and The Quest to See
Chapter 16 - O.M.G. - Unbelievable!
At morning assembly in The Quad on the following Monday, Miss Poe had an
exciting announcement to make.
'The Hopewell Talent Quest Concert is a proposal first put forward by
our music instructor Mr Munro and supported by Mr Dance and
Mrs Munro, our wonderful Arts and Crafts teacher. After some
deliberation between the entire teaching staff, the Parenting Board and
those representing the Education Department, it has been decided that
the Quest is a good, that is to say, a very good concept promoting the
untapped talent that is here within our school. So I am most pleased to
announce our first Talent Quest which will be a part of the end of year
celebrations. Applications can come from all levels of the school,
however there is a limited quota for every age group. We welcome singers
and musicians, either singly or as groups, bands and dancers. Recitals
of written works such as poetry and short stories are not included.
Perhaps we might look at that next year. The event will be staged in the
main hall of the Student's Wing at the end of the school term.'
Soon after Hopewell's Head Mistress had given her approval, the school
was abuzz with students eager to participate or at the least follow
those who did.
'Thum-Tum Blasters are year nine. All drums and guitars. I've heard them
work out over in the Gym. Heavy! Big time!'
'What about year-eight Atomic-Squirrels? They really rock!'
'So do Mitikovsky. Wonder what Mr Mitikovsky thinks about hip-hop?'
'Like, do we care?'
'There's this really awesome guy from year twelve who sings dreamy love
songs and stuff, Mike Leonard. Ohh, he's kinda like Michael Bubble...'
'You know. He's on television a lot.'
'Oh, that older guy. Probably thirty or more.'
'Practically in the old people's home.'
'Well Mike isn't and he could sing to me any time.'
'Donny's a bit of a dork but he can play the piano pretty well, even if
it is classical crap.'
'Bronwyn says she wants to be a choreo...orograffer... like you know,
someone who shows ballet dancers what to do. She's going to do some
dance or something.'
'No!' said Priscilla. 'I sing like someone gargling underwater, Henry
and Harry yodel and Louis is far and above such "puerile" things. None
of us are any good at singing. We even do Happy Birthday off key.'
'It's unbelievable! R. Sole is actually going to get up in front of the
whole school and sing! She's going to make herself the biggest loser in
Hopewell's history! Why would that lump put herself out there? I mean is
she trying to self-destruct?' Henry laughed and poked his pal Brodie's
'I'm going to try not to laugh too much,' Brodie answered. 'Mainly
because it'll get drowned out by everyone else!'
'Right-on!' Henry answered, slapping hands with Vincent as they walked
toward their next class.
'... and now our next entrants in the song section are a girl and boy
duo. They are to sing Lionel Richie's timeless ballad Endless Love.
Please give them a warm welcome. Miss Roseanne Sole and Mr Alan
Miss Poe backed away from the microphone clapping, as the two emerged
from the right of the stage. Greerson in jeans and T-shirt and Roseanne
Sole wearing something that might have been best described as a
colourful, tie-dye carnival tent.
'This is gunna be sooo funny.' Henry scoffed. 'Boof-Head and Bad-Arse
trying to sing some pukey love-song. I wish Harry was here, he could
join in and make them look better!'
'Well we can do the howling for him,' suggested Brodie. 'Get ready. Give
'em a few seconds to commit suicide, then we'll turn on the razz and
watch them curl up.'
'Marsha and her dog John-boy are just over there with your Sis and her
pals Henry.' Vincent grinned. 'Maybe Johnny will have a go!'
Priscilla, Monique, Belinda and Narenda, staring aghast at the
cringe-making spectacle, collectively sucked in air awaiting the
Belinda said, 'I can't believe she... even he... can be so foolish!
Can't they see how embarrassing this is going to be? They can't be that
'It would seem that they can be.' Monique remarked, her eyes widening in
The music swelled and as the voices of the pair chimed in and Henry and
his pals covered their ears to avoid the onslaught, The BlackEagle Girls
screwed up their faces. Then, suddenly, were jolted into reality.
