fully to me. "Myron, what do you have to say now?"

"That the sex with Bubba must be really good for Miss Henderson," I replied. Beside me, my mother gasped.

Mr. MacAllister's face grew angry. He started to say something, choked it off, and finally allowed himself to say, "Myron, your joke is in very poor taste, as I trust your parents to explain to you."

"I'm not joking."

He glared at me. "Do you have any proof of this?"

"Twice a week for the past month, Bubba has asked for a hall pass to visit Miss Henderson during fifth period. It's common knowledge."

"He might well have an adolescent crush on her. And/or, he might truly be struggling with Shakespeare."

"Well, I don't have naked Poloroids, if that's what you're asking. I don't have undeniable `proof.'"

Mr. McAllister was silent for a while, as his eyes swept back and forth between my parents and me. "Myron Tipton, you are suspended from school for three days."

Eight that evening, I was in my living room with my parents, trying to watch television. (My arm and shoulder were hurting a lot, and so it was hard to concentrate on the show.) The doorbell rang.

At the front door was Helen Baxter, Bubba's hot cheerleader girlfriend. She was holding a box of chocolates.

"I heard you got suspended," Helen said. "Nobody's quite sure why, but you didn't do anything wrong."

Why was she here? "Did Bubba tell you what he did wrong?"

"Listen, it isn't like Bubba to apologize for stuff, but..."

"But he's sorry? Or you're sorry?"

"I don't dislike you, Myron. I would never date you, but I've never said anything nasty to you or about you—"

Which was true; Helen had always been pleasant to me.

"—but on the other hand, I don't always like things that Bubba does," Helen said.

"Such as what Bubba did yesterday?" I asked. I waited for Helen to answer, but she said nothing.

I took the chocolates, using my left arm. Helen noticed, and asked, "Are you left-han—? Oh."

The silence stretched out. Finally I said, "Thanks. Really, I mean it."

Helen flashed me a smile, gave a squeeze to my good (left) shoulder, and turned and hurried back to her car.

Before she got to her car, I called out, "What do you see in that jerk anyway?"

She turned back toward me. "He's masculine, and tall, and hairy, and muscular. All of which revs my engine. And most of the time, he isn't a jerk." With that, she turned back to her car.

I stood on the porch, chocolates in my left hand, and watched her drive away into the night.

It would have been nicer if Helen had given me the chocolates in the school lunchroom. Still, she was the only person (other than my parents) who'd been nice to me during this whole clusterfuck. And considering that she was Bubba's girlfriend, any niceness to me was a miracle.

At school (once I returned from three-day suspension), I could only write and type left-handed. At least my parents were sympathetic, but my father told me that attempting to sue Bubba would just burn up the money set aside for my college.

Bubba's apology? "Whoops, dude, shit happens, y'know?" (said when nobody else was around). I might have thought about forgiving him, if he hadn't been smirking when he said that. And if he hadn't tripped me in the lunchroom the day earlier.

The next eight months, of what was supposed to be my glorious Senior year, was physical agony. If I typed with my right hand for more than five minutes an hour, it felt like red-hot nails were being pounded into my upper arm. My grade average was a B-plus; I was no longer the curve-buster.

On graduation night, my future was grim. How was I going to take notes in college classes? How was I going to type assignments for college computer classes? How in the hell was I going to work in the computer industry with a nearly useless right hand? Thanks Bubba, thanks so much.

George Bush was running the economy into the ground, and so my prospects outside of college didn't look good, either. I told my parents that I needed a year to consider my future. My father nodded sadly, and Mom hugged me; neither of them argued for my immediately starting college.

In a moment of frustration I said, "I wish Great-uncle John were alive right now. I could really use his advice."

(John Beresford Tipton was my great-grandfather's brother, and a family legend. He invented a way to manufacture airplanes fast, with fewer defects. He was already rich by 1941, and obscenely rich by 1945. And starting in 1950, he started giving his money away. But not to charities—nope, he started handing out one-million-dollar checks to strangers. He died in 1955, still wealthy but with much less net worth than he'd had five years earlier. Nobody, not even his personal assistant, ever figured out how he chose who would receive his megabuck gifts.)

Great-uncle John wasn't around for advice, and I couldn't write or type two-handed anymore, but I by God could still read. The day after I told my parents that I wouldn't start college in the fall, I was wandering around downtown, checking out second-hand bookstores. I walked into Paul Johnson & Sons, Booksellers, "Established 1866."

The store had wooden-plank floors, books stacked in the aisles, and books stacked on top of shelves and running all the way up to the ceiling. At the cashier's counter, four feet from the electronic cash register was a mechanical cash register; on its dust cover was markered, "In case of power failure." The store reeked of musty paper.

By the cashier's counter were paper grocery sacks filled with books, under a sign saying, "Bag o' Books, Five Bucks!" Three books that I checked were all from the nineteenth century. But what the hell; I gave the lady ten bucks. I had to make two trips out to my car, carrying a bag with my left arm each time.

