Here is the eighth chapter of MTICC, which has already become The New York Times’ #1 Best seller. No joke.
The fourth guy was probably a former member of my gum business—James, Connor, and Diesel all were. So I called all fifteen of the rest of my distributors, figuring that whoever didn’t answer was the one conspiring against me.
None of them answered.
“Well, that’s disappointing,” I said, putting the phone down. I swallowed down two pain-relievers, which I needed because 1) I had an angry headache, 2) it helped calm me down a bit, and 3) I had just punched the wall, probably spraining my wrist as a result.
Kathy, who was now approaching me with an unsettling mix of caution and pity, held the phone in hand. “Mom just called, saying that Adrien’s in the hospital and just escaped a kidnapping. It sounds like she’s just finding out about this now, so that’s good, I think.”
“Cool,” I said, too busy looking through my contact list to pay attention. So, I thought, they’ve all switched to James’ side. That, or James killed them. At this point my goal wasn’t even to get back my gum business. No, that was a hopeless prospect at this point. My goal was to ruin James’ plan. Despite whatever consequences there’d be, I was not going to let him get away with stealing all my stuff and making me look like an idiot at the same time.
James wasn’t that clever. Sure, he had one good plan that worked perfectly, but it was a lucky one, a once in a lifetime idea. The odds of it happening again were slim.
“I’m driving over there,” said Kathy. “They’d expect me to come.”
“Could you buy a bunch of ceiling tiles on your way?” I asked. We had thrown all the broken tiles away, but when mom and dad went into the basement they’d have to notice that half the ceiling was torn apart. “And a glass table.”
“Yeah, fine. But you need to clean your room before they get back.” I nodded. Clearly, whoever broke into my house didn’t originally know where I hid everything. First they checked my room, leaving it a post-hurricane-like state, and then they checked the basement.
So today was shaping up to be a really stressful day, nothing I couldn’t handle. Luckily I had a general idea of what I planned to do next. First I called my friend Nick, a Freshman I’d been friends with for nine years now, who lived only a block away from me.
“Hey Nick, do you mind if I snag your BB gun for my own selfish reasons?”
“No Wyatt, not at—”
“Thanks a lot,” I said, “I’ll pay for any damages,” and hung up.
Now all I needed was a ride, and I didn’t want to wait until Kathy got back, however long that took. I had no money, sure, but I could still get a ride from one of my friends.
Then I remembered that it was still only 12:50. Everyone else was still in school at this point, with the possible exception of Fiona Wilson, a junior with a driver’s license who happened to be my friend.
Earlier today, right before she asked if she could be one of my distributors, she had mentioned having a dentist appointment during the school day. If the appointment was over by now, she could help me out if I offered her a job as one of my distributors, which she had shown to be really interested in. So I called her up.
“Hey Wyatt!” she answered. I heard lots of talking around her but couldn’t make out what they were saying.
“Hi, are you out of school right now?”
“Nah, I’m stuck here,” she said in her casual, cheery tone. “I’m in the locker room right now. And… why would I be out of school?”
I held in a sigh. “You said you had a dentist appointment during second or third period?”
“Oh, no,” she laughed. “I said I had one tomorrow. Why?”
“Monday. Oh, you know what I mean.”
“So I guess you can’t drive over to my house and drive me around?”
“Not until 2:45,” she said. “I have a Cross Country meeting after school today. I’m sure you could find someone else to drive you around. And more importantly, why aren’t you at school?”
“You haven’t heard?”
“I heard your twin went missing, but nothing about you so far.”
Well then. “I was suspended for selling gum.”
“So… I guess you’re gum business is over now?”
Knowing she couldn’t help me, I saw no point in letting her know just how bad things have gotten. “Once I get back it’ll be fine. And I have my distributors making money for me.” Before she could answer I continued, “So do you know anyone who could drive me around?”
“Aren’t you friends with a lot of seniors?”
“Yeah, but none of them are close friends.” I had surprisingly little friends I considered close; I had a lot of acquaintances, people who would smile when they saw me and laugh at my jokes and invite me to parties, but few of them seemed like they’d be willing to do what I would ask of them today. And most of them, especially the “cool” seniors, secretly annoyed the shit out of me. “Most of my close friends don’t have a driver’s license.”
“What about Sean?” she asked. “He may not be bright, but he has balls of steel. I’m sure he’d skip class for you.”
I smiled, “Sure, I’ll ask him.”
“What are you planning to do, anyway?”
“Business-related things.” After this I called Sean.
Sean Lee was most definitely a brave fool. I still remembered that day in sixth grade during recess, when a couple of my friends and I had dared him to jump the fence surrounding the playground and touch the mailbox on the road, about fifty feet away. I lied and told him I’d pay him twenty bucks if he did, and he agreed.
So he jumped the fence, as a dozen-or-so other kids and I watched in awe, and walked towards the mailbox. As he crossed the road I heard a kid say, “Hey, imagine if he got hit by a car,” and most of us laughed.
Until Sean Lee actually got hit by a car.
Sean only bumped the side of it, so he wasn’t that badly harmed, but we could all hear the sound of the contact being made from fifty feet away. The driver just kept on driving, which in retrospect might have been a good thing.
“I’m getting help!” said one kid, but I stopped him. “Hold on,” I said, watching as Sean staggered back up to his feet.
I gained an immeasurable amount of respect for Sean when after being ran over by a car, he didn’t immediately start walking back to the school. Instead he continued limping towards the mailbox, touched it, and then walked back to us, this time making sure to look both ways before crossing the road.
In the end I did pay up the twenty dollars, and then a little extra because I felt bad. The nurse managed to figure out most of the story not involving me (because “I fell,” wasn’t a good enough cover for his injuries), but he didn’t get in a lot of trouble. I guess they felt like getting hit by a car was a harsh enough punishment already.
He didn’t answer my call, which I guess was to be expected, considering he was in class. He texted me a little bit later. What’s up?
I texted back: Can you drive by my house soon?
A few minutes later he responded: Why?
I plan to take down a bunch of gum dealers using a combination of muscle and intelligence, a BB gun, and some other things.