Never again

In the previous chapter, Robbie and Mullet are dragged into an abandoned warehouse to prove they are the full-opened third eye people. But, since they still have a lot of time before 5 PM, what will they do, and who is the mysterious person in a black trench coat?


Chapter 35

Leisure – Questions

Mullet

"Bro. Let's go to another stop," Robbie stands up.

"Huh?"

"Come on,"

Instead of heeding Robbie's warn, Mullet keeps staring at the black trench-coated man while his arm grasped – being forced to move to another bus stop.

"Mullet! Come on!" Robbie uses his left hand to turn Mullet's head forward.

"Dude, chill out!"

While they're moving away from the mysterious man, he keeps staring at them through his aviator like a standing CCTV until Robbie and Mullet are gone from his vision.

Upon reaching the other bus stop for two minutes, they saw a bus pulled over, and some workers walked out to their workplace. Various color of their boiler suits marks the bus is occupied for them.

"Wait up!" Robbie shouted.

Knowing if Robbie and Mullet are going to enter the bus, the driver letting them step in. The bright lamp inside bathes the bus carpet with a cold white color while the AC is turned off. Today, only two of boarding the big long limo.

"Where are you going, kids?" the driver asked.

Neither Robbie nor Mullet answer, only their humming can be heard as they're thinking.

"Alright. I'll take you where you guys wish. Just tell me soon,"

The driver puts his foot to the gas, and they begin to speed away from the harbor district. The engine and the interior of the bus muffle the rain from outside. Unlike usual, Mullet decided not to play his mp3 player because his mind is too messed up after the test.

"We're going to the Glory Mall," Robbie spoke to the bus driver.

"Okay,"

"Robbie," Mullet pats Robbie's shoulder while leaning to the window, "Glory Mall?"

"Ye," Robbie nodded.

"I gotta question. About the dude at the intersection. Doesn't he look sus?"

"Yeah. Why?" Robbie answered in a whisper.

"Could he possibly that impostor who passed that final test?"

"Uhh…" Robbie didn't answer, "Let's talk about it at the mall. I'm so tired now,"

Robbie leans against the chair and hugs his backpack, "Wake me up when we get there,"

"Darn it. You dozy one," Mullet facepalmed.

But, I wonder to know about his appearance. His appearance is akin to a bodyguard or a gridiron. Who is he? Is he gonna follow us


After several stops, they arrived at the Glory Mall. The rain that still showers the city doesn't stop the citizens from getting in and out, proven by vehicles were going in and out of the parking lot, while some of them were pulled over – dropping the passengers.

"Let's go," Robbie walked out of the bus with his umbrella opened.

"Where are we going now?"

"This Pizza. But I'll tell you where we going after that," Robbie looked both ways before crossing the street.

They saved their umbrella into their backpack before entering the mall. The cold atmosphere from inside shivers them both a little bit. Unlike a few weeks ago, there no music plays in the information center, only the whole crowd that replaces.

"It's weird. Why there no music play here?" said Robbie while walking to the escalator.

"Probably the rain," Mullet replied in ad-lib.

"What does it have to do with the mall, tho?" Robbie scrunched his eyebrows.

"Maybe letting the people hear the rain instead?"

They reached "Pizza This" located on the third floor, east wing of the mall. They took the same seat as they and the gang hanged out before (read ch.3). the eatery is less crowded as people were on their jobs and the rain prevents them from going out.

"May I take your order?"

"Wanna Riot pizza?" Mullet asked.

Robbie nodded.

"I'd like to order the vinyl-sized Riot pizza, hot chocolate-"

"I wanna hot choco too," Robbie cut his words.

"Two hot chocolates, please,"

After the waiter disappeared from their sight like a flash, Mullet look around the restaurant and the mall hallway, where people were variously passing by from kids to elderly. However, the real point Mullet is looking at is the mysterious man – making sure he's not around.

"Where are you looking at, bro?"

"That dude we met before," Mullet answered, "Anyway, about him. Could he possibly that impostor who passed that final test?"

"It could be. Since we know that the impostors' survival rate on passing that test is near to 0%. That means it might be one out of a thousand of them were survived. He might be the strongest one," Robbie answered.

"But one question is, what will they do? What are their jobs? And how we can get rid of him?" question mark bursts out of Mullet's brain.

