A few nervous snickers arose from the quiet classroom.
Full on laughter broke out from the classroom.
Ms. Jablinske looked up from her attendance sheet and smiled. Such striking features on the young teacher. She was tall and slender, with a smooth complexion, a petite nose, and delicate shoulders.
In her soft, gentle voice, she continued calling off the names listed on her attendance sheet.
“Wednesday,” Ms. Jablinske said. She then looked more closely at her attendance sheet and then looked back up at the classroom.
“Wednesday?” she again said, this time her voice carried the words at a higher pitch.
The students looked from one face to the next.
“Is there a Wednesday present?”
In the back of the room, the smallest child in the class, a young girl with dark brown hair in a ponytail, slipped her hand into the air.
“Here,” she said.
“Oh — Wednesday,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Good to have you here.”
Ms. Jablinske looked back down at her attendance sheet.
“What kind of name is Wednesday?” Meghan Boucher asked.
All eyes shifted from Meghan to Wednesday, who sat unresponsive to Meghan’s question.
“It’s an interesting name, I do believe,” Ms. Jablinske said.
“Interesting? I don’t know — sounds phony to me,” Meghan said. “You were born on a Wednesday, right?”
“No, a Sunday,” Wednesday said.
“A Sunday? What sense does that make? Born on a Sunday but named Wednesday?”
Wednesday slowly turned her head to face Meghan.
“What’s your name?” Wednesday asked.
“You heard it in roll call.”
“I didn’t much pay attention.”
“It’s Meghan—a normal name.”
“Meghan,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Wednesday is a normal—”
“You seem to believe it’s only sensible for a girl named Wednesday to be born on a Wednesday—thus, validating the meaning behind her name. Is that correct?”
Meghan raised her eyebrows, formed a pursed smile, and vigorously nodded her head up and down in agreement.
“What does the name Meghan mean?” Wednesday asked.
“It means little pearl.”
Wednesday slowly bobbed her head up and down.
“I must concede, Meghan, you are right. All people should have a name as befitting of themselves as your own. The inspiration for your name, of course, comes from all the little pearls laid around your mother’s neck.”
Some of the students scrunched their faces in thought, others sat dumbfounded, and Ms. Jablisnke’s eyes widened upon hearing Wednesday’s last words.
“What does that even mean?” Meghan said. “I mean, she does have pearls but I don’t know what that has to do with my name.”
“Wednesday — Meghan,” Ms. Jablinske interrupted. “Wednesday is a perfectly fine name for a girl. And so is the name Meghan.”
The two girls briefly looked at each other and then looked away—Meghan back up at Ms. Jablinske and Wednesday down at her desk. Ms. Jablinske looked from one girl’s face to the other and then settled her eyes on Wednesday, who continued to dodge any eye contact.
A small movement came from the corner of Wednesday’s mouth. The movement was only slight, but one could interpret it as the beginning of a smile.
Ms. Jablinske stood from her desk and looked over the heads in her classroom.
“No more interruptions. And I want everyone to answer with here, ok?” Ms. Jablinske said.
Most of the class sat in silence or nodded a head in acknowledgment.
“Here, but everyone calls me Lash.”
Lash looked over her right shoulder at Wednesday, who smiled at Lash when their eyes met.
“Lash — I like that,” Ms. Jablinske said, nodding her head up and down before looking back down at her attendance sheet.
Still no answer.
“Ok, Miranda Roberts.”
Ms. Jablinske continued calling off names until her list of students had been exhausted.
“Great,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Aside from one student, everyone is present for the first day of school. As you can see on the chalkboard, my name is Ms. Jablinske and I will be your homeroom teacher this year.”
Ms. Jablinske walked to the front of the classroom and stood next to where she had written her name on the chalkboard.
