Minutes after leaving 3003, Jesse and Harrison entered the principal’s office on the top floor of the Palace of Education. As Jesse walked the red velvet carpet, a chill ran down his spine, for he realized he entered a place that he had always pictured Bob’s den to appear: a dark room with chandeliers, bookshelves, and a dungeon-like ambience. The only sight in the office that appeared aesthetically pleasing to Jesse was the spectacular bird’s-eye view of the Everton campus through the plate-glass windows behind Harrison’s dark brown mahogany desk.
The center of the office contains Harrison’s prized possession: a $30,000 glass table decorated with silhouettes of sea creatures, coral reefs, trees, and the sun; a symbol of Everton’s prestige, glamour, and mystique. “Do not touch that table,” Harrison implored to Jesse as an obvious test of his respect and integrity.
Naturally, as Jesse followed behind, he smudged the table with his fingerprints. Harrison didn’t notice.
Jesse slouched himself cross-legged in the wooden chair in front of Harrison’s desk. He looked out toward the window, entranced by the sight of the Manhattan Needle rising in the distance beyond the puffy clouds. An awkward silence ensued for the next minute. For five minutes. Jesse continued studying the view, refusing to look at Harrison. Finally, Harrison cleared his throat to draw Jesse’s attention.
“So,” Jesse began while raising his arms and glancing toward his principal with a contemptible scowl, “you have an invisible restraint here, too? Hmm? Does the charter grant you this authority? Speaking of which, may I please see the passage that states you can spy on your students?”
Harrison remained silent, his posture unwavering.
“Well,” Jesse continued, “I assume that passage doesn’t exist, so…”
“Don’t call me a liar, Mr. Maith,” a furious Harrison interrupted, “you have no clue what power you’re messing with.”
“Whoa, apologies, your magnificence!” Jesse backhandedly replied.
“I can’t believe you’re the quarterback of the Everton Pioneers!” Harrison rumbled. “A punk like you, with your Hollywood looks, freakish athletic talents, and genius-level IQ, can display such contemptible behavior in the classrooms world’s finest educational institution, then go on that field Friday nights, dominate, and earn the respect of your Everton Academy peers and the New Hackensack community?! It makes me sick!”
“I’m sorry,” a nonchalant Jesse replied.
“Come again?!” Harrison rumbled.
“Look, I’m sorry, Mr. Harrison, okay?” Jesse cried.
“Is this the image you want to portray?” Harrison asked. “A disrespectful renegade? With all this potential and the power to affect lives positively? Is this what you want in life?”
Outraged, Jesse stood up and yanked his backpack on his shoulders. He leaned forwarded, raptly slapped his hands on the desk, and rumbled through his bloodshot expression: “how the hell could you know what I want out of life?”
Jesse then stormed out of Harrison’s office. They exchanged no further words.