When you’re a teenager it’s easy to be led astray.
What’s hard is getting out of a bad situation.
Mature or distressing themes and strong language.
This story deals with issues that are, unfortunately, true to life for some teens.
In keeping with our policy of not running from real life issues, we are hosting Bad Boy Gone Good with this advisory.
On the way out Doctor Jenkins held up his hand, palm out.
“Do you two have a minute to talk?” he asked.
“Sure,” Greg said. “Only thing, we told my folks that we’d be home by ten o’clock.”
“This will only take a few minutes. Come on into my office and have a seat.”
He didn’t close the door after they’d entered, so that made both boys relax.
“Being a doctor, and the doctor who treated Greg while he was in St. Mark’s Hospital, I want to make sure that you’re both going to see your family doctors and get checked out. Greg, did you get that prescription filled and start taking the medication I prescribed?”
“I gave the prescription to my Mom. She said she’d get it and the prescription Jay got filled today and she’s going to call Doctor Cardin’s office and make an appointment for me and Jay to see him at the same time.”
“Ryan tells me you’re living with Greg’s family now, Jay.”
“Yes, I am. Greg rescued me from my stepmother and her boyfriend, who’s an abusive jerk, by letting me move in to his home. Then when Greg’s folks came home they said I could live with them. I agreed to become drug free. No pot, no other drugs, no alcohol. I’m going to find a drug program for teens that will help me get rid of my urge to smoke pot.”
“I’m going to take the same program as Jay,” Greg said.
“I’m impressed with the way you two are relating to each other. The last thing I heard from Greg in the hospital was he never wanted to see you again, Jay.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Greg said. “That was before Jay told me about his messed up life. He’s basically a good guy who turned to pot to get away from the stepmother and the jerk she married. He told my folks his story and they said he could live with us. So he’s become my… my brother!” Greg looked at Jay and grinned.
Doctor Jenkins smiled. “I’m proud of the two of you. You’re heading in the right direction now.”
“Thanks, Doctor Jenkins,” Greg said.
“Thanks for believing in us,” Jay added. “Now I think we’d better get going so we can be home before ten.”
Doctor Jenkins shook hands with them and they said goodbye to Ryan and Jennifer and began the walk home.
“You said I’ve become your brother, Greg. I feel the same way. You’re the brother I never had.”
Greg grinned. “It’s like you were my brother all along and we got separated and we just found each other.”
“That’s the way I feel to, bro.” Jay grinned.
“Bro? That’s cool. Dated, but cool.”
They both laughed as they walked across their cul de sac and to their home.
Back at the Jenkins’ home Ryan sat down to talk to his dad.
“You know, when you told me to try to make friends with Greg I thought it wouldn’t go anywhere because of how he’d acted towards me and Davis before. But I’m glad you did because he’s like a totally different person and Davis and I like him. And Jay is a really nice guy too. Even Jennifer seems to like them, ‘specially after Jay complimented her about her chocolate chip cookies. He said she should open a cookie store.”
Jennifer had walked into the family room and heard her name. “Jennifer should what?” she demanded.
“Your brother was just saying that you liked Jay because he complimented you about your baking skill and said you should start a chain of cookie stores.” Lyle Jenkins grinned at the way he’d converted a store to a chain.
Jennifer blushed. “That’s not it. It was nice of Jado… Jay — it’s hard to remember he’s changed his nickname — to say he likes my chocolate chip cookies. He’s a nice guy, and way different than he’d been most of the time this semester before this week. The last couple days in Library Science he’s changed from being sullen and not participating very much to the nice guy he’d been when he was a freshman and we were in the same English and World Geography classes.”
“His dad died when he was a freshman,” Ryan said. “They were really close. I don’t think he likes his stepmother very much, though.”
“How about Davis? He seems very careful about making friends with a lot of the kids you two bring home,” their dad asked.
“I know. And I was amazed that he took to Greg and Jay the way he did at school today and here playing a video game tonight. You’d have thought the three of them had been friends forever.”
“I noticed that too, Dad,” Jennifer said. “I suppose you’ll say it’s happened because you decided to have us try to be friends with Greg. Jay came along as part of the deal. I’m glad he did. You know, those two seem to be close. Real close.”
That surprised Ryan and Lyle.
“You mean they’re gay?” Ryan asked. “I would never have guessed that. They don’t seem gay.”
