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By CHRISTY DAVIS
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Christy Davis
All right reserved.
Chapter One'How'd I ever get into this mess?' I grumbled, combing my long brown hair. Of course I knew the answer to that. It was all my best friend Scott's fault.
Why am I blaming Scott? Well, if he hadn't asked me to do him two little favors, I wouldn't be in this mess. Which ones? Covering the Spanish Club meeting and covering the Science Club meeting. The first nearly bored me to death, and the second nearly killed me. I can't think of anything worse than being elected President of the Spanish Club, except maybe being blown-up by Willy Turner, a.k.a the Rocket Scientist. In fact, I can still picture the evil smile on Scott's face as the flash from his camera blinded me the day I was elected. You know what I think? I'm never going to help Scott again, because it's really beginning to take its toll on me.
Hi, my name is Jadee Dawes. I'm a freshman and a reporter for the Glendale Bugle, our hometown newspaper. It's my job to write about the births, deaths, marriages and divorces in our area. Scott, who's my best friend and the owners' son, is in charge of all the school sports and club activities.
Two weeks ago I was unwillingly nominated and elected President of the Spanish Club, the most boring club in school, and I'm still desperately trying to find a way out of it.
You know, the very least Scott could do is help me. But no. Every Monday he reminds me that it's four o'clock, laughs and whispers sarcastically, "It's time for the SPANISH CLUB!"
Needless to say, I don't find him very amusing. So with that in mind, I've decided to get even. I'm going to get even for the Spanish Club, the Science Club, and for that horrible picture he printed of me on the front page of the Glendale Bugle. And last but not least, I'm going to get even for the headline over that horrible picture which read: 'SCIENCE TEACHER AND NEWSHOUND SAVE ROCKET SCIENTIST!' And when I do, Scott is going to beg - and I do mean beg - for mercy. I just haven't thought of a way yet.
"I'm beginning to hate Mondays," I grumbled, checking my coat pocket for my digital camera. Yes, it was there. I never have a reason to bring it, I just like being prepared. I tucked it safely back inside and grabbed my books.
After closing the front door to our double-wide manufactured home, I waded through piles of dried brown maple leaves, toward our car. It was definitely autumn. Mom was already inside. I opened the passenger door and slid into the front seat, locking my seatbelt into place.
With Halloween only three weeks away, most of the homes in our area already have their windows decorated. Some even have stuffed witches and ghosts hanging from their front porches. Our school's been planning a huge Halloween dance, and several fights have already broken out over the type of music they're going to play. At this point it looks like country, rock, rap, head banging hip hop, and new metal, with a touch of anything else they can throw in.
Mom stopped our car in front of the school and I got out, waving goodbye. I turned and hurried to my locker to deposit most of my books, and guess who was waiting for me. Scott.
With a big grin on his face he said, "Hey Jadee, do you know what today is?"
"Yeah, I know," I gritted my teeth and smiled, feeling every muscle in my body tense. "It's Monday."
"Spanish Club," he whispered with a smile.
I cringed like someone had just run their fingernails across a chalkboard. "Shut-up Scott!"
He placed his hand on his chest and pretended to look surprised, then hurt, then he burst out laughing. "Did I say something wrong? I just didn't want you to forget."
"See ya funny boy." I slammed my locker and stomped off to class.
Now do you see why I have to get even? I have to think of something. Something so good he'll have to beg for mercy or I'll never hear the end of this. I couldn't even concentrate in science. I just sat in class thinking of ways to torture him.
My list of ideas included taking a picture of him in his underwear and having it printed on the front page of the Glendale Bugle. (No ... his parents would never go for that.)
Paying someone to tar and feather him with chocolate syrup and chicken feathers. (No ... that'd already been done to Principal Gomez.)
Fixing him up on a blind date with some he absolutely couldn't stand. (No ... he'd just scream and run off.)
At noon I sat at my usual table in the cafeteria and continued to plot against him, when somewhere behind me I heard a familiar voice.
"Jadee, I'm so glad I found you!" Mrs. Hunt my Spanish Teacher walked up and smiled.
"Hi Mrs. Hunt," I tried to smile back.
"What's the plan for this afternoon? Do you have anything special in mind for our meeting?" She hesitated for a moment. "Well whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be great. It always is. I can't tell you how much help you've been. I've got to run. See you later!"
"Okay," I smiled and waved, then turned and nibbled on some potato chips. Have I got anything special planned for this afternoon? Maybe I should invite Willy in for a little demonstration on how to mix explosive chemicals. How do you say 'hit the deck' in Spanish anyway?
It was about two o'clock during sports that Coach Larsen pulled me aside with a worried look on her face. "Jadee, I know you're a reporter for the newspaper - and - well, everyone in town's heard about how you helped Mr. Patterson. So I was wondering ... do you think you can help me with something?"
