Josie confronts Rajasthan about Trixie and forces him to tell her the truth about her cousin. Trixie also confronts her father as Josie struggles to fight a never-ending war against injustice.
When the Teen Rebels go back to school, they encounter a girl named Jacey Mayford, who had been one of Josie’s friends from Montagne Beach Elementary School. Jacey is still talking to her imaginary friends, which riles Seth so much that he decides to scare the girl into abandoning her invisible playmates. The girls aren’t too happy with him regarding his unwise decision.
Now we begin...
Josie, Seth, Moira, and Trixie were now “on the run”, as it were.
They had been on the run since the last weekend, when Joyce Mayford had accused them of killing her daughter Jacinth’s imaginary friends. To be fair, Josie was part of that scheme, but she didn’t go through with her part of the deal because she was friends with Jacey. Joyce had spread a rumor regarding Seth, Moira, and Trixie, calling them bullies and accusing them of corrupting Josie and trying to get her to break her friendship with Jacey and join them in their troublemaking.
Most of the people living on Fort Ord who heard the story about how the Teen Rebels tormented Jacey just nodded in agreement and went about their business, as Joyce was known to spread vicious rumors that ruined the lives of scores of people, mainly those who decided to make Jacey’s school life a living nightmare. Seth, Moira, and Trixie could certainly look forward to a lifetime of hell from Joyce Mayford if any rumor about them reached her ears.
For the rest of that week and the next weekend, the four of them went “off the grid”, as it were. None of them said a single word to each other or any other student or teacher as they went to classes; not even once did Josie ditch art class, Seth cause trouble, or Moira hide herself in the library. Trixie also kept to herself, in the guise of wigs and weird clothes and keeping a low profile. Also, none of them were seen hanging out with each other during that time. The Teen Rebels made sure that no one knew of their involvement in the deaths of Jacey’s imaginary friends, lest they be found out by Mrs. Mayford and subjected to the vilest of abuses from the cruel woman.
Most of the kids in the school who had eventually heard about the incident between the Teen Rebels and Jacey Mayford simply nodded and then quickly moved onto the next subject. Most of them didn’t have much time to care about Jacey or her imaginary friends; nor did they bat an eyelash at the rumors about Seth, Moira, and Trixie scaring Jacey into giving up her imaginary friends. They had better things to talk about, such as the latest celebrity gossip of the newest movie in theaters.
* * * *
As for Jacey Mayford, she had not been seen in the school for the rest of that week. This was a travesty because she had perfect attendance from the time she had come to Montagne Beach Elementary School until the last week. Lieutenant Colonel Mayford thought it would be for the best if Jacey was taken out of school for a while, knowing that she might not want to face the student who tormented her about her imaginary friends.
Jacey herself began to wonder if there was really something wrong with her. Not that she wasn’t content with her life, but she was very concerned with how the other students seemed to react to her. Most of the time, they just ignored her, though there were a few bad eggs who tried to cause trouble for her. Those troublemaking students were usually apprehended by a teacher or a hall monitor without much incident. In fact, most of the students, after being reprimanded, often left Jacey alone without any further complaints.
But why didn’t anyone stop Seth Burke when he decided to scare me, she thought to herself while sitting in her room one evening. How could that boy do such a horrible thing to me? She recalled the moment it happened: it was that morning, the morning that most of her dreams came to an untimely end. She stared out from under her blankets and saw a huge group of ninjas surrounding her imaginary friends. Before anyone could scream, the ninjas pulled out swords and chopped her imaginary friends’ heads off. The ninjas quietly left the room before Jacey could raise the alarm.
But something else happened to Jacey herself, something that she didn’t want to recall at all. All she knew was that her mother rushed into the room after hearing her scream in horror.
That’s where everything went downhill. At least for her.
After Jacey was found screaming in her room and AFTER her mother scolded Seth, Moira, and Trixie for scaring her daughter, Joyce notified her husband, who immediately came home and attempted to comfort Jacey.
He said, “I know that this is hard to understand, but it was past high time for you to let your imaginary friends go. I know that you’re not really ready to let them go, but it’s all for the best.”
“But dad,” said Jacey. “You do know that I cannot for the life of me have a single friend because of Sheila Baines....”
“Then why don’t you make friends with that girl,” said the colonel. Jacey glared at him, wondering doesn’t dad know that she’s a bully who isn’t worth having a single friend in the world? “Sheila’s probably just lonely because she has no friends and that’s why she’s bullying the other kids.”
