WAY TOO OLD SCHOOL
1. Bigger is Better
Howell Air Flight 326, we're ready for your approach. Please use Runway 7.
"Thanks for the ride, Mr. Howell." Kim smiled at the jet's owner. The nattily dressed middle-aged man smiled and raised his glass.
"My pleasure, Kim. After all, I owe you for the way you got me out of that safe."
"Oh, it was nothing." She waved away the praise. "Anybody could have used a bobby pin, a battery and the content of a few snap pops to blow it open like that."
"Perhaps, but do you know how much they would have charged? I used Team Impossible once years ago…ruinous!"
"But this flight couldn't have been cheap."
"No, but it is deductible. Showing an underprivileged child such as you the wonders of Fair Harvard! There is no greater philanthropy."
"I'd hardly call myself underprivileged. Dad's a rocket scientist and Mom's a brain surgeon."
"And they're struggling by in the low six figures. Don't worry, child. Harvard's endowment is designed to assist such achievers as you overcome financial hardship."
Junior Kim would have been insulted. Senior Kim, college interviewing deciding literally where in the world to go Kim, found it amusing. She had seen so many faces, heard so many views. And Harvard was far more appealing than she had believed it could be. While it was not close to Middleton, it was not nearly as far away as London or Milan or Paris. Closer to home. Closer to Ron.
He was waiting at the airport. She had wanted him to come along, but she did not ask. How could she have him sit around in a hotel while she was wooed by yet another school that had flatly rejected him?
He got more letters yesterday. All thin. In this case, you can be too thin. Why doesn't anyone see what I see? He's so much smarter than anyone, including me, gives him credit for. And as for the things that really count in life: courage, kindness, honesty, nobody's better.
She could see him looking down from the airport window as the jet taxied to a stop.
"Thanks again for the ride, Mr. Howell."
"You're welcome, my dear. Here's to seeing you at some future Alumni function. And should you decide against Fair Harvard, another branch of the family speaks highly of Rutgers."
She stepped down onto the tarmac and made her way toward the door. Ron was in the window, a stick in his hand. Rufus was on his shoulder. They pointed to the stick, she gave a shrug. Kim could read Ron's lips as he told Rufus 'Still undecided.'
"How's my Kimala?" He had a rose for her.
"Better now." Her eyes sparkled as she took it. She gave him a kiss. He still makes that face. Rufus chuckled at his friend's smitten expression.
"I like him like that." She grinned at the naked mole rat. "Been here long, Ron?"
"Maybe an hour."
Avoiding the mail? It can't be bad news forever, can it? Failure was not something Kim understood that well. The National Cheerleading Competition was the main exception. If I didn't believe in such things, I'd say we were jinxed that afternoon. Ron, on the other hand, knew rejection in most of its forms. That he soldiered on was one of the things that had drawn her to him, even if it took almost losing the world for her to realize the attraction.
"Nice of your Mom and Dad to let me bring the Sloth to pick you up. With all the interviews you've had, it's cut into our time together."
"Mom's very understanding." Kim smiled as they made their way to the baggage claim. As it was a private flight, there was no waiting and everything was there. A lot better than some of our rides. I hate the ones involving live freight. Having to pick feathers out of everything…
They were on the road in no time. Kim drove, while Ron seemed lost in thought.
"You'll have to decide soon."
"I know. There are just so many great places! It would just help if…"
"I knew where I was going." Ron said glumly. "If I were going."
"Come on, Ron. You know what you always say…"
"Yeah, KP: the four hundredth time's the charm."
Rufus patted Ron's shoulder. Kim was glad she had to keep her eyes on the road. She did not want Ron to see her face. He's depressed. It's getting worse and worse. It's late and soon regular admissions will be closed. I'll have to make my own decision soon.
I know what he's worried about. It didn't take long for Brick to decide Bonnie was too immature for him after he went to college. And it's not just that. It doesn't matter who you are, no one thrives on nothing but rejection.
They pulled into the Possible driveway. No one was in the windows. Mrs. Dr. Possible made sure her daughter had a little more private time with her BFBF. She turned off the motor and looked at him with less than pure thoughts.