"Sure," I said.
"Okay," Coach Larsen began. "This isn't going to be easy. A few of the girls gym lockers have been broken into. Jewelry and money are missing. Do you think you can help me figure out who's doing this?"
I was stunned. "Really? Coach Larsen I-I'm not a police officer or a detective. I'm just a reporter."
She nodded and said, "I know, but I don't know who to trust, and it's kind of my fault." She sat on the floor and leaned back against the wall.
I sat next to her, "Why is it your fault?" I asked.
"The master keys ... you know ... the ones we use to open all the lockers. Well, apparently, they weren't turned in at the end of school last year, and I'm the one who had them. I could've sworn I turned them in." She stopped for a moment then shook her head, "I didn't even realize they were missing. I'd hoped I'd just misplaced them, but I've looked everywhere. And now that there've been so many break-ins, I know someone must've found them."
I tried to think, "Do you have any suspects? Any clues? Any ideas at all?"
"No," she sighed. "All I know is that it seems to be my fault, and it has to stop. I haven't told the principal yet. I was hoping I could solve this without him knowing. But the longer I wait, the more things turn up missing. I'll have to tell him sooner or later, hopefully before he finds out on his own."
"I'll try to think of something," I stood and helped her to her feet.
"Thanks Jadee. And, please don't mention this to anyone okay?"
I nodded and said, "I think you should write a list of everything that's missing. Try to include the date and time you realized it was gone. I know it'll be hard to remember, but it's a start. Maybe we can find a pattern."
"A pattern? Okay," she frowned and nodded. "I'll get started on it right away."
During the last hour of school I barely heard a word my English teacher was saying. I had too many of my own problems running around inside my head. Who would steal a set of keys? Who needed money bad enough to risk opening lockers and searching through other peoples things? Didn't they know they could get caught? Didn't they care?
What was I going to do for the Spanish Club meeting this afternoon? Would they ever elect someone else? How could I get Mrs. Hunt to even consider it?
vHow was I ever going to get even with Scott? And, why was he being such a jerk? ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! I HATE MONDAYS!!!!
Chapter TwoThe last bell of the day rang, sending chills down my spine. What's wrong with me? I used to like Mondays. I stood and slowly collected my books, hoping Scott would have a heart. But no. Guess who was waiting at my locker with a sarcastic grin on his face. Scott.
"Hi Jadee, just thought I'd remind you about the SPANISH CLUB meeting this afternoon," he laughed and slapped his knee.
He's supposed to be my best friend. Doesn't he know what he's doing to me? Doesn't he care? Okay ... my blood's boiling. This definitely means war!
"Hi Scott," I acted as happy as possible. "I have the best idea for the meeting tonight. They're gonna love it. I don't have time to talk right now. Gotta go. See you later!"
"Really ...?" His smile faded, "What is it?"
"I can't tell you. It's a surprise, but I just know they're gonna love it. Too bad you have to cover basketball practice. You're really gonna miss out."
Scott frowned and said, "What are you talking about? We're best friends. You always tell me everything. Why can't you tell me this?"
"Like I said, it's a surprise. You'd better get to practice before you're late." I waved goodbye and rushed down the hallway.
Good. Let him suffer. If I knew anything about Scott at all, it was that he hated not being told about something. It drove him crazy. I guess it's just the reporter in him.
When I arrived at Mrs. Hunt's classroom a wave of relief swept over me. She wasn't there. I hurried inside and glanced around, hoping to get an idea before she returned. Huge posters of Mexico decorated every wall, with brightly colored costumes next to them. I set my notepad on a desk near the front and draped my coat across the back of its chair. That's when my hand brushed up against the camera still inside my pocket.
Mrs. Hunt walked through the door, "Hello Jadee."
I turned and smiled at her, "I've got a great idea."
"Really," Mrs. Hunt replied.
"Yep, I'll be right back." I raced out the door, returning a short time later with Mr. Baxter our year book photographer, and his camera.
Mrs. Hunt and I quickly removed four of the huge posters from the walls, propped them up as backdrops, took down the costumes and shook the dust off them. As soon as the club members began to arrive, they were instructed to change into the clothes.
The girls wore flamingo dresses with silver clip-on hoop earrings. We placed a rose in their hair, and castanets in their hands. The guys wore brightly spangled Matador coats, hats, and black capes. They each held a long stem plastic red rose, gripped between their teeth.
"Think Hollywood!" I shouted as Mr. Baxter clicked off several shots of each person alone, then in couples, and finally group photos. The meeting lasted well passed five o'clock. Mr. Baxter left, promising to show us the prints by Thursday.
