So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

Archive for December, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Posted by cyberpfalcon on December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays, everyone!
And I hope you enjoy the new After-School Detectives story below. The… Halloween story… that was released around Christmas time…

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After-School Detectives – Costumes

Posted by cyberpfalcon on December 21, 2012

After-School Detectives Logo“What are you going as?” Sheryl asked me one morning before homeroom started. She was, of course, referring to the fun little policy that we had at our school here, where, as long as it wasn’t anything too extravagant, we were allowed to come to school dressed up in costumes on Halloween.

I turned around to face her, since she sat behind me, and replied, “I’m probably not going to dress up.”

Sheryl pouted, “C’mon! We’re the After-School Detectives, at least come as a detective!” Then, with a sparkle in her eye, “Why don’t you come as Watson? I’ll be coming as-”

“Sherlock Holmes, I know. And no, I’m not coming in as your sidekick.”

Sheryl pouted and tossed a piece of candy into her mouth.

As Sheryl was beginning to argue with me again, Ms. Grey, our homeroom teacher, walked in. She smiled and greeted the class before launching into the morning announcements, “As you all know, Halloween is a couple of days away, and I know that some of you were excited about being able to come to school in costume. However, Mr. Black, our new principal this year, has decided that costumes will not be allowed.”

After hearing this, Sheryl jumped straight up and yelled, “What?! Why?!”

Without missing a beat, as if she had expected this, Ms. Grey said, “I am sorry, Sheryl. I know how excited you were about this, but Mr. Black has decided that it is not appropriate for a school to have this sort of policy. Not all of us agree, but he is our principal, so I’m sure that he has your best interests in mind. Now, take a seat, Sheryl, and let us continue.”

Sheryl pouted and took her seat. Then, she wrote down something on a piece of paper and passed it to me. The note read ‘The After-School Detectives are going to get to the bottom of this!!!’

***

It was after-school, and I was following an angry Sheryl as she stormed towards the principal’s office.

Sheryl stormed past the principal’s assistant, who helplessly shouted, “Hey, you can’t-”

Not listening, Sheryl barged into the principal’s office, with me reluctantly following her in. She slammed her hands onto Mr. Black’s desk and yelled, “Why?!”

Surprised, the principal stared at her for a moment. Then he said, “Er, why what?”

“Why aren’t you letting us dress up for Halloween anymore?!”

“Oh, that. As I’m sure your teacher has already mentioned, I find that it is inappropriate for students to be dressing up in costumes during school times. It disrupts classes and school activities.”

“But it’s just a little bit of fun! I’m sure that-”

“Look, Ms. Holmes, yelling at me isn’t going to change my mind! I have made my decision and I have given you my reason. If you don’t have anything else to talk about, please leave my office.”

Unable to come up with any more arguments, Sheryl and I left the office. As we were leaving, we could hear Mr. Black muttering, “I’m just trying to save you kids…”

***

“Hmph!” Sheryl let out a frustrated noise and threw a piece of candy into her mouth.

We were at her place now, trying to finish up one of our group projects for Science. Of course, Sheryl could barely focus on the assignment, since she was still angry about the whole costume thing.

“What’s wrong?” asked Sheryl’s mother, as she entered Sheryl’s room with a plate of cookies.

“Our stupid principal won’t let us dress up for Halloween!” Sheryl replied.

“Really?” Sheryl’s mother placed the plate of cookies onto the desk, “If I remember correctly though, Robert loved dressing up for Halloween.”

“Robert?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s Mr. Black, your principal. We went to the same school back then, though we were never in the same classes.” Sheryl’s mother gave a shrug, “Well, I guess he grew out of it.”

Sheryl pouted, “But now it should be my turn!”

“I know you were looking forward to this, sweetie,” Mrs. Holmes patted Sheryl on the head, “But I’m sure your principal has a good reason for this.”

Sheryl pouted again as her mother left the room.

***

“Why are we here?” Sheryl asked me.

It was lunch time the next day, and we were in the library.

“Well,” I said, “Your mother said that Mr. Black loved dressing up on Halloween back then, so I thought maybe if we reminded him of that, he’d let us dress up again.”

“So how would the library help us?”

“Maybe there’s a picture of him in one of these old yearbooks.” I grabbed one of our school’s yearbooks off the shelf and flipped to the back, where the students and their portraits were. Not finding Robert Black on the list, I said, “Of course, we would have to narrow down the years that he was at this school first.”

“Oh, that’s a good idea!” Sheryl did some mental calculations in her head. “Let’s see, it should be around this year!”

She grabbed one of the yearbooks and flipped to the back. Then, she scanned through the portraits and smiled, “Found him!”

We then flipped through the yearbook to find that year’s Halloween costumes section. Scanning through the photos for Mr. Black, we stopped when we saw a happy, young Mr. Black in a Halloween costume. Sheryl and I couldn’t tell what Mr. Black was supposed to be (it was probably from a TV show before our time, or something like that), but it was the scribbles on the yearbook that caught our eye. Surrounding the pictures were comments making fun of those that had decided to dress up that year, with some of them directed at Mr. Black.

Now we understood what Mr. Black had meant when he said that he just wanted to ‘save us’.

***

After-school, I was following Sheryl as she stormed towards the principal’s office again.

The principal’s assistant saw Sheryl and immediately stood up to say, “Oh c’mon, not this again! You can’t-”

It didn’t work, of course, and Sheryl once again barged into Mr. Black’s office, this time slamming down the yearbook onto his desk. “This is why you aren’t letting us dress up?!”

Mr. Black took a look at the yearbook, then sighed and said, “Yes. Now you understand.”

“Well, that’s just garbage!”

Mr. Black gave Sheryl a glare, “Excuse me?”

“Sure, some people are going to make fun of us for dressing up, but when was that ever a good reason to stop doing something? We can’t just stop doing things because we’re afraid of what some bullies might think. Don’t let the bullies win!”

Mr. Black took a look at the sincerity on Sheryl’s face. Then, he sighed and said, “Alright, let me think about it.”

Sheryl began, “But-”

That was when I interrupted, “Okay, thank you for hearing us out, Mr. Black.”

I grabbed Sheryl by the arm and dragged her outside before she could say anything else.

“I was so close though!” Sheryl whined at me.

“I think you did good enough,” I said, “He just needs time and he wants to save face.”

“To save face?”

“You’ll understand when you’re older.”

“Oh, okay,” