Rector Fareburgh: Hubert Polkingthorne Wrightsom III, you stand before this investigatory panel of the Disciplinary Committee charged with vandalism, committed last Thursday following your Social Studies and Wealth Management Class, whereupon, in apparent response to failing to achieve a B+ grade on your mid-term examination, causing you to fall from the Consul Honors Group back to the ranks of the Praetors, you vented your spleen by running the tip of a 1957 Budweiser promotional beer can opener across the Stanley and Harriet Fleischmann etched glass panel of the George and Mona Smithville lacrosse trophy case; you then entered the ArcoTonics Memorial men’s lavatory through the Jeffrey Donaldson door after spraying Dupont Krylon magnetic paint on the Dorothy Manion door handle; inside the men’s room, you blocked the Fitzsimmons Corporation washbasin drain with paper towels from the Georgina Hawkins towel dispenser and opened the Ira and Phyllis Larkspur burnished brass faucet; after scraping a treble clef on the door of the Drake Exeter toilet stall, you climbed onto the Marsha and Miles Washborne toilet seat, dislodging the Edith Pippinham cistern cover, which fractured upon hitting the floor; you then proceeded to ignite a vintage Po Sing Phantom Cherry Bomb and dropped it into the Clive and Agatha Tortelson toilet bowl, where it shattered the Edna Parkhurst wax sealing ring, allowing water contaminated with fecal matter to discolor the Barconi Family synthetic Italian marble tile floor; fleeing the scene of your delinquency, you ran the keys of your BMW AC Schnitzer ACS7 sports car across the right fender and passenger-side door of Social Studies instructor Delilah Sampsonite’s MiniCooper S Clubman; you were apprehended by the Campus Security in their Dixie Hills Motors Saab 9000CD police cruiser after you decimated the Frederico Quiñones flock of the black-neck swans that was crossing the Regina Tillingshire Boulevard on their way to the Peggy and Slim Rankin reclaimed water wetlands. Unless you can provide an adequate explanation for your vandalistic behavior, in addition to full restitution, your family name will be removed from all items donated to the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School for Aberrant Adolescent Aristocrats, including the Martha Fletcher Polkingthorne Memorial Koi Pedicure Pool located in the Silvia and Thorton Buckingstern Garden of the Ambassador and Mrs. Archibald McPherson Rector’s Residence. What response do you submit to these charges?
HPWIII: They’re bogus. Everyone knows 1950s vintage promotional beer can openers are made of low grade alloyed steel, rating only a 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. High quality etched glass like that in the lacrosse trophy case rates a Mohs scale of 6.5 and requires tools with carbide tips for a deep scratch like the one I allegedly made on the trophy case. I think the school administration should investigate whether any vanadium burs are missing from the Sarah and Arthur Tendholm equipment locker in the Parkhurst Industries jewelry and gem laboratory. Recent tweets rumor that some of the students in Jewelry for Debutantes 101 class have been misappropriating laboratory equipment.
1st Interrogator Marley: Rector Fareburgh, if I might be allowed a follow-up question of the respondent. Master Wrightsom are you claiming you did not attempt to desecrate the George and Mona Smithville lacrosse trophy case? There are witnesses who saw you pass the trophy case and heard a scraping sound.
HPWIII: It’s true I passed by the trophy case following my Social Studies and Wealth Management class, as did several others of my classmates, and, as Rector Fareburgh noted, I went to the men’s lavatory, again with several classmates. Following mid-terms, as is the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School custom, I and my classmates were provided with a celebratory mid-semester snack catered by the students of the Executive Mansion Management and Economics class, who were forced to substitute some hinky paddlefish roe for genuine caviar due to the large investment losses suffered by the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School endowment following the collapse of the investment fund run by Bernie Madoff of the class of 1957. The fake caviar resulted in acute indigestion for me and several of my classmates, causing certain involuntary flatulent emissions that could have been confused for scraping sounds reported by witnesses. A better explanation of the scratch is found in the recent tweet from second-year deb Irandia van Stoelkenberg about Marc Jenkins, captain of the lacrosse team:
“ccksckr had tung in mouth of bitch Viki Lutz. Gonna cut balls off w/ diamond saw nxt time i see him!!”
Rector Fareburgh: Irrespectively, you nonetheless desecrated the Dorothy Manion handle of the Jeffery Donaldson door of the ArcoTonics Memorial men’s lavatory with magnetic paint…
HPWIII: Bogus again.
Rector Fareburgh: Be so kind as to not interrupt me while I am speaking to you.
