school bells ring for ace

a work of fiction by russell weiner
award winning kiss exclusive magazine - summer 1979

one thing has always bothered ace frehley:
he never graduated from high school.
well, ace decided to finally change that by going back to school.
he had a tough time. did he make it?
that's for us to know and you to read.

we all regret something in life. perhaps it was a dream which we never saw through or a new car we should have bought. there's at least one thing which nags away at all of us, intimidating us, placing grave doubts in our minds as to the worthiness of our lives. unfortunately, to too many of is get a chance to remedy this situation. we just go through the motions, always regretting what we did'nt do, but doing little to change our lives.

however, every now and then, you come across a brave soul who is'nt satisfied with his life, who wants to accomplish more, someone who wants to see his dream through. one such person is ace frehley of kiss. now, you're probably wondering what ace could possibly be lacking. he could by anything he wants, he has loads of money and the love of millions. what could make him feel inferior and discontented?

well, ace may have it all now, but when he was younger, life was anything but a picnic. ace got in with a bad crowd and was almost led astray. but then music entered his life, and ace had a reason to go on. every waking moment was devoted to his music. his studies got lost in the shuffle, so ace dropped out of school.

it always bothered him that he never finished high school and got a diploma. it's the one thing which has made ace's life incomplete. whenever he receives an award of any kind for his music, ace feels momentarily saddened. he realizes that he could also have received his diploma in the same manner. even with kiss, ace feels inferior. the others are better educated than him, in fact, gene simmons was even a teacher.

finally, ace could no longer stand the humiliation he felt from not being a high school graduate. there was only one thing he could do--ace would go back to school. he didn't care if he was ridiculed, he had to do it.

he took time off from kiss and enrolled himself back in high school. ace tried his best to keep the news from leaking out, but the students in the school immediately recognized him and called us. they gave us an account of ace's return to school, and we are relating to you what they told us, nothing more, nothing less.

ace's first day back in school was a traumatic one. he felt awkward. ace stuck out like a sore thumb. there he was, standing taller than all the other students in his class, in his kiss boots, his face painted in white, his mouth smeared with lipstick. ace didn't look like the typical high school student, that was obvious.

he could hear snickers coming from the other kids. but ace tried to ignore them. he was given a desk, but it was too small for him. he had to sit on a chair, and use his lap to write on. as the class began, ace hoped he would do well.

the teacher asked a question on the civil war. she wanted the answer. no one raised their hand, so ace was called upon to supply the answer. he didn't know it, so he stumbled around for the words to try and answer. there was an instant laughter from his classmates. ace felt humiliated. the next thing he knew, he felt something hitting his head. someone had thrown a spitball at ace.

the harassment continued for the rest of the day. it didn't matter that ace was a member of kiss, he was now in the classroom, and that was the kid's turf. to them, the moment ace stepped into the classroom, he ceased being ace frehley, guitarist for kiss, and became ace frehley, overgrown, funny looking student.

ace went home that night discouraged and disgruntled. he harbored thoughts of dropping out again, yet he knew he couldn't do that. ace was made of tougher stuff than that. he quit once, and he wasn't about to make the same mistake again.

the next day, ace returned, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. but as he had spent too much time practicing his guitar and not enough time studying, ace still couldn't answer any of the questions. once again, he was made fun of and called names. some of the meaner kids in his class called him "lipstick lips" and "acey-decey."

at lunch time, ace was subjected to even harsher harassment. he was pelted with eggs and apples. then the unkindest cut of all was delivered. his beloved boots were stolen from him during gym. some wise guy sliced them in half and made four shoes out of them, leaving a note reading, "now you can have decent looking shoes. try these on for size."

ace was fed up--he was at his breaking point. he went home angry and mad. he didn't know what to do. ace vowed he would give himself the rest of the week, then quit if things didn't improve. there was nothing else he could do. the other students weren't creating an atmosphere conductive to study, and ace wouldn't be able to pass at this rate.

things didn't improve over the next two days. ace was the object of fun among the other students. ace came home on thursday night, feeling lower than he had in years. he had one more day to try and change things, or he would see his dream vanish. ace hoped--and prayed--that some miracle would come along and help him.

on friday, the morning went as usual. ace was too anxiety-ridden to answer any questions correctly. he figured he had reached the end of line, but ace's time was coming. his miracle was about to arrive.

after lunch, there was a special music appreciation class. ace was surprised but happy. class began and the teacher asked several questions. no one knew the answers--except ace. if there was one thing in the world ace frehley knew something about, it was music.

after seeing that the others were baffled, ace stepped in. he answered question after question, flawlessly and in great detail. the other students were amazed--and captivated. they were beginning to respect ace. he was a whiz at answering questions dealing with music. it was his life, so he knew it well.

by the end of the class, all the students were mesmerized by ace's knowledge. they gave him a rousing ovation when class was over. ace had done it--he had one over the other students. most importantly, he had gained their respect and admiration. ace was now one of the crowd (if you disregarded his costume and makeup).

ace was saved in the nick of time, he made friends that day and kept them for the rest of his time in school. he was able to study properly, without being bothered by the taunts of others. ace's proudest moment in life would come when he would receive his high school diploma. he had done it. ace sought out his dream and made it become a reality.

now ace is happy, at peace with himself at last. he has his diploma and self-respect. he can walk down the streets with his head held high. ace did what few others have the guts to do. he changed what seemed unchangeable.

yes, ace frehely is made of tough material. he's not scared to admit his shortcomings, and then tried to change them. ace almost failed, but his perseverance was rewarded--with a diploma. ace can now rest easily--school is out--for good.

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