'I don't believe it! What's happening? Are they miming?' Priscilla
asked, her mouth dropping open. 'They sound so... '
'So good together... ' Completed Marsha, her sightless expression blank.
'She's like that Susan Boyle... Unbelievable!' Said Belinda, awed.
'Wow! I am so very much gob-smacking!' Exclaimed Narenda.
'They're really doin' it! How come?' Vincent whined.
Henry cursed under his breath. 'It can't be them singing! Not those two!
Has to be some sort of scam! Gotta be someone behind them!'
'I don't think so.'
A hand fell upon Henry's shoulder. It was the male hand of a teacher.
Henry, following it up the arm, came to Auguste Munro's face beaming
down at him.
'Sir! Are we in trouble?'
'No. Unless you guys have already committed an offence, or are aboot to.
I really wouldn't like to see more flying cream-pies, or balloons filled
with whatever, y'know ?'
'Gee Mr Munro, we didn't... that is we haven't... like, no way...'
Henry whined, as the singers continued their booming ballad of love.
'All good then gentlemen. See that you three Messketeers keep to the
straight and narrow and let the Singers do their thing and the Judges do
theirs. And that goes likewise for your sister and her pals, Mr
Priscilla, shaking her head, said crossly, 'They weren't screaming and
yelling at each other when we saw them on the other side of the oval.
They were rehearsing!
He's not just a tough-guy, he's some kind of a coach and somehow
Boof-head can sing!'
'This is really shocking oh yes, thank you very much, she will throw it
into all our faces for how good she is being at singing!'
'Right on Narenda.' Priscilla growled as the duet ended without
faltering. 'Now comes the crap from R. Sole!'
Priscilla was right and wrong.
Because, before her prediction of Rose-Anne's big-time boasting, came
the Judge's verdicts for all categories, and the winner of the Song
Ballad section went to Roseanne Sole and Alan Greerson.
The audience was somewhat astonished, but supportive, breaking from a
collective heave of murmured wonder into a ragged, but growing round of
applause. The big, blousy girl and the moody loner had won against the odds.
Called up, the pair sauntered onstage, Roseanne reaching for the
microphone, but Greerson, taking it from her, said, 'Yeah, Thanks.
Thanks very much.' And handing it back to Mr Mitikovsky, propelled
Roseanne's formidable presence out of the lime-light.
After the winding up of the night's proceedings by Mr Munro, Miss
Poe concluded, 'Thank you Parents and Students for such a successful
evening. The school believes that this will become an annual event for
Hopewell, along with the possibility of art, craft and writing
competitions as other forums to follow. We, the teaching staff, salute
all the winners and their families and all those who gave of their best.
For those who wish to stay on, tea and biscuits await in the foyer.'
Tea and biscuits were somewhat enlivened by the presence of a number of
rather unsavory types amongst the students and parents. Both Priscilla
and Monique recognised several of them as being the drug dealers and
stand-over men from the Ice-Angel affair.
'Ho-boy! I bet Miss Poe and Mitikovsky are on high alert with these
heavies mingling amongst the Dads and Mums.' Priscilla muttered.
'Look! Red bow-tie! That's Morris Sole, Annie's shonkey Real Estate
double-dealing Uncle. How did he get in?'
'And the blonde with him?' Belinda asked.
'Might be Mrs Morris?' Narenda wondered.
'Well we know the big man. He is Angelo, cousin of Morris and Ronaldo-
Ronnie Sole- Annie's dad, who lives in the Big House with lots of guards
and walls to keep him in.' Said Monique.
'Perhaps that is why Red-bow-tie is here, being his brother's stand-in.'
'And the woman with this Angelo?' Belinda asked.
'Probably just there to make him look O.K.'
'Yeah, and no sign of Boof-head and her boy-friend. I wonder why...'
Priscilla left off, thinking hard.
'Wait a minute... We're all missing something here. Those two were
having shouting matches... rehearsing... before Poe even announced the
'Well... nothing maybe, or maybe they already knew it was going to
'But it was first suggested by Mr Monro and Mr Dance. How could...'
