“It is therefore my pleasure, as your President Emeritus, to call this meeting of the Deerton Explorer’s Club to order,” Ruby Kilgore said.

“What the heck is an eh-merit-us?” said Heath Kilgore. “Is that something they teach you in college?”

‘Lady’ Simona Osborne, wrapped in her shawl, chuckled. “It means someone who, while they no longer hold a particular position, is allowed to retain its title and sometimes even some of its powers and privileges as a sign of respect.”

“You’re not the President Emeritus then, you’re just the president,” Jayda Benning said. “Nobody stepped up after you left.”

“What?” Ruby said. “Who’s been running the meetings?”

“W-we’ve just been kinda talking,” said Laars “Stoops” Stoup. “Y’know, sharing stuff.”

“Well, yeah, but who’s been setting new exploration goals and adding new mysteries to the mystery board?” Ruby exclaimed. “Who’s been updating the website?”

“Well, it’s a good thing you quit school and came back then,” Ash Duran said. “Who knows how far the club would fall, without you to guide us.”

“Hey,” Ruby said, her finger jabbing toward Ash, daggerlike. “I did not quit. I dropped out. There’s a difference.”

“That’s like saying there’s a difference between eating dinner and eating supper,” said Jayda.

“P-pretty lame,” agreed Stoops.

“Quitting is something a spoiled child does when they’re flunking out of all their classes,” Ruby said. “Dropping out is a conscious choice, when someone decides school just isn’t for them.” She pulled a slip of paper from her bag. “See? I had all As.”

“But it’s still important enough for you to carry a paper report card around,” Simona laughed. “You had to print that out with real paper and real ink instead of just AirDropping it to me.”

“Artists and thinkers drop out,” Ruby continued. “William Faulkner dropped out; Bill Gates dropped out.”

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