“My son wouldn’t do that.”
The voice was the cold end of shrill, all haughtiness and outrage, keeping up appearances. Principal Scissors kept her spine straight and her poker face on in the face of parental indignation. Two decades of such fires had let her stare into the full blast-furnace of maternal scorn and disbelief without flinching.
“It is not a question of if he did it Ms. Holler.” Scissors said, keeping her tone level. “We have timestamped recordings of the sexually graphic transmissions your son Jzon was sending.” As indeed, does quite a bit of his homeroom class she didn’t add. Psionic abilities tended to develop around puberty, which was really quite unfair to young people already going through hormonal surges and growth spurts. Horniness plus undeveloped decision-making ability plus psionics made for a hell of a combination. Psychosexual experimentation was nothing new or even irregular among young adults, but control took time to master—control that tended to slip during mutual telepathic sex fantasies, and so young Mr. Holler had inadvertently sent the image of himself spraying cum on images of a few of his fellow students. A few of whom were in the football team and decided to express their displeasure immediately; it had taken the teacher calling the security guards to rescue the boy from the objects of his amour.
Ms. Holler, for her part, said nothing. She also hadn’t so much as looked at the boy since she had come in. The nurse had put some bandaids on his cuts and an ice pack on the shiner under his eye, but he still looked like he’d been through a washing machine.
“The reason I called you in to this conference is to discuss corrective measures for your son’s behavior.” Scissors added.
“How much trouble is he in?” Ms. Holler asked.
Scissors flicked to Officer Weng, standing in the corner. Despite being of Chinese descent, Weng was actually a third-generation American born and raised in Georgia, with a Southern accent that could have given the rebel yell during the War of Northern Aggression. His scowl would have made Stonewall Jackson and Chairman Mao both proud.
“Yer son is in a heap of trouble. Broadcasting graphic sexual material to unwilling victims counts as sexual assault, and because the images involved were of underaged individuals that’s production and distribution of child pornography. As a juvenile, he could face up to 12 months of hardcore probation. If tried as an adult, a judge could give him fifteen years. An have ‘im register on the sex offender registry for another ten, of course.”
Jzon, until now numb, started to tear up, face scrunching. Even Ms. Holler suddenly looked a few years older.
“Fifteen years? That’s ridiculous…”
“Which is why we’re here to discuss alternatives to the juvenile court system.” Scissors chimed in. “We do understand that young men and women of your son’s age have urges, and do not always make the best decisions with regards to satisfying them. So we’re here to discuss an alternative form of correction—a course which, if complete, will mean that his case will not be petitioned to the juvenile court, and there will be no mention of it in his permanent record.”
For Jzon, it was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. For his mother—Scissors could almost hear her teeth grind—it was the start of negotiations. “What does he have to do?”
“For starters, Jzon will need to complete an extracurricular course in sex education, which is offered after the regular school day,” and, based on the captured recording, Scissors knew he desperately needed a remedial reminder on basic male and female anatomy. One of the teenage girls was being fucked in the belly button. “as well as an eight-hour course on sex and the law, such as the night class offered at the community college, to be completed within one year and at your own expense, and 100 hours of community service, again to be completed within a year.” Which, Scissors figured, would kill whatever social life the boy might once have had, but would at least help keep him out of trouble. “If you agree to these terms, in writing, there will be no detention, suspension from school, or petition to the juvenile court.”
The principal slid a piece of paper forward.
This was the moment of truth. Athletes usually started bitching at this point, knowing how the extra classes would impact into their schedule and be cut from the team. Rich mommies and daddies would already be on the phone to their lawyers, trying to work a better deal. Ms. Holler just reached over and burned her psignature into the bottom of the page, then passed it to her son to do likewise. Scissors and Weng psigned it too.
As the Hollers walked out the door, Scissors filed the document and let out some of the tension she’d been holding since the whole debacle had started this morning.
“Went well enough.” Weng offered.
She just smiled. It wasn’t over. There were a dozen teenagers already telling their parents. Half a dozen students who had jumped the boy were in detention right now, with Jzon Holler about to walk past them apparently free as a bird, and she’d hear about that too. There were memory-copies of the broadcast to collect and erase—probably a full open-skull search first thing tomorrow—and the school therapist would probably need to swallow half the Ritalin she confiscated just to keep up with the sob stories of teenagers upset at being virtually defiled in the mind’s eye of their fellow students, at least a few of them just angling for a refill on their meds. And there was Jzon Holler, with more telepathy than sense, and all the things he had to do in a year—and if he screwed up and didn’t follow everything to the letter, Scissors knew she would have to come down hard on him, just to make an example.
Weng nodded and left just as the first irate parents started to ring.
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