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500-Word Challenge: Day 23–Aiming for Justice

“But what are you gonna do about it?”

I hated when she asked me questions like that. They made too much sense. And they put me on the spot. And I had to take action.

“You’re not helping, Maeve.”

“I am and you know it. So, time for revenge?”

I looked off. “Not exactly revenge,” I said.

“Well?”

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”

We were down to our last ten minutes. The school year would be over and both of those shrubs would march off to summer vacation convinced they had beaten us. I couldn’t—no, WE couldn’t live with that.

Other kids were crowding around us, for whatever reason.

“Let’s get to the oak tree,” I said. “I can’t even breathe here.”

We stopped and started and bolted through a dodgeball game and bobbed and weaved through kids on the monkey bars.

Once at the oak tree, Maeve and I were able to sit and think.

“Okay, we know they’re leaving early. And we know their parents are coming to get them. And we know they’re expecting to receive the ‘Best Behavior’ awards,” I said.

“And we know they’ll be crushed if they don’t get those awards,” said Maeve.

“So, we at least have something to work with.”

From our vantage point, we watched the twins roam the playground with their usual band of followers.

We were both quiet for about a minute.

then we looked at each other.

“I think I have an idea,” we both said at the same time.

***

Our ideas didn’t match.

Luckily.

Because we would need both to make up our grand plan.

What we needed now was some alone time, as in while the rest of the school was in one place, we needed to be somewhere else.

With the upcoming awards assembly, we were halfway there.

The trick was to never actually join everybody else in that steam room they call the cafeteria.

The lunch bell rang and in we trooped toward Room 13.

“So, do we have our timing down?” I asked.

“I think so,” said Maeve. “I think there are about ten minutes till we all head over.”

“Okay,” I said. “I ask to hit the bathroom first. Two minutes later, you do the same. We meet at the end of the primary hallway.”

“Why there?” asked Maeve.

“Because everything and everybody is innocent down there. There’s no reason why Mr. Lundquist would be patrolling down there.”

It was starting to come together. Maeve and I would have about five minutes to track down whatever evil, annoying plan Emma and Ella Jamison had come up with.

Like clockwork, we met by Room 4 and started our search.

“You start at one end of the upper grade hall and I’ll start at the other. If we’re walking together, for sure we’ll get nabbed.”

“You mean,” said Maeve with a smile, “that if we’re within five feet of each other, people expect trouble?”

“On the last day of school, any two fifth-graders within five feet of each other might as well be wearing a sign saying, “Up to no good.”

“Okay, then, here we go.”

We headed out and within minutes we met in the middle of the upper grade hall.

“Anything?” I asked.

Maeve shook her head. “Not a thing.”

I sighed. “There has to be something they’ve done. Otherwise, why would they even bother to leave early on the last day of school?”

On our way back to Room 13, we approached the office. Rolled up against the wall was the banner Mr. Lundquist always hung out across the front as everyone left for vacation.

Published in500 Word Challenge

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