Phred left the Herald building and carefully picked his way across Glacier Lake. It was the most direct route to Helpers Unlimited, the vocational school. There was never a danger of falling into the lake, for even in the summer it was frozen solid. But it was very slick, and Phred was slipping and sliding. By the time he had crossed the lake, he had landed on his bottom more than once.

         "That's the last time I try to cut corners," Phred moaned, rubbing his back side. He pulled the bell cord on the door of the school. He waited for what seemed like a long time, then pulled the cord again.        

         "Can I come in?" Phred asked.

         Brubaker stepped back and allowed Phred to pass, then he closed the heavy door. "What can I do for you?" he repeated his question.

         Inhaling deeply, Phred said, "Gee, this brings back memories."

         "What do you want?" Brubaker schreeched.

         Brubaker's sharp tongue brought back memories, too.  Phred snapped to attention. "I need to enroll, sir."

         "Come into my office," Brubaker ordered as he strutted down the hall.  "Please be seated." Brubaker gestured to a chair. "What do you wish to study?" He handed Phred a pamphlet.

         "Helpers' Unlimited," Phred read. "There are three reasons helpers attend school: 1. To learn a trade, 2. To learn another trade, or 3. To 'find' him/herself." He dropped the flyer on Brubaker's desk. "I am now working at the' Herald,' and I need to study setting type," Phred said.

         "And printing?" Brubaker asked.

         "Yes, and printing."


         "Follow me." Brubaker stood up and left his office. He marched down the long hallway, and Phred ran along behind him. Brubaker stopped at the end of the hall and pointed. "This is the printing division. You will learn to set type and print by trial and error. The use of wuffle dust is prohibited. Of course, in the event of a dangerous situation, the use of wuffle dust is authorized, but will be investigated. I will be in to check on you from time to time.  Do you have any questions?"

         "Where are the reference books?" Phred asked.

         "They are where they have always been. The text books for this division are on the shelf over there, and the other books are in the library, which is still located at the other end of the hall." Brubaker frowned at Phred. "Do you have any other questions?"

        Phred frowned back. "Nope."

         "Very well, then. You are on your own." Brubaker left the room.

         Phred went to the bookshelf, and found a large volume.  He blew a huge cloud of dust from its cover. "Geez, no one's studied in this division for a long time," he said out loud. He climbed on a stool and began reading. He was so absorbed in the chapter that he didn't see Ria come in.

         "Phred," Ria called.

         Phred fell off the stool.

         "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," Ria said. "I wanted to know who the new student was."

         "That's okay. I'm not hurt. What are you studying, Ria?"

         "Cooking," Ria said proudly.

         "Cooking?  What about your job at the Stables?"

         "I know all of that already," Ria boasted.

         "I guess you do."

         "Yep," Ria said smiling. "So what are you doing here?" She pulled the book from Phred's hands and read "Setting Type: Fonts, Frames, and Frescos."

         "I'm learning to print the paper."

         "Why?"

         "Zann needs help, so I'm the new roving reporter."

         "I hear voices!" Brubaker shouted from down the hall.

         "Was Brubaker mean to you?" Ria whispered.

         "No, he was stern, though."

         Ria frowned. "He's mean."

         "He's not mean, Ria, just firm."

         "He never smiles," Ria persisted.

         "That's because he practically never handles any wuffle dust," Phred whispered.

         "Oh." Ria nodded.

         "Who else is here?" Phred asked.

        "No one. Rissy used to be here, but she went to the Fix It Shop to take over for Boog."

        "Yes, I know," Phred said. "So why are you studying cooking?"

         "Duck said I might want to work someplace else someday. I don't, though. I love the reindeer; but Duck said 'you never know,' so I decided I could cook for him and the reindeer," Ria said proudly.

        "Well, that's a nice idea," Phred said, smiling.

         Ria looked over her shoulder. "Well, I better go. Brubaker will be back soon. He comes around a lot."

         "That's his job," Phred said. "See ya later." Even now, he still felt a little intimidated by Brubaker. 

         Ria waved and went back to the kitchen classroom. She busied herself preparing Fudge Fondue.


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