Alex eats alone on the piazza, as usual. He doesnt see Topolsky. Underdressed as usual, she comes over and shoves her titties at him.
Can i join you? She says.
Sure, he says. Sit here. Wait a minute, he says as he removes books from the seat beside him. When he is distracted so his eyes are not on his drink Topolsky dumps some white powder into it.
I’m glad i ran into you, she says. Remember that class in computer languages you wanted next semester? You’re in.
Thank you so much, he babbles. I cant believe you put that together for me.
They toast each other and Alex drinks some of the poison Topolsky wants put in him.
Good things do happen to good people, Alex. I heard what you did for Max.
Alex is seized with a violent coughing fit. You did? Alex says.
Going over to the hospital right away like that after his accident. I heard a group of you went.
Alex feels the flutter of suspicion’s wings very briefly. He says, How did you…
Oh, the school keeps me in the loop about these things, she says, lowering her eyes coyly. In case anybody wants to talk about it afterward..
Yeah. It wasnt such a big deal. Just went to see how he was doing.
Dont sell yourself short, Alex, she says. That’s how you find out who your real friends are. Who shows up in situations like that. I must admit i have reservations about Max Evans but if he’s a friend of yours…
Liz scowls when she sees this. She walks over, trying desperately to stifle the extreme dislike she has felt for Topolsky since she first cast eyes on the woman.
RU talking about Max? Liz says cooly. Well, Max is just fine. In fact he’s back in school.
Liz turns to Alex and says with an edge in her voice, So there’s nothing to worry about, right?
Right, Alex says.
I heard you got a little shaken up as well, Topolsky says to Liz. Everything okay.
Everything is fine, Liz says, unable to keep the hostility out of her voice.
Topolsky turns back to Alex. Her voice is seductive. She says to him, Why dont you come by my office a little later? We’ll talk more.
Sure, he says.
Liz sits down. When Topolsky is gone she says, Alex. please.
Alex gets very snotty with her. He says, If i had a therapist he’d say talking to you is detrimental to my mental health.
Frustrated, she says, Alex, i am so sorry. For every goddamn thing.
Feeling better now? He says rudely and gets up and leaves.
She goes after him and says, Now look, Alex, i just have to make sure you havent told anybody about the thing at the hospital. If you’re really pissed off at me i can understand but please…
Are we all covering for Max Evans now? Alex says. Is that it? Me and Kyle…
No, Alex. Kyle?
Well, he knows too, right? How long do you think you can keep a thing like this secret? Before it all blows up in your face and then…
Alex stops as he notices the blood coming from his nose. He is bleeding like a warfarined rat.
Let me help you, Alex, she says. That nosebleed looks bad.
No, Liz, i can take care of myself.
Alex goes into the bathroom and uses a lot of toilet paper to stanch the hemorrhage. He tosses the bloody paper into the trash. And looks into the mirror and to be sure he’s not still bleeding and says, Loser! to himself and leaves.
Topolsky is waiting. When Alex is gone she goes into the boys’ bathroom with an evidence baggie and puts in the bloody toilet paper and seals it and leaves.