“You don’t seem gay either, Ryan,” Jennifer declared.
“What I meant is they don’t look at each other all the time the way Davis and I did for the first year or so. It’s more like they’re just best friends, or maybe like they’re brothers.”
“Whatever it is, you don’t know if they are gay,” Lyle said. “So don’t make any assumptions, okay?”
“Yeah, okay, Dad,” Ryan agreed.
“I won’t either,” Jennifer said in agreement.
A short distance away the San Bruno Police had arrived at the house where Doris Oron-Medrano lay in a pool of drying blood on the living room floor. The house where Doris and her new husband Pete Medrano lived. The house owned by Jaydon Oron.
Bob Porter had been right, there was something wrong at that house. A few minutes after the police arrived and entered the house through the open garage door, an ambulance had arrived. A short time later Bob watched as the ambulance left, its siren blaring.
A few minutes later Bob heard his doorbell. He assumed it was the police, and he was correct.
“Mr. Porter?” the police officer asked.
“Yes. Come on in.”
“Did you place to call to have a welfare check on the residence at 149 Fleetwood Court?”
“Yes, I did. The garage door remained open after Pete Medrano drove away in a big hurry.”
“Do you know where we can locate Pete Medrano?”
“Yeah. He works in Millbrae at a truck repair place. Hold on, I’ve got the address here.” Bob found the name and address and wrote it out and handed it to the officer.
“What kind of vehicle does he drive?”
“A black SUV. I don’t know what kind, or how old or new it is. I’m afraid I don’t pay much attention to cars. How’s Doris? I saw the ambulance leaving.”
“It looks like someone slugged her real hard in the face, and as she fell she hit her head on the corner of a coffee table. She has a major injury to the back of her skull. She wasn’t conscious when we arrived and it looked like she’d been lying on the floor since she was attacked.”
“Well, I hope she’s okay.”
“We’re going to close the garage door, but the house isn’t secure. The door from the house into the backyard isn’t locked. Do you know anyone with a key?”
“Yes, Jaydon Oron. Jaydon is seventeen, and Doris is his stepmother. Pete threw Jaydon out of the house the other day, and Jaydon and a friend moved his personal stuff out of the house. I don’t know where they took it, and I don’t know who the other boy was except that his name is Greg. He might have told me his last name, but if he did I don’t remember it.”
“Why did Peter Medrano throw Jaydon Oron out of the house?”
“I don’t know. Pete is an asshole, pardon my French. He drinks a lot, and so does Doris. He likes to beat on the kid, Jaydon.”
“Do you know where I can contact Jaydon Oron?”
“He goes to Aston High. He told me that he’s a junior.”
“Thank you for your information, sir. We appreciate your making the call for a welfare check. If you have any additional information, or if you see Peter Medrano, please call.” He gave Bob his card, and he read the officer's name.
“Thank you for responding so quickly, Officer Baker.”
A short distance down Fleetwood Drive, parked at the curb, Pete sat in his SUV. He watched the police cars and ambulance come and go through his rear view and side view mirrors.
“Shit. I musta slugged Doris harder than I thought,” he mumbled to himself. “Looks like maybe I hurt her, prob’ly pretty bad if they needed an ambulance. She’d better keep her fuckin’ mouth shut when she wakes up. But I gotta figure out somethin’ before they come lookin’ for me. Maybe I can dump this on that little shit Jaydon. I’ll wait until the cops are gone, then I can call ‘em and say my wife’s missing. Then I’ll blame it on him. First I oughta go to the hospital and make sure she keeps quiet.”
He looked in the rear view mirror and saw headlights. He scrunched down so he couldn’t be seen by the passing police car. “Shit, that was too fuckin’ close,” he thought. “But they didn’t care about my car so they prob’ly don’t have the plate number. They might later, so I gotta get goin’ and see if they’re gone for good.”
He got out of his car, locked the door, and slowly walked up Fleetwood Drive to where it crossed Fleetwood Court. No cops, no yellow tape. The house was dark. He went up to the front door and used his key to unlock it. Then he entered. He switched on the ceiling light in the living room. The coffee table was missing, and a big piece of the carpet had been cut out.
Across Fleetwood Court Bob Porter happened to be getting a glass of water. He looked through the window above the sink at the house across the cul-de-sac and saw lights in the living room come on.
“That has to be Pete,” he thought. He grabbed his cellphone and dialed the direct number for the San Bruno Police Department.
