Author's Note: This is a one shot with the McKenna tv show. Brick was simply too much too resist for me. It is set before the show with Brick as a teenager, and thus Guy plays a part. I hope you will all enjoy it.
Warning: The warning is placed here for vinsmouse, who wanted a spew warning here, claiming it might be a bad idea to drink while reading the funnier parts. So please keep in mind that drinking any kind of beverage while reading this, might be hazzard'ous to the health of your screen.
Disclaimer: I do not own McKenna, I do not make any money on this and I have no hope of ever making enough money to own McKenna. No permanent harm will come to Brick, I will not leave him in any mess Dale can't haul him out of, but both he and his Mustang might require some tinkering once I'm done…
If There Is No Police, There Is No Problem…
The Principals office was in the same location it had always been since the school had been built and Jack McKenna needed no help in finding his way there. The way he saw it he likely knew how to make it there as well as the principal himself did. He knew about the chairs outside it where you were supposed to wait, the hard wooden back-breaking chairs meant for the students and the only slightly more comfortable ones meant for the adults who came for their children. He took his seat beside a somewhat nervous looking middle aged woman and made himself as comfortable as possible while waiting.
"Eh, are you waiting for the principal?" the lady asked quietly, carefully.
"I reckon I am," he nodded, extending his hand. "Jack McKenna."
"Gloria Hunter," she took his hand and shook it, still appearing a little hesitant. "I don't mean to pry, but I've never been called to the school before, it sounded like it might be serious and quite frankly I'm really worried here. My girl never used to be in trouble, and I have no idea how it came about this time, but I've heard it's really bad if they have to call in the parents. I don't know what I'd do if she was expelled."
"I don't think you need to worry," he smiled lightly. "Usually isn't all that bad, I've been here a couple of times now, but never knew anyone to be expelled."
"Really?" she asked, sounding somewhat relived.
"Honestly," he nodded. "Kids just get in trouble now and again. Nothing to worry about as long as they don't do go about breaking the law or anything."
"Yes," she nodded again," I've heard about some kids breaking the law, I think my daughter told me about something. Did you know the boys sometimes race their cars?"
"I've heard about it," he decided, trying not to wince at her surprised tone as she mentioned it. Yes, the boys raced their cars at times, and how many times hadn't Brick been one of those boys?
"So you really don't think I need to worry?" she pressed, her fingers playing with the skirt of her dress.
"No, I don't think you need to worry," he assured her. "If it had been as bad as all of that, you wouldn't have been called here, it would have been to the Sheriff's office."
"Oh my god," her hand flew to her mouth. "The Sheriff?"
"Now don't you worry," he hurried to put up his hands defensively. "I didn't mean it like that. All I'm trying to say that if you're being called here, and there is no police involved whatever the problem is it isn't all that bad."
"But the police has been involved at times?" she fretted.
"A time or two," he admitted. "But not recently as far as I know."
"How long ago then?" she was slowly relaxing, but not by much.
He wasn't sure about that, how long was it since Brick graduated High School? "About five years or so I think," he decided. "I think they have a policy these days of calling in the parents more often, to keep them involved. Things ain't the same anymore, but kids will be kids and they get into mischief every now and again."
"Your kid has?" she asked, partially to take her mind of her worries.
"All three of them," he nodded. "The oldest one wasn't so bad, he only ever got in trouble for fighting."
"But fighting's bad, isn't it?" she frowned. "When I think about kids getting hurt…"
"My boy never fought to hurt anyone," he stated firmly. "Guy was a good boy, he didn't stand for bullies of any kind. If someone messed with his younger brother, or with anyone else for that matter he'd put an end to it, that's all."
"Oh I see," she nodded again, but he wasn't entirely certain she did.
"Cassidy, my girl, she's the one I'm here for now. She's never really been in a lot of trouble like this before in school, but she's a teenager and they do rebel. And there's this thing with boys, it doesn't really mean anything," he shrugged again.
"But your other son, he wasn't in trouble at all then?" Mrs Hunter asked, hoping she would hear something calming. This man certainly appeared to be calm enough even if they were awaiting some bad news.
"Brick," he couldn't help but smile at that idea. Brick was the one who got into trouble, all the time. He was the sole reason why he knew his way to the principal's office as well as he did. He was the reason why he never considered it to be a problem as long as he was called to the principal's office and not the Sheriff's office, and that had happened… "He's a good kid, but a bit wild. He got himself into his fare share of trouble and then some. Never meant anything by it, but some of those youngsters, you simply can't keep them out of it," he shrugged.
"Oh dear," her hand came to her mouth again as she contemplated that information. Before she could say anything else they were asked to enter the office.
"Mrs Hunter," the Principal nodded, holding out his hand. "I'm glad you could come, Mr McKenna, good to see you again."
"Heard there were some trouble," he had never been one for beating around the bush. "What's going on?"
"Nothing serious, but we wanted to bring it to your attention," he informed them as they took their seats. "Your daughters, Cassidy and Meredith were involved in an argument at lunch which rather disturbed the order."
