Late Monday afternoon, after the final bell had rung and the Casper High students had scattered to the four winds, Jack Fenton entered the Vice Principal's office and took a seat in the hard wooden chair across from a man he had never met—although he did seem a little familiar. Perhaps he had been in the gymnasium Friday night; the lights had been dim, and Jack's memories of the previous week were still alarmingly muddled.

"Thank you for coming to discuss you son's schooling, Mr. Fenton," the teacher began. "I must apologize for having to cancel our meeting last week, and I thank you for agreeing to reschedule on such short notice."

Having never met the man, Jack had no way of knowing that Mr. Lancer's voice was sounding nearly an octave higher than his usual nasal bass, or that the teacher's eyes were not normally such an intensely vivid shade of green. For that matter, Jack still couldn't quite remember there ever being earlier appointment, although he was oddly comforted to hear the teacher mention the postponement. His tattered patchwork of half-perceived memories rearranged themselves neatly to accommodate this new information.

"Well, sure!" he replied with relief, suddenly feeling more cheerful than he had in days. "I'm a parent, and that's what parents do. I've never missed a parent-teacher conference for either one of my kids, and I'm certainly not going to start missing them now!" His eyes narrowed with suspicion "Has there been a problem?"

"W— well... ." Danny stammered slightly, finding it extremely difficult to stay in character and maintain eye contact with his father. He was sorely tempted to steer the conversation in a safe direction, but Tucker's instructions had been painfully specific. He sure knew how to make a guy squirm! Danny drew a slow, calming breath and continued, "There were a couple of incidents with his pants... ."