“Of course, no one knew what I was talking about or cared to find out. Even my best friend June said, “Piper, come on. You’re gonna use all your time just to find out the answer to this stupid mystery?””
It was all a blur when it happened. It just made me want to know even more. The first thing I remember, I was sitting at a booth in a restaurant called Tables and Chairs, with my mom and dad, and our waiter came over to our table. He took our orders and then walked away. Then my parents started asking me boring questions about what I was going to wear to my cousin’s wedding. I honestly couldn’t care less about that. Suddenly, we heard a scream and everyone was dead silent.
“No one will ever know!” a deep male voice yelled. We couldn’t see this man because he was blocked by all of the fancy chandeliers and table centers.
Then we heard a gunshot and people frantically started calling 9-1-1 for ambulances and police. Some people just immediately started running out of the restaurant. My mom took me by the hand and rushed me out of Tables and Chairs. My dad followed us, and suddenly the three of us were running home. I was so excited that a boring dinner just turned into a murder, but I was scared of the murderer. I was so curious to learn more. A part of me wanted to run back and learn more, but then I was reminded by the sensible part of my brain that it would be very unsafe. We ran about 20 blocks, but stopped to catch our breath every few minutes. Now I wish we had brought the car so we wouldn’t have had to run this far.
Once we got home I went straight up to my room and started getting ready for bed. Minutes later, my mom came in.
“Sweetie,” she began to say.
“Mom, I told you this before, please don’t call me sweetie.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Anyway,” she said, “Tables and Chairs just called and said there was a murder and the person died, and we are welcome to come to the funeral. Personally, I don’t think we needed to know that the person died. we were already scared enough. And I hate funerals! Who would just choose to go to a funeral of a person they don’t even know?!”
My mom was yelling then, and I wasn’t sure why. She was probably just mad about something else.
“It’s okay, Mom,” I said, trying to comfort her. “You can just forget everything that has happened and continue with your life.”
I said this only for her. I was not going to continue on like this. I was going to find out every single detail until I knew the whole story. I get obsessed with mysteries.
“Good night, Mom.”
The next morning was the first day back at school from winter break. I had set up a whole list of questions to ask the people at my school. They included:
Of course, no one knew what I was talking about or cared to find out. Even my best friend June said, “Piper, come on. You’re gonna use all your time just to find out the answer to this stupid mystery?”
June and I were very different. She didn’t care about grades, she cared more about popularity. I cared some about grades, but I honestly couldn’t care less about popularity. I devoted my time to things to figuring things like mysteries out, and she spent her time figuring out how she should do her hair and what she should wear to school. I was still very confused about why we were best friends. I guess it was just that we had such different personalities that made us like each other.
“Hey Piper, look at that teacher. Have we seen him before?”
“Maybe he is a new teacher, or he’s on a tour of the school,” I replied.
“But all the teachers are surrounding him and talking to him like he has been here forever!”
“June, he’s probably just a new teacher that the teachers like a lot. How about we go over and talk to him?”
“Okay,” she said with a small hint of caution.
We walked over to him just as he was telling Mrs. Fairfield, the English teacher, about tea..
“Well, Mrs. Fairfield I think that my most valuable lesson about tea is that camomile tea needs to be preheated so that once you start drinking it the minty taste doesn’t diminish as the tea gets colder.”
“Ohohoho,” Mrs. Fairfield chuckled. “That is definitely a valuable lesson. I can’t wait to tell my friends about that at high tea on Sunday.” Mrs. Fairfield had her strange ways and proper attitude.
“Excuse me,” I said as June slowly followed. Another different thing about June and I is that I won’t be afraid to ask questions and say what I think, while June kind of just cowers in the corner. “Excuse me, Mister, but are you new here?”
“Why yes I am! I’m Mr. Rank, your new History teacher! What are your names?”
“I’m Piper and that’s June.”
“Wait but what happened to Mr. Dean? He was so nice,” June said, suddenly gaining up the courage to speak.
“He had to leave on personal terms,” Mr. Rank said a little hesitantly as if he wasn’t sure he should be telling us that.
Then the bell rang and he said, “Well it was nice talking to you, Mrs. Fairfield, and you two,” he said while gesturing at us. “See you in class later!”
“Ugh,” June said to me as we headed up the stairs to science class. “Mr. Dean was like the only teacher I liked! He was so fun and he didn’t get mad if I turned homework in a month late or never turned it in at all. I hope this Mr. Rank guy is as nice as he was.”
Suddenly, we heard a scream coming from Vivian Miller, who then started sobbing hysterically. We started to run toward her to see what had happened.
“What’s wrong? What happened! Do you need some Kleenex?”
Then Ms. Toran, the math teacher who was hovering above Vivian, came over to us and whispered in our ears that her dad had just died, so to just leave her alone. June had a look of surprise and horror on her face while I had a look of intrigue and curiosity on my face.
