Main > Series > Chapters > Fame Book 1 > Chapter 5
Come Friday, Bruno thought that he was going to be late again; his train
was stopped for an eerie ten minutes in the Queensborough tunnel under
the East River as IRT guards checked the track ahead after a driver's report
that he'd seen somebody running through the darkness. In the end, the backup
had been so heavy that they'd restarted the trains. If there was anyone
sneaking around down there, he'd be brought out the quick and easy way,
flattened across the front of a midtown express.
Ten minutes had somehow managed to stretch themselves out into a half-hour
by the time that Bruno made it to Forty-Sixth. He'd all but missed his
first class - Sherwood was really going to crack the whip over him for
this. Even on the slowest days riding in the back of the cab, he'd never
been so late that he couldn't sprint that last couple of blocks and dash
up the stairs to dive in just as the door was being closed.
Perhaps he ought to speak to his father again . . . but no, no, forget
that. The subject had been closed too firmly the last time, and Bruno couldn't
see any way of opening it up again.
Well, there was no point in hurrying now; better to miss the class completely
than to attempt to sidle in halfway through. Maybe he'd even get by unnoticed
- although he didn't think he had much chance of that. Sherwood remembered
skipped classes like other people remembered football scores.
He walked out of the dust and the heat and the noise of the street into
the dust and the heat and the comparative silence of the school's main
entrance hall. There was some new stuff on the music noticeboard, Bruno
saw immediately; Ben Shorofsky was just walking away with a box of pins
and a couple of out-dated posters in his hand. He didn't look Bruno's way;
he seemed to be in a hurry. Bruno was about to cross the hall and check
the board, when he saw Troy Phillips.
Troy was just arriving, his sack lunch in his hand. He didn't have the
desperate look of a latecomer, and he didn't seem to be in any big hurry.
Bruno waited for him.
'You just getting in?' Bruno said, but Troy didn't seem to hear the
'I've got a drama class today,' he said. 'I spent all last night learning
the scene. I know all the words, both parts.'
'You have some kind of weird schedule?' Bruno said. 'I never see you
in English or Chemistry, or-'
'I don't have to take those classes,' Troy said, and Bruno's eyes widened.
There must be a way out, some kind of scheme that Troy knew. The big question
was, could Bruno get in on it too? Anything that got people out from under
Sherwood was going to be in big demand.
'What's the secret?' he said.
'I don't have a secret,' Troy said. 'I have tutors.'
The distant, far-off sound was the crashing of Brono's hopes. 'Tutors?'
Bruno wanted to ask more, but the end-of-period bell drowned him out
for a moment. Doors were slamming open, and the hall was suddenly filled
with a flash-flood of bodies.
'You see,' Troy explained, raising his voice to be heard and clutching
at his lunchbag as they were buffeted by the tide, 'I got behind in my
grades because I was sick and missed a year.'
Bruno heard I don't believe this from over by the music notice board,
and when he looked over he saw that a big crowd had gathered around Shorofsky's
latest announcement. Whatever it said, it was causing a stir. Coco Hernandez
was pushing her way towards them, and she seemed angry.
Bruno wondered what he could have done to make himself into a target;
but he quickly realised it wasn't him that Coco was aiming for.
'You know,' she said to Troy, 'for somebody that's supposed to be shy,
you sure must know some smart moves.'
Troy looked around, stunned. He hadn't been expecting this. 'Excuse
'No, I don't think I will.'
'Coco,' Bruno said, 'What's going on?'
Coco turned to him. 'A notice just went up. The singing auditions for
the festival are off.'
'I didn't ask them to do that,' Troy said quickly.
'Well, you must have done something!'
Bruno tried to bring a little calm. He felt as if he'd walked into the
middle of a story where he knew nothing of what was going on around him.
He said, 'Coco, why are the auditions off?'
'Because they've already made their choice.'
Oh-oh. Even though he could guess the answer, Bruno said, 'Who is it?'
Coco's gaze on Troy was like a finely-tuned laser. 'I think you ought
to ask your friend.'
Troy seemed to get smaller. 'I'll be late for drama class,' he said
weakly, and then after a half-second's hovering he took off so fast that
he simply seemed to vanish. Bruno started to call after him, but it was
He looked at Coco. She hadn't been expecting this; she was defensive,
'Im' sorry,' she said, 'but it's not fair. I had to say something.'
'Feel better?' Bruno said.
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