“No way,” she said. “Who do you sit with?”
I sat in a lonely corner of the cafeteria with a table of band kids who
all spent their lunch playing Magic: The Gathering and ignoring me. I
told Annie that I sat here and there, and she seemed to find that funny.
The bell had rung, and she leaned in, lowering her voice while Hydetold everyone what page to turn to in their books.
“Well,” she said. “I sit by the windows. You should—”
Before she could finish, there was the sound of a man clearing his
throat. Even Hyde was surprised to see Vice Principal Schlesinger stand-
ing in the door.
“Sorry, Ted, need to borrow a student.”Hyde waved that it was fine, and Schlesinger turned to the class.
Annie smiled and gave me a fake-scared look. I managed a casual
shrug as I rose from my desk, knowing I was about to find out what
trouble Ronny had gotten into.
Schlesinger told me to bring my things but was silent once I was outin the hall. He was a large man with orange-blond hair and a way of carrying himself that suggested he had once been an athlete. He led me tohis office at the end of C hall. It was a cramped, windowless room witha heavy metal door that he let fall shut as he told me to take a seat in thevinyl chair across from his desk.
Schlesinger sat down and looked at me with his lips pursed in a waythat said Ronny wasn’t the only one in trouble. That was when I noticedthe blue notebook on Schlesinger’s desk with the word EXPERIMENTSgouged into the cover.
“At five am this morning,” Schlesinger said, “our janitorial staff found
Ronald Trezzo breaking into the honors anatomy lab. Do you know any-
thing about this?”
Later I would find out that Ronny had smashed the lab’s window with
a brick. He almost made off with a duffel bag he’d filled with jars of fe-
tal pigs, but a janitor grabbed him just as he was climbing back out the
I told Schlesinger I didn’t know anything about it, and he leaned backin his seat but kept his hands flat on his desk like it was a pulpit.
“Well, that may be,” he said, “but he had this on him.”
He tapped the cover of Ronny’s notebook, which was when I recalled
the pure, idiotic misunderstanding that had made Ronny write my name