Liz walked with me… and my little idea, seeming silly, stupid, very 5th grade, was reduced to little more than a piece of index card that could be washed in my jeans.
“It wasn’t such a bad idea, you know,” she said.
“Yeah, I’m sure. That’s why everyone acted like I had yelled Vordemolt’s name on the morning announcements.”
“You are pretty good at following clues and stuff, Abe. I don’t think you really have to advertise that. People kinda know.”
“They know I’m crazy,” I said. I had dropped the idea of forming a detective agency or something, because I had bigger problems right now. Monster Deck 3. It had gone missing from my locker the Thursday before. I was going to pour my energy into finding out what happened to it… with or without a team.
“Well, that might not be far from true. But you have to admit, Abe: Crazy things happen to you.”
“Help! Help, Abe!” a little spider web of a 6th grader named Ben yelled, grabbing my arm and looking around in a panic like it was the last few moments before he was going to be fed to lions. I’m not sure he wasn’t sneaking up to our school from the 4th grade. He made me look large, and I had to be one of the smallest 6th graders at Lake. But I digress (I heard Harrison say that once).
“Look, Table, Aliens are taking over our school. They’re disguised, you know how they do. They get inside people. Teachers. Kids. And they are after me. I have no idea why, but they are all over the place. It’s like we’re dummies and they are just jumping inside us secretly and making people do what they want. Well, not me, brother!”
“Wait, wait. You’re Ben, right.” He nodded at me. “Listen, Ben, I’d love to help you out (I looked at Liz like this little guy was nuts). But what am I going to do to stop an alien invasion?” I think the little guy was nuts, but I was going to go along with it if only to make him feel better. He looked pretty scared.
“You’ll do the investigating, like you always do,” he said. Then, he turned as quickly as he showed up and disappeared in the crowd. The minute bell rang and Liz and I jumped into the freeway of kids.
“Maybe your idea was better than I thought,” Liz said. She smiled.
I reached for my little business card, held it up like the winning ticket to the Lake Middle PTA Raffle, and said, “Bingo.” End of discussion. Or so I thought. When I pulled it out of my pocket one of my Monster Deck 3 cards came out with it and fell to the floor. It was a Health card for a Skulking Vampire. And it was a monster with a terrible health score. I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Not only did I not know how it got there, I thought it might be a sign about what little Ben said. And not a good sign.
I guess I had stopped in the hallway. Kids were walking around me and Liz was nowhere in sight.