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If it isn't broken (Tales of Riverdale fan-fiction)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by hobbyfan, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Preamble: For our next story, we will weave in current plot threads in the revamped versions of Jughead & Archie, specifically, a changing of the adminstrative guard at Riverdale High, and fit it into our continuity, since we've established that Archie, Jug, and the gang have gone off to college.

    All characters, save for new ones I've created, are copyright Archie Comics.

    Chapter 1:

    It was the day before Thanksgiving. All the schools in Riverdale would close around lunch time for a 4 1/2 day holiday weekend. However, Dennis Caldwell, president of the Riverdale School District's Board of Education, convened a surprise student assembly after 4th period, when students were expecting to be headed home, at the high school auditorium.

    To his credit, Caldwell kept it short, but for principal Waldo Weatherbee, it was the culmination of the longest five hours of his life.

    "The two most important changes here at Riverdale High are these.", Caldwell said. "Number one, beginning on Monday, we will be adding some healthier choices to the lunch menu. No more mystery meat or other fattening foods that a lot of you kids seem to crave. Across this country, schools are adding more fruits and vegetables in an effort to improve students' physical health. Understand that we have your best interests at heart, not just in the classroom, but in life as well. We'd ideally like to have you all at peak efficiency."

    Weatherbee was nervously cringing in his chair. He knew what was coming next.

    "Second, and this I know is the most painful part for a lot of you, there will be a new principal in the office when you return from Thanksgiving break on Monday. After 35 years of serving Riverdale as a teacher, school principal, both at the elementary & high school levels, and as a city councilman, Waldo Weatherbee is retiring as of today."

    There was a sudden hush in the room. Weatherbee hung his head down. He had reached the district's mandatory retirement age, but he didn't think it would end this way. He'd pleaded privately to finish out the season at least, but the board would not grant his request. Slowly, he walked up to the podium, and, with a bit of a tremor in his voice, acknowledged that this was the end of a long career. He was, in fact, on his 2nd tour of duty at Riverdale High, and had been promised some years ago that he could retire when he felt he was ready. A change in the structure of the board erased that promise. He wished Caldwell well, shook his hand, and, silently, walked off the stage to a standing ovation.

    English teacher Geraldine Grundy, his long time companion, waited for him in the wings.

    "It's inevitable, Waldo.", she said softly. "We are all going to retire, but at this rate, the board is looking to force us out, and I don't like it."

    "There's nothing we can do, Gerri.", Waldo said. "The die's been cast."

    John Stanger, who'd been a principal at Pellowski Middle School, was promoted to succeed Weatherbee, but was greeted with a chorus of boos. The students had grown to respect Weatherbee as a father figure as much as he was a stern administrator.

    "I realize this is difficult for all of you. As Mr. Caldwell said, schools all over the country are initiating healthier lunch menus, or have within the last decade. You may not understand, but if you look up 'childhood obesity' on the internet, you'll see why this is being done. We're not here to force this on you. If you want to keep your lunches the same as they've been, you might have to learn how to make them at home yourselves.", Stanger said.

    Later that afternoon, at New Dimensions Fashions, Ethel Muggs had reported for work, for what would be her last weekend at the shop, and was greeted by Brittany Young, a senior at Riverdale High, who gave her the news.

    "Weatherbee? Retired? Are you serious?", Ethel asked.

    "I'm afraid so.", Brittany, a part-time employee at New Dimensions, replied. With the store closing early for the holiday, Brittany had the day off from work. "The kids reacted more to the new, healthy choices lunch menu, and not in a good way."

    "They're trying things that are being implemented in other cities.", Ethel noted. "I spend more time at the salad bar at the rathskeller at school myself. Good thing Jughead graduated when he did, because he wouldn't take it so well."

    At Pop's Place, the gang had reunited after being apart for nearly three months. The main topic was Weatherbee's sudden retirement.

    "Ethel, you said Weatherbee was hoping he could finish the season.", Reggie Mantle said. "Why didn't the board grant his request?"

    "I honestly don't know.", Ethel replied. "From what I hear, they've been looking to push the Bee, Ms. Grundy, and Coach Kleats out the door for the last couple of years, and they finally got someone on the board to tilt the decision in their direction."

