Chapter 3 - "Crazy Like a Duck"

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by: MRowanMeyer

Dear Robot Diary,

I'm a good person, right? I mean, on the scale of human decency, I'm definitely above the middle marker, wouldn't you say? Maybe not saint status, but I've got to at least be several ticks above puppy kickers and people who post movie spoilers. So why—WHY—did the universe point its giant space finger at me as if to say: Lace Heavensmall. I'm comin' for you, girl. At least that's what it feels like right now, pinned underneath a bank of lockers next to a beautiful blue-haired feminist and a man-sized duck of questionable sanity.

Whoa. Context, Lace. Lemme back up. It's not like I'm going anywhere anytime soon.

***

Flashback to last night. "Breathe, Lace! Dang it, breathe!" I'm jostled awake by Marmie holding a paper bag over my mouth. "We're losing her!" she bellows.

"Alternate hot and cold!" Harry cries.

"She didn't pull her groin, beef brain," Banana shoots back. "She's hyperventilating."

"Mouth to mouth!" Harry opens wide, coming in hot like he wants to swallow my head. I can

literally count every hair of his ginger goatee (7).

"I'm fine! Abort!" He backs off, taking his kiss of life with him, visibly disappointed. "What happened?" I ask.

"You fainted." Crush says quietly. A bolt of electricity runs up my arm as I realize he's holding my hand. I vow to never let a drop of antibacterial solution touch these fingers again. Your germs are mine forever, Crush.

"I had the weirdest dream," I whisper. "You were there. And you were there. And you. Oh! And there was this giant duck—" I stop. There, in the darkened hallway of my high school, amidst a clutter of broken instruments and tattered sheet music, stands a six foot tall mallard. And as if things couldn't get weirder, it lifts its wings, grabs its head, and twists it clean off.

Dear Goddess, no. Is this real life? Please let it be a concussion-induced hallucination. Or gas leak. Or one of those 24 hour tumors. Anything. But, no. Reality crashes in, wrapping me in a bone-crushing hug, and uttering two words. "Hey, sis." My brother, Jim Heavensmall, has just blown in from the storm. Thanks, universe.

***

Day three of Freak Week and things could not be freakier. If you thought Shih Tzus and musical terrorism were nuts, well all aboard the crazy train! First stop: my fragile teenage sanity. Choochoo!

"Batten down the hatches, y'all!" Marmie screams. "Get ready to rumble!!"

The basement's concrete walls begin to shake, showering us in a thin layer of (probably asbestos) dust. All morning we've been at the mercy of quick, violent earthquakes. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that the ground isn't the only thing getting shook up. They also shake us up, like human soda bottles, until we spew out fizzy, carbonated Truth.

"Gaahhh! It's happening!" Banana cries, clinging to an ancient A/V trolley. "I can't stop it! Here it comes! AAAAHHHHHH I ONCE CALLED MY TRANSGENDERED COUSIN 'HIM' INSTEAD OF THE INCLUSIVE 'THEY'! I'M SORRY STRAWBERRY!!" And just like that, it's over. The rest of us breathe a sigh of relief, spared from the truthquake. For now.

Needless to say, I'm actively avoiding Crush. One unfortunate aftershock and I could be pouring my guts out about how we should go to college together and double major in English lit and Love. Mr. Kevin offers great distraction as we prepare a deconstructed casserole from stale tatertots and marshmallow fluff. "The key is to lightly toast the fluff," he instructs, singeing the dish with a Bunson burner from the chem lab. "My wife and I took a couples camp cooking class. Until she found someone else's bonfire to toast her marshmallows..." Mr. Kevin may be my favorite teacher, but there's only so much marital drama I can stand.

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