Prose from TSIL436

TSIL436 = The Secret in Locker 436

Here’s Chapter 23.  I think you’ll like it:

Chapter 23:  Halfsies

The Wootton bell clangs again; all must be in their 4th period session.

“History?” Ruthie asks.

“Lunch?” Ali says.

The two girls are at Ruthie’s locker.

Ali had air-mailed the tool-filled box with a kick of her foot.

“This morning, what time was it when you went through your locker?” asks the junior.

“Eleven, before History,” estimates the sophomore.

Ali points to a clock on the wall showing 11:05.

“Time doesn’t advance here when we’re below,” affirms Ali.

Ruthie holds her sack lunch and they slip outside to the football field, sitting in the stands.

Ruthie has fled here often while at Wootton.

Ruthie tears her uncut bologna sandwich in two, giving Ali the larger piece. She gives Ali the cookies and keeps the apple.

Ali gives back the cookies (not Momade) and takes the apple.

“You’re another girl in the world,” Ali says, showcasing her Pepsodent smile.

Ruthie is sitting on a bleacher row one below Ali. They’re at the top, by the press box.

Ali pats a spot.

Ruthie moves higher. “Yep,” is all she says.


“Have things worked out like you’d hoped? Would you say?” Ali asks, with her mouth full.

“No,” says Ruthie. “You?”

“I guess,” Ali says, chewing harder. The bologna is tough and stringy. “Looking like I do—” and she’s interrupted by a fire engine screaming by.

“It’s no picnic,” Ali continues. She starts on the apple.

Ruthie abandons her half of the sandwich and takes a bite of the first cookie. “You’d rather be ugly?” Ruthie asks, and instantly regrets it.

Ali throws the apple core onto the football field and collects her hair into a graceful updo with a scrunchy she fishes from her pocket. “Tell me more. About you,” she says, focusing her unwavering zeal on the fifteen-year-old.

Ruthie would. She wants to. But there’s so little to tell.


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