    "The Bee's the last of the old guard principals.", Archie Andrews commented. "Sure, we've all had our differences with him, over the years, but he doesn't deserve to be tossed aside, not after all he's done for the school, for us, for this city."

    "Archie's right.", Betty Cooper added. "The Board may have forced this decision, but there's something wrong about all this."

    "And what's even worse,", Jughead Jones put in, "is the changes in the lunch menu. Have they lost their minds?"

    "Only you would talk about food at a time like this.", Reggie teased.

    Abruptly, basketball coach Harry Clayton walked in with his son, Chuck, and more bad news.

    "I know you guys were looking forward to playing the auditorium on Friday night.", he said. "Unfortunately, that's been cancelled."

    "What? Cancelled?", Jughead repeated.

    "I think I understand.", Archie said, glancing at the television. "Take a gander at this, guys & girls."

    On the screen was a protest in the school parking lot. Hastily made placards called for Weatherbee's reinstatement and the return to the old lunch program.

    "They just don't understand that sometimes changes are necessary.", Reggie said.

    "That's just it. We've been so used to The Bee being the leader at Riverdale High, that the thought never occurred to anyone that he would eventually leave, too. But to cancel a concert that he had signed off on?", Archie wondered.

    "That was the Board's call, just a few minutes ago, and that's what really set off the protest.", Coach Clayton said. "There's something screwy going on with the board, and I for one don't like it."

    "None of us do, dad.", Chuck replied. "Some holiday."
    ============================
    And it's only going to get worse........
     
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  2. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 2:

    Things quieted down over Thanksgiving, but newly elected Mayor Joanne Martinez called an emergency meeting of the city council, and invited Caldwell to speak and explain the school board's position. Sensing there was a big story he could help his father break, Reggie attended the 1 pm meeting.

    "I realize everyone's upset.", Caldwell began. "I appreciate the police acting as quickly as they did to quell the uprising Wednesday night, but the die's been cast, the decision is final. In order to better connect with today's students, we as a faculty have to skew younger."

    Reggie then stood up and walked to the podium to speak.

    "It's a matter of public record, Mr. Caldwell, that Mr. Weatherbee had been promised that he would retire on his own terms. Why would the school board go back on that promise?", he asked.

    "You sound like a reporter, young man.", Caldwell replied sternly. "I don't like reporters, to be honest with you. To answer your question, we have to move with the times. Retaining the services of a 35 year veteran administrator does not give us that opportunity."

    "Then, what happens to the other senior members of the faculty?"

    "Each teacher is being evaluated."
    ==========================
    "You did what you could, son.", Rick Mantle told Reggie over dinner. "Retirement is inevitable, but not in this manner."

    "Something stinks to high heaven.", Reggie said. "There's an old expression. Take out the head, and the body follows. Weatherbee's been retired, so who's next? Miss Grundy? Coach Kleats? Professor Flutesnoot?"

    Fred Andrews had the same concerns, which he shared with Archie.

    "Waldo Weatherbee was blindsided.", he said. "While I think we all get that the faculty does have to get younger, forcing the older staff out like this is a sign of disrespect, much worse than your juvenile misbehavior."

    "Something tells me this isn't over.", Archie replied as he sipped on a soda.

    At New Dimensions, Ethel was saying goodbye, as she was transferring to New York University to join Jughead, and replace Chuck as Jug's roommate. She'd only been on the job a year, but it also allowed her the opportunity to test the waters in the workplace. Kevin Keller, New Dimensions' first male employee, was leaving, too, also after a year. Kevin was leaving Riverdale City College to enter the Army, and would report to boot camp the next day.

    "We'll be back in time for Christmas.", Kevin promised as he drove Ethel home.

    "But there might not be a store to come back to.", Betty thought to herself, seeing an article in the newspaper. "I wonder if Barbara knows about any of this."

    Betty referred to a report that her boss, Dr. Barbara Schubert, was being offered a very significant amount to sell the store, but it didn't say to whom.

    "An utter fabrication.", Barbara said when Betty had asked. "I'm almost certain someone planted that story to take some of the heat off the school board's callous handling of Mr. Weatherbee's retirement."

