When I finally get to school after a long walk, I’m about seven minutes late to English.
“Miss Winters?” Mrs. Brown says when I walk into class. “Care to explain why you are so late?” She hands me a tardy slip.
“I missed the bus, Mrs. Brown, ma’am. Sorry.”
“Oh, accidents happen dear,” she says. “Just don’t let it happen again, please. Now open your books to chapter seventeen. We will begin our study on the great poet Shakespeare…”
School drags on. Finally, lunch comes. I sit outside next to a tall oak tree and wait for my friend May.
“Hey, C,” she says when she comes by. She sits down and digs in a bowl of soup. “I heard it’s your brother Peter’s 18th.”
“Yeah,” I sigh. I hate talking about my brothers. She knows that, but she doesn’t care. She’s always asking people questions about everything. When I come out of the bathroom, she asks why it took me so long and what “the heck I did in there” that she can smell from so far. I have kept her just so I can say I have a friend who isn’t related to me. “He doesn’t know what he’s going to do about a job, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Oh.” Her smile fades a bit, but she is still as perky as ever. “Well, I know what I am going to be.”
“I do too,” I say. “You first,” I smile.
“I want to be a cop,” she says. Then she frowns. “But I can’t.”
g for the government. Women can’t run for anything, be it mayor or president.
“Maybe we could get people to sign a petition against that,” she says.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea!”
I plunged into my backpack for my notebook. I write, “Petition” on it and sign my name.
“Thank you, C.” May smiles ear to ear and I feel pretty good for helping her. “So what do you want to be?”
“A surgeon,” I say. “My brothers thought it to be pretty funny. They laughed their heads off.”
“Jerks,” May sighs. “When I was little I wanted siblings, but hearing your stories have changed my mind.”
“Yeah, it’s not the best,” I say as we get up to throw away our food. The bell is ringing as we walk in the door, which is not the best place to be because the bell is right there.
“Aw, ow,” May exclaims, covering her ears. “Ugh, let’s get our things before the late bell decides to rip our eardrums out.”
“Excuse me, Miss Winters?” Holy crap, that’s Principal Macdonald! The woman is almost seven feet, and she can put you in detention for as long as she wants for pretty much whatever she wants with the snap of his fingers. And she’s talking to me! “Miss Winters, please step into my office for a moment.”
May and I share a look of utter horror as I nervously step down the dull, almost empty hallway to the Principal’s office.
“Am I in trouble, Mrs. Macdonald, ma’am?” I manage. She laughs.
“Oh, no, sweetie, you’re not in trouble,” she says, gesturing for me to sit in the black office chair sitting across from her desk. The room is dimly lit by the opened shades. I see picture frames on her desk, and I wonder who or what is in them. “I just need to ask you a question about your friend Miss Brookes.”
“Yes. I have been recently informed,” she sits down and fumbles with some paper, “that she was the culprit of our latest, um, 'mural' on the side of the building.”
“You’re mistaken, Mrs. Macdonald,” I choke, shocked. “May would never do something like that! Besides, it’s really detailed. We once spray-painted things for Halloween, and trust me; she isn’t very skilled with a can.”
“Okay, okay,” she smiles. “I believe you. But before you go off to class, do you have any idea who is might have been?”
“No ma’am,” I say, “sorry.”
“That’s alright. Hurry off to class, then.”
After biology class, I meet May at her locker and tell her all about my little trip to the Principal’s office.
“Who would tell her that?” says May. “Nobody knows I’m here…except you!”
“Why would she take me in there and ask me if you did it if I told her?” I ask. “And more importantly, I wouldn’t tell her even if you did.”
“I know, I’m sorry, that was a stupid thing to say,” she says. "But who would frame me?"
I know exactly who.