“I do want to welcome you all to the seventh grade here at Harding Middle School. If any of you have older brothers or sisters, you probably remember it as Central Junior High, but the education board has decided to take the middle grades into a different direction, and with this different direction, a different name. One change to the educational structure is how we conduct our homeroom class. Before at the Junior High, the homerooms met only twice a year — the first day of each semester. Every middle schooler now has a homeroom that meets every day during first period. Here, you won’t be learning math or English or who the twenty-eighth president was. Instead, our homeroom will be a place where we work together cultivating ideas, promoting integrated community, and helping one another succeed. Think of your homeroom as a team, and those sitting around you as teammates.”
Ms. Jablinske looked at each face in the classroom and a full on smile smiled crossed her face.
“This is a novel experience for you all, I’m sure, but you and I are in this together. Yes, this too is my first year as a full-time teacher. Last year, I substituted for the full year and the year before that, I had student-interned — both here at Harding. I am twenty-three years old. I am not married and have no children of my own, but for the school year in which we are together, I will consider each one of you my very own child. Any questions you may have about me?”
Meghan raised her hand and Ms. Jablinske smiled and nodded her way.
“What is your first name, Ms. Jablinske?” Meghan asked.
“It’s Jeanie, but I do want to be called Ms. Jablinske.”
“Jeanie Jablinske,” Meghan said. “That is a fantastic sounding name, I must say.”
“Thank you, Meghan” Ms. Jablinske said. “I am the youngest of four siblings. My mother gave us all first names starting with a J.”
“The alliteration is indeed quite pleasing to the ears,” Wednesday spoke up. “It’s a shame you will lose such a harmonious name when you marry.”
“At least she will get married,” Meghan said.
“Meghan, Wednesday — please stop,” Ms. Jablinske said with a sigh and then paused for effect. “Marriage isn’t about names, and it also isn’t a requisite in life. Many, many people have done great things without marriage.”
Again, Ms. Jablinske looked from Wednesday to Meghan, back to Wednesday, back to Meghan, and then looked over her students’ heads.
“I do want to impress upon you all that we are a team here in homeroom. It’s a long school year together. We will work together, and we will get along.”
Ms. Jablinske stood silently and turned her head from side to side, looking at no one in particular.
“Without further ado — All of you have had your fall semester schedules mailed to you, but if you misplaced it, then I have a backup. Any questions about your classes? No?”
The class remained silent.
“Does everyone know how to find each of his or her classrooms?”
Ms. Jablinske faced the chalkboard and drew a widened U.
“If you haven’t noticed, the school is built in a U-shaped structure. Here,” Ms. Jablinske circled the base of the U she had just drawn, “is where the front offices are located — on the first floor. Taking a right at the office will bring you to the even numbered classrooms. A left to the odd numbered classrooms. So, for example, our classroom, number 201, is the first classroom on the second floor right above the office on the left side of the U’s base. If you are unsure of where your classroom may be, start here—or on the first floor—and then walk in the appropriate direction until you find your classroom’s number, which are posted above the doorways. Pretty easy, right?”
A few heads nodded in agreement.
“So that was the boring stuff. As I said earlier, we are a team here in homeroom, and with a team, there needs to be a captain. Yes, I am talking about student council. Each homeroom will send one representative to the seventh grade student council. Tomorrow, all the homerooms will vote for their classroom representative. Between now and then, be thinking of the person you would like representing our homeroom.”
“I’d like to say I would be a great representative—”
“Meghan, please sit down,” Ms. Jablinske said. “The vote is tomorrow, and before passing out the ballots, we will take some time for anyone to address the class with why you, or whomever you are endorsing, should represent us in student council. Keep in mind everyone, it is an open vote. That means you can vote for anyone in the class.”
Ms. Jablinske walked from the front of the class back to her desk. She opened a desk drawer and pulled out an orange squish ball.
“I know this will be a wonderful year for you all, and a memorable first year for me. I have only one activity planned for us today, and it should take the remainder of our time together. Does anyone know what an icebreaker is?”