    "Trouble is, there's no way to prove it's false, at least not yet.", Betty replied. "Funny thing, though. There've been no reporters here pursuing the story today."

    "That's exactly my point."

    The next day, Coach Clayton received a letter in his mailbox. It had no return address, nor was there a stamp. He opened it, then wished he hadn't. He crumpled the paper and tossed it into the nearest waste basket.

    "What's wrong, Harry?", Coach Kleats asked.

    "Remember when I said one of us was next to go? Well, according to that letter I just read, I've been told to report to the Athletic Director's office and turn in my playbook."
    ==============================
    And, so, the dominoes continue to fall. But, who stands to gain? Part 3 comes in 2 weeks.
     
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  3. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 3:

    Not only had Coach Clayton been cut, but Kleats, as well, and like Weatherbee, Eldon Kleats had reached the mandatory retirement age. Football season had just ended a month earlier, with Riverdale falling in the sectional semi-finals to Center City, 28-24.

    Gabriel Eng, a former Marine drill instructor with only three years experience as an educator, was hired to take over Clayton's classes. Lance McDaniels, meanwhile, was the new basketball coach, and would take Kleats' classes. McDaniels was the polar opposite of Eng. Tough, yes, but fair & firm, just like his predecessors. Eng was strictly by-the-book, and would send a student to detention for even the slightest, most minute violation. Perhaps a little too strict for his own good.

    With the gang having gone back to college classes, the only sounding board Clayton & Kleats had was Pop Tate, but he, too, was feeling the pinch.

    "I've had to change my hours here.", he said. "The school board doesn't want me opening in the morning anymore, to ensure that there's no one playing hooky here. They have truant officers patrolling the streets from dawn until the end of the school day. Now, I can't open until 3, and that's costing me business!"

    "It's not the board's call.", Harry said. "Someone is playing games not only with the high school, but the entire town as well."
    ===================================
    On the morning of the basketball season opener, Tommy Butler met with Coach McDaniels before homeroom. His head was hung low, meaning there was trouble.

    "Something wrong, Tommy? It seemed like there was something yesterday that prompted you to leave basketball practice suddenly."

    "There was, Coach. I got a text message from my mom. My sister, Michelle, never made it home from school yesterday. Ambushed about 2 blocks from home in a dark alley. Never saw her attackers, and now she's in the hospital with bruises on her face and arms. They nearly broke her leg."

    "And Michelle is on the cheerleading team, right?"

    "Yes, sir. Obviously, she won't be able to go tonight. The doctors aren't sure about Friday."

    "Think you can get through today and play tonight?"

    "I'll try."

    But there was more. Denise March, Michelle's partner, who had been pretending to date Tommy to keep her relationship with Michelle a secret, had also been ambushed. Her masked attackers tried to set her on fire, except that the sound of police sirens chased them away. Prior to the final period, Tommy found a note in his locker......

    "Don't even think about playing tonight. We're watching you.", the note read. Of course, it was unsigned.

    Now, Tommy was in a quandry. He couldn't go to Stanger with this, because that would all but expose the truth about Michelle & Denise. At 3:00, he went home with Brittany, and dropped her off at New Dimensions, fully cognizant of the fact they were being followed. Brittany led him into the store, where he asked to use the phone. Tommy then called his father, who picked him up five minutes later. Tommy would, at least for now, sit out, and not even travel with the team for the opener at Center City.

    As it happened, Riverdale persevered without their new star, and beat Center City, 71-66. Meanwhile, Tommy opted to do what homework he had left. Around 8, the doorbell rang, but no one was there when Tommy answered. Instead, there was another unsigned note......

    "If you wanna know why your sister and girlfriend were attacked, be in the parking lot in the morning. Alone."

    Albert Butler, Tommy's father, called the police. Wendy Caulfield, the next door neighbor, said she saw someone walk up to the door and put the note in the mailbox, ring the bell, and leave. She gave Detective Matt Prescott the license plate number.
    ===========================
    The next day, Tommy arrived at school at 7:45, a full 15 minutes before homeroom. Abruptly, a black 2014 Toyota came charging toward the teenager, but just as quickly, it was frozen in place, as Superteen made a surprise appearance, and stopped the car in its tracks. The thugs u-turned and sped out of the lot, with the masked maiden giving chase. Tommy had just enough time to read the license plate number on the car. It was the same driver who'd been at the house the previous night.