"I see," he nodded. "What was it about?"
"As far as I've been able to determine, boys," he shrugged.
"I see," Jack wasn't surprised about that.
"But Meredith would never argue with Cassidy, and certainly not about boys," Mrs Hunter objected.
"Oh, no, they weren't arguing with each others, they were arguing with some of the boys," the man hurried to explain. "Apparently some boys wanted to break some old school record, something we strongly discourage, and both girls were protesting this action."
"What record?" Jack wanted to know.
"I'm not sure I understand," Mrs Hunter frowned.
"There is a ceiling beam in the cafeteria," the principal explained patiently. "Stretching the entire length of the room. Students have been known to trying to cross the room by going hand over hand from it. Using the tables and chairs to reach it, it's really quite dangerous and not many even make it very far at all."
"But then why would they try it?" she shook her head in disbelief.
"Nature of boys," Jack sighed. "I can see why Cassidy would protest it."
"I had a feeling you would Mr McKenna," the principal gave him a wry smile. "I seem to recall I had to call you here some years ago after Brick were involved in the attempt."
"Yeah, Cassidy knows why it ain't a good idea alright," he nodded. She had been in the cafeteria when Brick tried it, trying to win a bet. As far as he knew he had been able to beat the old record, but he hadn't been able to make it all the way either. He didn't know if anyone had and the beam was high enough that a fall could be serious, especially since you were likely to land on either tables or chairs. Brick had been lucky all in all, but no luckier than that he had been reminded of his folly for many weeks.
"Well, the matter is that while your daughters attempted to discouraged them, they rather chose a poor way to do it. I don't mean to punish them, but I thought it would be best if we could discuss the matter. Decide on a better course of action if it should ever happen again."
"Sounds reasonable to me," Jack agreed while Mrs Hunter nodded slowly. Still uncertain and a little worried. She clearly had no experience of these things and he found it curious how someone had been able to raise teenagers and never been called to a meeting at school before this long. Back when it was Brick in school there were times he thought the school put in a routine call to him every Friday afternoon, and then just reported whatever had happened during the week.
The Friday afternoon call never worried him, it always seemed more like routine. He'd bring the boy back home with him, have a talk to him and straighten him out as much as he could. Sometimes he would punish him, other times he would let it go.
Cassidy and Meredith were called into the room, both of them entering with a slightly sheepish look on their faces. It was pretty clear that they weren't as used to it as he was.
"Hi Jack," Cassidy giggled nervously.
"Eh, hi mom," Meredith mumbled quietly.
"Hi Cass, heard you tried to straighten out some boys," he stated.
"Yeah, but they didn't listen so it didn't work very well," she admitted. "And things got a bit rowdy after that."
"Why did you get yourself involved into this?" Mrs Hunter wanted to know.
"We weren't trying to," Meredith tried to explain. "But they were calling out to us, they wanted us to, you know, cheer them on."
"I know better than to tell you to get one of the teachers the next time," he mused. "Students rarely care to do that, but should something like this happen again and no one listens to you, it would be better if you simply walked away."
"That's right Cassidy," Jack nodded. "Boys tend to do it to get your attention, if you start to argue with them it just makes it more fun, ignoring them makes it a bit less fun."
"It is stupid," Cassidy told him. "No one can do that. Even if they're strong enough there are bits of it that you just can't get past. I don't understand why they keep trying to do it."
"It's almost all about girls and getting popular," Jack shrugged. "Though in some cases they're just too crazy to know better."
"Yeah, like Brick," Cassidy giggled again.
"Like Brick," he nodded. "I think it would be a good idea if the two of you followed the advice you were just given. Don't encourage them in any way."
"So, we're really not in trouble?" Meredith asked hopefully.
"No," the principal assured them. "We just wanted to talk about it since there was quite a ruckus and one boy was hurt."
"Who was hurt?" Mrs Hunter frowned. "I didn't know anyone had been hurt."
"Eh, Aaron tried to hand-walk across the beam and fell," Cassidy admitted. "I think he sprained his ankle or something."
"He twisted it and will be home from school for a day or two," the principal nodded. "It's not really serious, but you understand we need to take precautions in case of any future incidents."
"A good idea would be to do something about that beam too," Jack decided. "Might not be a bad idea to remove temptation."
"Easier said than done," the man shrugged. "We can't remove it as it's a support beam, there was once we attempted to make it so much harder it wouldn't be possible, but I think you're aware that it didn't work."
"I remember it," he nodded, that had been Brick's attempt some years ago. It hadn't done one thing to stop the boys, just made it more dangerous.
"Yes well, if you two girls think you can agree to this, we are just about done," the man decided.
"Thank you sir," Mrs Hunter stood to shake his hand before she hurried out of the room, her hand on her daughters shoulder.
"Take care," Jack shook his hand too, the two of them had seen enough of each others over the year to be familiar.
"The same, hope this wasn't too inconvenient for you," the man offered and he shook his head.
"No, it's been slow today so it wasn't a problem at all."