The next morning Beth Cameron drove Greg and Jay to Aston High. She wanted to meet with Greg’s counselor to find out why Greg hadn’t be able to meet with her. She parked in the visitor lot and she and Greg left Jay who went to his homeroom.
“We’re going to see your counselor. What’s her name?”
“Mrs. Everett. Uh… it’s Linda Everett.”
They walked into the Administration building and stepped up to the counter.
“May I help you?” the receptionist asked.
“Yes. I’d like to see Mrs. Linda Everett.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No. I’m an attorney representing Gregory Cameron. He was supposed to see his counselor, Mrs. Linda Everett within three weeks of starting school at Aston High. It’s now almost three months and he still hasn’t seen Mrs. Linda Everett or a substitute counselor. If Gregory Camron and I cannot see a counselor now, not in the future but now, within fifteen minutes, I will file a lawsuit against Aston High School, Mrs. Linda Everett, and all relevant John Does and Jane Does. Am I making myself clear?”
The poor receptionist sat with her eyes open wide.
“Um… yes, ma’am. May I have your business card?”
Greg’s mom handed her a card with the name of their company, which sounded like a law firm’s name, and had her name, Bethany R. Cameron followed by a bunch of legal abbreviations. It looked very impressive. If the receptionist recognized Beth’s last name was the same as Greg’s, she didn’t say anything. She got up and went down the hall to an office. She returned with a statuesque black woman.
As they stood up, Greg whispered, “She’s the principal,” to his mom.
“Mrs. Cameron, I’m Artis Lafon, the principal of Aston High School.
They shook hands.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Lafon.”
“And you’re Greg Cameron. We hadn’t met before today. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“Thanks. It’s nice to meet you, too,” Greg replied. “Maybe,” he thought.
“Let’s go back to my office where we can talk.”
She closed the door after they entered, and Greg and Beth sat down. Artis Lafon picked up a folder from her inbox then sat down as well. She opened the folder.
“Greg, I have your folder here. I want to apologize for our failure to have you meet with your counselor. There’s no excuse, but there is a reason. We’ve been waiting for your records from Sehome High School in Bellingham. They still haven’t arrived. Where we dropped the ball is by failing to notify you so you could contact the school and put pressure on them from your direction.”
“Yes, I wish we’d known,” Beth said. “I could have demanded that they forward the records to you.”
“They claim they’d sent them when we’ve asked. Linda Everett has contacted them several times on this matter. Last Thursday she received an email from a…” she looked at the contents of the folder, “…Mr. Barton Akers, and he said he sent them two times. You might not know that these aren’t paper documents, they are electronic documents. So there’s no excuse for not sending them.”
“Um… could they have been classified as junk mail by the school’s mail server?” Greg asked.
“I don’t know. I’m no expert on email except how to read and send it.” She smiled.
“Was the file sent to Mrs. Everett or to some other email address?”
“The email address we use is documents at AstonHighSchool dot e-d-u.”
“Do you have access to that email account?”
“Yes, and the counselors have access as well. Attachments, like your records from Sehome High, are automatically stored on the mail server.”
“I suggest that you ask one of the IT people to check the mail server’s spam folder. It might have been marked as spam by mistake.”
“Let’s do that right now,” Artis said. She picked up her phone and dialed a number. Greg and Beth overheard her side of the conversation.
“Terry, this is Artis. Can you come to my office immediately? Good.”
She put down the phone and smiled.
“Terry Wade is our IT tech. He takes care of our servers and the computers of the administrative and teaching staffs. He’ll be here in a minute or two.”
About ten seconds later there was a knock at her door.
“Come in,” Artis called.
Terry Wade entered the office and looked at Greg and Beth, then he turned to Artis.
“Do you have a computer problem, Artis?”
“We don’t know. We requested Greg Cameron’s files from Sehome High School in Bellingham, Washington. They say they sent them to our documents email address. Twice. But Linda Everett says she didn’t receive their email messages or the attachment. Greg suggested that it could have been erroneously marked as spam and not delivered. Would you check that email address and see if it’s in the spam folder?”
“Sure. May I sit at your desk?”
Artis stood and Terry sat in her chair. He logged on to her PC and Greg assumed he searched the spam mail folder.
