“So. I hope you know why you’re here, Miss Evans,” the principal, Mr. Stanford said to me sternly.
I stared at him in confusion. Minutes earlier, just as I had been about to sit down for Trigonometry, the speaker system suddenly asked for me to go to the principal’s office. I had no idea why. I wasn’t a troublemaker usually.
The uncomfortable red chair I was in faced the desk he sat at in his tiny, cluttered office. I vaguely noticed the papers filled with jumbles of words scattered about. The coffee on his desk I badly wanted to snatch. A pink tie was thrown over the metal cabinets.
“I actually don’t,” I replied.
“Don’t you?” He eyed me.
Mr. Stanford leaned over his desk to look at me suspiciously. It gave me a nice view of his balding salt and pepper hair.
“I’ve had news from an anonymous source that you’ve been vandalizing personal property, and by vandalizing, I mean treating someone else’s property in a way in which it should not be treated.” He said all this pretty fast, like some kind of detective talking with a suspect. And I was pretty sure he memorized the definition of vandalize from a dictionary.
Then his words sank in. Anonymous source? Me vandalizing?
What kind of bull was this?
“Do you still not know what I’m talking about, Miss Evans?” he asked.
He sighed exasperatedly. “According to an anonymous source, you’ve mistreated some things that belong to him or her—which is, as you should know, one of the many violations in this school.”
Then it hit me.
“Oh you mean Lissa!” I said. “She told on me?”
He glared. “No, not Lissa. I mean an anonymous source.”
“In other words, Lissa.”
“In other words, anonymous source, an unknown source that could be a person, publication, or other record or document that gives information.”
“Also known as Lissa,” I chirped.
He stared at me for a long minute, his brown eyes boring into mine. I innocently waited for him to talk.
“So you know what you did, huh?”
“No, I don’t really,” I half-lied. I knew Lissa told on me about spilling her books in front of her locker, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
“Then why did this anonymous source report you?” he asked.
“Uh, because Lissa hates my guts and wants me to get in trouble for any little thing I do,” I told him honestly.
He sat back down in his cozy looking swivel chair and clasped his hands. “Miss Evans, Lissa Ashworth is a dedicated young girl who is the epitome of excellence in this school.”
I noted that he’d said Lissa’s first name. Maybe he was on first name terms with people he liked only.
“Cough, cough—lies—cough, cough,” I muttered.
“What was that?” Mr. Stanford perked an eyebrow.
I sighed. “Okay look, Lissa is the “epitome of excellence” only because she snatches homework from defenseless students. She can act like an angel in front of people like you—even though she’s not—and you’re probably just sucking up to her because her family is rich. No offense.”
The principal’s face got all red, and I was sure I’d be in more trouble. He stared at me in angry surprise. What can I say? It was all true. Then he spun around in his chair, back facing me. I knew it was too much but I say a lot of bad things when I’m nervous or annoyed. I could bet that Lissa promised him money to handle the school if he got me in trouble for something small like vandalizing.
Before he could say anything, I quickly added, “And what exactly did I vandalize anyway? Books?”
After a long moment—in which I guessed he was trying not to explode—he spoke.
“Yes, her books, Evans. A fundamental part of education.”
I almost snorted but I couldn’t stop the words from escaping my mouth. “Lissa doesn’t even care about books! She made me carry all those pointless books that had nothing to do with education, all the way up to gym, and then back down for no reason. It’s her fault I skipped homeroom and first period, and now I’m skipping Trig because of her!”