Jason rode the tram to his first class. He ignored his hoodlum friends, because it was them who convinced him to break the law in the first place. Sadler, Hack and Blip were dropped off first, because Jason’s class was on the other side of the campus. When he exited the tram, he found his seat, which has been miniaturized down to his scale. There was a ledge where he could sit and pay attention to the teacher and the other students.
A girl was the first of the other students to arrive, she was a Latina the same age as Jason. She approached him and introduced herself.
“I’m Regan Ramirez, I want to be a journalist when I grow up, so I was hoping I could interview you. Is that cool?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Jason replied.
Regan got out her electronic notepad and brought up a file with questions she had typed out some time before. “How do you feel about the Therapeutic Occupational Youth program you’re currently a part of?”
“It’s embarrassing, but I think it sends a strong message to criminals, it might make them think twice before breaking the law again.”
“You make it sound like you’re not cut from the same cloth as the other juvenile offenders,” Regan replied, “What in your mind makes you different from them?”
“I fell in with a bad crowd, and they wanted me to join them in their criminal exploits. I’m just a guy who made a mistake in life, I’m not a career criminal.”
“What was the crime you committed to end up in the TOY program?”
“My criminal friends convinced me to try to steal a roll cage made of an alloy that is ten times stronger than titanium. Sadler, the leader of our group, has a convertible and he wanted the roll cage for his car. His on and off again girlfriend talked him into doing it, because she felt it was unsafe to ride in Sadler’s car without one. We got caught trying to carry it out of a warehouse we broke into and we all got a year of probation, as well as some fines we have to pay off.
“Why isn’t she in the TOY program?” Regan asked.
“Her parents hired an expensive lawyer, so she got a slap on the wrist. We all had public defenders, so we got shafted.”
Other students started to shuffle into the classroom. “Can I meet up with you in the quad during break after second period to continue this interview?” Regan asked. “There’s a table near the spot where the tram can drop you off.”
“Sure!” Jason replied, eager to spend time with the attractive Latina.
By the time second period was over, Jason rode the tram to the spot where Regan had agreed to meet with him. She collected him and took him to a table where a group of students gathered around him to check him out.
Four cheerleaders with red hair approached the table. Regan told Jason: “Those cheerleaders are named Maude Sienna Todd, Ruby Thompson, Scarlett Turner, and Ginger Trexler. They are known as the Crimson Quadros, otherwise known as the Crimson Quartet. Maude is their leader, so they are sometimes known as the Maude Squad. They think they rule the school.”
“I’m familiar with them from last year,” Jason replied.
Maude stood in front of Jason and Regan. “I’ve always wanted to swallow a shrunken man, will you volunteer? It’s not against the law if you let me do it, as long as I puke you up afterwards!”
“He’s not going to let you swallow him, Maude!” Regan shouted. “Get away from us!”
Maude turned away, but before leaving, she said, “I have my eye on you, Jason!”