    Superteen caught up with the car, dove beneath it, and lifted it off the ground, carrying it and the driver to police headquarters. Burt Carleton would only say he was paid "plenty of money" to silence Tommy, but wouldn't say why. However, he denied being at the Butler house the previous evening. He was actually at the Riverdale-Center City girls basketball game, which was verified by three witnesses.

    "That tells me someone loaned Carleton the car this morning to cover their tracks.", Superteen told Lt. Nelson Pierce. "That someone is currently at Riverdale High."

    "Problem with that, Superteen, is that we have no other clues. Whomever it is, they could take another shot at Tommy or his sister."

    That night, Harry Clayton had heard the report on the 6:00 news, and shook his head.

    "Now, they've taken things too far.", he thought.

    Meanwhile, Stanger & Eng met in Stanger's office, well after detention had ended for the day.

    "You impulsive fool!", Stanger thundered. "I get you're homophobic, but going after an innocent boy, just because he's covering for his sister?"

    "Only following orders.", Eng replied. "General Lilywhite said to expunge everything that's wrong with this town. No exceptions."
    =============================
    Who is General Lilywhite, and what is his issue with Riverdale? Hmmmm.
     
  4. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 4:

    Three days later, Barbara opened New Dimensions to find a mannequin made up to look like Kevin, who'd left a week earlier, hung in effigy, and hung on the front door, in front of a Christmas wreath which was hanging on the inside.

    "Whomever did this doesn't know Kevin's not here anymore.", she thought as she pulled on a pair of rubber gloves and removed the mannequin. "Based on what has happened this week, this shouldn't have been a surprise."

    Back in the store, Barbara called Lt. Pierce.

    "I was just going to call you about that.", he said. "Got a tip that someone came by after closing last night with a ragged old mannequin, the head covered in a burlap sack, like a scarecrow."

    "Any witnesses, Nels?", Barbara asked.

    "Just Mr. Brewster, the newspaper editor. He called it in after he got home."

    "What do you know about this General Lilywhite that's supposedly behind all this?"

    "Seems he's a moralistic zealot, like those bums in Kansas who think they're a church. No one's ever seen him. Gives out orders, and wires payment to his henchmen."

    Barbara checked the security cameras before business hours began at 9 am. Betty came in around 8:55. Her sharp eyes recognized the man leaving the store.

    "Looks like the new gym teacher's in on all this.", she thought.

    Later that afternoon, Coach Eng came in, looking for some men's clothes, which the store had started carrying after hiring Kevin a year earlier. Disgusted and frustrated by his inability to find anything in his size, Eng marched up to the counter, where Barbara was waiting on a customer. As soon as the customer left, Eng walked up to the register.

    "Do you have anything in khaki?", he asked.

    "We did, but we're sold out. The next order's due tomorrow. My assistant is picking up a rush order out of Boston this afternoon.", Barbara replied. "What exactly do you need?"

    "Four pairs of slacks, four dress shirts. I'm going to be meeting some of the men in my old unit over the holidays.", Eng replied. He gave Barbara his measurements, and she jotted them down on a piece of paper.

    "How long have you been out of the military?", she asked.

    "Almost 10 years. I went back to college to get a teaching degree after I was discharged."

    "I'll call you when the order comes in, Mr. Eng."
    =================================
    Around 9, as the store closed, Sabrina Spellman was locking up when her cell phone rang. It was her aunt Hilda, calling from the Victory Garden restaurant.

    "Sabrina? We've got a situation here. Someone called in a bomb threat and forced us to evacuate the restaurant. The police are on their way, but I've just caught sight of a couple of snipers on a roof across the street."

    "Why pick on you?", Sabrina asked.

    "Because of what we are. Someone named General Lilywhite has targeted the restaurant. I'd ask you to come over to try to help, but I'm afraid that isn't an option."

    "I'm headed for home, Aunt Hilda. I'll stay there until I hear back from you."