"How 'bout a little Ron-shine?"
Ten glorious minutes later Ron staggered out the car and carried Kim's luggage to the door. Kim set her hand on the knob, then turned and wrapped him up for another deep kiss. Rufus sighed.
"See you tomorrow, Ron?"
"Huh…oh, yeah, you bet."
He turned as Kim opened the door to her expectant parents. Ron felt it was better if they did not see the lip stick on his face or the mussed up hair. They had pulled his moped inside the garage. He pushed it out, and the blues returned as the garage door came down. It sounded like doom.
"Come on, Rufus. The mail's at home."
The ride home was short. Ron felt fortunate that except for the disastrous summer of Wannaweep he had never been very far from Kim. But that would soon end.
"Where's she going to be, Rufus? England? Italy? France? Australia? At least Harvard would be in America, but I won't be there, I won't be anywhere close! I'll be wherever the losers go when the smoking hot babe geniuses go to college. She'll find some BMOC and that'll be it for the Ronster."
The lights were out at home. The car was gone. He pulled the moped into the garage, carefully skirting the ceramic gnome. Rufus held his fingers up in the form of a cross.
"Doesn't work on gnomes, little dude. Besides, we're Jewish. How do we protect ourselves? Maybe I should ask Rabbi Katz next Shabbat"
A note was attached to the refrigerator.
We had to take Hannah to Japan for some tests. We should be back in a few days. The mail is on the table. Take care of yourself and we'll all see you soon. We are so proud of you.
Ron gritted his teeth at the last sentence. Proud of what? He started going through the pile of envelopes with his name on them. There were so many. After all, how many ribbons had his printer used up in the past weeks? And all so thin, with the same 'We have had an unusually large number of highly qualified applicants…wish you the best in your future education.' Does one person write the letter for every school?
"Can't be many more…"
Something peeked out of the bottom of the pile. It was not thin. He did not recognize the name on the envelope; the THICK envelope. His hands trembled as he opened it.
"Rufus!" He danced around in triumph, the naked mole rat joined in.
"It sounds like it was wonderful, Kimmie."
Kim nodded. "I really enjoyed it. It's not England, but it is another world. It would be so much closer than the other places I'm considering." She fell silent.
"It's Ron, isn't it?"
"Mom, everybody's rejected him! I know his grades aren't the best, but you'd think somebody would be interested. Even a small school needing a football player. He's depressed, Mom, I've never seen him this way before."
"Have you tried…"
"Pity kisses? Yes, Mom. Hundreds! I've gone through two tubes of red passion. They're beginning to lose their effectiveness. I don't know what I'm going to do next!"
Mrs. Dr. Possible gave her daughter an alarmed look.
"I don't mean that, Mom! I have to decide soon, but most would put me on another continent! Ron tries to act like it doesn't worry him, but I know he's afraid my eye will wander around a bunch of exotic hotties. I'm not worried, but I know how I would be if the situation was reversed.
"It would just help if he got one acceptance! He'd feel so much better. I…"
The phone rang. Mrs. Dr. Possible answered.
"Oh, hi, Ron. Yes, Kim's here." She handed her daughter the phone.
"KIM! IT'S A MIRACLE!"
"I've got an interview!"
Kim broke into a huge smile. "An interview! Spankin'! Where, Ron?"
"I didn't recognize the name at first. A thousand applications will do that to you. I would have called sooner, but I was researching the school. It's perfect! Old, well respected, they might even want me to play football! And guess what…it's in Massachusetts! Essex County! It's not far from Cambridge! We could be college neighbors!"
"That's great, Ron!" Kim looked at her mother, the enthusiasm was infectious.
"What's the name of the school?"
Kim Possible is the Property of Walt Disney Studios
Mr. Howell (a great-nephew in this case) comes to us courtesy of CBS Television. As for that other branch of the family, come on, you know who they are, and are the property of Columbia Pictures.
As for the works of HP Lovecraft, some are now public domain. There are many publishers, more than evil has names. I own none of it. Pity.