HOMICIDE MEETS MR. GOLD MEDAL
Cast of Characters:
JORDAN CHANG – 8th graders, best friends
MR. KILBRIDE – Phys. Ed and Health teacher, nickname: Homicide
KELLI DONNELLY – Mr. Kilbride’s top runner
MARTY SILVERMAN – a classmate
MARJORIE NITTI – an office helper
JOHN DEMITRIUS – editor of the school newspaper
COACH PETROSKI – the high school coach
TRACK MEET ANNOUNCER
NARRATOR – the action from Kevin’s viewpoint
NARRATOR: Mr. Kilbride has only been at our school for two weeks but already Gym class is one big leg cramp.
VERA: (panting) That’s it! I can’t go another step!
KEVIN: Keep running! Homicide’s looking straight at us!
NARRATOR: “Homicide” is our nickname for Mr. Kilbride. We started out calling him “Killer” but Marty Silverman got caught and Homicide slapped him with 200 push-ups. Now Marty’s going to have the biggest muscles in Intensive Care.
MR. KILBRIDE: (from a distance) Get those knees up! No slacking!
JORDAN: Slacking? On The Loop? My dad clocked this with his car and it’s a mile and a half!
VERA: Homicide’s crazy! In Health class he tells us to take care of our bodies. Then in Gym, he runs us into the ground.
MR. KILBRIDE: (from a distance) No talking! Save your breath for running!
KEVIN: Breath? What breath? I haven’t breathed since that dog attacked us back at the fire hydrant!
NARRATOR: So we’re running and gasping and choking and dying. And all of a sudden, Kelli Donnelly comes up from behind and passes us like we’re standing still. She has to slow down to talk to us.
KELLI: Come on, you guys, Mr. Kilbride is gaining on us!
VERA: Mr. Kilbride is in his car or didn’t you notice?
KELLI: The Intramurals are next Friday! Don’t you want to make the track team?
KEVIN: Why? Are they serving pizza?
NARRATOR: Homicide wheels around the corner in his Buick.
MR. KILBRIDE: Pick up the pace!
NARRATOR: Kelli takes off like she’s been shot out of a cannon.
MR. KILBRIDE: That’s the difference between athletes and slugs.
NARRATOR: He burns rubber and leaves us choking in a cloud of exhaust. We slow to a walk.
JORDAN: This guy is brutal!
VERA: We’ve got to get him off our backs before he kills us!
KEVIN: How? He’s our teacher for Health and Gym. Face it — two periods a day we’re stuck with Homicide.
JORDAN: The only time he isn’t busting on us is when he’s dying of joy over the great Kelli Donnelly.
KEVIN: If that’s what keeps him off our necks, we need a dozen Kelli Donnellys.
NARRATOR: What am I saying? Yuccch!
VERA: Wait a minute. Maybe we can’t have twelve Kellis. But what if there was a guy who was so awesome at sports he was twelve times as good as her? Homicide would be so blown away, he’d totally concentrate on Mr. Gold Medal — and completely forget to make life miserable for us!
JORDAN: Yeah, too bad there’s no Mr. Gold Medal.
VERA: Well, there could be —
NARRATOR: Let me explain about Vera. When she gets an idea like this, it’s a guaranteed trip to the principal’s office. Last time was the big “Chemical Milkshake” in Science and they’re still rebuilding the lab after the explosion. Not to mention that it cost a fortune to buy the cafeteria a new blender.
VERA: Homicide’s new, so he doesn’t know most of the kids. All we have to do is make up a guy with stats like an Olympic champion.
JORDAN: Big deal. So Homicide goes to the office and finds out there’s no such person.
VERA: That’s the beauty. We’ll program him into the school computer. Homicide will go apewire looking for him so he can put him on the track team.
KEVIN: Now hold on a minute! You can’t invent people!
VERA: I just did. I love this guy. I might even ask him to the Spring dance.
NARRATOR: I’m about to tell her to shut up when Marty Silverman jogs past, fresh from his push-up-fest.
VERA: Way to go, Marty. You’re a regular (pause, thinking) Dustin Whitfield.
MARTY: Who’s Dustin Whitfield?
VERA: Nobody. But from now on, he’s your best friend.