    Actually, Sabrina only stayed at home long enough to change to Mystyk, and flew back to the restaurant. Spotting the snipers, she disarmed them with a pair of psi-bolts before they could even train their weapons on her. She then used her telekinesis to lower them to a dumpster, where the police picked them up. Again, the police gained no leads.

    Inside, Lt. Henry Dawson of the RPD bomb squad located a fake bomb, planted in the men's room. With it was a note that read.....

    "This was just a test. You won't be so lucky next time."

    The "bomb" was checked for fingerprints, and while Dawson thought he wouldn't find any, he actually found something while running a DNA test at police headquarters.

    A couple of hours later, Hilda & Zelda shared the experience with Sabrina.

    "Good of you to use discretion, and your alter-ego, to address this problem.", Zelda said.

    "Maybe, but I've a feeling I've only made myself a target.", Sabrina replied. She was interrupted by the phone. Hilda picked it up on the 2nd ring. A few minutes later, she returned to the conversation.

    "That was Lt. Dawson. They ran a DNA test on that phony bomb device."

    "And what did he find?", Sabrina asked.

    Hilda didn't say another word. Instead, she picked up that morning's paper, and opened it to the religion page.

    "Reverend H. Jonathan Malone is in town this week and next for a series of evangelistic meetings at St. John the Baptist Church. He has a reputation for being a little too zealous with his faith, if you will."

    "He's based out of Florida, isn't he?", Zelda asked.

    "Exactly.", Hilda replied. "Like most of his southern brethren, he's opposed to same-sex marriage, doesn't believe that gays & lesbians can be redeemed, even has a problem with mixed relationships."

    "Mixed, as in, Whites and minorities?"

    "By minorities, you mean African-Americans and Asian-Americans, and you'd be right. Seems to think that today's schools are lax in discipline, which explains why graduation rates are low in a lot of places. Kids drop out when they lose interest in learning."

    "But Riverdale's always had a high graduation rate. Discipline's never been a problem.", Sabrina argued. "Seems to me someone hired Malone, assuming he's this General Lilywhite, to clean up the town."

    "Not so sure that the man of the cloth would secretly be General Lilywhite.", Zelda replied. "I've heard Riverdale High hired an ex-Marine as a gym teacher, and he's already raised an uproar."

    "So I'm hearing. And we're back to square one."
    ==================================
    Meanwhile, Coach Eng was meeting with the general, who wore a mask to conceal his true identity.

    "Well, Sgt. Eng, did you find anything on the psi-witch at the store?", Lilywhite asked.

    "No, sir. If Dr. Schubert's got mental powers, she knows enough discipline not to use them in a public setting. She treated me like any other customer.", Eng replied.

    "And what of the witches and their restaurant?"

    "The cops found the fake bomb. They don't know a real bomb's hidden elsewhere in the building, waiting to be set off. Their niece wasn't at work this afternoon when I came in. Probably came in after."

    "The cleansing of Riverdale starts with those witches. Anyone that chooses to side with them are already condemned."

    Eng departed, leaving Lilywhite all alone. The general removed his mask, revealing the visage of one Joseph DiMarco, a disgraced former assistant principal at Crosstown High, and former president of the Riverdale School Board, who'd been brought down nearly 2 years earlier.

    "I got rid of Weatherbee and his friends. Those witches are next, now that they've gone public, and, if I'm lucky, those masked meddlers can go with them."
    ===============================
    So DiMarco's out for revenge after what happened in "The 40 Year Old Grudge". How he got out of prison will be explained in chapter 5.
     
  5. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 5:

    A week later, Hiram Lodge came to New Dimensions, expecting to find Betty behind the counter, but it happened to be a Thursday afternoon, and Barbara was tending the counter.

    "Betty won't be in until tomorrow, Mr. Lodge.", she said. "I understand Veronica will be home in time for Christmas, and I may need an extra hand in the store that weekend."

    "I will advise Ron of that when I get home.", Lodge replied, "But that's not what I came here for, Dr. Schubert. It seems that an old enemy has resurfaced in town rather unexpectedly."

    "And who might that be?"

    "Joseph DiMarco, the former board president who was kicked out in disgrace nearly 2 years ago. He was just paroled about 2 months ago for good behavior. Hmmmmph. Good behavior, my eye. Probably greased a few palms."