Once we got to science class we were given a little talk from Mr. Rodrick about not being late to class. June got all panicky, but I stayed calm. Luckily, Mr. Rodrick didn’t punish people. He was really nice. He wasn’t at all like Coach Haldon who gives crazy punishments. One time there were about ten minutes left of class and some people were whispering while he was giving instructions. He gave each of the people that were whispering ten cones and then they had to walk around the gym and drop one of their ten cones each minute. It was actually really funny.
June went home with me that day so we could study for our math quiz on fractions the next day. She was supposed to stay and study for two hours and have dinner with us and then go home. We were supposed to study for two hours but instead we studied for five minutes and talked for an one hour and 55 minutes.
“Piper, now I kinda get why you want to solve this mystery. Like so many things have happened, it’s kinda crazy!”
“Yeah! Now you get it! I don’t know what the details are so I want to solve the mystery!” I said in my most sarcastic tone.
“Hey I was just tryin’ to be interested,” said June a little defensively.
“Whatever, never mind.” I replied. Then there was kind of an awkward silence between us for a few minutes, and then my mom called for dinner.
“How did your studying go, girls?” my mom asked as she served us some spaghetti with meatballs.
“It was fine,” I said while shoving a forkful of spaghetti in my mouth.
“Oh June!” my mom said as she remembered something. “What are you going to wear to graduation?”
My mom had been pestering me ever since we started fifth grade about what I was going to wear to graduation. Does it really matter? Of course, June had also been thinking about what to wear to graduation since the beginning of fifth grade. My mom and June had similar personalities. It was a little strange.
“Well I think I’m going to wear a floral dress with a pink sweater and white sandals and then put my hair…”
“Hey, you know Mom, I think I’m done with my food. I’m going to go get ready for bed,” I interrupted and started to rise from the table.
“Piper, we have a guest over,” my mom said through gritted teeth.
“It’s fine, Mrs. Andrews, I have to go soon anyway,” June said.
“Okay, well see you some other time!” my mom said a little disappointedly.
“Bye June,” I said with not much enthusiasm.
She shut the door, and I went upstairs to go get ready for bed. My mom came in ten minutes later.
“Why were you so rude at dinner?” she inquired.
“Well mom, to tell you the truth, I don’t really think that what you and June were talking about was very interesting. I just don’t care. You know, June and I are kinda growing apart.”
“Really? I think you guys are great friends. I mean, I love talking to June!”
“That’s exactly my point! We are too different! We don’t have enough in common. Whatever mom, I can deal with it.”
“Okay. Well, see you tomorrow. If you um, need anything, I’ll be here. Good night.” My mom said a little cautiously.
The next day at school was a little awkward between June and me. We said hi to each other on the way to class, but we didn’t really talk. Lunch was a whole other story. I was walking through the cafeteria doors, when a girl I hadn’t seen before came toward me.
“Hi, I’m Meg. I’m a little new here. Do you think you could show me around? I heard you trying to solve a mystery, and, well, you seemed like my type of person!” This girl said this at the speed of lightning. She was wearing jeans and a striped t-shirt.
“Hello, I’m Piper. Um, yeah sure I can show you around. You want to eat lunch first?” This girl seemed really nice. I would rather sit with her than with June.
“Yeah sure!” she said excitedly.
“Okay, there is an open table over there,” I said gesturing to a deserted table in the back of the cafeteria..
We walked over to the table and I started telling her about the mystery. The whole entire five minutes I talked, she stared at me with intent eyes. Though I was having a lot of fun with her and we had similar interests, I glanced over at June a couple of times. She occasionally gave me dirty glances, but other times she would look over at me longingly. I felt a little guilty, but I would tell her later that I was just trying to make Meg feel welcome.
“Hey Meg, you want to come over to my house after school?”
“Yeah! Can you show me around the school?”
“Oh, right. Let’s go so we don’t miss the bell.”
As we headed out the door of the lunch room, I motioned to June to call me, and she replied with a nasty glare. If she didn’t call me, I was still going to call her anyway.
First, I showed Meg the gym, and then homeroom, the auditorium, and then the rest of the classrooms. The bell rang, and I headed to History and she headed to English. This was my first History class since Mr. Rank was the new teacher, and I was a little excited.
“Hello class, today we will learn about the American Revolution. Am I correct that this is where you left off?”
“Yes,” the class said in unison. This man was all business and no fun. This man may know answers, but he sure wasn’t going to reveal anything soon.
“Now, who are the four founding fathers blah blah blah…what’s the name of blah blah blah…” I really didn’t pay attention much until the very end when he said, “Class dismissed,” because I wanted to go up to his desk and ask him a question.
“Excuse me Mr. Rank, but could you please tell me what happened to Mr. Dean? I was so close to him, I was just thinking I should maybe write to him and say that we will miss him.” That was mostly improvisation.
To be Continued…