MARTY: What for?
VERA: We’re driving Homicide crazy.
MARTY: Count me in.
NARRATOR: Dustin Whitfield is born about an hour later in Mr. Gulliver’s office. Marjorie Nitti helps the secretaries with data entries, so she knows how to add names to the student files.
MARJORIE: (as she keyboards) We’re going to get caught! We’re going to get in trouble!
VERA: You want to run The Loop every day until June?
MARJORIE: Height. weight, eye color?
VERA: Let’s see — Dustin’s about 5’10”, 155 pounds; eyes? Steely blue. What a hunk!
KEVIN: What a creep!
KEVIN: 25. (simultaneous) VERA: 160.
KEVIN: He’s a genius too?
VERA: Just because he’s a track star and he’s gorgeous doesn’t mean he has to be stupid. He’s also a chess champion and he’s fluent in Japanese. Put that in.
NARRATOR: It’s a Maalox moment. This guy Whitfield is turning my stomach!
KEVIN: Even Girls’ Volleyball?
VERA: Varsity track, basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse …
NARRATOR: You get the picture. We print out Dustin’s record and take it to John Demitrius, editor of the school newspaper.
JOHN: (reading) … swimming, tennis, bowling, lacrosse, kayaking; who is this guy? Superman?
VERA: He’s the subject of your next feature article.
JOHN: You think he’d do an interview?
KEVIN: Well, that might be kind of tricky.
VERA: I hear you’re in Mr. Kilbride’s third period Phys. Ed.
NARRATOR: That’s the clincher. Anybody who has run The Loop with Homicide will do anything to get out of ever having to do it again. In the next day’s paper, John prints a glowing story about superstar athlete Dustin Whitfield and all the track and field records he broke last year at his old Junior High in Guam.
VERA: I’ve got to hand it to John. I never would have thought of Guam. Can you imagine Homicide trying to check on old track meet records when the phone call alone costs three bucks a minute?
NARRATOR: We’re in Health. We got there early to sneak a copy of the paper onto Mr. Kilbride’s desk. But Homicide has definitely seen it already.
MR. KILBRIDE: Is anybody here friends with Dustin Whitfield?
VERA: Isn’t he that new kid from Guam?
KELLI: I never heard of him.
VERA: Picture a dream in a 5’10”, 155 pound, steely-blue-eyed package.
KELLI: There’s nobody like that around here.
NARRATOR: Well, thanks a lot. I guess I should have eaten my Wheaties.
JORDAN: I’ve heard he’s some kind of track star.
MR. KILBRIDE: You’d think a boy like that would go out for track.
NARRATOR: You could almost see the drool. I mean, if Dustin Whitfield is as good as the paper says, he could give Homicide a state championship in his first year at our school.
MR. KILBRIDE: Well, if any of you run into Whitfield, tell him to see me immediately. A talent like that should be on the track team.
KEVIN: (panting) Well, Genius? We risked getting expelled and what are we doing right now? We’re running, same as always.
VERA: But not on The Loop. A few laps of the gym is nothing. It’ll give you a chance to plant this in the boys’ change room.
NARRATOR: She takes out a ratty old pair of underwear. Written on waistband is “D. WHITFIELD.”
JORDAN: Where’d you get them?
VERA: From your locker. Serves you right for having the combination 1-2-3.
JORDAN: But it’s so easy to remember!
KEVIN: Can’t we just stop this Dustin Whitfield stuff before it blows up in our faces?
NARRATOR: You know, like the Science lab?
VERA: Don’t be an idiot. It’s going great. See that printout Homicide’s reading? Bet you a soda it’s D.W.’s school record.
KELLI: Mr. Kilbride! Mr. Kilbride! I just ran my fastest time ever for the 200 meters!
NARRATOR: Homicide is so absorbed in that fake record that he barely hears her.
MR. KILBRIDE: (absently) What? Oh, uh, very nice, Kelli. I’ll mark the Personal Best chart.
NARRATOR: But he doesn’t even get up. Kelli has to make the change herself.
KELLI: All he cares about is Dustin Whitfield! He’s never even seen him run! Maybe fast in Guam is slow here!
VERA: It’s no disgrace being second to a star like Dustin Whitfield. He’s so awesome you’d swear he’s not human!
