"No way," Sam objected, opening a can of Coke; the only thing he had for lunch, "there's no logical reason why mermaids wouldn't eat fish."
"They live with the fish!" I insisted, sitting down beside him on the cold linoleum floorboards in the school hallway, "humans wouldn't eat animals if we could talk to them."
We were both aware of what we should have been talking about, but ever since I called Sam the night before telling him about the message on my windshield, and we agreed to discuss it the next morning, avoiding it seemed more attractive.
"I don't think you realize how annoying poultry would be if they could talk," Sam argued. He chugged his drink with great bravado, but I hadn't seen him eat anything in days.
The photo was in the pocket of Sam's pants. I gave it to him when I drove him to school, unwilling to spend my day carrying around the eerie sepia-toned man and the rather unpleasant message written on the back.
"Fish are undoubtedly outnumbering the mermaids. What if they started a union?"
Fay walked by us with a group of girls from Speech & Debate Club, with her hand shoved down a bag of fries from Wendy's.
"Hey, Fay," Sam said, "do you think mermaids eat fish?"
The question was puzzling enough for her to stop and have her friends walk away.
"Of course not," she answered, squatting down beside us, "they live together."
"That's what I said!" I exclaimed, "the fish would start a union."
Fay got out a big red scarf from her bag, and tied it around her face, even then she made sure the political pins on her jacket were visible.
"Uh-uh. If the underwater world has unions that would mean there was once an underwater industrial age and an underwater Marx," she corrected, "and there would be fish socialism."
"I don't know what to say about fish socialism," Sam admitted.
"So, this is what you guys talk about, huh?" she asked. Ever since Tavi's party Fay had been reluctant to accept my newly-formed friendship with Sam, but nevertheless awfully curious as to what brought us together.
"This and that," I mumbled, "you're welcome to join."
I quickly saw Fay's classic, flat smile of gratitude mixed with lack of interest pan out across her face.
"I've got things to do, kiddos," she asserted, going as far as ruffling my hair to swaddle me, "I won't disturb your stoner sharing circle."
Fay's ability to go from friendly to menacing was downright incredible.
"We're still on for Sunday, though?" she proceeded to ask, referring to our hastily planned dinner date.
"As if I'd miss it." I smiled, and let her continue her power walk down the hall.
"You shouldn't make promises you can't keep," Sam warned, dragging the photo back up from his pocket.
"What? Because I'll die tonight?" I scoffed, "I'm sure we'll have it all figured out by then."
"Yeah, because we were gonna make a plan this morning" he reminded, "our plan, of course, being planning it out during lunch, which is... right now."
"Gosh, Sam, we were doing so well," I complained while my eyes overlooked the stream of students without life-or-death gambles, "how'd we get sucked into this again?"
YOU ARE READING
ShadrachMystery / Thriller
1987: teenaged stoner Marcia Hazan finds herself trapped in a mystery larger than life when she takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of her neighbor's disappearance one cold night in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. WATTY'S WINNER AND EDITOR'...