    "So he's behind this."

    "I'm afraid so. The whole point of this series of sweeping changes at Riverdale High is to break their school spirit. You'll recall DiMarco's a Crosstown alumnus, a former assistant coach until he was busted for gambling on his own team."

    "I think I understand. He thinks that by forcing Weatherbee and other senior staff out, replacing them with hardliners like Stanger & Eng, he'll create unrest, discouragement, and other negatives."

    "Precisely. It's a good thing, then, that Betty, Veronica, and the others graduated when they did. I don't know how they'd handle it."
    ========================================
    Meanwhile, at Riverdale High, Coach Eng had been escorted out of the building in handcuffs. The car used in the attempted hit & run on Tommy Butler had been traced back to him, since it was a rental after all that Eng was using for a month, and loaned it to Burt Carleton to throw suspicion off him. Principal Stanger couldn't prevent it from happening, but now he knew the heat was on.

    Later that same night, Stanger met with Board President Caldwell and Superintendent Moses Stearns. To his horror, Stearns had reversed field.

    "I'm sorry, John, but I just got off the phone with Chief Bolling. Eng sang like a bird. Implicated you as part of this ridiculous scheme.", he said.

    Stanger didn't know what to do. A month ago, he'd been principal at Pellowski Middle School, and had been promoted with Weatherbee's retirement. He'd waited for that opportunity for at least five years.

    "Joe DiMarco's the one you want.", he said quietly. "DiMarco is looking for revenge for what happened a year and a half ago, nearly 2. He bought off a couple of key people on the Board of Education to force Weatherbee out. Kleats & Clayton, too. He arranged for me to be promoted instead of bringing Dane Granville over from Center City. I just went along with it, because if I didn't, he threatened to hurt my family."
    =========================================
    At the Victory Garden, the bomb squad found the real bomb after getting a tip from Barbara, who had dined there with Lt. Pierce. Now, all that was left was nailing DiMarco.

    General Lilywhite had decided to make his move the next night, the last Riverdale basketball game before the Christmas break. With a dozen men dressed exactly the same as him, except that they were wearing soldier's green uniforms, Lilywhite stormed the court before the varsity game between Riverdale and Revere High from Boston. The "soldiers" trained their guns in every corner of the bleachers while Lilywhite commandeered the public address microphone.

    "Do as you're told, and no one gets hurt.", he warned. "What I have to say is much more important than a silly little game."

    "Wrong, General! Your insurrection is cancelled due to sanity!", Superteen called as she entered through a balcony entrance. She alighted at center court, and quickly disarmed the soldiers who tried to stop her.

    "Administrative transition happens all the time, usually in a quiet, dignified manner.", she continued. "However, the forced resignation of one Waldo Weatherbee after 35 years of service to this district, breaking an oral agreement reached with the school board three months ago, had to have some sort of an ulterior motive attached to it. Then, it hit me. Nearly two years ago, Mr. Weatherbee was among those who had a hand in your ouster as School Board President, Mr. DiMarco. You knew you couldn't come back here, hat in hand, asking for forgiveness. No, that would re-cast you as weak. You needed an advantage. Voila! Enter General Lilywhite. Scourge of tradition and positive emotion!"

    Two security officers had grabbed Lilywhite and unmasked him as DiMarco, then handcuffed him.

    "Former Marine Sergeant Gabriel Eng, as of now suspended for insubordination, confessed to having loaned his rental car to a third party in an attempted vehicular homicide of Thomas Butler. Third party, because the arrangement was made between Sgt. Eng and you, Mr. DiMarco. You hoped it wouldn't be traced back to you, but then, you haven't caught on to modern technology, have you?"

    The "soldiers" surrendered and were taken into custody.
    =======================================
    Three days later, at a hastily scheduled student assembly, Principal Stanger announced that Weatherbee would return to finish out the season as "Principal Emeritus", working with Stanger as part of a transition, the way it should've been done in the first place. Clayton & Kleats were re-hired as well, but Clayton, pleased with what Coach McDaniels had done with the basketball team, opted to let him continue.

