On the worst day of her life, Dorothea "Dimple" Dorfman learns that her twin brother, Dale, is dead - shot by his good friend, Ronnie Delaney. Everyone says it was an accident. Everyone says the boys were just playing with a gun they found. But none of that talk matters to Dimple. Now that she's the only member of the Twin Protectors, a secret club she and Dale started so they could stick up for each other, she can't stop thinking about their one and only rule: Never delay a payback.
Neither of them ever has. And now Dimple Dorfman knows exactly what she has to do to even the score.
About the Author
James VanOosting is the author of the last payback, named a Bulletin Blue Ribbon by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. He lives with his wife, Dr. Dawn Williams, in New Jersey, and plays a mean game of Ping-Pong. His two grown sons are also storytellers, one as a lawyer, the other as a filmmaker. When he's not writing, he takes long walks, plays the piano and guitar, cheers for the Chicago Cubs, and teaches the occasional college student.
Read an Excerpt
Nobody would tell me what happened to him. Not Mama. Not Daddy. Not even Ivy June. my worst, friend, who happens to blab for n occupation.. They only went, "He got hurt." Just like that and nothing more. All except for Ivy June, who had to go and add "bad."
It's plain mean in my book not to tell a girl when her brother's died. And if they're twins, like him and me are, then it's worse. Then it's a sin. I don't care if you mean well, you're worried about my feelings, or what. That doesn't matter. It's still a sin.
And stupid, also. What did they think? Like I wasn't gonna notice? Hah.
Of course, Ivy June wasn't blessed with a brain, as everybody knows. But I'd of thought Mama and Daddy might have one, between 'em.
When they finally do get around to telling me the truth of it'cause you can't - keep a thing like that secret foreverI ... am ... angry, believe me I will not forgive 'em. Not one of 'em. Not Mama, not Daddy, not Ivy June-for sure not Ivy Juneso long as I live, so help me God. Even if that means I'm going to hell, which is a place I know to exist.
Dale was my brother, Dale, is my brother, and I will not forgive 'em. Not now and not ever.
The night it happened, Saturday, he went over to play at Ronnie's. The Cuthbur Examiner might not want to print his name, but I don't mind who knows. Why should I? I'll give it to you straight out. Ronnie Delaney. That's him! Who cares if he was the first boy that kissed me? Who cares if I was planning on marrying him? It would be a sacrilege to forgive Ronnie now. Dale wouldn't do it, you better believe. If it had been medied, Dale would probably march right over there and shoot Ronnie Delaney. Ka-blooey, that's what Dale would do.
Now they admit it, of course. Now, when it's too late and he's gone, they confess how. I said he shouldn't of gone over there to Ronnie's. Mama says she can. recall now how I had this, like, premonition. Right there at the supper table, with her serving us one of her smoky-link pizzas, I'm like, "Why do you gotta go over to Ronnie's tonight, huh?"
And Dale's like, "Nothing to do here."
And I go, "Is, too. I got plenty to do right here."
And he goes, "Like what?"
And I go, "Better stuff than you got over there at Ronnie's."
And he goes, "Nuh-uh," which is as good as agreeing with me, in my book.
But do you think somebody's gonna listen to a girl? In the sixth grade? Name of Dimple? Oh sure, right. Hah.
When I was a baby, they called me Dimples. Plural. Then somewhere along the line I chubbed up and lost one of 'em. So I changed, my name myself to just plain Dimple. I'm very big on details, that's one thing about me. I cannot agree when Daddy says it's the thought what counts.
If that's true, then Dale would still be alive.
You tell me, is he? Well?
Detail is my middle name. Dimple Detail Dorfman.
My brother's middle name is, more like Careless. Or Carefree. Something like that. Dale Carefree Dorfman.
Not anymore, it isn't.
The call didn't come from Mr. or Mrs. Delaney, oh no. It come straight from the cops, so right there you know something's wrong.
Mama picks up and goes, "Oh my gawd," just like in the movies. when somebody gets bumped off by surprise. "Oh my gawd," she goes. Then she covers the mouthpiece and mouths at us, "It's the po-lice."
Which perks Daddy right up, who's been lying on the sofa snoozing in front of the Bulls' game. "What's wrong?" he goes. "What's wrong?"
I Mama's listening hard, trying to catch all the details.
Daddy keeps going, "What's wrong? What happened?" with him looking at me like I'm the one who went, "Oh my gawd."
I just shrug.
Mama hangs up and is like, "Dale's hurt, Marvin. We gotta get down to the hospital."
So Daddy rouses himself, hoisting up on one elbow, and swings his logs over the edge, landing both feet on the floor. It's the end of the third quarter with the Bulls playing the Knicks nip-and-tuck. "What do you mean 'hurt'?" he wants to know.
Mama goes, "Just hurt, okay? Shake a leg."
Seems nobody wants to notice me standing there. Maybe I've turned invisible or something. Real loud, I say,, "I'm coming too."
And Mama's like, "No, Dimple, you stay here."
"But Dale's hurt."
"You'll only be in the way," Daddy goes, patting me on the head while he switches off the game.
"I won't be in anybody's way."
"Hush now," Mama goes.
I ask 'em, "What happened to Dale?"
"Get a move on, Marvin."
"How come the cops called?" I wanta know.
"Just a precaution," Mama goes, which doesn't even begin to answer my question.So then I start shouting at 'em, trying to call attention. "He's my brother! Dale is my brother!"' This is an important point, I believe.
"You stay put right here, Dimple," Daddy goes, "and I'll call you up from the. hospital. How's that?"
I'm thinking, "No good," but I don't say this out loud.
Mama's like, "Did you hear your daddy, Dimple? We're gonna call you up, okay?"
I try to refresh their memory about how things, are. I go, real slow, "He ... is ... my ... twin .. brother."
And Mama's like, "That's right, honey, so you need to stay here at home. Won't be no use your going down to the hospital and-witnessing what none of us wants to see."