Episode 2: Tofu Vet Station
Lola Tofu sighed yet another time today. Seating herself besides her best friend Lily, she was relieved that it was almost time for her next lession. Roughly two weeks after the Beauvillage´s drug incident Lola still found herself as the target of questioning by her classmates. The events of the case, though altered by Wiseman and the mayor earned them quite a reputation among their peers. Indeed the arrest of Flint, Leftside and Mortimer became public knowledge and the people involved in it ended up as heroes of Beauvillage. As a result Lola, her brother, her closest friends and her boyfriend ended up being constantly questioned and pestered for information. Chichi decided at once that they should stick to the official story to avoid another set of rumors. So they did and ended up explaining the whole thing over and over. To their parents and Buba (who had taken the whole thing much better than any of them expected), to their teachers – who were just as curious about the case, and finally their classmates, who seemed to want to know every little detail.
After the first few days everything was explained and the people were talking among themselfs. In no time at all detective Wiseman and Michael Miles became the toast of the town. Wiseman, who to the extreme surprise of just about everyone was relocated to Beauvillage by request of the mayor, who seemed to have taken a liking to him. He was appointed the position of Beauvillage´s head detective and awarded a small flat in the main street, close to the mayor´s office.
Word also spread, that Michael Miles had also decided to remain in Beauvillage. Indeed not long after Mom, Pop and Buba had returned from the National Ecology Meeting they had attended they were introduced to Miles. Surprisedly both the Tofus and the Hubbubs have taken a liking to Miles (something that surprised even Miles himself) and though no one in Beauvillage knows where Miles lives, it became common knowledge that he´s the frequent houseguest at the Tofu house when he´s in town.
The teens of Beauvillage had also taken a lot of interest in Beauvillage´s mystery man. Lola, April and Lily were questioned many times by the girls and Billy, Chichi and Phil by the boys. It was getting a bit annoying, really. With the exception of Chichi neither of them knew Miles all that well, so they didn´t have much to tell and Chichi was being vague about what he said.
Lola supposed, that Miles was fine enough. He was becoming fast friends with everyone in the gang as they spent most of the previous week together, either in the Tofu house, streets of Beauvillage or in the Hidehole. She had to admit that the Hidehole was extraordinary and understood Chichi´s and Miles´ insistance, that it should remain a secret. While Chichi took most of the first week repairing the damage Miles´ van sustained in the car chase, Miles called in one of his contacts, borrowed a car and brought in a lot of equipment into the Hidehole, making it more like a house than anything else. Its certainly a good place to run to, when days get a bit too annoying.
"Like this one for instance."thought Lola with yet another sigh as most of the class were seating themselfs at their respective desks.
"What did they want to know thistime?"asked Lily gesturing to a gang of girls with whom Lola spoke for almost the entire break.
"They asked, when will Miles be back in Beauvillage."
Lily sighed as well. As soon as Chichi repaired the blue van, Miles had taken a couple of short rounds across the country. But three days earlier when they were hanging out, he recieved a call from one of his contacts and set off into Middletown immediatly telling them, he will be back within a few days.
"I hope he gets back soon. I mean its been three days."she said.
"Who knows what he´s doing there."said Lola in a low voice.
"Most likely – Business."giggled Lily. She has gotten a bit fond of Miles´ favourite words or expressions.
"Or Greed."said Lola giggling as well. She had to admit, that once you understood them they are a bit contagious. Miles seemed to have a special naming for just about anything.
"Anyway at least Mary and the other girls had something better to talk about."said Lily pointing to another group of their classmates. Lola looked at her questioningly.
"We were discussing the Pet convention."explained Lily and Lola nodded.
Each year Beauvillage hosts a number of occasions and contests most of which are organized by the mayor. One of them – the annual Pet convention was fast approaching. And just like last year, Mom, Pop and Buba are involved in planning and executing the convention. The event itself is a mix of a party, a show and a contest where the owners of the best pets would be awarded prizes. Since the Tofus are helping with the organization of the event, Cracker, Suzie and Curly won´t compete but Lola knew that Billy had entered with his pigeon Rocky. Also a number of their classmates including Cherie were in the contest too. Indeed she has been strutting for over a week now, proclaiming that her cat – Prince is going to win the contest. Lola herself has been involved in organizing the event as well.
The girls´ thoughts were interupted by the arrival of their homeroom teacher Mr Philips, who sat down behind his desk and called for the class to be silent.
"Now, I have a few news for all of you."he said and the class looked from one to the other.
"The good news is, that you´ll be getting a free week starting Monday."
