Quick drabble set in 2004, Richard Vernon is 62 and on the verge of retirement.

Richard Vernon sat down at his desk, "one more year, one more year of this rat piss coffee, one more year with these ungrateful sycophants". There was a buzz on his intercom followed by the nasal voice of his secretary Linda "Principal Ver-non, the student transfer is here, you signed the papers last semester, should I send him on in to you?", He hated the way she said his name, he sighed, rolled his eyes and pressed the button on his phone "Send him in Linda". Linda opened the door and in walked a tall gangly senior with his head down, why did they all have to walk the same.

He gestured to the seat in front of his desk "well? Take a seat boy". He pointed to himself "Principal Vernon, after today I never want to see you in here, you have your transcripts son?", he moved back around and sat at his desk raking his hands through his thinning hair. He took the papers off the boy and immediately noticed the paperwork was missing essential pieces of information

"Your surname is blank on this form?", he looked at the boy and took off his glasses, "But I recognise you, what's your surname kid". The boy looked up and pushed back the mop of black hair out of his eyes "Peter, Peter Bender", Vernon's heart sank, that was it.. his eyes widened and his mouth ran dry, he gripped the transcript forms tightly "…is your father's name… John…John Bender?", he dreaded the answer, the likeness was uncanny. "err yeah? Johnny…he is out of town at the moment" the teen responded managing to convey both boredom and bemusement in one look. Richard Vernon snorted, "Right…out-of-town", Vernon rolled the words off his tongue, not believing a word, he supposed what the kid actually meant was 'prison'. He couldn't believe his bad luck, to teach the spawn of the single worst student he had ever had the displeasure of dealing with in his entire career. The only saving grace was the fact that the boy that put him on Prozac in the first place was in the big house and unlikely to turn up to the first parent-teacher conference at the end of the week, he doubted he would get one parent for the kid.

Vernon waved his hand with a sigh and flipped through the rest of the transcript, the kid was transferring from LA? Ok, so not bad grades which was a surprise, not much in the way of extra-curricular activities...there it was… Vernon resisted the urge to announce 'aha'. "It looks like you will have to take drivers ed. Kid, or you won't graduate, just like your dear old pops". Peter looked incredulous back at him, big brown eye flashing with anger "What! But Mr Vernon I'm 18, I can already drive! I drove here this morning, you can't be serious?". Vernon sat back in his chair and clasped his hands together… oh, there it was… that Bender sass, that tongue, an LA accent, but sardonic and oh so familiar. Richard Vernon smiled smugly back at the clearly irked teen. "In the state of Illinois every high schooler has to pass driver's ed. class in order to graduate, you can skip the driving part but you need to pass the class to get your diploma…I would also suggest some extra-curricular activities, definitely the school counsellor for that attitude of yours, unless you want to get to know me better… and I prefer sir", Vernon fixed his mouth into a firm line and gave the teen a pointed look, "now get out of here…you can pick up your schedule from Jenny on the desk on your way out...and Bender - stay out of trouble" he wiggled his finger and game him a pointed look, the teen leapt to his feet in response and stormed out of the office. Richard Vernon opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out the little bottle of brandy and poured a 3rd of it into his coffee cup and nursed it, he was definitely getting too old for this shit, "LINDA, get in here".


Friday quickly rolled around. The afternoon of the first parent-teacher conference of the academic year had arrived, parents had assembled in the hall for orientation and Vernon had on his best silver-grey suit, he was getting ready to make his grand entrance when he noted the gangly teen hovering by the main entrance, Vernon smiled he could smell a detention brewing... "HOLLYWOOD, what are you doing...loitering? Shouldn't you been in that hall already?" Vernon gestured to the auditorium. Peter looked up at his principal nervously "well... yes sir,... err sorry sir, I'm just waiting on my parents, they are parking you see", Vernon didn't manage to emote a look of surprise at the plural use of the word 'parents', it all happened so fast, a hand on his shoulder, a feeling of a large presence behind him, the smell of tobacco "well...well...well... DICK! Fuck me, I didn't know you were still alive! I figured they had stuffed you and stuck you out front to serve as a warning! I see you have met Junior", that voice...he pivoted around to see non-other than John Bender with a big smile plastered on his face but menacing brown eyes, he must have been around 36-37 and wearing a large black overcoat and a suit but it was unmistakeably him, he had a cigarette tucked over his left ear, he still had shoulder-length dark hair with a couple of greys mixed in around the ears. Vernon spluttered in response, his nemesis right in front of him. John leaned right into him, he was centimetres from his face, "chip off the old block huh?" he breathed, the man looked bemused and relaxed...was he toying with him? Richard Vernon heard high heels approaching from behind Bender and then the image of a glamorous Claire Standish in a suit, high heels and shades, she conveyed exasperation "oh for crying out loud Peter! get your ass in that hall, we are LATE", she glanced at John and then followed his line of sight to Vernon, dropping onto one leg and popping her perfectly manicured hand onto her hip "oh... hello, I am sorry we are late, I just couldn't find a parking space. You know if you are going to increase admissions at the school year on year, you really should look into increasing parking facilities too", she smiled in a condescending manner and held out her hand nonchalantly. Richard Vernon remembered then that this redhead had gone on to study Law and she had the stink of corporate Lawyer all over her. Vernon took her hand and composed himself "Charmed...you look well Ms Standish... if you wouldn't mind we should really be getting going with the conference", Vernon gestured to the auditorium. Claire smiled sweetly at him flipping her hair over her shoulders... "actually... it is Mrs Claire Standish-Bender, attorney at law, and the pleasure is all mine... Petey said you are making him take drivers ed Richard... I really think we should discuss this", Richard Vernon could only smile in response, blindsided. Vernon watched as John Bender strode over to his son and turned him to face the auditorium "behold my Kingdom Pete" and he pushed him through the double doors. Richard Vernon took a deep breath, he was either going to retire this year or finally have that long overdue nervous breakdown.