Jonathan Davidson let out a loud, exaggerated groan and a few other murmurs followed.
“For those of you who don’t, please ignore the protests of your fellow classmates,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Our city has eight grammar schools funneling into Harding Middle School, so you cannot possibly know everyone here. We even have one student from the South. Is that right Susannah?”
“Yes,” Susannah said in her southern drawl. “I moved here from South Carolina.”
Ms. Jablinske smiled wide at Susannah.
“An icebreaker,” Ms. Jablinske continued, “is a way to get to know one another using some sort of activity as a medium. Everyone here, I believe, has a unique life experience. And you will share a small part of that experience with us today, even if we have to squeeze it out of you. So without further delay, let us discover one another outside of our birth names, which are nothing more than symbols for our true selves. First ice breaker — Would you rather attend a pool party or a roller skating party? This squish ball here,” Ms. Jablinske held up the orange squish ball, “represents whose turn it is. I will give it to whoever goes first, and then it will be passed to someone else and so on until everyone has had the opportunity to answer. Who would like to go first?”
A hand and arm rigid as a board shot into the air.
“Meghan, here you go.”
Ms. Jablinske tossed the squish ball to Meghan. Meghan stood and looked around.
“I would choose to attend a pool party because I really enjoy being out in the sun with all my friends. We can lay out, get a tan, and talk all day long. If we want, we can swim too. Plus, if it is a big enough party, then my mom will probably buy me a new swimsuit that I can show off.”
Meghan looked proudly at her peers in the classroom.
“Nicely put, Meghan,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Go ahead and toss the squish ball to someone so they can answer.”
“Anyone?” Meghan asked.
“Anyone, yes,” Ms. Jablinske said.
Meghan slowly tilted her head, and soon her body followed. She overhand flung the squish ball at Wednesday, who caught it with just her left hand.
“Ok, Wednesday,” Ms. Jablinske said. “If you had a gun to your head, what would you attend? A pool party or a roller skating party?”
Wednesday looked away and then back up to the front of the classroom.
“I would choose death.”
The class fell silent, and Meghan began looking around with a scrunched face.
“Wait. Hold on,” Meghan said and then scoffed. “Death wasn’t one of the options. You have to choose between a pool party and a roller skating party.”
“Death was an option,” Wednesday said. “With a gun to my head, the implication being, of course, that if I don’t choose either a pool party or a roller skating party, then the gun would fire; thus, ending my life. So I choose the implied option — death.”
“Eh — no!” Meghan said and then looked up to her teacher for support. “Ms. Jablinske.”
Ms. Jablinske stood silent and bounced her head around as she thought.
“I never thought of it that way, but I guess death is an option.” Ms. Jablinske said. “That’s an interesting, maybe even morbid, understanding of the question, but a valid answer all the same. Ok, Wednesday, go ahead and toss the squish ball to a person of your choosing.”
Wednesday looked over to her left.
“I choose Lakshmi,” she said and underhand tossed the squish ball to Lash. The two girls again looked at each other and smiled.
The squish ball then bounced back and forth from student to student until everyone had given an answer. The final tally was six students for a roller skating party, seven for a pool party, and ten for death.
Lash slid her lunch tray up to the register and handed the cashier a couple of dollar bills. She pocketed the two dimes she received in return, picked up her lunch tray, and then looked up at the cafeteria where she saw row after row of round tables.
She first stepped in one direction, but stopped abruptly when she saw no tables with any empty seats. She looked around and found Meghan, who attended grammar school with Lash at Lincoln Elementary, but Meghan’s table too was filled with the maximum six people.
Mrs. Fontenot of her third period pre-algebra class had dismissed the students late because she had forgotten to pass out an assignment before the end-of-period bell rang. Homework — on the first day of school, and now Lash couldn’t find a lunch table with any open seats.
