More Than I Can Chew is an interactive story revolving around two identical twins and the gum-related problems they have to deal with. Except it’s much more interesting than how I just made it sound. Click here for the last nine chapters.
Sean and I stopped by Nick’s house at around 1:25. In seventeen minutes, my final period class would officially end. “You sure about this?” Sean asked as we got out of the car. He gestured towards the van in the driveway.
“Yeah, I said. “That van’s always here. His dad’s a carpenter or something like that.” We walked into the backyard and I opened up the back door. “No one’s home during the school day.” After taking off our shoes, I told Sean to keep watch while I went into Nick’s mess of a room. I opened up the closet and took out the box, along with the BB gun and the bottle labeled, “0.177 Precision Steel BBs.”
Nick had made the mistake of bragging about his BB gun a few years back and teaching me how to load, shoot, and reload the gun with reasonable ease, so he sort of brought this on himself. Besides, I planned return everything when all this was over. I even left a note back on the box, saying “I’ll pay you back for any possible damages.”
The best news was, it could actually be confused with a real gun, at least from the perspective of someone with little knowledge of them. The only thing giving it away was the childish orange color of the muzzle.
“Do you have any spray paint?” I asked Sean as we got back into his car.
“Any black paint?”
“A marker of any kind?”
“Not on me, no.”
I sighed. “Okay, what about duct tape? Do you have tape in this car?”
“I don’t know; check the drawer.” So I opened the passenger seat drawer and went through all of Sean’s trash, pulling out empty water bottles, scratched CDs and wrappers of gum he probably bought from me, and finally I found a piece of pitch black electrical tape that was perfect for what I needed.
I taped the empty water bottle to the muzzle and looked at it from all angles. You could barely see the orange.
Connor’s house was our first destination, mostly because it had no security system and because I deemed Connor the weakest of the three.
Five minutes before getting there, Kathy called. I answered, reluctantly.
“Why the hell aren’t you home?” she yelled. “Mom and Dad are gonna be here any minute now.”
“So? I’m supposed to be at school, remember?”
She sighed. “They know you’re suspended.” The words hung in the air for a while, taunting me. Finally I replied, keeping my voice steady.
“Mrs. Romero was there and ruined everything.” She told me the rest of what happened, from the moment Mom got to the hospital to the moment Kathy left, and finished it off with: “Are you selling drugs?” This again.
“No,” I said. “I just want to make some money, not ruin my entire life.”
“Then how do you make so much money?”
“I don’t know, my natural salesmanship skills? My smart business decisions? The two add up, I suppose.”
“So am I, mostly. Why are you doubting me now?”
“Apparently, some detective spoke to Adrien, who figured ten thousand dollars was way too much money to make from selling gum twenty cents a piece.”
“Twenty-five cents a piece.” I could almost hear her rolling her eyes. “What was the detective’s name?”
“Adrien didn’t say—” Of course he didn’t. Personally I’m surprised Adrien didn’t rat me out. First he sent the photograph to Mrs. Romero, then I inadvertently caused him to be kidnapped and violently interrogated for information he didn’t even have. Top that off with the fact that he didn’t even like me to begin with, and I was all but sure he’d betray me again. “—but I bumped into him as I was leaving the hospital. Detective Roy Thompson, his name is.”
I looked him up on my phone, and found a picture of him. He had a sort of weaselly look about him; he almost reminded me of a con artist.
We got to Connor’s house at 1:40. My final class of the day would be ending in just two minutes. Connor had a large house and strict parents, and I knew he was at least telling the truth about the first part. One of his parents was a highly successful lawyer and the other was some sort of brain surgeon. Forgot which one was which. They both had high expectations for him, which I guess ticked of his rebellious side or something.
No one was home. Connor was an only child and his parents both had busy schedules. So we snuck into the back and decided to hide in Connor’s bedroom, as I tried to recall everything useful I knew about him.
First off, I figured he’d try to get back before school ended, in case his parents called or came home early. Then I remembered, almost facepalming, that he was only in middle school. In our district, the middle school students were let out an hour after the high school students, which would give him an extra hour to celebrate with Diesel and James and whoever the fourth guy was.
Even still, I figured, he should be home any minute now. After they took my money and all, there couldn’t have been much for them to talk about, what with Diesel being almost inhumanly quiet and James being batshit crazy. They probably shared their money and went their separate ways.
We spent a little while talking and joking around. Sean almost stole a bottle of pills inside Connor’s desk before I stopped him. “Why would you want it, anyway?” I asked, reading the label—Xanax. I remembered buying this for him last year. He didn’t want his parents to know.
“Anxiety medication,” Sean said.
“Why would you need anxiety medication?” When Sean wasn’t messing around in class, he was either getting drunk, getting high, or just messing around in general. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world.
“Honors chemistry. It’s very stressful.” He said it like he was half-serious.
“What do you have in that class?”
“How the hell are you doing better than me?” He shrugged. I kept forgetting that Sean was only stupid when it came to decision making.
Just then we heard the door open downstairs and both of us stayed silent. I gently placed the bottle of Xanax back inside the desk. We waited a while not certain what it was we listening to, and soon the footsteps made their way to the door.
When Connor opened the door, he first looked towards his desk—then he noticed me, pointing a gun at his face.
“Shut up and don’t scream,” said Sean, who looked nearly a foot taller than him, and more than a little intimidating. He shut the door and shoved Connor in a position so he was stuck between me and Sean.
“Is that a real gun?” was his first question.
“Yes,” I said, pleased to find he thought it was real.
“Why is there a water bottle taped to it?”
“It works as a silencer,” I said, “and I’m certainly not above testing it out.” In case he didn’t believe me, I added. “You know, you three gave my brother a concussion. He’s in a coma now.”
“No, th–that wasn’t my idea!” he was stammering and tearing up at this point. “We weren’t planning to pick up your brother.”
“Oh, so you were going to put me in a coma, is that what you’re saying?”
“No! I swear, that was an accident. We didn’t mean to—”
“Listen,” I interrupted him, pressing the end of the water bottle against his chin, one half of me furious and the other half feeling guilty for doing this to him “You will answer every question I ask, and if you don’t I swear to God I will pull this trigger.”
It dawned on me that I could’ve actually killed him, if I wanted to.