The Rude Girl
I pace forth and back in the wc, waiting for Elena’s response. In order to kill time I occupy myself with looking around. Oddly enough, the tiles of the bathroom are black. Why are the bathrooms in a different color from the rest of Ochre High? What did Esaia Eldridge think when he built Ochre?
But who can know the mind of a madman…
I try and I fail with coming up with a good answer. Nobody really knows much about the man who built Ochre. Oh, there are plenty of rumors; he was insane. He was a witch. He made an deal with the Devil. The usual stuff. But really, nobody knows much of the man himself. He built Ochre- but where did he find the money? And why sandstone, red sandstone to boot? Where did he find it?
Eldridge built Ochre to teach a select group of young men and women, that much is known. He taught here, he became principal here- that too is known. But then what? I try to remember if I have ever seen a death notice for Esaia Eldridge, or if there is a story where he dies. Hmm. There are stories where he is hurt, transformed, sees the light of his ‘wicked’ ways, whatever that means, but no story where he dies….
All of this thinking makes head pulse, but not in a good way. I am so definitely kicking Greyscale in the nuts when I get home.
My buzzing phone relieves me of my worries. Ah, the mystery of Esaia Eldridge will have to wait. You can come out now. We’re waiting at the Crimson Bridge. That’s all she sends. That’s her master plan?
I wrench open the door to the wc–
— somebody puts a hand on my shoulder–
–and I scream.Like a girl. Like a prepubescent girl that is about to meet her favorite boyband.
I bolt a meter up in the air. When I land I whirl around. “You!” I blink. “You?” Pontus Malmberg leans back against the red of Ochre, with an apologetic smile. “Me. I am sorry if I scared you.” “Yeah I was bit… a bit preoccupied”, I manage to squeeze out. What should I say? That I tucked my tail between my legs and ran?
“Yeah I was wondering about that. Are you sure you’re fine? Because if you have a stomach-ache, well then you should stay home.”
I look at him. Surely nobody can be that dense right? I open my mouth. Then close it. “You’re absolutely right-” The phone buzzes again.Slowpoke. Today. Pontus doesn’t miss the noise. “Havenius decided that the food in the cafeteria is ‘insuffcient’ and that 1A will eat elsewhere.” Sometimes I love you Elena, dammit. ” I was however worried about your health-” I interupt him. “Don’t be.” I force a smile and ignore the pulse of my headache. “I am fine. Perfectly fine. Fine as sugar. Now we need to get going….”
Me and Pontus get out of Ochre, we grab our bicycles and we get catch up with Elena and the rest of 1A at the Crimson Bridge. Elena is holding one hand up like a director before an orchester. “Okay listen up guys. I’ve got us spots at Charlie’s.” Excited chatter breaks out from the class. She makes a pumping motion with her fist. “So let’s move. Move, move, move it.” People fan out besides her.
I stop next to her.”You’re a genius, you know that right?” “And don’t you ever forget it, Runey.”
She jumps on her bike and pedals away. When she is halfway across the bridge she turns her towards me and shout, “Last one to Charlie’s pays the bill!” Yeah… wait, what?!
I arrive at the converted warehouse that is Charlie’s before the rest of the class does. Because a big part of my depth perception is gone, I have had to rethink alot of things in my life- such as what roads I should I use when I am out. And let’s just say that I have gotten really good at using shortcuts.
I hear a roar and a screech–
— and a guy on a motorbike almost hits me. The bike swerves to an stop at something like fifteen centimeter from my feet. The driver of the bike is wearing jeans, a helmet and a leather-jacket with studs. I stare, almost glare at him. “Don’t you think you’re cutting a bit too close there?”
The driver removes the helmet in a graceful move, revealing long straw-colored hair around a heart-shaped face. “You’re a girl”. I say the words before I’ve managed to filter them. Eyes an odd shade of brown, almost yellow zero in on me.
The girl puts two hands in front of her. “I even have the equipment to prove it.” For the second time in less than a hour I turn tomato-red, like the Crimson Bridge. “I -” The girl steps close to me and inspects my patch. I hold my breath for some reason. Why the hell am I not breathing for? She’s a girl, not an dangerous animal.
She is so close, that for us to be any closer, she’d have to kiss me.
She puts one hand on my patch and tries to lift it. I slap her hand away in a instinctive knee-jerk reaction. ” What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” The girl seems to realize that she’ve made some kind of mistake.
“I am sorry, I should-”
“Wohoo, finally arrived!”
” Elena so sucks at geography.”
“Hey I do not..” Rude Girls gives me a fleeting look that seems to say, “this is not over.”
The rest of 1A thunders in a hailstorm. Elena acts as the proverbial drill sergeant and ushers them all inside Charlie’s.
I trudge after them.
Charlie’s; founded in 1947 by a man who styled himself Anthony I, named in honor of Charlie Chaplin, and the most popular pizza-place within a hundred-fifty kilometer radius, or that’s atleast what an recent article in the Daily Fallowfeller wrote (yes, we have an newspaper which refers to itself as the ‘Daily Fallowfeller’, but which everybody else under the age of thirty just calls Fallowfeeler). As we walk up the stairway to the second level of the crowded two-story warehouse I reflect that perhaps it is too popular.
In fact, it is so popular that you have to make a reservation in order to eat, but don’t worry- the reservation free of charge- the meal is what is going to cost you.
A flag with the words ‘Elena’s Posse’ tells us which table is ours.
I grab a plate and stock up with pizza-slices; one with bacon and meatballs, another with pineapple and tomatoes and a third with cracked taco-shells, chicken and garlic-sauce.
I am about to dig in when somebody taps a fork against a glass in the tell-tale sign of an announcement . Ah cmon!