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Janette Sebring Lowrey: The Poky Little Puppy
Excerpt from DC Trip
“Hi, Mr. Kenner,” Rachel said sweetly, but her voice squeaked a little. “Hi, Ms. Deats. We were just, um . . .” She looked at Gertie and Sivan for help, but they were staring at the ground.
“We know what you were just doing, Rachel,” Mr. Kenner snapped. “How could you violate our trust like this? This is definitely a strike one. This should be beyond a strike one. This should be strikes one, two, and three!” At this, the girls looked horrified. Gertie began to cry. Sivan’s eyes watered and threatened to spill over. Even Rachel choked back a sob. “Oh, no,” Mr. Kenner said, throwing up his hands. “Don’t cry.” He looked at Ms. Deats pleadingly. She returned his gaze and seemed to grow a little taller.
“We’re very sorry about this,” Ms. Deats said smoothly to the security guy, who nodded gruffly. “Thank you, Mr.—” She looked at his name tag.
“Reina,” he said. “Bob Reina. Chief of security.”
“Thank you, Mr. Reina,” she said. “Girls, tell Mr. Reina you’re sorry you tried to sneak out.”
“Oh, there’s no need for that,” Bob Reina said, shaking his head. “It’s not my rule they broke. But I’d say you folks ought to keep a closer eye on this three. I’ve seen this before. Kids like this—they can get up to all kinds of shenanigans.”
“Absolutely,” Mr. Kenner said, seeming embarrassed.
“Thank you.” Ms. Deats ushered them all into the elevator, where they silently rode up. Then she marched to the girls’ room and held out her hand. “Everybody give me your keys,” she said firmly, and Rachel thought she saw her shoot a little sideways glance at Mr. Kenner. He looked surprised. Reluctantly, the girls handed over their room keys. “You won’t get these back until tomorrow night, and that’s if I decide you’ve earned them back,” Ms. Deats said.
The girls nodded obediently. Ms. Deats opened the door, and everyone filed into the room except Mr. Kenner, who hovered outside.
“You come in too, Mr. Kenner,” Ms. Deats said. He gingerly stepped through the door.“Now this is a serious infraction, isn’t it, Mr. Kenner?” Ms. Deats said.
“Yes it is,” he said. “This is definitely a strike one at least.”
“I agree,” Ms. Deats said. “And to make sure this never happens again, we’re going to tape your door.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” Mr. Kenner said. Then he dropped his voice and whispered, “Do we actually have tape?” The girls totally heard him.
“I brought some in my bag,” Ms. Deats said. Again, Mr. Kenner looked surprised.
“Really?” he said, and he sounded kind of impressed.
“Yes,” Ms. Deats said with evident pride. “It’s in my room. Patti Bump told me I should bring it just in case. She always brings tape when she chaperones.”
“I never thought to do that,” Mr. Kenner said. “That’s a really good idea.”
“I know, right?” Ms. Deats said, and grinned.
Rachel looked at Sivan and Gertie. Sivan and Gertie looked at Rachel. All three shrugged. Awkwardly, Rachel cleared her throat. “Um, you don’t have to call our parents, do you?” she asked. “Because I think mine would . . . not like it.”
“I don’t imagine they would like it at all, Rachel,” Ms. Deats said. “If you behave yourselves and don’t repeat this stunt, I don’t think we need to tell your parents.”
Mr. Kenner opened his mouth and then shut it without saying anything. “Whatever you say,” he said.
“Now you girls get in bed,” Ms. Deats said. “I’ll come back and tape your door. I don’t want to hear one peep out of you for the rest of the night.” She and Mr. Kenner opened the door on the cuntriad, all clad in pajamas, looking joyful.
“Girls!” Mr. Kenner said sharply. “What are you doing out of bed?”
“We were worried,” Brooklynn said. “We were scared somebody got sick. Like we did.”