Embarrassed by how fickle she must have looked, Lash continued to search for an open seat at a table where she knew one of its occupants. Her eyes stopped on a nearby table with one boy sitting alone. She quickly looked away and gave herself ten more seconds to find a suitable table before she herself would find an empty table to sit at.
Rapidly from table to table to table, her eyes scanned the cafeteria. No seats. No seats. Empty. No seats.
“Lakshmi,” a familiar voice said from behind Lash.
Lash turned around and saw Wednesday standing behind her.
“Would you like to sit with us?” Wednesday pointed to a table all the way at the front of the cafeteria. “We have one more open seat.”
Lash recognized just one other girl, who also was in her and Wednesday’s homeroom class.
“Yes, I would like that,” Lash said with a smile. “Thank you.”
“Hey Lash!” Meghan shouted from across the cafeteria. “Come on over here with us. We can make room.”
Meghan walked over to the side of the cafeteria where she grabbed an empty chair. Lash looked at Wednesday then back to Meghan again.
Lash smiled and waved at Meghan.
“Thanks, Meghan. I’m going to sit at the front today,” Lash said, so heartily, yet only loud enough so Meghan could hear her at such a great distance.
Lash turned back around and Wednesday escorted her to a table with four other girls. Wednesday sat down and Lash took a seat next to her.
“Lakshmi, this is Susie, Skyler, you know Miranda from homeroom, and this is Rokshana—but we all call her Rocksy,” Wednesday said. “Girls, this is Lakshmi.”
Lash smiled at each girl at the table.
“We were all just talking about your name,” Wednesday said. “We really like it.”
“Oh, thank you, I started going by Lash—”
“No—Lakshmi. We really like the name Lakshmi.”
“Not many people know how to say it correctly. Please, call me Lash.”
“Very well, Lash,” Wednesday said.
The other girls were already eating and Lash joined in and began eating the small salad she had chosen as her side dish.
“You know that Meghan?” Miranda asked Lash.
“Yes, we went to grammar school together.”
“You friends with her?”
“She’s been nice to me.”
“That didn’t answer the question,” Miranda said.
Lash swallowed the last piece of lettuce she had put into her mouth and stopped her fork short of inserting the next piece.
“Yes,” Lash said. “I view her as a friend.”
“You voting for her as our homeroom’s student council rep?”
Lash shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. I haven’t given much thought to it.”
“Give some thought to it,” Susie said.
Lash glanced at Susie and then tilted her head upward and to the side as she thought about the different people she has met in homeroom. From the corner of her eye, she could see the other five girls looking on earnestly.
“I-I think I probably will vote for her. Yes.”
The other girls looked back down at their food and began eating again.
“I think we should vote for Wednesday,” Miranda said, still looking down at her tray of food. “But everyone knows Meghan will get it.”
Wednesday placed a small bit of chicken in her mouth and then looked away, unaffected by the mention of her name.
“We could all band together to get Wednesday voted in?” Lash remarked.
“We would only have three votes here, including Wednesday’s own vote,” Miranda said. “Rocksy, Susie, and Skyler are in different homerooms. They have a different east-ender to vote against.”
Miranda said east-ender with such disdain that Lash was taken aback, because Lash herself lived on the city’s east side.
“Meghan has too many friends,” Miranda continued. “Plus all the boys think she’s the tits. Must be the blonde hair. It would be difficult swaying the rest of the class, as she is, you know — desirable.”
“Maybe we could think of a way to get our other classmates to vote for Wednesday?” Lash chipped in.
“My personality isn’t congenial enough to get me voted in,” Wednesday said. “It would never happen.”
“You could use your powers,” Miranda said.
Lash became unusually aware of the sound of plastic utensils scraping at the trays and crunching food.
“Powers?” Lash finally spoke up. She looked from Miranda to Wednesday.
Miranda tilted her head toward Lash. “Wednesday has powers.”
“What kind of powers?”
Miranda ignored the question and put more food into her mouth.
“Miranda,” Wednesday said, “you have to qualify such a vague statement. Lash doesn’t know the ins and outs of our group.”