HPWIII: But I can explain the paint. Building maintenance was painting the bulletin board in the hallway between the classroom and the restroom so they could use magnets instead of thumb tacks, which the students have been stealing and putting on the teachers’ chairs…
Rector Fareburgh: You are referring to the Edythe and Jasper Conklin Memorial informational display, now equipped with neodymium rare earth magnets?
HPWIII: Right. We all wanted to get to the rest room fast because of the crappy paddlefish caviar. We were running and slid into the fresh paint on the bulletin board. It wasn’t just me that put the paint on the door handle.
1st Interrogator Marley: A very imaginative story, young man, but my niece Rebecca Anne is a debutante in the Executive Mansion Management and Economics class. I asked her whether anything unusual happened in her classes on that day, and she did not report any cases of food poisoning. I’m sure she would have remembered such an event.
HPWIII: Mr. Marley, Rebecca Anne cut the home ec class and was snogging with Rolfe Lindsemere, who cut Ms. Sampsonite’s Social Studies class—that’s why he wasn’t poisoned by the paddlefish caviar. Rolfe has been surveilling Ms. Sampsonite in the faculty parking lot to learn the door code for her MiniCooper. That’s where he and Rebecca Anne were snogging, because he knew Ms. Sampsonite parks her car next to the azalea bushes…
Rector Fareburgh: You are referring to the Priscilla Tattenberg azalea grove bordering the Dahlberg Family Vehicle Enclosure?
HPWIII: Right. It’s pretty secluded, and Rolfe and Rebecca Anne were sure Ms. Sampsonite wouldn’t be using her car. By the way, you should talk to Rebecca Anne and Rolfe about the scratch on Ms. Sampsonite’s MiniCooper. According to a tweet I got from Rolfe:
“had bitch’s bra unhkd but dissed her cup size. elbowed me in balls, made nice scar on MiniCooper leaving.”
Rector Fareburgh: We shall postpone that discussion until we reach the vehicle vandalism portion of the allegation. Now Master Wrightsom, there is the matter of the Fitzsimmons Corporation washbasin drain which you blocked with paper towels from the Georgina Hawkins towel dispenser and then opened the Ira and Phyllis Larkspur burnished brass faucet, causing flooding in the lavatory. You admit to being in the lavatory at the time the flooding took place.
HPWIII: Well, yeah, but I wasn’t the only one in there. Several members of the lacrosse team ate the polluted paddlefish caviar, and they thought they’d been poisoned on purpose. Irandia has a lot of bffs in the Executive Mansion Management and Economics class, most of whom have been groped pretty thoroughly by the lacrosse team. One of them, Cynthia Garthwood, is the granddaughter of the Tortelson bowl donors. So the lacrosse team took out their being pissed off on the Cynthia’s ancestral crapper. I’m not sure who put the cleft mark on the toilet door.
1st Interrogator Marley: You’re very good about shifting the blame onto others, aren’t you Master Wrightsom, no matter how innocent they may be? But isn’t it true your father appeared last year on the Antiques Roadshow episode broadcast from Richmond showing off his widely renowned collection of antique fireworks. Or are you saying someone on the lacrosse team just happened to have a vintage Po Sing Phantom Cherry Bomb to drop into the Clive and Agatha Tortelson toilet bowl?
Rector Fareburgh: Is your father missing any antique fireworks, Master Wrightsom?
HPWIII: Okay, but I can explain.
1st Interrogator Marley: I’ll bet you can, Master Wrightsom, I’ll bet you can.
Rector Fareburgh: Please, Mr. Marley, let him finish. We need to get this on the record.
1st Interrogator Marley: Of course, Rector.
HPWIII: I confess. I brought the vintage cherry bomb to school.
Rector Fareburgh: That’s a class-one infraction, Master Wrightsom. I could expel you right now, just for that.
1st Interrogator Marley: Good. Can we wrap this up? I’m tired to listening to these lies.
Rector Fareburgh: Please, Mr. Marley, we have to follow procedure. His father is a corporate attorney. You remember what happened the last time? Go ahead, Master Wrightsom.
HPWIII: We’ve been going over explosive materials in chemistry class; you know, how much plastique does it take to damage an armored limousine? Anyway, Professor Drueckhoeffer had a picture of some Nobel No. 808. He always encourages students to bring in historical items from home to show the class, you know, to make the class more relevant. My Dad said it was okay to take the cherry bomb to school as long as I was careful, although he made me sign a release.
Rector Fareburgh: Any kind of explosive whatsoever is prohibited on campus.
HPWIII: I grabbed for my handkerchief to wipe my face after I’d puked in the toilet, and the Po Sing fell out of my pocket. One of the lacrosse players picked it up, lit it and threw it in the toilet. My Dad said he was surprised the damn thing went off; it was over sixty years old. The value of the other half dozen cherry bombs in his collection just doubled because of this test.
