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The Wishing Map
Chapter Fourteen: Two Spoos (Continued)
Previously: First Zack and now Gina face disastrous Back to School nights. Alone.
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Gina started looking around the minute they arrived at Minzer High, but she couldn’t find her longtime best friend Birdy. She went with Dad to the Registration Table in front of the library under the banner that said, “Go, Settlers!”
“Sort of a mixed message, isn’t it?” Dad mused.
By the time they reached the Biology classroom of the infamous “Mr. Trip-to-Hell” (Mr. Trippifel), Gina had given up hope of finding Birdy. Dad and Trippifel hit it off immediately, which was annoying, so Gina wandered out into the open area called The Quad. And that was when it happened:
“Hey, Dore. How’s ‘thy husband, thy keeper, thy sovereign?’” It was the voice of Treece Vondermeuller, who’d been Gina’s understudy for the role of Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew. She’d never forgiven Gina for not getting sick so she could take over the role, and now she was getting her revenge.
A swirling eddy of chuckles began to build around Gina.
“Gosh, Gina, that was like totally the best speech ever!” said Taryn Mitchell, an African-American girl, doing her famous mock-preppie accent.
Guffaws exploded from the growing maelstrom of scoffers.
“Dude, that was wicked weird! Why didn’t you just say something and get off the stage?” asked science geek Lexi Beckler.
“She did, she said, ‘Thanky!’” observed gawky Travis Mellon, who’d had a crush on Gina since God said, “Let there be light.”
More guffaws. Even from Missy Herbert, Gina’s second best friend!
Gina glared damningly at Missy, and melted Travis with a look-laser. Then, with all the verbal firepower she could muster, she started blasting: “Actually, I’d quite forgotten about that. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, you know. I’d also forgotten how caught up you all are in your petty little existences. Personally, I’ve got a destiny to fulfill, and it’s not in Middleton, that’s for sure. It’s in a whole other world! But you wouldn’t know about that, would you?” (She knew she should stop, but some alternate reality version of herself had taken over.) “Because you don’t have anything better to do with your insignificant little lives than to hang out in Podunkville forever, and that is just so pathetic. Frankly, I feel sorry for all of you because—”
“Hail, Queen Gina!”
Gina knew the voice as well as her own. She whirled around, too shocked to reply.
“Hah-hah-hah-hah!” Birdy went on. “What an ego freak, huh? Me and Gina were in the mall yesterday. She did that character, and they were all, ‘Oh, sorry, m’am!’ and ‘Yes, your Highness!’ It was a total shrieker! We told everyone she was this princess from—where was it?” Birdy shot a ball’s in your court look at Gina.
“Um…Princess J’nah of Frenga.”
“Oh, yeah! Totally hilarious!”
Birdy had just thrown Gina a lifejacket. With gas-fume bravado, Gina laughed along as Birdy blasted, snorted, and hooted until snot came out of her petite little nose! The crowd roared with delight, and Gina watched in wonder as Birdy diffused the bomb like a world-class demolitions expert:
“I totally fell into these college guys’ potato salad at the beach in California! They were so cool about it; they even wanted to help clean me off—in my bikini!”
“Hey, Treece,” she continued, “remember when your top came off at Wild Waters. Wow! That must have been crazy, huh?”
Treece Vondermeuller looked like one of those old cat clocks, frozen plastic with only her eyes moving back and forth. She smiled as self-mockingly as she could.
The crowd was laughing uncontrollably now.
“And the worse part was that you didn’t even know it until you got out of the pool and like 9,000 people were looking at your—”
“Yeah!” Treece screeched. “I guess we all have embarrassing stories, huh? Well, gotta go.” She hurried away.
As the crowd dissipated, Gina whispered to Birdy, “Where did you learn that?”
“You know, the ’let he who is without sin throw the first rock’ thing? Anyway, glad it’s over?”
It was far from over. Everyone, including Birdy, knew that Gina had meant what she said. But I really am destined for something greater than Middleton, Gina thought. If only…
“Listen, I don’t know what you’re looking for, Jeener, but you better find it soon.” Birdy stared into Gina’s eyes, forcing her to focus, and then she dropped the bomb: “We’re moving to Orange County in two weeks. My dad’s gonna be partner in some medical group, which means I have to spend the rest of my life with a bunch of stuck-up So-Calies. So can you please be real for just once!” Her sun-freckled cheeks were streaked with tears. Stunned, Gina embraced her soon-to-be-gone-forever best friend…
…as the darkness crept in around them both.
Thoughts: Have you ever so alienated yourself from others that you felt completely alone in the world?
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