Dana wishes she’d have just followed one rule...
The Mystery of Windesta Creek
It was dark out, and shivers were running up and down my spine that had nothing to do with the temperature. I had to abide with riding Kasey’s sister’s tiny black bike to school because my blue one might have given us away. I would have massive bruises on my kneecaps tomorrow.
Midnight had passed, and unfortunately, Kasey and Michelle had remembered to pick me up. I wished they had just called off the whole thing, called it dumb. But, Kasey wasn’t one to back down. Sometimes I wondered how we became friends when we were so different.
Every time a car whizzed by, I thought it was the Principal casting an iron gaze on us. Every time a night jogger ran by, I thought they would rat us out, three almost high schoolers, for sure. But they didn’t.
The asphalt in the school’s parking lot was rough and bumpy, and when we arrived, we had to search around for a half way smooth patch. I kicked down my kick stand, and walked into the unlocked door. The custodian was cleaning the school, fortunately. But he was one more person we’d have to avoid if I was going to break this major rule. I felt guilty, but exhilarated at the same time. Maybe Kasey was right, maybe this wasn’t just a good idea, it was a perfect plan!
Kasey checked the time on her phone with the stylish turquoise to purple case and gazed around. 12: 18.
“I’ll guard the entrance, you two go!” Kasey whispered to us. If she was so happy about stealing this bobble head, why wouldn’t she want to join in, and get the glory herself? Well, maybe she was getting cold feet now. I wanted to give her a look, but we had to hurry.
“ What, are you chickens and turtles? Move it.” She snapped.
Michelle and I were stealthily padding through the hallways, making sure not to leave a trail. Michelle was unfortunately wearing her favorite, but squeaky flip flops, while I wore my silent sneakers, so she had to tread extra carefully.
W were about three halls down from the Principal’s Office and thought we were all alone and perfectly safe, but we heard a loud whistling to “Living On A Prayer” except very off key.
The custodian was just around the corner. I gasped. I knew that voice, all too well.
Mr. Lisender was a really tough custodian who used to be a martial arts master before he retired and came here. He once locked two 7th graders in a bathroom for trying to take an extra apple from the cafeteria. They were in there for two hours. The principal was too scared of him to fire Mr. Lisender, though he definitely should have.
“ Who’s there?” Mr. Lisender shouted, coming even closer to us, “ Come on, don’t be shy!” No way was I listening to that suggestion in particular. I ducked into a nearby classroom to hide as he came our way.
He shrugged, and continued to mop up the greasy, littered floors. We were in the clear, and I sighed a breathe of massive relief.
“ That was close.” I whispered. The song was still going strong and clashed with the heavy noises of sweeping outside the door.
“ Too close. To be honest, I kind of want to go home.” Michelle told me.
“ No,” I said, “ we said we would. You were the one to convince me. We aren’t backing out. We are going to get that bobble head tonight, and by next week this whole town will know how exactly we pulled it off.”
So, we waited until he had carried his tune someplace else, and made our way to the Principal’s Office.
“ I can jimmy the lock.” I said. I had taken a hair pin for this very occasion. Simple pin and tumbler lock, easy to open. The door clicked, and we were in.
“ Wow,” Michelle looked impressed, “ who knew the good girl could pick a lock?”
“ Hey, my Mom is a police officer. She taught me just in case.” It was true. I didn’t feel right using it for such a thing, breaking into a school office.
“ I don’t know if this is exactly what she meant, Dana.” Michelle answered. She stood in front of the door, like Kasey was doing outside this very minute. I went for the tiny, wiggling statuette. It nodded as if to say I was doing right by it. It didn’t want to be in this stuffy, dusty office any longer. It was a football player, number 76 decked out in black and green. The school colors were blue and gold.
I stuffed it in my pocket.
“We did it! I can’t believe we had the guts to pull this off, Michelle! We evaded capture, we went through the school, and we will be the ones remembered, while Kasey just stood at the door, waiting for us!” I said. Michelle gave me a big high five.
“ We pulled a heist. Almost like in the movies.” She grinned.
“ Let’s get out. Kasey is probably bored out of her mind waiting.” I told Michelle.
“ No, she’s always out of her mind.” Michelle threw back, her porcelain features, the same I had always been jealous of, becoming imperfect to make way for a ridiculous face. Her cheeks puffed out, her lips looked like they were better suited to a fish, and her eyebrows almost touched the ceiling. We chuckled some more. Kasey was right. Maybe the intervention had been what I needed.
I locked the door behind us, and looked around, making sure the daunting Mr. Lisender wasn’t lurking around, hot on our trail. I think I was developing a phobia of custodians because of his menacing, evil ways.
So, we made it back to the exit. Our escapades had gone without a single hitch! I couldn’t believe I had broken such an important rule, after three years of keeping my toes in line. I was almost disappointed that after tonight I would have to go back to that.
The outside air was shocking cool and crisp, and for some reason, Kasey was gone.I felt a sense of foreboding in the air, filling my lungs.
I felt a hand, warm and sweaty, on my shoulder, and I screamed and screamed and screamed until I whirled around.
It was my mom... in her police uniform. And she was standing right next to Kasey, who didn’t look upset in the slightest. She looked... almost bemused.
“ Right here, Officer. I can’t believe your own daughter would do this. She was my closest friend for so long, but when she had this insane idea, I knew telling you was the right thing to do.” Kasey gazed at mom with innocent eyes. I bit my lip. She was betraying us, and lying to my mom! She was never watching our backs, she was stabbing them!
I had known Kasey since 4th grade, and I never would have thought she was capable of being this kind of person. And Michelle and I had fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.
“ Dana, Michelle... I’m so very disappointed in you two. Dana, I thought I taught you better then this.” She shook her head. I felt guilty- that was evident. But Kasey had gotten us into this whole mess! Mom was always the one who trusted me, gave me responsibility and trusted my judgement, and now she wouldn’t ever truly believe a word I said without a shadow of doubt.
I at least had to try my best to say the truth. I had been horribly wrong, but it was Kasey who had wronged us. What a odious friend she had turned out to be.
“ Mom, no- it was Kasey’s idea, she said I was too good... how can I explain this- I swear- “ I stuttered. But she wasn’t listening.
“ Kasey was calling me while you were breaking and entering. She didn’t do a thing, and you sunk low enough to break this rule. We are having a long talk with the Principal where you can apologize, and you’ll be lucky, Dana Riley Purple, if you’re not sentenced to Juvy, along with Michelle.” I could tell that Michelle was about to burst into hysterics.
“ Please just believe us, Mrs. Purple! I’m too young to go to jail, and I’ll be disqualified from my piano competition in London! You can’t do this to me! You just can’t!”
“ Michelle, you and Dana have essentially committed a crime. The law is the law, and though I’m sure your competition is important to you, I’m sure that bobble head was important to your Principal, as was the privacy of his office while it was locked.” This time, Michelle really did cry, tears streaming down her cheeks. I felt one on mine just the same.
We were in some deep trouble, and it was all Kasey’s fault. Not that anyone would ever believe us. Much less the principal.
I had far too much time to think about that as I sat in the back of a Police Car, driving towards the Principal’s house. Even though my arms were unrestrained, I felt the invisible shackles that weighed me down.
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