"I'm glad to hear that, I'll see you tomorrow Cassidy," he nodded as the two of them left.
"You're not mad?" Cassidy asked carefully as they left the room.
"No reason to be, you tried to do something good, it just didn't quite work out," he shrugged.
"Yeah, but most people get mad when they get called to the school no matter why," she pointed out.
"Most people aren't used to it, I reckon I am," he mused softly. "As long as there's no police involved I won't get mad before I know what's going on," he decided.
"Yeah, I guess so," she giggled again. "I forgot about that," she went on. "They were saying they would break the record, they said if Brick could do it they could too. I tried to tell them he never made it the whole way, I mean, yeah, he broke the old record, but he didn't really make it, did he?"
"No," he shook his head. "Damn fool nearly broke his leg, that's what he nearly broke there."
"But a lot of them seem to think he's so cool," she sighed. "They talk about his car all the time, and it's a really cool car, I love that car. And I guess Brick was sort of cool in school too, but I don't get it, why do they always think they have to do all those stupid things just because someone else already tried to do them?"
"Perhaps you should ask Brick that," he teased. "He seemed to think he knew why."
"I kinda know why Brick did it," she admitted. "I mean, I know there were reasons I don't know, but I know some of them. But these guys, they just do it because Brick did it, and they don't even really know him, they just hear their older brothers talk about him and they think if they can do what he did everyone will think they're cool."
"Sounds like teenagers," he mused as they headed to the car.
"Well yeah, I guess," she sighed. "But I don't get it, why Brick? Why is it always Brick?"
"Boy knows how to make an impression, I'll give him that," Jack smiled softly.
"Uhu," she giggled again, that kinda nervous girlish giggle she had. "You know my English teacher? He don't even want to hear about him, he says if Brick even tries to come into the school to pick me up or something he'll quit. He keeps saying that he nearly didn't survive it when he was in his class and they ought to give him a medal for it. I don't even know what Brick did to him."
"Hmm, English you said," Jack tried to remember as he got in behind the wheel. "Who is that, Cage?"
"Yeah," she nodded. "I don't really like him. He's kinda, well, you know, like just because he's a teacher he knows everything."
"I remember Brick saying something about that," he nodded. "With them two the dislike was mutual I think. He had some idea about discipline and control that Brick didn't care much for. I think Brick went out of his way to point it out to him. Actually, I think that's one of the times the police was involved…"
"Oh yeah?" she asked curious. "What did he do?"
"Lets see," he had to think to remember. Normally he might not talk about this, but he was enjoying this conversation. Finally having something to talk to his daughter about, and Brick's escapades weren't secrets, especially not that one. "They were reading some book about a prison break or something, Brick claimed his class was a prison and started some fuss. I think Cage went to get the principal and while he was gone Brick had been tying shirts and jackets together, to 'make a break for it', as he put it."
"Oh, he didn't?" Cassidy couldn't believe it. She knew her brother could appear like a total nut job at times, but he couldn't be that stupid. The English home room was on the third floor.
"Oh he did it alright, damn fool," he sighed. "How he could possibly think it would work is beyond me. It wasn't even long enough and he was just lucky he didn't break his neck when one of the shirts ripped. Then of course some old lady had spotted it and called the police. When I got there they weren't sure whether to lock him up in jail or in a mental facility. Guy was there too, trying to talk them out of it. He said he had been through that lecture before, and that it was boring enough anyone would want to go out the window."
"Guy did that?" she burst out laughing.
"He did," Jack nodded. Those two boys could fight like cat and dog, but Guy would always try to protect Brick from anything. "He got suspended for a couple of weeks, I grounded him for a month and I guess they decided it was enough punishment."
"At least that kinda explains why he dislikes Brick so much," she laughed. "I can't believe he did that."
"I learned a long time ago that when it came to Brick you had to believe anything," he decided. "I just don't want you repeating his mistakes Cass, and I keep worry you will."
"Oh, but I'd never, ever go out a window like that," she laughed lightly. "And he always came out okay, didn't he?"
"Mostly," he admitted. "But sometimes you can't see where a person is really hurt Cass, Brick, he made mistakes and sometimes he got hurt from it but not always where you could tell, and he'd never let you close enough to really see. Guy was the only one could get it out of him. I don't want you to have to go through the same thing. Being a teenager is hard, harder then a lot of adults will admit to, there is all kinds of pressure and you have to make some pretty tough choices."
There wasn't much else she could do but nod, she had always thought that Jack didn't understand, but maybe he understood more than she had given him credit for.
"I won't," she promised. "I think I've figured out some of it already, and some things might seem good, but they're just not worth it."
"You're a smart kid Cassidy," he praised her as they headed for home. "I always knew that."
Cassidy didn't answer then, praise from Jack, directly from Jack was rare and she wanted to savour it. Eventually the kids in school would learn that copying someone who had done something foolish wasn't smart, it was just a whole new level of stupid. At least she hoped that they would eventually figure that out….
Please review, the Cricket is hungry…