My "new" books were all from before 1916, a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I quickly figured out that fiction techniques have improved much since the nineteenth century, and that way-back-then nonfiction writers loved railroad trains. There was only one novel that I even halfway enjoyed, and it was set during the Spanish-American War and its pages were yellow-brown.

Eleven days after I brought the bags o' books home, I discovered The Mystery of the Mind. The date was June 25, 1991.

The author of The Mystery of the Mind was Ioana Sucodru. She had a chapter about how to improve your memory for names—surprisingly, her techniques worked. She called phrenology "preposterous," which was an uncommon idea then. Then, when she'd earned my trust, she got wild.

In her chapter on hypnotism (Sucodru called it `mesmerism'), she claimed that the limitations on hypnotism could be overcome by actually changing the other person's brain, "as discussed in Chapter VII." Chapter VII, it turned out, was about "The Mind and Creation." (The chapter covered telekenesis, hypnosis, and other wild stuff).

All Creation has a racing heartbeat, and Creation responds to seventeen words of power. By knowing about the heartbeat, and the seventeen words, you can move objects with your thoughts. Do you think it impossible to move a feather about the room, when no hand touches it? You will move that feather, then you will practice making that floating feather dance ballet. With more practice, you can sit in a rocker, a babe in your arms, and hitch a carriage to the horses that you harnessed by using thoughts alone. Once you can push a carriage, it is no effort to push a brain.
Good luck finding a goose-feather quill or a henhouse in 1991, but I had a Plan C. I went to my parents' dresser and pulled out the top drawer. Hidden under lots of "sensible" Mom-clothing, was a red maribou-feather bra. I don't know why she kept it, because I'd never seen her ever wear it, and it sure wasn't suitable for wear in public. Anyway, with a pair of nearby nail scissors, I cut a red feather off the bra. I hid all evidence of my crime, then returned to my room with the feather.

The book explained how the power (Sucodru never called it `magic') worked. You set up a steady beat in your head, thinking (but not speaking) the first Word of Power on the first beat. On the second beat, you think (but again, don't say) your command to Creation. On the third beat, you think the second Word of Power; on the fourth beat, you think your command again. You go through all seventeen Words of Power, in order, alternating with seventeen repeats of your command to Creation. You repeat this, over and over, until you're satisfied.

I put the feather in my hand, and concentrated. Penthuru. Feather, rise! Akáteket. Feather, rise! Hwa'aba. Feather, rise! Uh... Forgot.

I felt foolish. But the long-dead Ioana Sucodru was encouraging.

Be patient, it will take time for you to see success. When you command your muscle to work, it takes less than a heartbeat for that muscle to work with all the strength it has. But when you invoke the words of power, it takes awhile for the power to build. You must persevere in your practice, merely to lift the feather off your hand. But O reader, when that feather finally lifts, take pride!

Take two. Penthuru. Feather, rise! Akáteket. Feather, rise! Hwa'aba. Feather, rise! Barhoshoko. Feather, rise! Tittatita. Whoa, that sounds like— Lost the beat.

Shit. Well, I got a little further.

The power will not start if you read the words of power from a list. Once the power starts, it stops if you fail to keep the beat. (Alas, this will happen often at first, because you won't remember the next word of power in time.) If the beat you set is slower than your heartbeat when you are calm, this too stops the power before it starts. So much to go wrong! You will be frustrated and skeptical at first.

But I have news to make you smile. Once you have mastered chanting in your mind to the beat of your calm heart, if you can speed up your chanting beat, you gain more power, and you gain it more quickly.

Sucodru was right: Three hours later, I was definitely feeling frustrated and skeptical. But I was still plugging away.

The next day, I was still practicing with the feather. Two minutes earlier, I had wobbled the feather—or maybe I'd just breathed on it?

Here I go—

Penthuru. Feather, rise...

...Fulusu. Feather, rise! Aemambus. Feather, rise! Aloha. Feather, rise! Penthuru—CAN IT BE? FEATHER, RISE! AKÁTEKET. FEATHER, RISE! HWA'ABA—

The red feather was a half-inch above my hand. Ever so slowly, like a bubble in a bottle of clear shampoo, the feather was rising.

An hour later, I was making a ball-point pen orbit my lava lamp.

My pen guided itself into my pencil holder, then I turned on my computer.

I wrote an MS-DOS program that I called MYSTMIND.C. I allocated a huge bloc of memory, then I used Interrupt Eight and MS-DOS's Function Six so that, 18.2 times a second, my program erased the memory bloc, and copied a Word of Power to the memory bloc; or else erased the memory bloc, then copied my command-line command to the memory bloc—all this repeating endlessly until I hit a key. I wrote, debugged, compiled, and linked, and then I was ready to try it.

I wasn't sure it would work. (I trusted my programming, but maybe the magic would get offended at a silicon chip speaking the Words of Power.)

But what did I have to lose?

c:\mm>MYSTMIND Feather, rise!

For a moment, nothing happened. Then I felt a gust of air, as the feather vanished! A splotch of red on the ceiling caught my eye: the feather was pressed against the ceiling, defying gravity. I hit the space-bar—and I heard a "BOOM" from my parents' room.