Miranda looked up and then directly in Lash’s eyes.
“Wednesday can control people,” Miranda said to Lash.
“How else? With her mind.”
Lash turned her head and looked at Wednesday, who was bobbing her own head up and down. Wednesday then confidently took a drink of her white milk.
“I don’t believe it. Control me,” Lash said.
Wednesday scoffed and then said, “Only those who are burned believe in the fire.”
Lash smiled. “Control someone. Maybe not me, but someone.”
“Anyone. Prove these powers of yours,” Lash said, grinning at Wednesday.
The girls were sitting at the front of the cafeteria near the two sets of double doors leading into the main hallway. Most of the students had decided to sit at the tables in the back. The farther to the front, the fewer the students.
Wednesday looked around at the tables nearby.
“How about Henry Cooper?” Wednesday said. “He’s over there sitting by himself.”
The girls looked four tables down at Henry, who was thumbing through his green beans. Lash could see his black jeans had paint splatter on them and his shirt looked soiled and a little thin, as if third– or possibly fourth–hand.
“I don’t know Henry,” Lash said.
“He’s from west-city,” Miranda said.
Lash nervously looked from face to face.
“Ok, ok,” Lash said. “Control him.”
“What would you like Henry to do?”
“Something extravagant. Something to prove without a shadow of a doubt that you have these so-called mind-controlling powers.”
Wednesday looked up at the ceiling for a brief moment, and then looked back down at Lash.
“It’ll take some extra effort, but I think I can pull it off,” Wednesday said and then began looking more closely at Henry. “He has two chocolate milks on his tray. One opened. One unopened.”
Wednesday looked back at the girls and then began tilting her head from side to side, stretching her neck muscles.
“I’m still honing my skills as a mind controller, Lash, but I think I can get him to — hmm — how about — smash one of his milks into his head.”
All the girls at the lunch table giggled.
“That’d be funny,” Lash said, smiling. “But I won’t believe it until I see it.”
A smirk arose from the corner of Wednesday’s mouth.
Wednesday stood and faced Henry head on. Lash saw Henry doing nothing aside from looking down at his tray of food.
Wednesday lifted her hands into the air, pointed her fingertips at Henry, and then began wiggling her fingers in his direction.
Like a robot, he picked up his second carton of chocolate milk, prised open the cardboard top, and lifted it to his face to drink. But he paused when the carton was a few inches from his mouth. As motionless as a statue, he stared deeply into the chocolate milk carton.
Lash’s mouth dropped open in shock. She looked from Henry to Wednesday, then quickly back to Henry to ensure she didn’t miss anything of importance.
But nothing happened. He sat there concentrating intently on something inside that carton of chocolate milk. What was he seeing in there?
Lash turned toward Wednesday, who was fully focused on Henry.
Eager to see the outcome to this bizarre two-in-one consciousness, Lash turned back toward Henry and kept her eyes focused solely on him.
Henry closed his eyes and exhaled, and for a moment, Lash had thought it all just a ruse. But Henry then violently forced the mouth of the milk carton into his forehead and tilted his head backward to allow the chocolate milk to drip down his face, off his chin, and onto his shirt and his tray of food.
The other girls sitting at Lash’s lunch table began to laugh. Soon, some students at a nearby table saw Henry’s lunchtime mess and began laughing too.
Wednesday lowered her hands and looked at Lash from the tops of her eyelids.
“My Goodness, you did it,” Lash said above the clamorous students.
“I don’t have to wiggle my fingers, but I do for dramatic effect,” Wednesday said dryly.
“How–How did you do that?” Lash asked.
“It’s an acquired ability, but once learned, it’s like riding a bicycle,” Wednesday said.
Lash continued goggling at Wednesday in hope she would reveal the secrets to her talent.
“It’s difficult to explain, but easy to understand — once you know the technique,” Wednesday finished.