“Harvey, that’s a lie and you know it,” Joyce snapped at him. “Right now, I have my reasons to believe that Sheila Baines sent those three miscreants to torment Jacinth. There’s no other way to explain it. Sheila Baines is a bad egg and we of all people should know that. I know she sent those kids to harass Jacinth, I just know it. Also, how can you say that Jacinth has no friends when we have that Josie to worry about? You know that Josie and Jacinth have been friends since the second grade.” She stared at her husband and daughter before added, “I’m just worried that Josie is being influenced by that Seth Burke, Moira Downing, and that other girl, that’s all.”
“If you’re that worried that Jacey isn’t spending enough time with Jo, why don’t you just arrange for Jo to come over?” said Harvey. “I’m sure that her parents won’t mind.”
“I just hope that Josie doesn’t continue to hang out with those delinquents,” said Joyce. “I mean, just look at them: that boy is a racist bigot who doesn’t care about this country and is willing to say bad things about this country to anyone you would care to listen, that Moira girl is a whore, and even that other girl is a retard. Hardly the kind of kids that I want Jacinth to befriend, let alone Josie. I say that we inform her parents of the people that she’s choosing to associate herself and immediately!”
“Now just a second here,” Jacey cried out as she faced her mother. Sometimes, Joyce could go overboard with her rants unless someone was there to put an end to her mindless rambling. “You don’t know them very well, and you certainly don’t know what they are like. What if they didn’t choose this sort of lifestyle? What if someone chose it for them?”
“How do you know that?” said Joyce. “It’s not like that Sheila Baines couldn’t have manipulated them into becoming Josie’s friends.”
“And if she did,” said Harvey.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we find it,” said Joyce. “Right now, Jacinth needs to lie down and rest and I need to report this incident to the police. Someone needs to end this nonsense and soon!”
Jacey felt sorry for Josie and wished that she could have kept her mouth shut regarding Trixie, but it was too late for her to apologize for that incident. She also realized that she didn’t know Trixie very well, nor did she know about Trixie’s mental condition or home life, and she knew that she was wrong when she threatened to squeal on Trixie and report the Teen Rebels to the principal. She resolved that whether her mother wanted her to or not, she would befriend Seth, Moira, and Trixie, if only to keep them out of trouble. Unfortunately, that would have to wait until later, as she had more important things to do
But when she got back to school the next week after her “unmentionable” incident, almost everyone seemed to be talking about some random celebrity and ignored her and the sad story about her imaginary friends. That was, until a rumor about Sheila Baines hiring ninjas to kill her imaginary friends reached her ears…
* * * *
Now, Josie, Seth, Moira, and Trixie were once again in the library, hiding from Sheila Baines. Sheila had not forgotten that they had humiliated her earlier that month and they were also responsible for her being suspended from school. Plus, they had already broken one of her many rules regarding who could or could not be friends; Sheila had already dismissed Seth as a terrorist-wannabe and Moira as a chauvinistic whore, but she couldn’t say anything about Josie without rousing a riot. She vowed to get her revenge on them for that, one way or another. No one was allowed to stand up to her and get away with it.
But she was also being sought by Jacey Mayford for hiring ninjas to kill her imaginary friends. The Teen Rebels, mainly Josie, had made sure to tell her that that particular incident was all Sheila’s doing. Also, Trixie spread a rumor about that particular incident one day during lunchtime. A teacher would hear about the rumor soon.
But before we go any further, here’s what happened on the last day of the month of January 1988:
On Sunday, January 31, 1988, the kids met at Trixie’s house once again. This time, they had all laid into Seth for daring to hurt Jacey; Josie yelled at him for half an hour before her cousins Alexander, Zackery, and Johnny Diaz Kalbrunner came into the dining room, overhearing all of the commotion. The boys were described as vicious werewolves that didn’t need the full moon to wreak havoc on society. Alexander had an olive complexion, curly dark brown hair left uncut, and hazel eyes. Zackery had a pale complexion, wavy light brown hair in a mid-length braid, and gray eyes. Johnny had an olive complexion, wavy dark brown hair pinned neatly back, and brown eyes. They were all older than Josie, with Alexander being 19, Zackery being 17, and Johnny being 16. The boys did not like their cousin Josie, nor did they treat her kindly. Josie made sure to avoid them whenever she could.
Alexander saw Josie and her friends sitting in the living room and said to her, “Why don’t you ever come visit us?”
“Because you guys are jerks, that’s why,” said Josie. “I refuse to waste my time dealing with jerks like you.”
“Well, you pick some retard over your own flesh and blood?” said Johnny. Josie just glared at him. “That’s hurtful.”