Rector Fareburgh: There is still the animal cruelty issue, when you drove your BMW AC Schnitzer ACS7 sports car through the Frederico Quiñones flock of the black-neck swans that was crossing the Regina Willingshire Boulevard toward the Peggy and Slim Rankin reclaimed water wetlands.
HPWIII: It wasn’t me. I swerved around the geese. It was campus security that was travelling at like ninety miles an hour trying to catch me that killed the fowl.
1st Interrogator Marley: Again shifting the blame for your actions to someone else. I think we’ve heard enough, Rector.
HPWIII: My Dad told me to give you this, Rector.
Rector Fareburgh: What this? “You are hereby served with this subpoena for all images recorded between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on 3 March 2009 by the Patrolrecorder 4C installed in the Campus Security Saab 9000CD police cruiser with the license plate REBCOP15.” I see. Well, perhaps, we should return to this matter at a later date after consulting with the general counsel.
1st Interrogator Marley: Are we finished now, Rector?
Rector Fareburgh: Yes, I think so. Hubert Polkingthorne Wrightsom III, you are hereby placed on suspension from the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School for Aberrant Adolescent Aristocrats until the full Disciplinary Committee has had the opportunity to examine the transcript of this interrogation and the other evidence and vote on your expulsion. Since the full Disciplinary Committee only meets twice a semester and its last meeting was held ten days ago, you will miss the next six weeks of class.
HPWIII: I will never be able to catch up after all that time. I’ll have to repeat the whole semester.
Rector Fareburgh: Yes, that is unfortunate, indeed. Perhaps you would like to consider transferring to another college preparatory academy more suitable for your temperament? I happened to be speaking to Warden Christoffe at the Breckenriver Adolescent Remedial Institute. He told me he has some openings for qualified transferees.
HPWIII: I thought you needed to have at least a class-2 misdemeanor arrest or higher to qualify for admission at Breckenriver?
Rector Fareburgh: Yes, but in your case he will make an exception.
HPWIII: In that case, my Dad told me to give you this.
Rector Fareburgh: What? Another subpoena? “Be advised that Article IX, Section 3, paragraph iv of the bequest agreement between the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School and the Estate of Martha Fletcher Polkingthorne specifies: ‘in so far as there exists a linear descendant of Martha Fletcher Polkingthorne within the fourth degree who is physically capable and willing to attend the Trent Lockhardt Preparatory School for Aberrant Adolescent Aristocrats, such individual shall be assured unconditional admission and retention; failing this, the entire contents of the Martha Fletcher Polkingthorne Memorial Koi Pedicure Pool located in the Silvia and Thorton Buckingstern Garden of the Ambassador and Mrs. Archibald McPherson Rector’s Residence, including but not limited to (1) any physical structures other than foundations, pediments or basements, (2) furniture and office equipment, (3) aquarium equipment, including tanks, tubing, filters and aquatic pedicure stations, and (4) all fish, regardless of their descendancy from the original school of donated koi, along with any amphibians and reptiles living in the pool, shall be delivered at the School’s expense to the estate of the closest Polkingthorne descendant within fifteen days of the notification of non-admission, expulsion or suspension exceeding sixty days.’”
HPWIII: My family is only renting the house here in Roanoke. Our estate is in Tappahannock near Richmond.
Rector Fareburgh: Perhaps a warning will suffice until the Disciplinary Committee can make a final determination. We wouldn’t want to do anything precipitous that might damage your future academic career or the reputation of the School.
1st Interrogator Marley: What? You’re going to let this delinquent stay here after what he said about my niece. My son-in-law owns a trucking firm. I’ll transport the whole goddamned koi pond for free just to get rid of the arrogant little bastard.
Rector Fareburgh: I’m sorry, John, but the koi pedicures make Mrs. Fareburgh very happy. And when Mrs. Fareburgh is happy, well, I can be at peace. You are dismissed, Master Wrigthsom. Take this as a lesson to stay out of trouble. You will receive notification of the final outcome of this investigation in late April. Don’t be surprised to receive a strongly worded reprimand.
HPWIII: Thank you, Rector Fareburgh, for your understanding. And Mr. Marley, I apologize for having to be the one to inform you that your niece is a slut.
Dr. Andrew Hogan (PhD - University of Wisconsin-Madison) has published more than five-dozen professional articles on health services research and health policy. He has also published thirty-seven works of fiction in such publications as the OASIS Journal (1st Prize, Fiction 2014), Hobo Pancakes, Subtopian Magazine, Twisted Dreams, and Festival Writer (Pushcart Nominee).