"I don't really know. But like I said before, he might work as an informant or probably a traitor from our community – the third eye," Robbie replied while his eyes gaze at the window.

"Probably they are going to hunt us down?" another question mark popped out of Mullet's brain, but with a paranoid mixed in.

"Yeah… I guess,"

Mullet's phone vibrations interrupted their dialogue, forcing him to see who sent the chat, which Kano is the perpetrator:

Dude! Are you skipping school today? How could a precious student like you do that? It's a crime! A crime!

You better go back to school tomorrow, brother. I miss you.

PS: don't try to go to the mall or somewhere.

"Darn it," Mullet grunted.

"Who is it?"

"Kano. That dude who acted weird recently, and I dunno why," Mullet put his phone back into his pocket.

"Yeah. Doesn't he actually act friendly and not being fanatic-"

Suddenly, Robbie's phone vibrates – cutting his question seconds after his friend received a message. It was Shouko. The way she chats is more comfortable:

Robbie. Where are you and Mullet anyway?

I don't know what happened with you today. But I am not mad at you if you guys are actually skipping school. But please, do not do that again. I actually worried.

Anyway, Tommy-sensei is really mad at you both. He asked me where you are now. And he curses at you on his way, especially Robbie. Please come to school tomorrow.

"Who is it? Shouko?" Mullet guessed.

"Yeah. She worried about us too. But she said Tommy-sensei is mad at us since we skipped school today," Robbie glimpsed at Mullet before looking back to his phone.

"Why he's mad at us because of that?" Mullet asked incompletely.

"What? because we skipped school?"

"No. Not only that. But why is he mad because of our small mistakes? Doesn't a teacher suppose to control his anger? And last but not least. Why he makes such an unplanned shrink session like that in the first place, and why is he really concern about us if we are his threat?" Mullet brutally asked Robbie with four questions.

"The heck, dude! You asked the wrong person, bruh," Robbie pouted, "But those are good questions. How about you ask the man later when he asks us to come to his room?"

"Yeah," Mullet nodded.

"Anyway-"

"Sorry for the wait," the waiter cut Robbie's words with their order is ready, "Here is the Riot pizza and two hot chocolates. Bon Appétit,"

"So uh… about the anger management. I have an assumption if he is horrible at managing his wrath. Anyway, let's eat. I will tell you where we go after this,"


"So, where to, next?" Mullet asked once they walked outside.

"Arcadium. Let's spend our day there,"

Mullet and Robbie proceed to the upper floor, where the arcade center is located there. Various colored lights and its bustle can be seen from outside – making it still looks crowded, although today is still workday.

Whether it's right or wrong, Mullet knows if Robbie invites him there to kill their boredom while skipping school.

Upon they step inside the arcade center, Mullet pulls his card and examines it. The various light from the arcade machines reflects his card as he looks back and forth – checking if it has no stain or damage.

"Oh, do you have credits inside?" Robbie asked after he looked back.

"I'm outta credits. Let me recharge this little dude," Mullet replied while waving the card on his left hand, "Which one you wanna play first?"

After recharging his game card with credits, Mullet rejoins with Robbie to the popular racing game called Highway Star. The arcade center itself has eight of them, divided into two servers for four players to compete.

"Let's face to face, shall we?" said Robbie after entered his account card for his game.

"Rob, why don't we just go somewhere or go home? I kinda tired, bro," Mullet asked upon choosing his car for the race. Unfortunately, he did not answer due to the game is started.

They play on a highway with some traffics holding their way, and the road has some sharp turns. Due to Robbie know how to drive, he leads the race 30 meters in front of Mullet. While they are racing on the highway like professionals, his mind suddenly caught up with a question about his friends' behavior that changed recently.

"Robbie, I got a question," Mullet spoke after they passed a sharp zig-zag turn.

"What is it?" Robbie replied while his eyes focused on the screen.

"It's about anyone around the school. You realize that some of their behaviors begin to change, right?"

"What?" Robbie can't respond to his questions as he was too focused on the game.

"Ugh… Let's finish this first," Mullet sighed.

The race only has 4.3 km left before they are reaching the finish line. Luckily, due to the traffic, Mullet managed to pass Robbie a few kilometers away before the finish. The spectators that come gradually reacted to that moment like they are watching an actual racing competition.

