1 Call Me Blackbird

"So," says Principal Butoro, promptly dropping a large folder onto the table. "Why am I here again?" I ask. "Laurel, you know why you are here." She says. No. No. No. No. No. Think something up. Think something up. I think. I tuck my hands in my pockets and tap my foot on the floor in front of me. I quickly remember why I'm here.


"Laurel Johnson, come to the office, Laurel Johnson please come to the office." says a voice over the intercom. My best friend, Alex, nudges me. "You want me to go with you?" She asks. "Nah, I'm good," I say, picking up my backpack and slinging it over my shoulder. "Thanks though," I say. She nods and turns back to the board to copy notes for finals next week.

As I trudged into the Principal's office I got hit with that very strong Christmas smell of nutmeg and cinnamon. Do all principals like this smell? I thought to myself and tried not to choke. Principal Butoro is a middle-aged woman with short red hair and large red bifocal glasses. She smiled kindly, but I could sense I was here for some bad reason and not just to talk. I coughed to clear my throat. "Hi," I said.

Best to start casual. "Good morning, Laurel. Do you know why you are here?" She asked. I shook my head no. "Well your sister hasn't been in any of her classes for the past two weeks and she isn't answering her cell phone. Oh no. "Do you know why that is?" She asks politely.

"No. Laura doesn't tell me much." Crap. I shouldn't have said that. Principal Butoro raises her eyebrows. "Oh well, certainly she must have called you at least once," she pressed her acrylic nails into her palms. Why would you assume that? I glance down at my Converse hightops and mumble out a very stupid and incredibly random excuse.

Something about Lora not having a phone charger. "She likes to chew on the cords." I lie. Mrs Butoro gives me that motherly look that very clearly conveys, I know you're lying, I just want to see how long you're going to keep this story up. "Is that so?" she asks. "Well, no," I say. "But I can call her," I add quickly. "Please do. And please call her right here." Says Mrs Butoro. Ohmygosh Ohmygosh. I open my backpack and pull my phone out. I press the screen using my thumb for the on-screen fingerprint scanner thing. I opened my messages and saw my last call was from Laura. I quickly call her and of course, she doesn't pick up. Mrs Boturo sighs heavily. "Okay, you're free to go, but I need a parent's number later." She says.

"Or a family friend that can pick you up." She says. "I- Okay," I reply. I clasp my hands in front of me. " Welp I have to go back to class," I say. "Okay. Good luck with your finals." She says. "Thanks," I say. I head to the door and am about to open it when Mrs Boruto goes, "Oh yes, and tell Laura the same." she says.

"I will," I reply, and head back to class. Alex was asleep with her feet on my desk. I gently shake her shoulder, but I know she sleeps like a coma patient, so it will take a lot more than a gentle shake to wake her up. I flick her on her forehead but she just keeps snoring. I grab her notebook and bop her on the head with it. She wakes up. "Wha-huh?" she says sleepily and rubs her eyes. "Hey," she says. "So what happened," she asks. "They want to talk to Laura," I say. Alex shrugs. "Then let them talk to her." She says. I glare at her. "Yeah well, do you want to be the one to explain to them that-'' Ms Castles cuts me off. "Girls. Is there a problem?" she asks. "No ma'am." Alex and I say at the same time. Lita Castles snickers from behind us. I wheel around. "Is there something you'd like to say?" I ask. Her face goes red. "No. Turn around and pay attention," she orders. "I don't know who you think you're bossing around but it sure isn't me," I say. She snarls and rolls her eyes. "Yeah roll your eyes, let's see if we can find a brain back there. And don't ever snarl at me. Yellow teeth," I snap at her.

Alex swats my shoulder and laughs. "Girl- chill like actually," she laughs again. "I swear the next time that girl snarls at me, Imma bark at her," I say. Of course, Lita hears this and snarls again. Me, being a woman of my word, turned around and barked at her loud and obnoxious. Ms Castles snaps her head toward us. "What was that?" she asks.

Lita is about to snitch but Alex goes, "Sorry I had to sneeze." I'm cracking up so bad I have to put my head down and even then it looks like I'm having a seizure. Alex puts her head down and gets her phone out of her desk. She starts typing and I get a message notification from 'Bestie' and I open it. I almost die then and there because you almost die every day when you have a friend like Alex.

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