The news was met with cheers of happiness from every student in the class.
"But you will be expected to use this free week for something."
The class´ happiness had abruptly ended. Everyone looked sadly at Mr Philips who pretended not to notice and went on.
"Since you have began the grade 3 of Beauvillage High and you have only one year to go on, it´s about time you start thinking of the future. It´s time to start thinking about what you will do when you finish the school. It´s time to make your career choices."
The class once again looked from one to the other. Rarely anyone in class had ever thought about the profession they would choose after leaving school.
"It works like this. I want you to first discuss this with your parents, tommorow – that is friday, you will give me these filled out forms..."he gestured to the papers in his hand.
"... and inform me of the profession you´d like to do. The following week you will be on practice in those professions. And during the end of the week I will interview all of you seperately to help you decide which schools or institutions you will have to attend to reach your desired profession."
The class was completly silent. Mr Philips sighed, as he read the looks on his pupil´s faces. They told him exactly what he expected.
"I understand that most of you have not given a thought on what you might do in your working life. That is why I will be avalable to any of you should you feel the need to discuss this. As only 3rd graders have the following week off I will be here ´till 5 pm eachday. Any of you is welcome to visit me at any given time should you have any doubts about professions."
The news have brought the entire class into intense discussions. Many were looking at the forms that Mr Philips handed them as the students were still sitting in their classroom dispite the fact, that they were free to go home.
"I´ve no idea as to what to do."said Steve, who was clearly as baffled as most of his classmates.
"I´ve always enjoyed art. Especially paintings. I would like to paint."
Nina´s revelation brought the students to even more thinking.
"You think that we should try to choose our future professions based on our hobbies?"asked Joey.
"Why not? I mean why not have a profession based on something we like to do?"said Mary.
A silence reigned for a while. Most were racking their brains trying to figure out how to turn their hobbies into a profession.
"I don´t know... what about our parents? D´you think they´d agree?"asked Zoe and many held their breaths.
"I know my wouldn´t. I mean, my father would like me to succeed him as head of his firm."said Jack.
Most in class knew, that Jack´s father was the head of a construction firm in Beauvillage. Most of the buildings in the town were constructed by them. He also didn´t take very kindly to the fact that the Tofus had built their house without any assistance. Without the assistance of his firm to be exact. And though Jack was the exact opposite of his father, he still felt compelled to carry on the family business.
"You´d do it?"asked Julia – his girlfriend in complete surprise.
"Why not. I mean I´m not wild about the idea, but I don´t know anything else that I could do instead of it. And when I think about it, it may not be so bad."
His reply got Billy thinking. For years Titus had tried to get his son´s interest in the alarm business. He´d always help his father in demonstrations or advertisements but to be perfectly honest, he just couldn´t find himself interested in anything that got to do with alarms. Over the years however, Titus had made it very obvious that he wants his son to work with him in his profession and eventually replace him. He was so enthusiastic over the idea, that Billy didn´t have the heart to tell his father the truth – he had absolutely no interest in being an alarm salesman or mechanic. Still, Billy himself didn´t see any other alternative. Nothing that would´ve made a decent a career choice.
"Maybe I could give it a chance. Who knows, maybe it´ll work out."he said in a thoughtfull way.
Both Lily and Lola were surprised by this.
"You´d really go along with it?"asked Lily completly bewildered. She knew of her friend´s reservations for the job.
"Well. I can at least try and see what comes out of that."he said and Lily nodded in understanding.
"What about you Lily? What are you going to do?"asked Nina and Lily looked thoughtfull.
"I´m not exactly sure. I mean I´m kinda interested in both of my parent´s work. I´m not sure what to choose."
It was true. Lily´s mother was an archeologist and her father a historian. Lily had close to both of those subjects but not enough to decide which to persue.
"I have my occupation all figured out. I´m going to become a model. I´m more than enough pretty for it." Said Cherie.
She started to make poses and threw looks that drew attention from most boys of the class and had succeeded to draw all the attention to herself. Among all of this Lily and Billy noticed, that Lola was sitting on her chair with a haunted look on her face.
"Lola?What´s wrong?"asked Lily who got to her first with Billy close at hand.
"Lola? What are you thinking about, my love?"asked Billy equally concerned as he sat down next to his beloved girl.
Lola locked eyes with them.
"What am I going to choose?"
Billy took her hand.
"Lola you have time to think this over. Just go over what you would like to do."he said in a soothing voice but Lola fixed him with a serious look.
"And what d´you think my parents would advise me to do?"