I rushed in there, but could spot nothing to make the noise. Then I got a hunch, and examined my parents' dresser. The exterior wood had a crack in it, and the top wood had a slight upward bulge. I laughed at the realization: I hadn't specified which feather was to rise, and so Mom's maribou-feather bra had lifted the dresser off the floor!

When I came back to my room, "my" red feather lay on the floor. It was covered with flecks of white ceiling paint, and the feather had left a slight imprint in the ceiling.

Wow, wow, and more wow.

My next project became to make my feather (and only my feather, in only my bedroom) rise up two feet and hover. To do that, I needed to give my program feedback.

The solution was in the last section of The Mystery of the Mind's Chapter VII, called "Knowledge"—

Some of the Romany know things that it seems impossible for them to know. And yet, such things are known to them: The age of someone's lover, whether that lover is faithful, what illness someone's child has, &c. I do not have this gift and—I suspect, O reader—neither do you.

But the words of power can be worked to gain such knowledge. Make your command to Creation be "Tell me" whatever you want to know. After a time, you will know the answer. The more power from the words that you use to know something, the more secret and hidden are the truths that you know.

I rewrote MYSTMIND.C from the ground up, tried it out, swore, rewrote the source code again, tried the program again, swore colorfully, rewrote again and tried again, pulled out hair—et cetera, ad nauseum. Eventually I figured out that I needed to break apart all long, complex commands to Creation, each into a series of ten words that were alternated with a word of power, so that the "power" (magic) would work how I wanted.

Some time after this discovery, I got the feather to hover; in the process, I invented a command syntax for MMBs (MystMind batch files). This is what the computer screen showed, during and after the feather trick—

The program will run until all your instructions are carried out, or until you hit the spacebar.
User has hit spacebar; program terminating.

Goal: a
REMARK change a human body or other physical object
Goal body or object: RED FEATHER
L3: set_realnum H_START
L4: change_body_or_object "RISE"
L5: set_realnum H_NOW
L6: test_realnum "IS (H_NOW - H_START) GREATER THAN 60.96?" NO YES
REMARK Has the feather risen at least 2.00 feet from where it started?
L6NO: goto L4
L6YES: change_body_or_object "STAY AT THAT HEIGHT"
L7: goto L6YES

Ten minutes after MYSTMIND made the feather hover, I had my pen orbiting my lava lamp again, but this time it was MYSTMIND.EXE controlling the pen.

When I saw my pen making a circular defiance of gravity, there was only one thing left to do: Speed up the "beat" at which a Word of Power and then a command got "thought" by MYSTMIND.C. Over the next several hours, I devised various algorithms, before finally sticking with one. I still am not entirely happy with what I came up with, because the beat isn't as steady (there's a higher percentage of variance). On the other hand, I increased the beat from 18.2 times a second to thousands of times a second, giving the program near-omnipotence—and as computer CPU speeds got faster in 1992, 1993, and beyond, my program became even more powerful!

But be that as it may, two days after making my feather and my mother's brassiere levitate, I magically undid the damage to my parents' dresser, besides healing the birds whom I'd unwittingly hurt with my feather-lifting command.

Fifteen minutes after that, after writing a very important MMB file, I took a deep breath, and (hopefully, for the last time) hunt-and-peck'd with my left hand.

The program will run until all your instructions are carried out, or until you hit the spacebar.


For one second I felt pain beyond imagining; I gasped. Then the hell-pain stopped.

An instant later, I realized that the residual pain was gone as well. After hitting the spacebar to stop the program, I moved my right arm every which way; it fluttered like a flag in a gale. And for the first time since September 1990, I felt no pain in my right arm and shoulder.

(And in the bathroom I saw that my face was clear, as it hadn't been since age eleven! At the last minute, I'd added a command to the MMB file to clear up my zits.)

Ideas were popping into my head. A plan formed. Actually, two plans formed. Plan A (the `A' stood for `Atlas', as in `Charles') was to use MYSTMIND to give myself a body that was bigger, stronger, and faster's than Bubba's, and then to beat him unmercifully. Plan A had poetic justice to recommend it. But I decided to go with Plan B, which was cruel, unusual, and excessive. But no matter how nasty I get, if I'm nasty to only one or two people, that makes me only a little evil, right?

The first thing I did after choosing Plan B was to use MYSTMIND to surf the memories of my ex-Shakespeare teacher. My program confirmed what I had suspected. Geez, Bubba was boning Beth Henderson within twenty minutes of getting his first hall pass!

The second thing I did after making my new plan was to go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of imported Spanish amontillado. (Somehow my driver's license said I was twenty-one.) Without telling my folks why I was celebrating, I split the sherry with them, but only after the bottle had been in the fridge for several hours. (Some things are best served cold.)

As I drank the wine with my mom and dad, I thought, Perhaps I should invite some friends over. Mr. McAllister, bureaucrat asshole, he definitely deserves a glass of amontillado. That lying slut Beth Henderson, she should get a tall mug of this special wine. And Bubba, he certainly rates a cask of amontillado, at least.

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