“Astounding.” Lash shook her head in disbelief. “Imagine–Imagine all that you could do? You could stop kidnappers, or-or bank robbers, or even murders. Think of all the good that could come of your power.”
Wednesday grinned at Lash. “I know. I know.”
The morning bell rang, signaling the start of a new school day. Ms. Jablinske’s homeroom students began funneling into the classroom and finding their seats.
Lash stood at an empty desk next to Wednesday. “You mind if I sit here?”
Wednesday flashed a smile at Lash. “It’s a free country — still.”
“Thanks,” Lash said. “That’s a pretty shirt.”
“I hate it.”
“Hate it? Why?”
“I don’t like the color pink.”
“What? It’s my favorite color.”
Lash looked away and pondered the thought.
“Maybe,” Lash said. “Where’s Ms. Jablinske?”
“Not here yet.”
Jonathan Davidson stood from his seat, looked directly at the clock, and announced, “Five minute rule goes into effect starting — right — now.”
“What’s the five minute rule?” Lash asked Wednesday.
“If the teacher doesn’t show in five minutes after the bell rings, then the rule is we all get to leave.”
“That’s a real rule?”
“Hardly,” Wednesday said with a roll of her eyes.
“Oh. You sounded very convincing.”
“Oh Lash,” Wednesday said. “Your naiveté is refreshing.”
“My mom says I get my good nature from my paternal grandmother. Of course, she said that in front of my paternal grandmother.”
“So you think there was an ulterior motive to the compliment?”
Lash let out a short guffaw.
“Perhaps. But we have quite the family dynamic. Despite our differences, our extended families get along rather well. And it may have all started with my mom paying tribute to Grandma Pardeshi’s ego. My mom has said many more nice things than just that about her. I’ll say this, when the two families get together, I can’t imagine it being any better than it is.”
“It sounds as if a disingenuous remark was worth it,” Wednesday said.
“The end justifies the means, right?” Lash said.
Wednesday lifted her eyes from their downward gaze and looked Lash directly in the eyes.
“Yes,” Wednesday said with a smile. “Yes, indeed.”
Ms. Jablinske brusquely walked into the classroom. “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry. I had to make some copies of these ballots for today’s homeroom activity—the election.”
Ms. Jablinske sat at her desk and began to put her things away.
“Who are you voting for?” Lash asked Wednesday.
“I put some thought into it. I decided to vote for Meghan.”
The two girls looked over at Meghan gabbing away with exaggerated arm movements and head nods.
“You really think she’s worthy? You would know better than I,” Wednesday said.
“I don’t know,” Lash said. “She really, really wants this. Probably even make a bid for class president. Make her dad proud. Did you know he’s a vice principal here?”
Wednesday raised her eyebrows. “Seems the election has been all but predetermined.”
“If you make a speech, I’ll vote for you,” Lash said.
“You really think I’m more shrewd than Meghan?”
“Meghan isn’t shrewd,” Lash said. “She’s — persistent. A squeaky wheel that is always oiled. I’d feel better to vote for you, but only if you want me to.”
“We have a full thirty minutes to vote for our homeroom’s representative,” Ms. Jablinske announced while still going through her desk and her belongings. “If we don’t use that full thirty minutes, then the rest of the time will be devoted to another icebreaker.”
A few groans came from the class.
“Ms. Jablinske,” Jonathan said. “What’s that in your hair?”
“Right there,” Jonathan said, gesturing at his invisible long hair in the location of the foreign substance.
“Oh.” Ms. Jablinske laughed. “It’s pancake batter.” She stopped rummaging through her desk and began picking out the dried flour one by one. “I was in the home-ec classroom teaching some eighth graders how to make pancakes.” Ms. Jablinske looked at her class. “If anyone is interested, every Tuesday I am hosting a before-school learning session in the home-ec room—it’s on the first floor at the back end of the even U. It’s entirely voluntary—both on my part as well as yours. I believe people learn the most when there isn’t an overt incentive involved.”
