“Duckies,” Daniel shouted.
Jackie was taken back by his tone. Daniel never raised his voice. She had counted on his easy-going personality to make the reaction of her betrayal less traumatic. Or was that – dramatic?
“You wrote that I have duckies on my underwear.”
“Actually,” said Jackie. “I told them your boxers had ducks.”
“And how does that make a difference? People still think I have ducks on my underwear.”
“There’s nothing wrong with ducks,” said Jackie. “I like ducks.”
“Well then, that changes everything. Doesn’t it? You told the entire school that my blue boxers have cute yellow ducks on them.”
“If you’re going to put it that way, of course it’s going to sound bad.”
“What other way is there to put it?”
“Come on, Daniel. Work with me here. I had to come up with something to tell the jocks or they were going to find out I knew about the drugs. Ducks were just the first thing that came to mind. Get over it.”
Daniel crossed his arms and glared at her. At least he wasn’t yelling any more.
“Be mad at me later,” said Jackie. “We have to follow up on this while we still have the chance. Now that we know
involved we just have to find out who he sells his drugs to on campus. But in
order to do that I need to get past his sports goons.” Tyler
“No problem there,” snarked Daniel. “I can distract them with my duckie underwear.”
“Don’t be silly. You don’t have any duck underwear.”
Daniel threw his arms up in the air and screamed, “Now you tell the truth. When no one is around to hear it. For the rest of the time I’m still in school everyone is going to call me Duck Boy, or Duckie, or maybe even Quackers. In one fell swoop you have ruined what remains of my high school experience.”
“Don’t you think you are over reacting just a little bit?”
Daniel answered clear and loud. “No!”
“You watch and see. By next week no one will even remember this.” Jackie waved her hands to dismiss the matter. “Let’s get back to MY problem.”
“Which one would that be? The stabbing your friends in the back problem? Or maybe the totally self-absorbed problem that prevents ninety percent of the school from liking you?”
“Please, stop. I’m talking about how I need to find a way to crack open this drug ring in school and write a column that will accepted into the Journalism curriculum at ASU.”
“Yea. The whole self-absorbed thing just went right over your head, didn’t it?”
“Daniel.” Jackie grabbed her friend by both shoulders and shook him. “Focus!”
“Why don’t you just join the Tyler Dunhurst fan club and then you can follow him around all you like. Then you can share your self-absorption with the snobs on the cheer squad.”
“Yes. That – is – it.”
“You’re going to become a cheerleader?”
“No. I’m going to write a series of columns about them” Jackie grabbed a pen and her steno-pad from out of her purse.
Daniel reached out and laid a hand on her shoulder. “I can see that you’ve gone over to the darkside. Vanity pieces. Fad fashion reviews. Who knows what will come after that.”
“Get real,” said Jackie. “Tyler is surrounded by cheerleaders every minute of the day. I don’t need to find a way to follow him, I just need to figure out how I can get the information I want from those jumping, bleached bunnies.”
“Hmm. That might work.”
Then Jackie was out the door, leaving Daniel alone in her bedroom. She sped down the stairs. Like a gust of wind she tore through the living room. Faster than Speedy-Gonzales, she bolted out the front door and ran smack into Amanda Groat.
Both of them tumbled to the ground.
What a lousy time to encounter her arch rival.