A Stranger Less Strange is the tenth chapter of Stranger in a Strange School.
"You feel sorry for me?" Basil was surprised by this revelation. Lee, Tina all of them having sympathy for him? Lee and Tina both nodded. "Thanks, but that doesn't make me less suspicious towards Holger or Cam."
"What are you talking about?" Lee stared at Basil with critical eyes. His comment made Lee feel uneasy.
"You obviously didn't pull the prank, Lee." Lee knew that Basil was going to give some big Sherlock Holmes speech, he just wish Tina didn't have to suffer through it with him. "I can tell I've been on both sides of the tracks. Hell, I've even walked the tracks and you my friend did not pull the prank." Lee started to nod off and Tina started to yawn. Basil was not happy at the sight of this and so hit both of them with his hat. "Pay attention!" Any signs of falling asleep quickly vanished from Lee and Tina Basil had hit hard and spoken both loudly and angrily. "I've got six suspects. My first suspect is Vice Principal Victoria. As I've been told by reliable sources despite being present when the prank happened she was completely clean." Lee and Tina both looked at each other. What sources? "Second is that supposedly Scandinavian friend of yours: Holger Holgaart, simply because his dancing gives me nightmares." Lee and Tina would have protested but it was possible that Basil was half-crazy. "Third is your own mom, Lee. She is brutally overbearing and berates anyone for being less than perfect and that just spells suspicious. Fourth is your friend Camillio, after all does he not use your unwanted popularity? Fifth is Chaz Monorainian. Why? Why not? He's arrogant, pompous, vain and egotistical. Also he does not seem to like either one of you, so I've made my point. Have I? I have no idea. I really wish I knew if I did make a point or if I'm just rambling." Lee and Tina didn't see any point in anything Basil had just said. The only point Basil had was with being suspicious of Victoria. "And suspect number six is none other than Principal General Barrage! I believe that the prank might have just been so he could enforce his term as principal and it really is suspicious of how his predecessor vanished the day he started. Oh, and he makes the principal from my old school look like Auric Goldfinger. Okay, I'm done."
"You know Basil, you might need better evidence for some of those suspects." Tina's response made Basil frown. What could possibly be better evidence and for whom? Basil groaned and walked over to a hammock hanging from the oak tree and a nearby maple tree in the backyard. Sitting down on it, Basil took off his hat, dropped it then stamped a foot on it. "Do you want to talk about something else?" Lee and Tina sat on a bench opposite of the hammock.
"Like what?" Basil was a bit hurt. He did not handle criticism of any kind well.
"Why are you afraid of birds?" Lee was the one who asked the question but it didn't matter. Both he and Tina knew that Basil was Ornithophobic. They just didn't know why.
"I was attacked by a gaggle of geese when I was four." Lee's eyes widened in horror while Tina gasped. "I didn't do anything they just attacked me of their own accord." That would definitely cause a fear of birds. "I got that scar behind my ear from a parrot when I was ten. Birds always come after me, guess they can smell my fear of them, usually I can outrun them but I couldn't outrun that parrot."
"Okay, that's enough of that!" The fright in Tina's voice did not go unnoticed. Lee couldn't imagine what it could be like either, to always be singled out by birds for an attack. "Can we talk about something else, please?"
"Okay, your pick." Basil was unhappy about the bird related memories. It was all over his face. "Actually, my fear of birds made my time in film club hard when we made 'Revenge of the Giant Claw.'"
"Film club?" Lee was interested in this comment.
"Yeah, back at my old school we had a film club." Basil laughed a bit. "We would watch a movie then spend a month working on a similar movie." Basil relaxed, revealing his soul in a way, making Lee and Tina smile. "My first month with the Film Club I was an actor in 'The Black Spirit' inspired by some 30's movie that fits under the mystery, adventure and crime genres." Basil sighed, sounding a bit angry. "I was uncredited for my role of a reporter but I was one of six who did not receive any acknowledgement. "
"That's horrible!" Tina understood why Basil was angry. If she had reported something and found out that the credit had gone to Chaz, she would be angry too.
"It wasn't so bad, the month after that I ended up as both director and star." Basil placed a hand on his side. "Crime, drama, film-noir… 'Gangbuster' was a good one, just don't know why I always got hurt whenever we did a movie in the crime genre." There was a sarcastic tone in Basil's voice. He knew why he got hurt.
"Do you have copies of those?" Lee was interested in what he had learned about Basil but that 'tracks' comment made Lee think that Basil was only on the side that made sense to him: his own. Basil nodded in response to Lee's question. "Can we watch either of them?"
"Sure, 'The Black Spirit' is sixty-two minutes and 'Gangbuster' is ninety-three minutes." Basil grinned. "We can watch both of them."