This is a work of fiction.
“Where should we eat?” I asked.
“McDonald’s,” Sammy said.
The rest of us shook our heads.
“Why do you always do that?” Sammy said, giving me an accusing look.
“Ask where we want to eat but never listen to me.”
“Because we don’t all want to go there.”
“Well, I don’t want to go everywhere else.”
I thought about this. He was right. I did ask and then usually refuse him.
“Well, um, maybe we could . . . get takeout from as many different restaurants as we want.”
I unlocked my phone and found an area nearby that was packed with restaurants.
“I’ve found a bunch of places close by. Sammy, what are you having from McDonald’s?”
“Two Big Macs, fries, and a Coke.”
“Perfect. Freckles, where would you like to eat?”
“Can I have tacos please Grandma?”
“Of course. Beef, chicken, or veggie?”
“What would you like to drink with them?”
“Me too please,” Curly said. “Chicken tacos and lemonade.”
“What about you, Lydia?”
“Can I have some tacos and lemonade too please Grandma?”
“Of course, and that’s what I’m having, too.”
After we’d eaten, we sat in the room I was sharing with Lydia. She was sprawled out on her bed, Sammy sat at the desk, Freckles on the floor between the two beds, and Curly and I sat on my bed.
“Let’s figure out what we’re going to do tomorrow night,” I said.
“Can we disconnect the brakes on that guy’s car?” Sammy said.
“We’re not trying to hurt him or anybody else. We’re tryng to stop him from attending a party.”
Why hadn’t we talked about this with Louisa? I had her number, but what if our call was intercepted and somebody thought we were planning to do harm?
“Call him and tell him not to go?” Freckles said.
“We don’t know his phone number,” Curly said. “Let’s do research, you know, like, find out who they are.”
“Who who is?” I asked.
“The movie star, she’s famous, right?”
“Maybe he is, too. We should Google them.”
“Yeah,” Freckles said. “Maybe we can get his number.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “If we called him, we’d have no way of knowing if he listened to what we told him or not. He might think we’re crazy and go anyway.”
“And, like,” Freckles said, “if he killed her, woudn’t he do it anyay?”
“Yeah,” Sammy said. “That’s why I think we should trap him or something. I know. Let’s buy a stungun and zap him.” He glanced at my face, but must not have seen what he’d been hoping for. “Come on, Grandma, I didn’t say we’d hurt him, just, like, stun him.”
“We don’t know who kills her,” I said. “I don’t know where to get a stungun, and even if I did, I wouldn’t do it. We need to find a non-dangerous, legal method of stopping him.”
Lydia said, “Maye we can go—”
“What?!” Sammy yelled. “What a dumb idea.”
“Sammy, don’t be rude. Lydia, what were you saying?”
“Maybe we can—”
“It’s a stupid idea,” Sammy said.
“Sammy, stop it and let Lydia finish speaking.”
“Holy moly, she never stops talking, does she?” Sammy said to Freckles. “I’m sick of this.”
He got up and headed for the connecting door.
“I’m going to watch TV.”
“No Sammy, you most definitely are not going to go and watch TV. We have a serious problem to solve, and Lydia has an idea. You’ve interrupted her three times now, so I wonder who’s talking too much?”
He turned around, pointed at Lydia, and said, “You got something gross on your face.”
Lydia got up and headed for the bathroom without a word.
A few seconds later, I heard water running.
“So let’s Google them,” Sammy said. “I bet he’s got a rap sheet ten miles long.”
“What’s a rap sheet?” Freckles asked.
“A list of crimes somebody’s been convicted of,” I said.
“I bet he doesn’t have a rap sheet at all,” Curly said.
“A guy like him?” Sammy said. “Of course he does.”
The water was still running.
How was I going to stop Sammy from bullying Lydia?
Curly unlocked his phone and typed a lot faster than I could have.
“He’s not on Google,” Curly said. “There’s a bunch of people with the same name but none of the pics look like him.”
“Maybe he wears disguises,” Sammy said.
“I’ll look for the movie star.”
Her name was Lisa, and she really was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.
“Wow, she’s a piece of eye candy,” Sammy said.
“What?” Freckles said.
Lydia came out of the bathroom.
“Yeah, what?” Sammy said. “You keep making us wait. You’ll never look good, so don’t waste time putting on makeup. There’s still something on your face.”
“There’s nothing on your face,” I said.
“Maybe not,” Sammy said. He stiffed loudly. “But you smell kind of gross. Probably time for a bath. Oh, I forgot, you’ve never had a bath in your life, so I guess you don’t know how to—”
“Sammy, shut up,” Curly said. He smiled at Lydia. “Please tell me your idea.”
“Maybe we can go there.”
“To the party?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“There’s a picture of her house,” Curly said, and showed his phone around.
Lisa lived in a large house, and her backyard was literally the Pacific Ocean.
“Cool,” Freckles said, pointing.
The back door of the house opened not onto a patio or a beach, but onto a diving board.
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