“Yes, it’s marked as spam. The reason is the attachment is a zip file just over thirty-one megabytes. That’s very large for a zip file and it was blocked automatically. It should have been listed in the weekly spam email notice sent to everyone who has access to the documents email address. You and Linda should have received the notice.”
“Now I’m embarrassed. I usually delete those spam notification messages without looking at them, and I guess Linda does the same. I figure that there aren’t any messages to that address that I’d be interested in reading. Most of them seem like ads for stuff like solar panels and health nostrums. Why aren’t those emails being marked as spam? Oh… they are, aren’t they. That’s what the spam email notices are all about, isn’t it.”
Terry ignored the question about solar panel and health nostrum emails not being blocked. Of course they were, as Artis now realized.
Greg didn’t know what a nostrum was, but because of the context he had a good idea. He was right.
“Okay, I unblocked both files, deleted the duplicate, and approved the source. You and any of the counselors and others with access to this email address can view the email and download the zip file to their PC. Do you remember how to open a zip file?”
“Yes, I do. I just treat it like a folder and I can view or copy any of the files in that zip file. And so can Linda Everett. Thank you Terry.”
“You’re welcome.” He logged off then got up and left the office. Artis sat down, logged back onto her PC, and picked up her phone. Again, they heard her side of the conversation.
“Linda, this is Artis. Gregory Cameron and his mother are in my office. Greg suggested that his records from Sehome High School might have been marked as spam. Terry came to my office and that is exactly what he found. He unblocked the message so now you can access it and the zip file that’s attached. Okay, that's a relief. Can you fit in a meeting with Greg this morning? You can, at eight-fifteen? Very good, I’ll let him know and give him a hall pass.”
“Well, Linda Everett opened the unblocked email and the attachment containing your records, Greg. As you heard, she can see you at eight-fifteen.” Artis pulled out a hall pass and wrote on it, then handed it to Greg. “Here’s a hall pass. Linda Everett will give you a separate pass to return to your first or second period class, whichever is in session.”
“What should I do between now and eight-fifteen? Can I go to the library or should I wait here?” Greg asked.
“You can do either, but I’d recommend that you sit in the reception area. It’s already five after eight, and Linda Everett will be calling you into her office in ten minutes. You can read one of your textbooks. Something scintillating like AP U.S. History.” She grinned.
“I like her,” Greg thought.
Beth stood up and so did Greg and Artis.
“It was nice meeting you, Mrs. Lafon,” Beth said. “Thank you for resolving Greg’s counseling session problem.”
They shook hands.
Greg said, “Thanks a lot. Now I can begin planning my senior year so I can take the classes I need to be eligible to get into Stanford or Cal. And find out about my high school exit exam.”
They left the principal’s office. “I’ll see you and Jay after school,” Beth said. “I’ll be in the pickup area in the front of the school.”
“Okay, thanks Mom.” He was glad she didn’t want to sit in on the meeting with his counselor. She trusted him, he realized. That made him feel good.
Greg took a seat in the reception area. He pulled the AP U.S. History text out of his backpack and turned to the chapter following the one he’d been assigned, which he had read. ‘Might as well get a chapter or two ahead,’ he thought.
The meeting with Mrs. Everett was very cordial and detailed. First off, she apologized.
“Greg, I’m so sorry for the mixup in getting your records from Sehome High. There’s no excuse for what happened. I’m going to have to start reading the blocked email notices from now on.
“I reviewed your records from Sehome High School while you waited. You did very well at Sehome High. You’ve had some problems here, but nothing that will prevent you from excelling at Aston High from now on.
“Now, let’s talk about each of your classes.”
That’s what they did. They discussed every class: AP U.S. History, Pre-Calculus, English 3, Computer Programming 2, Graphic Design, AP Chemistry, and even Physical Education.
“Alright, next let’s talk about your college plans,” she said.
“I want to go to either Stanford or U.C. Berkeley and major in Computer Science. That's why I’m taking Computer Programming 2 and Graphic Design this year. The problem I see is that are no more computer classes at Aston High that I can take when I’m a senior. You can see that all the other classes here are classes that I’ve already taken at Sehome High. Is there some way I could take some advanced computer classes at Skyline College and get credit for them at Aston High as well? As a junior I would have been able to do that at Sehome High and at Whatcom Community College.”