“Uh, you’re the one who’s being hurtful,” said Trixie as she jammed her fists into her hips and sized the boys up. They all seemed to shrink away from her, which was something that she didn’t miss. “To imply that I am a “retard”, as you are so polite to put it, is to offend millions of mentally disabled people everywhere. You do not know enough of the troubles that those so-called “retarded” people experience during their years on this earth, and the troubles that will happen once they’ve ceased to exist. Are you really that ignorant that you cannot see that no family is spared the complications of having a mentally disabled person present?”
The boys glared at her, then walked out the room mumbling to themselves. Trixie smiled, knowing that she had put her brothers in their places. But she knew that she wasn’t finished with them yet, not as far as their father was concerned.
Josie said to her, “What a shame that we don’t get along with people that we should be getting along with and we get along with people that we shouldn’t be getting along with.”
“Such are the ways of the universe,” said Moira.
“I say no,” said Seth. The girls glared at him. “That’s not how the world should work! Either we get along with everyone or we don’t get along with anyone at all.”
“But there will always be people that we will NEVER be able to get along with,” said Josie as she thought about Sheila Baines and her bullying attacks on the students of Montagne Beach Middle School. “We can be nice to those people all we want, but at the end of the day, they will always have something unkind to say to us or do something cruel to us. That’s just how it is, Seth.”
Seth was unmoved. “No,” he said. “That’s NOT how it should be! We should force people to get along with us, whether they like it or not. That’s how I see it.”
“You sound like someone who wants to stir up trouble,” said Moira. “You need to be careful, lest someone wants to hurt you in turn.”
“Don’t worry about me,” said Seth with a strange look in his eyes. “I know what I’m doing.”
That was Sunday, but today was Monday, February 1, 1988.
It was a whole new month.
Another chance for Josie to make things right.
Anyway, we go back to the hidden room in the library, where the Teen Rebels were hiding from Sheila, who was (once again) prowling the school, looking for students to torment. They were all wearing dark clothes, with black shirts, black pants, and a pair of black shoes. Josie, however, had chosen to wear a short black dress and a pair of high lace-up shoes. She wore a medium-length black leather coat over her dress.
“What a shame that everyone chose to make fun of you,” Moira said to Trixie as they stared out the window. Michael Robinson was still looking for Moira; he had not forgotten that she had told him to shut up in the middle of class almost the month before. “They have no brains.”
“To say that they have no brains means that they cannot function,” said Trixie. “You can’t function without a brain. Besides, they weren’t making fun of me; they were making fun of June Tempest. June doesn’t exist; I’m merely pretending to be her. I’m Trixie Kalbrunner, in case you have forgotten, but no one is to know that Trixie Kalbrunner exists.”
“Well, that’s because my uncle refused to acknowledge your existence for the past five years,” said Josie. She glared at Seth, who was about to say something, and he fell silent. She still hadn’t forgiven him for the Jacey incident. “We need to figure out a punishment for the five students who decided that it would be funny to call you a retard. We can’t let them get away with it at all.”
“Agreed,” said Moira and Trixie.
“Harley Moore, Pam Fowler, Britney Austin, Gabriel Jackson, and Clarissa McGrath will pay the price of using the word retard,” said Seth as he held up a tape recorder. He had recorded the incident earlier that morning during class and was planning to air the damning thing over the school’s intercom. “Sheila Baines must have put them up to this, seeing as none of them would have the courage to do that themselves.”
“Indeed,” said Moira. “Is there anything bad that she does NOT do?”
“Exactly,” said Trixie.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” said Josie. “Let’s do it now while no one is around to catch us!”
They all crept out of the library and headed towards the front office. None of the staff noticed the kids walking into the office because they were too engrossed in their work. Seth reached the intercom and turned it on. In a nasally mocking voice, he said, “Good morning, students, teachers, and staff of Montagne Beach Middle School. This is Vice Principal Kelly Hunter, and I have discovered a rather disgusting thing that took place in Mrs. Fargo’s science class this morning. The incident in question is that five students Harley Moore, Pam Fowler, Britney Austin, Gabriel Jackson, and Clarissa McGrath, who are students who attend this school, have apparently decided that they would refer to June Tempest, a new student here, as a “retard”. Let me be blunt and make it clear that I will not tolerate any student being called a retard and anyone who dares to use that word will be suspended faster than you can say “that bites”!
“As for Harley, Pam, Britney, Gabriel, and Clarissa, you will be meeting with Principal Carker in her office at lunch today and explaining your behavior to her. She will not be happy to see you, so you had better tell her the truth about why you chose to misbehave instead of welcoming the new student and hope that you don’t get suspended for your actions. I will now be playing the tape so that she can hear what you kids said about June Tempest.”
He turned on the tape recorder and the following sound was heard:
Harley: June Tempest? Really? I’ve met people who had worse names than that.