YOU WIN

The screen automatically triggers the spectators to cheer on Mullet and leaving Robbie in heartbreaking defeat as all crowds are on his friend. Nevertheless, their track records were placed on the top.

Looks like the point here is: try to reach the finish line first no matter your skill or luck.

After the game finished and the crowd gradually begins to leave them alone, the screen moves to continue. Quietly, Robbie moves the steering wheel to YES – continuing the game like a sneaky procrastinator. But unfortunately, his action got spotted by Mullet as he checks him.

"NO," one word came out of Mullet's mouth.

"Ugh… fine," Robbie obeyed him and moved the steer to NO, and the Game Over screen appeared.

"What is your question anyway?" Robbie glared at Mullet.

"It's about anyone around the school. You realize that some of their behaviors begin to change, right?" Mullet repeated his question.

"What do you mean?"

"You know that Kano's behavior begins to change. We might do not know about him that much, but you realize that something off from him recently, right? Not to mention about that uhh… that bully dude, Shouko, and everyone. They are all changed as well,"

"Oh yeah… that one too. Correct me if I am wrong, but their behaviors went 180 since Mary's death, right?" Robbie stroked his chin.

"Actually, it started when we both got beat up behind the bushes on the back of the school," Mullet corrected him (Read ch. 27)

"Oh, that one. But what does it mean? Is this all will be related to something next?"

"Perhaps it's not," Mullet shook his head.


Day 38 – 23 days left

Another day passed. The cold temperature and the cloudy weather of the city forces the citizens to drinks something hot before starting the day. Not to mention the fact that Mullet drink two cups of cappuccinos after his breakfast.

The lunchtime starts after the school bell rang on cloudy noon. Since the weather is not suitable for him to eat on the rooftop, Mullet knows the perfect second place to eat – the club room.

"Let's go to the clubroom, shall we?" Shouko persuaded him while bringing her lunchbox.

Just before he tried to answer, his mind caught by his own plan he had yesterday - meeting Tommy-sensei before going out to lunch. Instead of putting back his food, Mullet put it on his desk.

"Sorry. But I got something to do right now," Mullet shook his head.

"Where are you going?"

"You said that Tommy-sensei cursed at us yesterday, right?"

"He cursed at me too," Shouko frowned.

"What the… anyway, I wanna pay him a visit right now," Mullet replied in a bit of anger.

"But what if he's not in his club room? He has not called you yet,"

"I don't care. I wanna meet him now," Mullet's anger rose up.

"Mullet, chill out! Don't let anger controls you. Let him call you, okay?" Shouko recoiled with her frightened face.

"Look. This is not of your concern. So, don't worry," Mullet left his seat, "I am going now. And let the clubroom open for me,"

Looking at Mullet leaving the class full of anger and mystery, Shouko can't hold him back, except do nothing and watch him walking out bare-handed – carrying out fist and threat to that English teacher.

Upon reaching the fifth floor, Mullet directly marches his way to the English club room, believing he's inside.

I am pretty sure he's inside now.

He touches the door handle and tries to slide it open. Sadly, the unbudgeable door canceling his intention to meet Tommy-sensei. With disappointment, Mullet turned back and walked down to his class - taking his lunchbox up to his clubroom.

Upon reaching the English club room, he stopped for a moment to slide open the door, where Shouko, who was eating alone without her blazer and her sweater vest.

"I told you to keep the door open for me," Mullet stepped inside and looked around for his best friend, Robbie, "Anyway, where's Robbie?"

"He got a lot of paperwork to do. So, he probably eating alone after that," Shouko replied. Her body appearance shows that she just arrived and turned on anything before eating.

"Looks like you just come here," Mullet slid close the door and walked to the couch.

"Mmhm,"

"Where is your sweater vest anyway?" Mullet asked in disgusted feeling.

"Oh… I put it there," Shouko pointed on her vest hanged on the next room, "Anyway, let's eat. We will be running out of time,"

Due to his hunger, Mullet sits down opposite her and eats his food together like a couple. However, while eating peacefully, Shouko's button gap is shown again while eating, making her cleavage exposed to whoever saw it. This makes Mullet lose his appetite as his eyes indirectly focused on her bust.

"Shouko, may I ask you something?" Mullet finally spoke up.

