Teacher Kendra Desola opens an anonymous email to find that someone’s photoshopped her into a snapshot from a student party, and this bogus picture means jail time for her if it gets around. When a staff member turns up dead on campus, that photo becomes the perfect set up to make her murder suspect number one. Kendra plays off an unknown adversary — and the police — as she seeksto prove her innocence before the killer can kill again.
“What is it, Nicole? Aren’t you assigned to VP Favor this period?” Zant gave her a quick head to toe appraisal. Nicole was squirming in front of him, working her fingers into the back pocket of her exceedingly tight jeans. She surely was a “babe,” as the students said. Zant wasn’t so far removed from those years that he couldn’t easily remember how it felt to be in class with girls like her. Next thing you know, she’d be calling him a dirty old man, but what should he do with his eyes? These kids thought a dress code was a cipher to be broken, not a clothing guide. He forced himself to look at her face, at that lovely wide mouth.
“I already told you that I won’t have you reinstated as a candidate, Nicole. Once you get a suspension, you can’t run for office.”
“This’ll make you change your mind.” Nicole held out an envelope decorated with her signature cartoon and moved forward to edge around the side of his desk. In a lower voice she continued, “Yesterday, after school, I was on my way to interview a teacher for the school paper and I saw the Special Ed. teachers having a little get-together in the room next door. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but when I heard what they were talking about I thought, like, maybe I’d help you out a bit, you know?” She upended the envelope and slid out two cassette tapes.
When Zant didn’t rise to the bait, Nicole made a gesture to put the tapes back. “Or, maybe you already know what they’re planning to do?”
He could see his pet tarantula in its tank, crawling mere inches from the girl’s arm. He was struck by the irony that the girl was a predator in her own way as well. However, her proposal was not without interest. The gleam in his eyes contradicted his careful words. “I don’t make deals with students, Nicole. Save your business skills for your senior vocational task.” He picked up his Army insignia paperweight and fondled it.
“Well, Mr. Zant, I think that you’ll find it very worth your while to listen to this. Tell you what, you can have ‘part one’ now. After you hear how their meeting was going, I just know you’ll want ‘part two’.” Nicole leaned forward, revealing several inches of cleavage. She dangled the tape before him. “I’m totally sure you’ll want to show your appreciation by putting my name back on the ballot and then I’ll give you the second tape. You know I should be senior class President.”
The VP gave her his most professional smile. “I’ll give it only my best, Nicole. Hand it over and go.”
“I knew you’d see the light, Mr. Zant.” She dropped the cassette into his hand and bounded out of the room, leaving a cloud of perfume behind.
Cripes, he thought, that café latte girl was much more than her six feet of trouble. The tape seemed to jeer at him from his hand. Clearing his head, he locked it into a drawer. He’d listen to the tape later. That had been a real interesting little scene. The tape must have been made on the sly. It was probably illegal to even have it. Even if it actually did contain useful information, he had no intention of reinstating her as a candidate. He’d find a way to get the second part of the tape.
Mickey Hoffman was born in Chicago, and attended public schools where she acquired the strong suspicion that some of her teachers might be human. She wasn’t able to prove this fanciful thinking until much later, when she became a high school teacher herself.
Before landing in the halls of academia, she worked in a variety of jobs, including computer typesetting and wholesale frozen fish sales.
The author is also a printmaker and painter and resides on the West Coast with her long suffering mate, eight marine aquariums and a very large cat.
Deadly Traffic, the sequel to School of Lies will soon be released by Second Wind Publishing.