NARRATOR: Over the next few days, Mr. Kilbride starts to change. He gets nervous and twitchy. He prowls the halls, staring into faces. He hangs around locker 741, which the printout says is Dustin’s.
MR. KILBRIDE: Oh — Vera, Kevin. Have you seen Dustin Whitfield today?
NARRATOR: I feel the beginnings of an Excedrin headache.
VERA: You know what? You just missed him. I think he was on his way to the cafeteria.
MR. KILBRIDE: Thanks.
NARRATOR: And off he goes, chasing his wild goose. Vera signals to Jordan and Marty.
VERA: Marty, take the back stairs to the lunchroom and tell Homicide that Dustin just left for the library. Jordan, that’s your job. Get to the library and make sure Homicide knows that Dustin dropped off a book and then left for a dentist appointment.
NARRATOR: We don’t catch up with Homicide until Gym class that afternoon. He looks like he’s been pulled backwards through a hedge — hair flying, clothes awry. He couldn’t care less about us. We kill the hour shooting baskets. And Homicide?
MR. KILBRIDE: (into the phone) Hello, is this Mrs. Whitfield? … Taco Bell?! This is supposed to be the home of one of my students … no, I don’t want any refried beans! …
KELLI: This is ridiculous! I mean, how good can Dustin Whitfield be? We’re missing out on Gym class!
VERA: We’re missing out on The Loop.
KELLI: I like The Loop! The Intramurals are in a week! I want to be ready!
VERA: Dustin’s going to blow you off the track!
KELLI: Dustin! Dustin! I’m sick to death of Dustin! He’s always in school but he never goes to class! He’s either here five minutes ago or due to arrive, but he’s never here now! He’s a superstar but no one’s ever seen him lace on a pair of sneakers! I’ll bet he won’t even show up next Friday!
NARRATOR: That was a pretty good bet. To make it to the Intramurals, first you have to exist.
JORDAN: Hey, isn’t that Coach Petroski?
NARRATOR: Sure enough, the head coach of all the high school teams walks into Mr. Kilbride’s office. We all edge closer to eavesdrop.
COACH PETROSKI: I understand you’ve got a young man who’s really something special on the track.
MR. KILBRIDE: I’ve got a few — Henderson, Klein —
COACH PETROSKI: I’m talking about Dustin Whitfield.
MR. KILBRIDE: You know Dustin Whitfield?
COACH PETROSKI: I’ve got ears. And what they hear is a guaranteed state championship. What gives?
MR. KILBRIDE: I wish I knew.
COACH PETROSKI: You’re holding out on me. You know I’ll jump him to the ninth grade team.
MR. KILBRIDE: I don’t care if you jump him off the Brooklyn Bridge! You’ll have to find him first!
COACH PETROSKI: Find him? Everybody’s talking about this kid.
MR. KILBRIDE: He has doctor’s appointments every day! His address a vacant lot! I try phoning and I get a sales pitch for guacamole! I have dreams about this guy! He’s driving me crazy!
NARRATOR: Then Coach Petroski gets up and closes the door. Which is just as well, because I’m feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing. I mean, all we were trying to do was get out of running The Loop. We didn’t want to give anybody a nervous breakdown. I unload on Vera after class.
KEVIN: We put an innocent man in the rubber room! That’s really something to be proud of!
MARTY: We’re scum.
VERA: I admit it got a little out of hand —
NARRATOR: And Hurricane Andrew was scattered showers.
VERA: — but Homicide’s a big boy. He’ll get over it. I think Coach Petroski got him calmed down a little.
JORDAN: Maybe we could get Marjorie to program the computer to say Dustin moved to, like, Europe, or something.
MARTY: Yeah, and John could put it in the paper.
KEVIN: No more lies!
NARRATOR: It’s not that I’m such a goody-goody. It’s just too hard to keep track of today’s version of “reality.”
VERA: We’re not going to do anything. We’re going to keep our mouths shut.
KEVIN: Now she tells us.
NARRATOR: As you’ve probably guessed, Homicide doesn’t have his nervous breakdown. I keep expecting him to walk up and say:
MR. KILBRIDE: Hey, didn’t you tell me you were a personal friend of Dustin Whitfield?
