Half the Fun...
Dick and the other A-students from his class—Jesse, Tina, Nichelle and Joey—were lined up in a neat, orderly fashion in the waiting area at Gotham International Airport… well, they were as organized as a bunch of fourth-graders can get, anyway.
Actually, Joey was throwing his world-infamous spitballs at Nichelle, who was trying to ignore them while talking to Tina, who was making lovey-dovey eyes at Jesse. And Jesse was trying to carry on a conversation with Dick while waiting for Miss Eugene's fifth-grade A-students to arrive.
"Tina told me that you got a perfect score on your test," Jesse was saying.
"Uh, well… most of it was just luck…" Dick explained, all the while thinking what a blabbermouth that Tina was.
"I don't think so," replied Jesse. "Matt—my brother—used to tutor you in math, right?"
Where was all this headed? And why was such a big-shot like Jesse talking to him?
"Matt's always saying how smart you are, and how quickly you catch on to things. All the other kids he's tutored took at least three weeks to get the hang of it—you only took one."
Dick just stood there. How could the two smartest boys in the school be saying that he was actually intelligent? Well, Bruce was always telling him the same thing, but Bruce was his legal guardian. He was supposed to say things like that.
Finally, Miss Eugene made her appearance, along with her seven students—Robin, Valerie, Simone, Hannah, Clarence, Pete and Matt. They lined up next to Ms. Whitman's students; Robin instantly stood near Dick.
"Say…" she began, staring. "You LOOK familiar…"
Dick looked at the blond girl with the boyish cut. "Sorry, you must be mistaken. I'm very sure I've never seen you before."
Robin squinted her green eyes. "Are you sure?! You look suspiciously like a younger version of somebody I saw on TV this morning… Burt, uh… Burt somebody…"
"Sorry," Dick said again. He shrugged, as did the curious Robin.
"Alright now, children!" Ms. Whitman called. When she was sure that she had the students' attention, she continued, "Line up in two straight lines—boys on the left, girls on the right… that's it… now be sure to stay together…"
Both Dick and Jesse were near the end of the boys' line. Therefore, when Jesse dropped his ticket and stooped to pick it up, the only person he was holding back was Dick. As soon it was safely back in his back pocket, he apologized for delaying the other boy—who said it wasn't a problem—and they both ran to catch up with the rest of the class.
That was what began the whole thing.
In their hurry to get back to their teachers, both boys forgot to look where they were going. As a consequence, they soon ran into a couple of girls who weren't much taller than they were. All four parties went down.
There were cries of "Hey! Look where you're going!" and "Sorry! My fault!" as the four of them scrambled around, picking up the airline tickets before they missed their planes. Dick didn't even get a very good look at the two teenage girls with… pink hair?... as they marched off in a huff.
Jesse was sticking the plane ticket back in his pocket a second time when Dick asked, "Which gate do we go to?"
"It should say on the tickets, shouldn't it?"
Dick checked. "Gate nine," he announced.
When the two tardy children arrived at the gate, they looked around in confusion. Where was Ms. Whitman? Where was Miss Eugene?
"Maybe they've given up hope of ever finding us and have already boarded the plane," Jesse suggested with a sarcastic grin. Dick smiled back.
"Let's board. Maybe we'll find them," he said.
"And get our ears boxed," Jessed added in a mumble.
"It's better than getting stuck at school with a substitute for three weeks," Dick reminded him. "Let's go."
They handed their tickets to a young woman standing near the entrance to the tunnel that led onto the airplane (A/N whatever the stupid thing is called.)
Once on the plane, both boys looked around. They couldn't see the teachers or the students anywhere.
"Maybe we oughtta ask a stewardess or something…" Dick said uncertainly. He had a bad feeling about this.
"Nah!" Jesse scoffed. "Let's just sit down and maybe they'll show up."
Personally, Dick abhorred the suggestion, but he didn't want to say anything about it. It seemed that he was teased every time he opened his mouth these days, so Dick found it better just to keep quiet outside of Wayne Manor.
"Umm… I think we have seats 279 and 281, but let's just sit together," Jesse said. "And I get the window seat!!"
Jesse dashed to a vacant chair and plunked himself down on the navy-blue cushion. Dick sat next to him without argument. Not that he wouldn't have liked the window seat…
Twenty minutes passed and there still wasn't a familiar face in sight. Dick began fidgeting nervously in his seat. Even Jesse looked worried.
"Maybe we should ask a stewardess…" Jesse mumbled uncertainly.
The words 'I told you so' died on Dick's lips as a friendly female voice began talking over an intercom of some sort:
"Welcome aboard flight 221-D! I am Jennifer and I will be your stewardess for this flight. In front of you, there should be…"
And Jennifer went through all the usual, boring details about safety procedures, in-flight movies and when the so-called food would be served. Then:
"Thank you for choosing American Airlines for all your travel needs, and enjoy your flight to Nome, Alaska!"