Pam: What? Was her mom on drugs when she gave her that hideous name?
Britney: And who names their kid June?
Clarissa: What are you three losers talking about?
Pam: June Tempest.
Britney: The new student who decided to darken our classroom with her ugly face.
Gabriel: I bet she’s a retard. (To Trixie) Hey, what are you doing here, retard?
Pam: Yeah, go back to the special kids classroom, retard!
Trixie: So, you call me a retard? To refer to me as a retard is the dumbest thing that any student in any school could do. Are you really that dumb as to make a reference to me using that degrading word?
Clarissa: Shut up, retard! Nobody cares about what you have to say!
Harley: Yeah, you ugly retard! We’re a school for normal kids, not retards like you! So why don’t you take your retarded self and leave this room!
Trixie: And what if I say no or refuse to do what you tell me to do?
Gabriel: Then we’ll just make your life a living nightmare, won’t we, guys?
Class: Of course we will!
As the tape was being played over the intercom, the five students in question sank into their seats in shame and humiliation as their fellow students mocked them. They knew that they had been busted for their deed. But it wasn’t over for them yet. The Teen Rebels would certainly make sure of that.
Seth continued, “And I know that Sheila Baines was behind this incident, so she will be facing more disciplinary action for this incident. Also, I have heard rumors that she had attacked and beaten up Jacinth Mayford over the past weekend, which was why Jacinth has not been seen in school for the past week. This was a shame, since she had perfect school attendance for the entire school year. Anyway, Sheila, you are to report to the office and wait for me. You cannot be trusted to sit in the principal’s office, since you tried to jump her the last time you were here. And as for Michael Robinson, you too are to report to the principal’s office to explain why you decided to cause a disturbance in Mr. Capello’s math class on Friday, January 8, 1988.”
No one could believe their ears; seven students had gotten in trouble in less than an hour. Usually, it was one or two students who got in trouble and were sent to the principal’s office, and Sheila Baines was always one of the troublemakers. But SEVEN students in trouble who had to see the principal? That was certainly unheard of in the history of Montagne Beach Middle School. Something had to be given here. Also, the vice principal himself was hearing the announcement from inside the break room; thanks to the announcement, he knew that he had some parents to call and inform them of their children’s misbehavior. He certainly wasn’t happy about that, and he was even angrier that someone had dared to play with the school’s intercom without his knowledge or consent.
But Seth was not finished with the announcement yet; he said, “And Sheila, you also owe Jacinth an apology for the deaths of her imaginary friends. They were a part of her life and you destroyed them. Now how will she be able to function in society? You know not of the damage that you have caused to her when you plotted out those murders. All I know is that you had better have a good alibi for when Mrs. Mayford comes to the school demanding to know why you hurt her daughter, and you had better pray that she shows you a bit of mercy before she hurls you off a cliff in Big Sur. That is all.”
With that, Seth turned off the intercom and the kids hid under a nearby table. They all waited for the kill, which meant Sheila being dragged out of class by some violently angry hall monitor and taken to the office. The hall monitor in question, a woman named Marianne Lewis, said to her in a stern voice, “You certainly have done it this time, Sheila.”
“But I didn’t hurt Jacey! I wasn’t even bothering her! How can anyone accuse me of beating her up when I wasn’t even at her house that weekend?” Sheila protested, but Ms. Lewis said, “Not another word from you, young lady! You’ve caused enough trouble around here as it is; don’t make it worse for yourself.”
Sheila continued to protest as she was dragged into the principal’s office. Seth wanted to stay behind and watch Sheila get another punishment for her misbehavior, but the girls dragged him back to the library. They had to set off the next part of their plan, which was to get Sheila kicked out of school for good, and they couldn’t afford any distractions right now.
“Well, she’ll be in the doghouse for sure!” Moira said as they returned to the library. The kids had (once again) watched as Sheila Baines was being blamed for the incident at Jacey’s house and Seth’s fake announcement that six other students had to report to the principal’s office to explain their behavior and their disruption of the science class. Five of the students (Harley, Pam, Britney, Gabriel, and Clarissa) had been recorded calling Trixie “retarded” and attempting to incite the rest of the class to turn against her, but Trixie quickly turned the tables on them by insisting that they themselves were acting retarded, something that wasn’t missed by the teacher.
Or as she put it so eloquently: “You don’t call handicapped kids “retarded” because that hurts their feelings and makes them feel worthless. I call people who make fun of me “retarded” because that’s how they’re acting.”
Safe to say, no student at Montagne Beach Middle School would dare make fun of Trixie after that incident. But things weren’t over yet, not for her and certainly not for the Teen Rebels. Something was going to happen to them.
