Angelo, despite the events of the night before, was motivated in Mr. Young's gym class and overexerted himself to the point where the teacher sent him to the showers early.
"I appreciate your efforts, Mr. Di Marco but I can't have you passing out on the gymnasium floor. You're beet red right now. Take a lukewarm shower and get dressed. Go to the fountain and get a drink. Drink slowly! You're done here for the day." the man ordered. "I expect you to take things more slowly on Friday. Understood?"
"Yes sir. Thank you." Angelo replied, walking quickly toward the showers. Once in the locker room he glanced around, then turned his back on the large mirror above the sinks and gently pulled down the back of his gym shorts. There weren't many of them but he couldn't help but notice the round, spoon shaped bruises. A couple were crescent shaped where the rim of the bowl had caught him rather than the bowl itself. He gently pressed one of the bruises, wincing as the muscle twinged. He'd been very concerned that the bruises would be exposed during gym, and everyone would know what had happened. While he was exhausted and sweatier than usual, he was glad that his plan had worked, and that Mr. Young took such good care of his boys.
He took a quick shower, keeping his shorts on as he soaped up and washed his hair just in case anyone else came in early, and then dried off and dressed in one of the bathroom stalls. He was doing a more thorough dry of his hair by the time the other boys filed in.
"What got into you today, Angelo? You made the rest of us look like snails in there!" joked Marshall Jakes, one of his classmates.
"Did you get your drink?" asked another boy named Kevin. "Your face is still kind of red."
"Hey, Angelo," called a boy named Adam Krahe as he entered the locker room, "Boss says he wants to see you in his office when you're done in here."
"You might want to drink more water from the tap there and go see him." Kevin suggested, nodding toward the faucet.
"Did he look mad?" asked Angelo, looking at Adam worriedly, sipping some cool water and patting the rest on his face and neck, using the sleeve of his shirt to dry his face.
"Not particularly, no. I'd say more worried. I think you're OK." Adam replied. "But honest, Ange, what was with you today?"
"Just hyper I guess." he hedged. He took a breath, “OK guys, wish me luck."
"Luck!" the boys chorused, watching Angelo leave the locker room.
"He's toast." quipped Kevin when his class mate was gone. The other boys laughed uncomfortably. They didn't want to change places with Angelo if the coach was mad at him. Coach Young was the only other person in the school who would paddle the boys if they acted up in his class.
"Come in." said Coach Young amiably when he saw the boy standing uncertainly at his door. "Don't worry, you're not in trouble. Yet. I just need to understand what was going through your mind today? I've told you boys before to monitor your pulse. You had to have felt yours racing. You had to have felt the heat in your body and I know you were aware of how much you were sweating; you could barely keep it out of your eyes. So tell me what was going on today?" he asked, casually approaching the boy to put a cool palm on the boy's forehead before turning toward the cooler at the back of his office.
"I guess it was just nerves, Coach. I'm not really good at sports, you saw that last semester, and I think I just got a lot of adrenaline at once. I couldn't seem to stop myself."
Coach Young handed Angelo a bottle of water. "Here. Drink it slowly." the man said, looking at the boy thoughtfully. "All right then, Angelo, I’ll accept nerves as an excuse this time, but this is a onetime only thing. If I see you overworking yourself and not monitoring your pulse and breathing again, you and I are going to have a different kind of meeting after class. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir." Angelo said, taking a careful sip of the wonderfully cold water. He knew that if the coach hadn't been watching he'd have swallowed it all in one go. "It won't happen again."
"Everything is all right, Angelo?" the coach asked, gently, concerned. "I heard about what happened. I know it had to have effected your father, being so close to the situation and the men who died. It had to have effected your whole family. Are you all right?"
"I'm feeling a little sick over it, sir, but I feel worse for dad and the people who got hurt... and killed."
Mr. Young nodded silently.
"I was going to ask Mr. Barnes, I mean, I'm not sure who to ask but... Do you think there's a way to have a raffle, or... a rally or... something we can do to raise money for the families of the men who died? It was an accident and all but... I mean, no one had to have expected that and dad said that Mister... uh..., Gus's wife just had a baby. She's gonna need stuff for him... uh, or her. I don't even know which it is."
"That's a great idea, Angelo. If you like I'll talk to Mr. Barnes about it, or go with you. I think the school board is going to get the final say, and then of course we'll have to get a lot of people's cooperation, but it's not impossible."
"Will you go with me then? Please?"
"When is your next free period?"
"After social studies, at two."
"I had one appointment for then but I know I can reschedule. Want to try then?" asked Mr. Young.
"That would be great. Thank you, Boss."
Mr. Young grinned at the nickname and clapped Angelo on the shoulder. "Don't forget,” he said to Angelo as they left his office, "Mr. Barnes' office at two."
"Yes sir." Angelo replied as he went in the opposite direction toward his next class.
Kevin, Adam and several other boys had been standing about, waiting curiously to hear or see what was going on. When they heard the words, 'Mr. Barnes' office.' Kevin once again asserted that their friend was 'toast', and the boys scattered to get to their next classes on time.