    "5-1 to start the season.", he said. "I never got that good three weeks in.".

    "The kids are responding the same way they would if you were still running the team.", McDaniels replied. "You've been their inspiration. And mine."

    But what of Coach Eng? After admitting complicity in Lilywhite/DiMarco's scheme, he had been suspended for 30 days. Stanger, who had been blackmailed, was on 60 days probation. Both would turn state's evidence on DiMarco at the trial.

    Ah, but it's not over yet. It may not be a Merry Christmas if DiMarco has anything to say about it.....
     
  6. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 6:

    At a pre-trial hearing on Christmas Eve, DiMarco boldly declared he had made some purchases of certain properties in the downtown district.

    "On January 1, the deals become final.", he said. "The buildings housing New Dimensions Fashions and the Victory Garden restaurant will belong to me, and will be closed, pending further notice!"

    "I'm sorry, Mr. DiMarco,", Judge Erick Spooner said, "but the documents are forgeries. None of this is legally binding!"

    "But, that's impossible!"

    "No, it isn't.", Barbara said as she stood before the judge. "You tipped your hand too early in this case. Unsubstantiated rumors began surfacing right around the same time that Mr. Weatherbee had been relieved of his duties. Not once did I or the Spellman sisters receive any legitimate offers on the buildings. You started the rumors with the sole purpose of defaming us and putting us out of business."

    Howard Kyle, DiMarco's lawyer, bowed his head.

    "She's right. I warned my client that this was destined to fail, but he wouldn't listen to reason. He's clearly not in his right mind as of now."

    "That I can see.", the judge replied. "But if Mr. DiMarco thinks he can avoid going back to prison, opting for time in an asylum, he's wrong."

    DiMarco went to prison on not only a parole violation, but extortion and assorted other charges. In truth, this was really no different than his last conviction.

    Stanger, realizing just how much the kids cared about the elder teachers, finally saw the light. It was he, on orders from DiMarco, who forced Pop Tate to reduce his hours in an effort to cut down on students playing hooky, but, as Tate pointed out, city workers were complaining since the restaurant was a favorite spot for them, too. DiMarco, in his mad quest for revenge, was hurting more people than he'd realized.
    ===================================================
    Later that night, the gang gathered at Pop's to exchange gifts, as per a tradition that went back to when they were in 5th grade. Veronica, it turned out, hadn't found a job she liked in Albany, and, like Jughead, was homesick. However, she realized that she understood why her father enrolled her at Albany, rather than at a school close to home. She was back at work at New Dimensions for the rest of her vacation, but that would be it. Once she got back to school, she would renew her search for an after-school job outside of retailing.

    Meanwhile, Moose & Midge used the occasion to announce that they were, in fact, engaged. Moose had saved enough money to buy Midge a ring, going as far back as last Christmas, but felt now was the right time. A wedding was planned for the following summer.

    As the party broke up, Veronica found herself alone with Archie while Betty was on clean-up duty.

    "I know it's been hard on both of us, but....", she began. Archie held his hand to cut her off.

    "A year and a half has passed.", he said. "That's more than enough time to let everything pass. You've learned your lesson from all this, and I think it's time we all, finally, moved forward."

    They shared a Christmas kiss, as they had done every year, except, of course, last year, when Ron & Betty were overseas, then parted, with plans for New Year's Eve to be settled.

    Two days later, Archie & Betty talked it over while enjoying lunch at Pop's.

    "You were the last holdout, hon'.", Betty said. "Ron mended things with everyone but you until Christmas Eve."

    "I know. She realizes now I'm committed to you, but one night together from time to time won't hurt, especially considering all three of us will be apart again until spring break in March.", Archie replied, putting Betty's hand in his.

    "I agree, because, well, you wouldn't be you if you weren't torn between us, anyway. Besides, Reggie said you guys were looking at getting the band together while on spring break?"

    "Yep. The five of us, actually six with Ethel joining us on the trip, spending a week in Florida or Hawaii. Final plans will be made by the end of January. After that, maybe a summer tour."

    "A lot can happen between now & then, babe."

    "I know, but it's like Stallone said in 'The Expendables'. It's good to have friends."
    ==================================================
    The end.
     

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