"Hmm?" Shouko glared at him with a sexy pose.

"Look. I don't point myself as a pervert. But, are you always eating with your breasts exposed like that?" Mullet pointed at her shirt and her bra ribbon that poking out of it, "Look at those buttons, crying for help, and that ribbon bursts out,"

"Wha?! D-don't say that! I-"

"I had to. And you look like you're trying to seduce me while I am enjoying my feast," Mullet stopped eating.

"S-sometimes m-my body feels hot, and I don't want my sweat runs down to my uniform," Shouko replied in a stammering voice – felt a bit afraid, "I actually convinced the school about my shirt. But nobody cares,"

"What do you mean your body feels hot? You feel sick or something?"

"I actually have minor sweating issues at times," Shouko's sweat dripping onto the table.

"Well, don't take that as a reason from now," Mullet indirectly letting her not to wear her sweater vest.

After roughly four minutes of secluded lunchtime in the clubroom, Mullet and Shouko left their lunchbox on the table and slacked off inside. The drizzle from the outside and the warmth in the room dance together in one atmosphere, creating a unique ecosystem for them both.

Mullet looked at his watch, which they still have 18 minutes before the next class begins.

"Well. We still have enough time. Too bad Robbie didn't make it here," Mullet sighed.

"Yeah. Anyway, you wanna stay here?" Shouko asked.

"Yea. Why not? I just wanna lazed out here," Mullet nodded and flexed his body.

After looking out the window like an empty-minded person, Mullet moves away to the pictures saved on an album. He takes it and sits down on a couch before looking at the photos inside for his nostalgic times that he had never felt (as all of them were captured before Mullet and Robbie moved). He looked at each of them, where the photography club members were having a good time.

"Mullet. May I ask you something?" Shouko spoke from behind.

"Sure, what is it?" Mullet turned his back.

"What happened to both of you? I see your relationship with Tommy-sensei didn't go well recently. Did you guys do something inexcusable and got him infuriated?"

"Well, uhh…" Mullet tapped his chin for a moment, "Actually, he did something that made us mad,"

"But how about yesterday, where he is mad at you because of your absence?"

"That's the problem. Why is he concerned about us? He is not my master or a god darn therapist," Mullet spoke with an exclamation point.

"But… at least he cares about you-"

"No, he is not. Let's not talk about this anymore, okay?"


The students went to their clubroom for their daily activities. Some of them are having fun together since the drizzle indirectly trapped them within the school boundaries.

"So, he called us to meet him, right?" Robbie and Mullet are standing still on the fourth floor, confirming that they have been called.

"Yeah,"

"I got some stuff to do in the club since it just us there. So, I guess you're going in there alone," Robbie starts walking, followed by Mullet like a robot.

"Bite me. And wish me luck,"

The English club room that Mullet is about to enter has a different aura since their intolerable act. It has a wicked and unpleasant atmosphere behind the royal-style carpets and curtains. His hand is later pulled by the door, where Tommy – the name that he doesn't want to mention anymore is waiting for him.

"Come in, and have a seat,"

Mullet obeyed the 33-year-old man and sat on the couch that is no more comfortable for him.

"Where is your friend, Robbie?" Tommy-sensei asked with his knuckles linked.

"I dunno. Why not you call him instead?"

The silence filled the atmosphere for a while, forcing Mullet to tell the truth since their progress goes nowhere.

"He's busy. He got things that he cannot deny,"

"Alright," Tommy-sensei answered with one word before continuing.

"So, I wondered how both of you did not get expelled. I was beginning to know the fact if two transferred students showed their true selves as delinquents. But I don't care. What I know, that both of you deviated too far – gone completely out of control,"

"Trying to electrocute the whole pool, stealing a brushcutter, canceling a podcast, truanting out while I need you… I'm surprised you, both of you even decided to come back," his words weirdly altered the whole accident that happened previously, where the duo accused of the turmoil.

"You… You son of a…"

Wait, those accidents… did we do that back then? I gotta ask him.

"What do you mean you said that? We did nothing," Mullet contradicted the statement.

"We did nothing. Nonsense! Then who was the person with such a haircut cutting the wires on the pool? And who was his partner who intentionally stole a brushcutter that does not belong from this school?!" Tommy-sensei snapped, "Might be other you?! Gimme a break!"