“Everything is fine, girls,” Ms. Deats said gently. “That’s very kind of you. Now go back to bed.” Brooklynn smiled over Ms. Deats’s shoulder at the trio. She blew them a kiss. Then the door shut.
“That fucking bitch,” Rachel said. “She loves this shit.”
“They all do,” Gertie said.
“How did they know we were up?” Sivan asked. “It’s not like we were loud in the hallway or something.”
Rachel’s eyes narrowed. “They got us in trouble,” she said. “I know they did it somehow.”
“How?” Gertie asked. “We got us in trouble when that Bob Reina dude overheard us.”
“Yeah, but why was the chief of security out in front of the hotel and not in some office somewhere?” Rachel said. “There were other security guards in the lobby. Why did he come out of nowhere?”
“Maybe he was walking by,” Sivan said.
“Sivan,” Rachel said. “You study this stuff all the time.”
“What stuff?” Sivan asked.
“Rebellions,” Rachel said. “Insurrections. Protests. Whatever.”
“Is that what this is?” Sivan said.
“Sivan,” Rachel said. “Does the Man ever just show up out of nowhere, by accident, without any information provided by a third party?”
“That’s a good point,” Sivan said thoughtfully. “There are informants in every movement.”
“Exactly,” Rachel said. “We were informed on.” She walked around the room with her hands folded behind her back. Then she put her ear to the wall.
“That’s Miriam and Allison’s room,” Gertie said to Sivan.
“Exactly,” Rachel said. She raised her voice and spoke loudly, right into the wall. “AND MIRIAM AND ALLISON PLAY FIELD HOCKEY WITH PEIGHTON.”
“Rachel!” Gertie was aghast. “You’ll wake them up.”
“Oh, they’re already up,” Rachel said, practically growling at the wall. “They heard everything we said and they told Peighton. I know they did.” She smacked the wall.
“Maybe don’t do that,” Sivan said. “Somebody else could hear and complain.”
“Those field hockey girls all kiss Peighton’s ass,” Gertie whispered. “You could be right.”
“Yeah, I think she’s right too,” Sivan whispered. “And then Peighton called security.”
Rachel stalked over to the hotel phone and pointed at a red button emblazoned with the word SECURITY. “Look, right there. You can just call security. You can just call!” she whispered loudly. “Those bitches next door ratted us out to those cunts and then those cunts called that douchebag.”
“I kind of liked Bob Reina,” Sivan said. “It was kind of funny how he called out the teachers for not paying enough attention to us.”
Rachel smacked her fist into her palm. Then she looked at her friends, who were a little surprised by how pissed she was. “Let’s get some sleep,” she said. “They’re not going to destroy our trip. But we’re going to destroy theirs.”
“How?” Gertie asked. “Wasn’t explosive diarrhea enough?”
“I thought so,” Rachel said. “But you were right, Gertie. You said they’d come back at us, and they did. So now we go on offense.”
“Maybe we could just have a nice chill trip from here on out,” Sivan said. “It would’ve been cool to sneak out, but maybe it’s not meant to be.”
“Which one of us is kind of psychic?” Rachel asked with a sudden smile.
“You,” Gertie said.
“Allegedly,” Sivan said.
“Well, I think there are great things in store for us,” Rachel said. “I know there are. I just have to figure out what they are, exactly. But we’re going to win this thing.”
“Is it a game?” Gertie asked.
“No,” Rachel said, a look of grim determination on her face. “This is war.”
Copyright © 2015 Adaptive Books
Sara Benincasa is a comedian and the author of Real Artists Have Day Jobs (William Morrow 2016) as well as the books DC Trip (Adaptive Studios 2016), Great (HarperTeen 2014), and Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom (William Morrow 2012). She is currently adapting DC Trip as a film with producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Nebraska,” “Election”), Van Toffler, and Adaptive Studios; Agorafabulous! for TV with Diablo Cody; and Great for TV with Muse Entertainment. She was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College and Columbia University Teachers College. She lives in Los Angeles, CA. She travels frequently to speak to college students about mental health awareness.