“Greg, we have a cooperative program with Skyline College.” She reached on a shelf next to her desk. “You can review this Skyline College 2015-2016 Course Catalog which has the details about the courses, and here’s the spring semester class schedule. You can see what computer classes are offered. Be sure to check the Course Catalog to confirm that you will have the necessary prerequisites for each class that interests you. The course catalogue and class schedule are for this year. It is likely that the same computer classes will be offered in the fall of 2016, but unfortunately there’s no guarantee. You’ll have to check the 2016-2017 Course Catalog and the fall 2016 class schedule when they come out in late spring. This flyer has information about accessing those documents on the internet, how the Aston High School-Skyline College cooperative program works, and how you can become eligible to participate. I suggest you review all of this with your parents.”
“That’s great. I’ll look this over and talk to my folks. Then can I make an appointment to talk to you about how I could fit it in my senior year?”
“Of course. And I’ll be more approachable now that we’ve recovered your records that were stuck in our spam email.” Greg noticed that she looked down at her desk and blushed for a couple seconds. She appeared to blame herself for the records mixup.
“Okay, thanks Mrs. Everett.”
When they’d finished she asked Greg if there was anything else he’d like to discuss.
“Yes. I’d like to find out why I have to take the high school exit exam again. I already took it at Sehome High. The details of my scores should be with my records. The information I got at when I enrolled here says if I took the exam at my prior high school I wouldn’t have to take it at Aston High.”
“Let me check your records.” She studied the exit exam data in Greg’s folder. It took her about five minutes to review everything, then she looked up. “You’re right, Greg. The exit exam you took covers all of the material that’s equivalent to our exit exam. You won’t have to retake the exam.”
Greg let out a deep breath. “Thanks. That’s a big deal for me.”
“Nope. I think we’ve covered everything.
“You’ve missed your first and second period classes. Here are passes to give to those teachers It’s best if you can do it today. Here’s a pass for your third period class, in case you arrive there a few minutes late.”
The morning Brunch break was just starting so Greg hurried to the cafeteria to grab something to eat, then he went to his third period English 3 class. He’d turn in the late slips to the other two teachers during lunch.
After school Beth picked up Greg and Jay.
“So how was your meeting with Mrs. Everett, Greg?”
“Good. We went over all of my classes and she gave me information about a program that Aston High has with Skyline College. It’ll let me take college classes for college credit when I’m a senior and I’d get high school credit as well. That way I can get the computer science classes I’m interested in taking and that they don’t have at Aston High. I’ve got the information about it to look over, and I’ll let you look at it and we can talk about it.
“Also, she agreed that I don’t have to take the high school exit exam over again. They’re accepting the results of the exit exam I took at Sehome High. And, the meeting wasn’t over until Brunch so I had to miss both AP U.S. History and Pre-Calculus. Fan-tas-tic!”
“Was the rest of your day as good?” Beth said it so it sounded like a joke.
“Yes. Except for English, Computer Programming, Graphic Design, PE, and AP Chemistry.” Greg chuckled.
“Then you’d better spend a lot more time studying tonight,” Jay said. “Probably have to skip TV and surfing the net.”
“You oughta keep your comments to yourself!” Greg growled, but his grin showed he wasn’t serious. Well, maybe he was partly serious.
“I think Jay’s idea is a good one,” Beth said. She successfully kept her laughter stifled.
“Hey, I was just kidding!”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before,” she said. Then all three laughed.
“By the way, I picked up your prescriptions today. And for both of you, I set back-to-back appointments for you with Doctor Cardin on Friday at four o’clock. I’ll pick you up from school and take you to his office.”
“We’re going to a football game Friday night,” Greg said. “We’re playing Oceana High.”
“It’s a home game,” Jay added.
“What time?” Beth asked.
“Seven thirty,” Greg replied. “It should be over by nine, plus or minus.”
“Will you need a ride?”
“Nope. Davis’s dad is driving us because he’s going to the game,” Greg said. “He’ll pick us up at seven. Davis’s brother Jason is the Aston High quarterback.”
“Do you know Davis’s brother?” Beth asked.
“No. He’s a senior.”
“We haven’t even met him,” Jay added. “But it’s been what, only two days since we really got to known Davis, right?”
“Right. Anyway, seniors always seem to be above the rest of us no matter which high school it is.” Greg turned to Jay and grinned. “Of course, next year that’ll be us, won’t it?”
Beth just shook her head and laughed. “Boys!” she mused.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing Bad Boy Gone Good
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