The day following the fight things at school seemed back to normal. Phil didn’t come into class that day. I assume either because he was sick or was a bit scared of Mac. Everything was plodding along during the morning, and maybe fifteen minutes or so before recess Alan passes me a note. My first thought is “Cool, a note.” quickly followed by the sudden realization that I was sitting right next to Mrs. Jillsen’s desk. A girl in our class named Haley pointed out that some note passing was going on and it didn’t take long before Mrs. Jillsen noticed the note.
Mrs. Jillsen was pretty shrewd for an elementary school teacher, but let’s be honest, we were all ten. Adults in general were far more insightful than we were. She quickly snapped at me about the note. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t have a note as I discreetly handed it back to Alan under the desk. She seemed to realize I was avoiding the question and asked me a second time where the note was. I continued with my innocence plea, but it was falling on deaf ears. She asked me one more time, and I finally conceded, knowing that if I didn’t my mother might’ve been called and then it would’ve gotten much worse for me than… Alan, I passed it to Alan I said. Alan didn’t like that I sold him out but I didn’t have much of a choice. Mrs. Jillsen seemed to accept that I was telling the truth, but before she could say anything to Alan; Joeseph threw his drawing pad across the room and jumped from his desk and backed as far away from it as he could. This seemed to draw everyone’s attention. Mrs. Jillsen stood up and sternly told Joeseph to return to his desk, but he ignored her. She continued but this timed added an “or else”. We all knew what “or else” meant: the Principals office. She waited and when Joeseph didn’t comply she announced to the class that if the note didn’t find itself on her desk by the time she got back from the principal’s office we would all not get to have recess. She walked out and took Joeseph outside and then down to the principals office.
Once Mrs. Jillsen had left I got the note back from Alan, stuffed it in my backpack and wrote another note quickly. The original note was Pat wanting to know if we could all meet up at the old Kitchner’s Mill. I didn’t want Pat getting into trouble so I tried to cover for her with a note I obviously wrote about a girl in our class. You would think I wouldn’t have had a problem selling Pat down the river like I did with Alan, but I just couldn’t do it. I mean, she’s a girl and that wouldn’t have been right. I then placed my note on the desk of Mrs. Jillsen and hoped for the best. While I was doing all this, Jesse had gone over and picked up Joeseph’s drawing pad and brought it back to his desk. He started to thumb through it wondering what had spooked Joeseph. I’m not entirely sure he found anything but when Mrs. Jillsen got back he needed to go to the nurse’s office for some reason. I really can’t remember, but something was odd about the way he was acting.
The rest of the day was a bit more settled until the police showed up. One of the kids had gone missing, and by the sounds of it, it was Joeseph. I wasn’t completely unheard of for him to skip school but to bail from the principal’s office. That’s just asking for trouble. We were told to shelter in place until school was dismissed. When we were leaving I asked our dutiful sheriff what was going on, and he pretty much confirmed what I had figured out. He asked where Joeseph might have gone, and all I could really tell him was that he usually hangs out at Jesse’s house. Once I got home, got changed, did my homework, I had to head to Jesse’s house to do some chores for his mom. She always gave me snacks and some money. It was more than my mother gave me, but she had her own problems to deal with. When I had finished she told me that Pat and Jesse were upstairs doing homework. The conversation we had when I entered the room was… different. It was a whole lot about bugs, and dog faced superheroes, and super powers. I don’t know. Jesse and Pat were spinning something fierce of a story. I couldn’t make heads or tales of it, but Pat did say that she gave one of the strange bugs to Marty, and he was at the library looking it up and I should go find him and bring him back. So I left, much to my relief, and headed to the library.
I arrived at the library several minutes later to find Marty staring blankly at a computer. I announced my presence and Marty kind of shook out of his trance and said hello. I told him that Pat told me about the bug and I wanted to see it. So he handed me the jar it was in. I, of course, being the ever-curious idiot of a kid that I was went right ahead and opened up that puppy and pulled that honking crazy ass looking beetle right outta that jar. It was dead alright, dead as a door nail or so I had thought. I felt it kind of twitch in my hand, and I put it calmly back in the jar, closed the lid, and told Marty. He turned to tell me it was dead, and as he did it pounced to life and leapt right into the side of the glass jar. I looked at him with that kind of look you give someone as if to say “Oh really”. The fact that the thing was alive was of great amusement to me, in fact, I was so happy with the little fella that I decided to name it: Babs. Why Babs, I dunno, seemed appropriate for a beetle looking thing with bright orange pom poms on its feet. I called Pat, who didn’t answer and then I called Jesse who ALWAYS answers, like a kid on Christmas when his phone rings. I’m serious, he still does it, more subtly now but those eyes light up every time. I explained the situation and it was eventually agreed upon that we would all meet up. I wasn’t really sure what was going on at the time but some of the things did seem really strange. The last thing we did before we left the library, or rather the last thing Marty did was kill Babs. It was kind of sad, in a way, we had become so close in such a short time. By the way, NEVER name a strange bug with orange pom poms on its feet. Not a good idea….trust me.