Chapter 22

The next morning Aaron, Brian, Emma and I were standing in front of our lockers as usual. Em was telling us everything about her ultimate prank plan, code word: ‘Tea Party’. She had already designed some kind of flyer the day before with a picture of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. It was actually pretty good. She planned on making a couple of hundreds copies after school and then she somehow got us to agree to come to school extra early the next day to stick one of them in every locker.

Even more, she had the idea to make some sort of contest out of it: 100 bucks for the person with the funniest hat. In order to participate, you had to pay some kind of entrance fee. One dollar, to be more exact. As she explained it on the flyer, you just had to put in an envelope with your name, grade and locker number on it in a certain locker. Since Dinah was working in the main office, it was no problem to figure out the combination to a locker that was currently not assigned to a student and therefore empty. The perfect way to remain anonymous! Oh, and if you want to win, you’ll have to wear a funny hat next Monday, of course. Emma had chosen Monday to become Funny Hat Day – or as she put it: ‘the day of the non-birthday party’ –  and hoped that over the weekend people would have time to go look for a hat and actually take it to school.

I was a bit skeptical, so was Brian. Just because we threw a flyer into everyone’s locker, explaining that it is a prank and offering the option of winning money, it was not by a long shot a guarantee that even one single student would actually participate in it! Em only laughed at us, being her optimistic self as usual, telling us that we would actually even end up making some money that way. She would get reimbursed for her flyers and the rest would be spent on Brad’s friend David somehow. It was mostly for his benefit, after all. Okay, technically it was also a tiny bit to piss off Mr. Murdoch as well as to fulfill a Lizzy task.

In theory, it all sounded fine and well, but what if no one would wear a funny hat? And now my best friend needed at least 100 students paying one dollar each.

“I’m just saying you should consider the risk you’re taking,” Brian tried to somehow get through to Emma. “What if only a few people enter your contest? You would have to pay the prize money out of your own pocket! And that’s a hundred bucks we’re talking about. That’s a lot of money.”

“Exactly!” She smiled proudly at him, but his face only showed even more disapproval in response. “Aw, come on. We need some kind of motivation, otherwise no one will wear a hat. A prank is nice and all that, but too many people would simply ignore it. But the chance of winning one hundred bucks? Now that’s something you just can’t ignore!”

Brian tried to reason with her once again. “Still, what if –“

“Stop being such a worrywart! God! Worst case scenario, I’ll have to cough up the money myself. Then I’ll deal with it and file it under lessons learned,” Em rolled her eyes and grabbed the flyer design out of Brian’s hands with gusto.

“Hey!” We heard Dinah yell from down the hallway and turned our heads to see her run straight towards us with her brown curls flying all over the place. That was unusual. Why wasn’t she in the main office? Had something happened?

“Dinah? Everything okay?” Aaron asked her a little worried as she stopped short in front of us, her cheeks flushed a light shade of red.

“Yeah,” she replied a little out of breath, reaching for the water bottle Brian offered her. “Listen, I shouldn’t even be here, but I couldn’t text you because I forgot to charge my phone.” She’s hopeless. Hadn’t I just told her to charge it like only a day or two before when I wasn’t able to reach her? “But I’ve got news.” She grinned at us and took a sip of water. “Big news.”

“What is it?” Emma’s eyes immediately lit up and she leaned a bit closer.

“Oh, you’re gonna love it,” Dinah replied with a little laugh. “We’re getting a new student. Today!”

“You’re kidding!” My best friend held onto Dinah’s arm, as if to make sure that she was indeed standing there and telling her that.

“Nope. Cameron Walsh. New Jefferson High senior as of today,” Dinah let us know and gave Brian back his bottle.

“Isn’t it a bit unusual to transfer schools at this time of the year?” Aaron wondered. “What’s his story?”

“I don’t know yet. We just got the call earlier. He’s gonna come in later and I’m the one who is supposed to show him around. The only thing I know is that his name is Cameron Walsh, he’s gonna start today and he’s from England.”

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