'Greerson! He gets around, remember? Break-ins, minor incidents, nothing
taken... Nothing but information: Reports, recommendations, suggestions,
possible new programs. What's his game?'
'Whatever it is, it seems to have gotten him to where he wants to be if
he is really the one.' Marsha said. 'Remember, information can be leaked
by other staff or overheard by chance.'
'There is one other thing.' Monique added. 'And perhaps it is nothing at
all apart from an observation. But it appears to me that Rose-Anne is
being controlled and directed. She is being manipulated. Yes, it seems
that she has an undreamed of talent as a singer, she certainly has a
huge talent as a vicious, vindictive, spiteful, intolerant bully who
unashamedly would take any of her enemies down, but here I guess, is her
Achilles Heel, she can sing and someone not only wants to advance her
cause but also wants to guide her away from her family's doings. In
other words, they have decided that she is a liability and should be
diverted to places that wont be hurtful to their cause. That she can
actually sing is her, and their way out. Greerson has his way in.
What is he really all about?'
A clue to that question came unexpectedly some weeks later.
'Can any of you be guessing who I saw yesterday at Blacky's Eat-In and
Take-Away in Camberwell?' asked Narenda breathlessly as she hurriedly
entered Priscilla and Monique's dorm room, late and last of the four BEG
Girls to gather there.
'Phoo-wer-ree! No I cannot be guessing Narenda. Who'dja see?' Priscilla
asked without much enthusiasm, looking up from her assignment papers.
'Mother and Nisha and myself were having pancakes there and I had to be
going to the little girls room, when out of the boy's door came Alan
Greerson, followed by that boy who was involved with the school
drugs-ring Dennis Whitely! I turned my face aside and entered, but I
peeked out again as they left. Both of them went out into the laneway.'
'That's weird. What would they be doing together? Whitely got kicked out
of Hopewell. Ugh! I still remember him all over us when Mon and me were
'And that Monkey Joe, he was to being placed into a Mental Prison and
the other one Tony, the leader of them all, he and his Father were shot
and killed in their driveway.'
'No one was ever caught over that.'
'Non, the police made no arrests, and the whole business faded from
public notice.' agreed Monique.
'But wasn't there something about somebody in the school perhaps leaking
information to one of the other drug gangs?' wondered Belinda.
'Or the Police?' This from Narenda.
'The boy Beresford?' Monique suggested.
'But he was out of it, got sick, remember!' said Priscilla.
Monique shook her head, idly playing with the Peridot pendant about her
neck. 'That is what we were told.'
'Expelled and sent away to Juvenile Prison.' said Belinda.
'That's what we thought.'
'And he pops up at a local eating place?'
'Maybe he was released after two years in Youth Detention?'
'And just happens to be an ami of this Greerson who is a loner except
for son amor "song-bird Annie" and all her grubby relatives.' said
Priscilla rubbed at her forehead. 'Who's who then?'
Belinda brightened. 'Perhaps our little canine friend might send his
chums out on the trail?'
'Girlsss really! Even Aliens...rufff... have their limits! You guys are
start... ing to treat me and my associates... as a convenience... We
are...grrrr... a Humanitarian Privilege... not a Humani... tarian Right.
How many of your... problems...wow-wow!... would you like us to wrangle?
I know, I know... rrrr... you need help. Well start taking...ruff-ruff!
responsibility! Get with it! What would... happen if me and my pals...
Harry managed to get all this out while bouncing up and down, trying to
get the ball that Belinda was holding a metre above the grass of
Headgley Dene Park. All the girls, including Marsha and Johnboy, who had
formed an interested, though somewhat distanced relationship with Harry,
were gathered there.
Belinda tossed the ball over to Narenda who flipped it to Priscilla, who
leaned back and threw it as far as she could.
'Could take some time, wow-wow-wow!' barked Harry, haring after it at
full speed on his little legs.
'Oui! Go for it Monsier Harry!' Monique cried, hugging Marsha.
John-boy momentarily tensed in his harness, as if he wanted to surge off
after the little black dog, then relaxed, focusing on his Mistress and
his duty to her.
Chapter 17 next