NARRATOR: But it doesn’t happen. In fact, nobody really talks about Dustin Whitfield anymore.
MARTY: It’s like the guy died.
JORDAN: He was never alive, Einstein!
VERA: I kind of miss him. He was hot.
NARRATOR: Besides us, the only person who ever mentions you-know-who is Kelli.
KELLI: He’s a wimp. He’s afraid to run against me in the Intramurals. That’s why he won’t show his face around here.
NARRATOR: But Kelli’s happy because training is back on track. Which means that we’re running The Loop again.
KEVIN: (panting) And after all we’ve been through, we’re right back where we started.
VERA: Keep your feet moving and your mouth shut and everything will be okay.
NARRATOR: For once in her life, Vera is right. By Friday’s Intramural track meet, the Dustin Whitfield episode has completely blown over. We dodged the bullet. We’re safe.
ANNOUNCER: The first event of the Intramural Track and Field competition is the Co-ed 100 meter dash. Running in lane 1, Kelli Donnelly —
ANNOUNCER: Running in lane 2, Dustin Whitfield —
VERA, KEVIN, MARTY, JORDAN: What?!!
NARRATOR: We stand up on the bleachers and gawk. There he is, loosening up next to Kelli — tall, blonde —
VERA: Steely blue eyes —
MARTY: I thought you said there was no such guy!
KEVIN: There isn’t! I mean, there wasn’t!
NARRATOR: Welcome to The X-Files.
JORDAN: Now let me get this straight. We made up a guy and now there he is?
VERA: Don’t be stupid! There’s no way that’s Dustin Whitfield!
NARRATOR: The gun goes off. The mystery man in lane 2 explodes out of the blocks and crosses the finish line a good two strides ahead of Kelli in second place.
MARTY: It’s him! It’s Dustin Whitfield!
JORDAN: Just like the track meet in Guam!
KEVIN: Would you two get a grip!
VERA: Let’s get to the bottom of this.
NARRATOR: She leads the way to the field and we all crowd around the winning sprinter.
VERA: Great race, kid. By the way, I didn’t catch your name.
SPRINTER: Dustin Whitfield.
VERA: What was that? Whitson? Whitman?
NARRATOR: Like this all might be just a humongous coincidence.
SPRINTER: Whitfield. My family just moved here. We used to live on this island in the Pacific —
SPRINTER: Yeah. How did you know?
NARRATOR: Nobody sees Homicide coming up behind us.
KEVIN: Come off it! You’re not Dustin Whitfield! You can’t be!
MR. KILBRIDE: And why is that? Maybe because — there is no Dustin Whitfield?
NARRATOR: Inside, we turn to stone. All that time we thought we were safe, he knew. But Vera has to give it one last shot and dig all our graves with her mouth.
VERA: Of course there’s a Dustin Whitfield! This is him! Great race, huh?
MR. KILBRIDE: Actually, this is Jerry Kilbride, my nephew. And you guys are busted.
NARRATOR: Here it comes: You’re suspended! You’re expelled! Ten years hard labor! Death by lethal injection!
MR. KILBRIDE: Just because I’m a coach doesn’t mean I’m not a real teacher. And just because it’s Gym class doesn’t make it a big joke. Physical Education is a subject, the same as Math or English or Science.
VERA, KEVIN, MARTY, JORDAN: Yes, sir.
MR. KILBRIDE: Now, I’m pretty sore about what you did, but I kind of understand why you did it. I apologize for being such a tyrant on The Loop. It won’t happen again.
NARRATOR: Could it be?
VERA: No more Loop?
MR. KILBRIDE: You’ll still run The Loop. But I’ll be out there running with you. If I’m going to push you guys, I figure I should know what it feels like.
KEVIN: We’re really sorry, Mr. Kilbride. We didn’t know it was going to get so far out of control.
MR. KILBRIDE: Let’s put it behind us. But you might want to apologize to Kelli Donnelly. These last two weeks have been pretty hard on her too.
SPRINTER: Well, I guess I should be getting back to my own school.
VERA: Not so fast! We’ve got this great Spring Dance coming up. How’d you like to be my date, Dustin?
SPRINTER: That’s Jerry.
VERA: Same difference.