The Mack Morgan Mysteries

By Nicole Henneman

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     Libby Moyers hates my guts. Literally. Each day she purposely walks by my desk just to tell me I smell like tuna fish. I don’t even eat tuna fish. Since she started saying that, I banned any seafood from my life. I can’t buy ice cream because I have to walk near fish sticks at the grocery store. It got so bad that I had my parents regularly smell me before and after school for the past six months. My mom finally took me to the doctor. He confirmed I did not smell like tuna fish but did say that sometimes people get odd smells as stress responses. Basically, my body was trying to repel Libby-like a skunk.

     She also questions pretty much everything I say or do. “Sooo, Jeffy, what Queen Lame-o-tep are you reading about now?” she flipped my copy of Archaeological Discovery closed as she walked by. I gulped, “my name is Jaffrey. Seriously, you have known me since first grade. You know my name.” She nodded. “Mmm-hmm, okay, Jeffy. I cannot believe you actually buy that magazine. Why do you even read that stuff? You are a total old man. Try living in the present. Maybe then you would have more than one friend.”

     The friend she was referring to was Corey Dankovsky. He is a year older than me, a star player on the junior high lacrosse team and always has great hair. I know for a fact he doesn’t even brush it every day. Every week I see a new kid trying to make his hair look like Corey’s but even Corey doesn’t make his hair look that way. It’s like his pillowcase gently massages his scalp at night and creates magical bed head while he is sleeping. One time Brian Kirkpatrick tried to dye his hair at home to look like Corey’s. I mean he didn’t say it was to look like Corey’s but everyone knew. Corey has the perfect shade of light brown hair mixed with blonde highlights—my mom’s hairdresser even said so. Brian’s hair came out looking like an orange tabby cat with mange. She said that too. I guess his mom had to pay a lot of money to bleach it out.

      No one can really explain or understand how Corey and I became friends—not even me. To be honest, I can’t even remember when we became friends but I’m not complaining. It just seems like Corey has always been there for me so I can’t remember what life was like before that. Still, the fact that I had only one real friend was not lost on people like Libby or even on me. Lunch was okay because Libby avoided going into the library and the librarian usually let me eat there. But after school can be rough. I like my neighborhood but so do the parents of a lot of popular kids so I have to walk through at least three groups of them on the way home and one is hers. Usually I can pass by unnoticed but today was not one of those days. All six girls were in full formation. They were like a frenetic pack of high-pitched yappie hyenas dressed up as pieces of blue cotton candy and pink bubble gum. Excuse me, I mean blush. One time I made the mistake of trying to compliment Missy on her pink sweater. Libby threw a bottle of nail polish at me and told me to think outside the crayon box. Since she did that, Corey makes surprise visits near the school to walk me home. Corey isn’t much bigger than us but his popularity at junior high eclipses hers and she is going to be a new 8th grader. She rarely takes chances with him.

© 2018 – Nicole Henneman

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