“So you believe there is an incentive in our normal classes?” Meghan asked.
“Grades, Meghan,” Wednesday said. “What other reason are we here except for grades.”
Meghan turned her head toward Wednesday, squinted her eyes, and then turned back toward the front where Ms. Jablinske now stood behind her podium.
“Remember, you can vote for anyone in the class,” Ms. Jablinske said. “Everyone is eligible but we can only have one representative per homeroom, so, naturally, the person with the highest tally of votes will be our homeroom representative. If anyone would like to speak to the class on why he or she would be a good representative, go ahead and step up to the front of the classroom or if you want, you can speak from your desk.”
Jonathan raised his hand.
“I’d like to say a few words.”
Jonathan walked to the front and Ms. Jablinske stepped aside and allowed him to stand behind the podium.
“If I am elected, I will do my best to ensure the five minute rule becomes a permanent fixture to our school’s policies. Vote Jonathan. Thank you.”
Jonathan nodded his head and then quickly walked out from behind the podium and back to his seat.
“All right, Jonathan. No matter what, you will not succeed in that endeavor, but I wish you all the best. Anyone else?”
Meghan Boucher shot her hand into the air. “I would like to say a few things before the ballots are passed out.”
“Meghan, come on up or speak from your desk. Your choice.”
Meghan stood from her seat and loftily walked to the front of the class. She took her place behind the podium, cleared her throat, and looked down at a piece of notebook paper she had brought up with her.
“I would like to announce to everyone here that I, Meghan Boucher, would like to represent our homeroom in the student council. I believe I have the qualifications and I believe I have many ideas to make Harding Middle School a great place to go to school.”
Meghan looked up and looked around at all the faces and then looked back down at her sheet of paper.
“I will treat everyone fairly. I will make sure not a single person is bullied—even those on the chess team. I will make sure we have only the best music playing at our dances—nothing more than three years old, of course.”
At Meghan’s last remark, Lash laughed on the inside, and she looked over to Wednesday to see if she had a similar reaction to such a silly promise. But Wednesday sat still, showing only intense concentration as Meghan spoke.
Meghan continued. “I will ensure we have at least ten different varieties of soda pop in the vending machines. I will petition to have pizza delivered from PeeDee’s Pizzeria to be served for lunch every Monday. I will get cheerleading as one option for our PE recreational activities—any girl will be able to participate, even those who don’t make the cheerleading squad.”
Lash thought it couldn’t get any more absurd, but Meghan’s promises kept on going and going. She again looked over at Wednesday but saw the same reaction as she had before.
“I will fight against the school dress code so that girls can bare their midriffs and boys can wear muscle shirts.”
Meghan looked up from her paper and smiled big. That smile widened further until her dimples cratered the sides of her face.
“Thank you for your time and consideration.”
She tilted her head toward her half-shrugged right shoulder and continued smiling and looking around the classroom.
“Thank you, Meghan,” Ms. Jablinske said. “You can have a seat now.”
Meghan skipped a step from behind the podium and then walked on her tiptoes back to her seat.
“Is there anyone else who would like to say anything before I pass out the ballots?”
The class was silent.
“I’d like to say something.”
Ms. Jablinske looked over at Wednesday.
“Wednesday — ok, the floor is all yours.” Ms. Jablinske smiled.
Wednesday stood from her desk, walked to the front of the classroom, and then stood beside the podium.
“I humbly stand here today not to volley empty promises or to beg for your vote. I come in front of you today to fully admit that I am not the most qualified person to represent our homeroom in the seventh grade student council. From that conclusion and from a long and deep introspection, I have determined there is another student sitting among us that outshines everyone here. The person whom I speak of is Lakshmi Pardeshi, better known as Lash.”
Wednesday paused and the class all turned to look at Lash. The unexpected attention put butterflies firmly in Lash’s stomach.