Sunday, January 12, 2014


Part Six

“Tell me again why there’s a pizzeria in a Haunted House,” Mr. Bored says to me as I lead them to the Haunted House.  It’s jam-packed full of tourists, as usual.  
I ignore him and take the group through the “Pizzeria Only” entrance.
The darkness takes some time to adjust to, but my eyes--long used to dark places after a whole lifetime of going to PFP--adjust quickly.  
Mr. Bored raises his voice.  “Tell me again why there’s a pizzeria in a Haunted House,” he repeats, louder.
“I don’t know, okay?  The designers of this park had twisted or creative minds, whichever way you want to think it.”  I lead them over to a table.  “Slick, what kind of pizza do you want?”
Mr. Bored leans back in his chair and answers.  “Sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and arugula topped with vinegar and olive oil.”  His tone of voice indicates that he has no interest in anything.
I give him a Glare Stare.  Then I turn to Slick.
Slick wrinkles his nose.  “What’s aruguhluh?” he asks.
“Gross yucky green stuff,” I say, shooting Mr. Bored my Glare Stare.  “What do you want, Slick?”
He deliberates for a moment.  “Cheese with anchovies.”
Mr. Bored snorts.  “Sounds a lot better than my order, Echo.”
“My name’s Emily,” I hiss at him.
Why are teenage chick flick stars so stinking annoying nowadays?
“Whatever you say, Echo.”  He shoots a grin at me, and it only piques my annoyance.  
“Okay, cheese with anchovies,” I say to Slick, ignoring Mr. Bored.  Then I turn to Amber.  “Do you want anything?”
Amber says, “I’ll have what Mr. Bored is having.”
“It’s Kenneth Pearson,” Mr. Bored says, a little too loudly.  It doesn’t help that a gaggle of giggly tweenage girls is passing by.
Pretty soon, we’re surrounded by screaming girls shouting at Mr. Bored to sign their shirts, their phone cases, their cheeks, their hands, their eyebrows.  Silver, hot pink, red Sharpies are tossed at him.  
Mr. Bored gives up as soon as it’s evident there’s no way he’s going to be able to sign everything.  “Let’s jet, guys,” he says to us in a low voice, and for once I don’t argue.  It’s not a pleasant experience being mobbed by girls.
What kind of mindless minion wants a guy to sign her eyebrows?
We push away.  I bend low amid the chaos and whisper to Slick, “Get on my back.”  He gets on my back, and I push through the crowd.
Girls are accosting me at every corner, everywhere I turn.  I’m being choked by girls.  Geez, I’m starting to feel bad for Mr. Bored.  Is this what his life is?  Poor kid.  No wonder he came to PFP alone.
And then I notice that girls are starting to give me their versions of the Glare Stare.
“Are you his girlfriend?” It’s some perky little blond who’s wearing too-short shorts with red-and-white tie dye.  She’s definitely more fashionable and flashy than I am.  Her little gang of girlfriends goggles at me.
“Out of all of us...her?” The blond blows a bubble.
I’m beginning to feel flustered, not surprisingly.  And my ankle’s hurting.  Yet again.  Except these aren’t throbbing pains--they’re shooting pains.  It’s like my bone is spiking upward into my flesh.  And what’s more, Slick has begun to whimper.  Again.
Figures we couldn’t have just a normal guy on our rebellion?  
The dam breaks.
“No, I’m not his girlfriend.  And yes, my ankle is broken, I have a hundred-pound baby on my back, and I’m trying to get away from you!” I shriek at them, suddenly fed up with everything.
Somebody grabs my arm and starts leading me away from them.  The girls are screaming, running after me.  Slick’s begun to just plain old cry.  I don’t blame him.  I feel like crying myself.
I can barely see where I’m going.  I get the impression of bouncing bodies moving everywhere, and then suddenly, I’m holed up in a very bright room with Slick, Amber, and Mr. Bored.
“Oh, man.  I’m all right,” I say, leaning back against the wall, which is painted a light lavender.
The sounds of screaming girls reach my ears, and I come to myself.  “Where are we?”
“The girls’ restroom in the pizzeria,” says Amber.  “I used the lockpicking device attached to my phone to make the doors secure.”
“We’re in the girls’ restroom?” Mr. Bored jumps up.  “This is so humiliating!”
“Wow, I’m sorry about the fact that you’re being humiliated by being in a girl’s bathroom.  It sure beats out the fact that we were almost trampled by stampeding girls!” I retort sarcastically.
He sits back down.  “Sorry.  I’m just not used to hiding out in girls’ restrooms.  I usually hang out in guys’.  It makes more sense to me.  But of course, we have to go in the girls’, because you wouldn’t want to be caught in the guys’ restroom, would you, Echo?”
I glower at him.
Amber’s on her phone, completely ignoring the conversation.  
Slick whines, “I want to go home, Amber.”
“I brought you here to help us, Slick.  Not to whine.  We’ll get you to Uncle Fred and Aunt Martina soon, okay?” Amber doesn’t sound too concerned, but it’s enough to make Slick stop crying.  
Mr. Bored says, “Um, excuse me, but how exactly is a six-year-old going to help us defeat an army trying to steal money from a theme park, Amber?”
Amber replies without looking up from her phone.  “He’s a black belt in karate, a taekwondo and jujitsu instructor at the local dojo, and described as the ‘next Bruce Lee’ in the July 2010 issue of People magazine.”
What?!” Mr. Bored and I exclaim at the same time.
“Jinx,” Slick beams at Mr. Bored and me.  “Buy me a lemonade!”
I look at him.  “You can do karate, Slick?”
He suddenly turns serious.  “Sure I can.”
“Cool!” Mr. Bored gets up.  Then he says, “How long are we going to be here, Amber?”
In response, the sink flips upside down, revealing a tunnel.
“Just hacked it!” Amber says happily, tapping away on her phone.  “It took a little big longer than usual, but I hacked it!”
Just then, a voice echos from beyond the tunnel.
“Amber Talina Sharpina Harttman, what exactly do you think you’re doing?”

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