Amy and Stretch were excited about the pictures. (You remember them don't you?) Amy hugged me, almost smothering me in her long blonde hair. "You're so smart. I'm glad we elected you."
"Thanks," I mumbled trying to smile. I wasn't as smart as Amy thought, just really, really, really desperate. And, I guess I can forgive her for the nomination thing, after all, Stretch Olsen had completely forgotten about me. Which is exactly the way I wanted it.
Amy and Stretch gave me a ride home, and when we reached my house I invited them in to meet my mom. Both Stretch and Amy were thrilled, and before Amy left mom promised she could stay over Saturday night. Funny how things work out isn't it.
The next day, as usual, Scott was waiting by my locker. "So how'd the meeting go?" he smiled.
"It was great! You should've seen their faces when I ... uhhh never mind. It's a secret. You'll find out later."
His smile faded, "What? What happened?!"
"I really can't tell you," I said. "I've gotta go." I gently shut my locker and walked away. Yes he was suffering. I could tell. And just to torture him a little more, I stopped a few club members along the way and asked them to spread the word, no one was to tell anyone about the photo shoot. Evil aren't I? Finally, for the first time in two weeks I had a reason to smile.
When I reached my sports class that afternoon, Coach Larsen had a long list of missing items. It turned out that she'd been writing everything down on a calendar in her office.
"That's strange," I mumbled while studying the information.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing ever seems to disappear on these two days." I pointed at the calendar and glanced up at her. "I wonder what happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays that's different than any other day of the week."
She shrugged, "I don't know. We'd better join the rest of the class, just incase someone's watching. We don't want anyone to get suspicious. I hope that helps you somehow."
"Me too," I sighed.
After school Scott and I headed to the Bugle office. As usual, Mrs. J our secretary, greeted us with a warm smile and a hot cup of cocoa. I studied the schedule board. I had a funeral and a wedding to attend on Saturday. I gathered all the information I needed for my articles and sat down to write.
Scott and I worked side by side without saying a word. I could tell Mrs. J felt uneasy. She excused herself from the front desk and went into the back. I don't think she'd ever seen us when we weren't planning, scheming, and teasing each other.
Thoughts of the locker-bandit crept into my mind, and I fidgeted with my pencil. "Scott I have something I need your help with."
"Sorry, I don't have time." He glanced at me then looked at the article he was editing. "I've got too much on my plate this week. Try me next week." He got up and walked away.
I grabbed my things and headed for the front door. "It seems to me Scott Travine you can dish it out but you can't take it!" I slammed the door behind me, rattling its glass pane. Fine. If he couldn't find the time to help me, I'd have to solve this one on my own.
At home mom had dinner waiting for me. I grabbed my plate and headed for my bedroom. If it worked for the Patterson case, I guess it could work for this one too. I took everything off my wall and quickly began making charts. One for each category I thought I might need.
"Another war?" mom asked, walking in and sitting on the edge of my bed.
"Really, that sounds exciting. I hope you can catch whoever it is."
I sighed and said, "I hope so too. But this time I'll have to do it without Scott. It seems he can dish it out, but he can't take it."
"Dish what out?" she frowned.
"Never mind. Let's just say Scott isn't speaking to me. He doesn't know about the thief, and he wouldn't let me tell him. He's acting like a ... a ... a,"
"Jadee," mom said. "Scott's your best friend. Whatever's wrong, he'll get over it. And if it's your fault, you'd better apologize."
"I'll apologize when he does and not a minute sooner," I snapped.
"Okay," mom got up and walked toward my doorway. "But just remember that good friends are hard to find. You need to treat them with kindness and respect, not take them for granted."
"Tell him that!" I threw myself on the bed sobbing. "I'm not the one who started this. He is!"
Mom turned around and sat next to me. "Okay. Calm down." She gently rubbed my back, "Everything will work out. You'll see."
"Well it better," I wiped at the stream of tears falling from my eyes. "Because if it doesn't I'm going to quit the paper!"
"Wow. That sounds pretty serious," she frowned again. "Are you willing to give up your life long dream that easily?"
"No," I sighed. "I just need Scott's help, and he's busy being a jerk."
"Isn't there anyone else who could help you?" mom asked. "Maybe Amy or Stretch."
"I don't think so," I frowned. "When those two are together they have a tendency to forget there are other people in the world."
Mom nodded, "Promise me you'll try to find someone."
"Okay, I promise."
She smiled and kissed me on my forehead. "Now promise me you'll be careful."
I nodded, "I'll be careful."
"Just remember Jadee, if you can't find anyone else, you can always ask me. I'll always help you."
Excerpted from NEWSHOUNDS 2 by CHRISTY DAVIS Copyright © 2010 by Christy Davis. Excerpted by permission.
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