Mullet rewinds his memory about the accident that happened. His mind clearly recorded the whole accident, where he and Robbie are actually saving the day instead of the fictional event that Tommy-sensei spoke about, apart from they both skipped school yesterday.

Knowing is useless to argue about it. He saved the topic in his head for brainstorming later.

"This is your last chance. If both of you deviate even the smallest margin from your jobs and orders from hereon, our relationship will over," Tommy-sensei sit down, "you don't even understand how solemnly important this job that I-"

"This all about what are you doing right now – your job as an advisor and a school therapist," Mullet's interception makes the conversation nudged to his topic.

"Listen. You need to listen to me-"

"I don't care. I want answers," Mullet cut him for the second time, "Why are you doing this to us?"

"This is my job, and you are not meant to know that," Tommy-sensei replied in ad-lib.

"Tell the truth, now!" Mullet pressed him more.

"Alright. But why did you really want to know about-"

"Hello! I'm asking the questions now!" Mullet interjected in a snap.

"Oh… I see," Tommy-sensei calmed down by putting his arms back to the couch handle, "I wonder that you do have questions. Repeat it,"

"Why are you being an advisor and a school therapist – for us?" Mullet simplified his question.

"My job here is to make you feel comfortable in the new school by giving you some advice and asking about your experience here. Second, to rehabilitate you back to the straight line, where both of you are supposed to do, but not dispelling your freedom and your good culture in your previous school," Tommy-sensei explained in detail.

"That's why you make such planned or unplanned shrink session, right?"

Tommy-sensei nodded.

"Making me and Robbie feel comfortable means that you cannot give us such ridiculous yet coercive tasks like this and punishing us for our neglection and deviation. Because they need to be thought subtly, and for matters of the consequences are later," Mullet contradicted his statement, "You know what? You don't even care about us, right?"

"Recent problems of what both of you have done to me personally made a small resentment for our relationship. That's true," Tommy-sensei nodded, "But until now. I still believe that only you still able to be compliant with what you have done. I am sorry, but I had to choose one love for this matter,"

"But not for Robbie, huh? I see. You still don't care about us," Mullet concluded the whole meaning, "Before that, why did you concern about us that far? Is that your job as an advisor? intervening every single of our to-do list?"

"Because of your existence as a transferred student, yes. We have a strict code to guide your activity and acculturate you with the school without omitting your good old behavior that we don't have, with a purpose to make this school better and more flexible for students, and teachers,"

"So, you mean that this school amalgamates all of our cultures by looking at our activities to make its image better? That's what you were saying?" Mullet did not want the answer since he already knows.

Wow, culture theft is already here for more than 40 years?

"Anyway," Mullet asked his next question, "Why do you put Robbie as a scapegoat in this case, and you put me a rung higher than him?"

"Robbie is a mistake. By looking at what he was doing and what the others saw, He is the person who invites you to his mischiefs. I see you as a victim, but you decided to obey him because you are his friend," Tommy-sensei answered, "Now, let me take the papers,"

Tommy-sensei moves away from the couch to reach two folded papers lying on his desk. He walked back again and gave Mullet those papers that he doesn't even know either. He just fell silent upon handing it.

"Give this marked one to Robbie. You may leave now,"

Neither that English teacher nor Mullet talked to each other afterward. Just a cold stare represents a goodbye for them. The club room aura disappeared after Mullet closed the door, sealing it from getting out to the hallway and infecting the others like disease.

Upon reaching his safe haven that just a few rooms away, Mullet slid open the door, and a heavenly atmosphere regenerates his stamina, where it got drained before. He sees Robbie sitting on the couch, enjoying his time alone.

"Where's Shouko?" is the first question Mullet spoke.

"Toilet break. She probably back in 10 minutes,"

"Good," Mullet locked the doors and closed its curtains, "I wanna tell you something,"

Robbie didn't say anything. Only a question mark floated on his head.

"Tommy-sensei marked you as a scapegoat. I dunno the reason why, but it might be a bad omen," Mullet spoke while his eyes are looking at the portraits.

"What the?!"

To be continued…


And that's all for chapter 35.

After 1 month of no writing. It's time to do it again…

Thank you for reading, and I hope you guys are having a good day!