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Chapter 11: A Face Defaced

Day Staff

Publication: The Day

Published July 31. 2009 4:00AM

The first thing I saw when I woke up the next morning was Eddy's sleeping face. But it looked a whole lot different than it did the night before.

I was so surprised that, for a moment, I just stared. And then I exploded into laughter.

"Wha? What's going on?" Eddy sputtered, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

This only made me laugh harder.

Eddy stared at me and knit his brows. "What's so funny?"

"Your face," I gasped. "You should see your face!"

Eddy grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. "What ABOUT my face?" he demanded.

I managed to stop laughing long enough to tell him. "Someone drew all over your face. You've got a purple mustache, a purple goatee and purple glasses."

"What?" Eddy leaped up and ran over to where his father's car was parked in the driveway. He stared in horror at the rearview mirror. He spit on his fingers and rubbed at the marker. It didn't come off.

He stormed back and glowered down at me. "You did this, didn't you?" Then he pushed me. Helpless with laughter, I collapsed on the grass.

"ME? What makes you think it was me?"

"You're the only one here," he snapped. "Who else would it be?"

"Maybe it was your big brother, Brad," I suggested.

"Brad's at camp in New Hampshire," Eddy said. "I don't think he'd come all the way down from Lake Winnipesaukee just to draw on my face."

"Maybe it was Peter Ratcliffe," I tried, naming Eddy's neighbor.

"Are you kidding? The Rat wouldn't have the guts. And if he did, why didn't he draw on your face too?"

It hadn't even occurred to me to wonder about my own face. "I dunno," I said.

"You did it, Wump. I know you did."

"I did NOT. There's no way I could have done it without laughing so loud I would have woken you up," I said.

"Then who did?"

All of a sudden, I knew. I couldn't say how I knew, but I knew. It was her.

"I said," Eddy repeated, "who did if it wasn't you?"

But why? Maybe because she was jealous. Jealous of Eddy? Yeah. It had to be. That would explain why my face was clean.

"Hello?" Eddy said. "Anybody home?"

I looked up at Eddy. I couldn't tell him. He'd go nuts. Besides, he'd want to know how I knew, and I couldn't explain THAT without telling him how I'd spent the Fourth of July. And if I told Eddy I'd spent the day with Minerva Wimberly, not only would he be mad at me for not telling him in the first place, but he'd never understand how I could have spent that much time with a girl ... Oh, man, this was getting way too complicated.

I got so concerned with sorting this stuff out that Eddy got concerned with me. "Hey, Wump?" he said. "You all right?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," I said. "I was just trying to think who it might be."

"And?"

"I don't know," I said. "But it wasn't me. I would never do something like that to you. You're my best friend, remember?"

Eddy sat down next to me. "Yeah, I know. I'll tell you, though, when I find out who did it, I'm going to pound him. Make no mistake about that."

"Maybe you should try to wash it off," I suggested.

Eddy did. Try, that is. He bent over the sink and scrubbed. And scrubbed again. But the marker didn't come off. Eddy's new face was there to stay.

Somehow, this made me angry. Jeez, the least she could do was use a washable marker. I mean, a joke's a joke, but this was just plain mean.

And besides, what did Eddy ever do to her? His only crime was to be my friend.

The more I thought about it, the madder it made me. Just who did this Minerva think she was?

Friends, she had said. She wanted to be friends. But all she'd done was take my mouse and my peace of mind. And now she was trying to mess up things with me and Eddy.

Some friend.

Who the heck needed her, anyway?

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