"WHAT?!" both boys cried, getting several stares and annoyed glances from the other passengers. After taking a look at the glares, Dick refrained from saying Holy something-or-other.
"Alaska??" Jesse hissed to Dick. "Somehow, I think we were supposed to go in the other direction! What are we gonna do?! Ms. Whitman will freak when she finds out… and my mom!! Oh, no…!"
"Stay calm—this is no time to lose your head," Dick said, although he sincerely felt like doing the same when he thought of Alfred's reaction to this latest disaster. "When we get to… Alaska… maybe we can call somebody to explain what happened."
"Are you nuts?" Jesse shouted in a whisper. "It would take days just for them to send us the money we needed to get home, and my parents don't have… but yours do!!"
"When we get there, call Mr. Wayne. I'm sure he'll—"
"You're nuts!" Dick cried. He lowered his voice and continued, "If Bruce ever found out about this, he'd kill me for sure!"
"Well, he probably knows that something's up already. Ms. Whitman has most likely blabbed our disappearance to the world," Jesse muttered, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah… you got a quarter? I'm out."
"Here. And don't worry about paying me back because we probably won't live long enough anyway."
The phone rang amazingly loud as Dick waited for someone to pick up.
Oh, great. Alfred. And he had vouched for Dick only a few days ago, too!
"Oh, um… hi, it's me," Dick said. He fidgeted.
"Master Dick! Have you arrived in Mexico City already? We certainly didn't expect you to call until this evening."
"Well, uh… hehe… ya see, there was just a teeny-weeny little mix-up here…"
There was a sigh, and then, "What have you done now, Master Dick?"
"I think we went the wrong way…"
Jesse snorted. "No duh! We're in ALASKA, for crying out loud!"
"Shut UP…" Dick hissed, but it was too late.
"Did I hear correctly, Master Dick?" was the calm reply. Although it sounded to Dick like
Alfred was having a hard time to keep from screaming.
"It's not my fault… really…!"
And Dick explained his theory on how they had managed to board a plane headed for Nome, Alaska. He could practically hear Alfred's disapproval, even over the phone in another part of the country.
"…so what are we supposed to do?" Dick finished.
"I suggest you tell the stewardess of your situation and have her arrange to get you back to Gotham City as quickly as possible."
"But we don't have any money. In fact, I had to borrow from another kid in my class just to make this call."
"Master Bruce will take care of all expenses, unless he sees fit for you to work off your debt," said Alfred.
Dick sighed. "Bye," he mumbled, and hung up. To nobody in particular, he groaned, "I am so dead."
"Yeah, well, just wait'll my mother finds out about this. And I don't even want to think about what Matt will say… for about ninety-nine years to life…"
"So much for our vacation," Dick mumbled.
"At least we didn't get punished, since it wasn't really our fault," replied Jesse in his usual optimistic manner. "We should have checked the tickets closer, I guess, but I'M not telling!"
There was silence as the two boys continued clapping the erasers. It had been Jesse's turn, actually, but Dick hadn't had anything better to do and volunteered to help.
"I never thanked you for helping me out of that mess," Jesse announced finally.
"Me? Why me?" Dick asked in surprise.
"If you hadn't kept your head, we probably wouldn't have gotten home in one piece," the other boy explained. "Or at all, for that matter. So… thanks."
What was he supposed to say to that?!
Dick thought fast.
"Well… you did pretty good, too."
"Yeah? What did I do?"
"Um… you had the quarter…"
Both boys stared at each other and burst out laughing. It took them a full minute to calm down, and they only shushed then because Ms. Whitman was staring at them through the window as if they were insane.
Jesse cleared his throat and held out a chalk-covered hand.
"I gotta admit, Grayson, you're a pretty cool dude."
Dick grinned and shook his hand.
Me: …Did I just write that?! Er… insanity runs in the family!! Yeah, that's my excuse! It's genetic—blame my parents!! :)
Kidding. Please R&R!!
Ohmigosh, wait a sec… did I just use the names Jesse and Joey in the same story?! I swear it was an accident—I didn't mean to steal anything else from Full House! I just took Jesse from another story I once wrote and then asked my sister to give me the first name she could think of for the last A-student, which happened to be Joey Sanders. For real!!! What do you mean, you don't you believe me?!
Dick: Can I do the replies now? I'm in a hurry.
Me: Oh, right. I'd just like to say... yes, that WAS a not-so-subtle reference to the sixties series you saw.
Dick: What did that mean?
Me: Never mind. Just do the replies.
neoinean--You're telling me. Glad you liked it, though. :)
Bart--Here it is! I hope you liked this one as much as the first, and I hope you appreciate what I went through for it.
rammbo--Thank you. And you're right, Bruce really is a softie, but don't tell him I said that or I'll probably be grounded for life.
Syl--Boy, Panamint has been feeling really warm and fuzzy lately, with all these nice reviews. Glad you like the story, and thanks for reviewing!