“June Tempest?” Trixie turned on Seth. “Seriously??? You just HAD to give me the dumbest name in the book, didn’t you? What were you thinking? Oh, you weren’t thinking because if you were, then you wouldn’t have given me that stupid name, you know.”
“But I thought that you looked more like a June than a Trixie,” Seth said in his defense, but Trixie wasn’t buying it. She continued, “And because you weren’t thinking when you decided to call me June Tempest, the principal now wants me to report to her office in a few moments for using that name. She’ll probably order me to get another name, a name that is appropriate for a middle school setting. I hope you think about what you have done. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to English class.”
“Uh, before we break for classes,” said Josie, “I think we’ll have to rethink this whole “sneaking you into the school” thing. Jacey’s right; we don’t just go around sneaking students into the school, not unless we’re tired of living or something stupid like that. Besides, no one is allowed to come into the school unless they have a visitor’s permit; that’s kind of how some girl called Rachel Grant was kidnapped from her school in 1985. Someone who was lurking around her school snatched her before anyone could stop him. The same thing could have happened to us, you know.”
“But think of what could have happened to all of us if Jacey told on us,” said Moira. “Trixie would probably get arrested for trespassing or something like that. We ourselves could have gotten detention or even suspended for helping Trixie sneak into the school. Not to mention that your uncle could have received a ton of flack for hiding Trixie in the attic instead of sending her to school like every other kid in Montagne Beach. Do you think we could still be together if that were to happen?”
“Probably not,” Josie conceded.
“Anyway, we still need to use the name “June Tempest” as long as Trixie is on school grounds,” said Seth, but Trixie interrupted him.
“No,” she said.
The others stared at her. “Why not?” said Seth.
“It’s barely been my first day here and already I got a ton of flack for using such a stupid name, mainly by those students who are in big trouble for using the word retard,” said Trixie. “Besides, I’ve got a better idea for a name for me to use.”
“And what is that?” said Seth. “Not some White person’s name, I hope.”
“Do you have to be such a racist?” said Trixie as she narrowed her eyes at him. “Besides, I’m calling myself Alana Chenile Kruger-Pirt.”
The girls gasped at her in horror. “Alana?” Josie cried out. “Ew, gross no! That’s a horrible name!”
“Besides, that name is old-fashioned,” said Moira. “Where did you find that? In a history book?”
“I thought it was an anagram of my name,” said Trixie, “so that’s why I’m using it.”
“Really?” said Seth. “Then prove it.”
Trixie shrugged, then took out a piece of paper from her notebook, and began writing down PATRICIA LEIGH KALBRUNNER. Then she rearranged the letters so that the paper now read ALANA CHENILE KRUGER-PIRT.
“Wow,” said Seth as he stared at the piece of paper. “I stand corrected.”
“I still say that you stole that name from a history book,” said Moira.
“Well, which is it?” said Josie. “It’s not like we can call her Goofy Tickles…”
“No,” said Trixie, “because *that’s* a stupid name. Besides, we need to get to class.”
“Not until one of you goes to the principal’s office and refill out the application to attend this school,” said Ms. Betsy Booth, who was the librarian. She had overheard the kids talking and came towards them. She glanced at Trixie, saying, “I don’t know what kind of trick you were trying to pull, young lady, but making up a fake name for yourself is not cool. You will learn to call yourself by the name that your parents gave you at birth and not tell the other students what to call you. Now, come with me.” She gripped Trixie’s arm and said, “Josephine, Seth, and Mary Joanne, I would suggest that you get to class right now. Goodness knows what you three get up to if you are not learning anything.”
Ms. Booth took Trixie and left the room as the others went to class. Seth said, “I know you have to face that boy that you don’t like, and he is here. Want us to sit in your class with you today?”
“Would I ever?” said Moira.
“Let’s go before Robocop rings the tardy bell,” said Josie. Robocop was the students’ code word for Mrs. Claire Prince, who was the school’s head hall monitor. She was always on the prowl for students who decided to cut classes; any student that she caught was taken to the cafeteria and made to stay there until classes were over and given detention for cutting classes. Despite her constant vigilance, Mrs. Prince never caught Josie. Josie wasn’t planning to get caught now.
The kids reached Mr. Evan Capello’s math class just before the bell rang and they took their seats in the back of the classroom. None of them spoke to each other as Michael Robinson stormed into the classroom and took his seat next to a girl named Linda Cates. Other students entered the classroom, all discussing the fake announcement and the bullying that occurred in Trixie’s class. Moira stared at Michael, knowing that the battle between them had now begun…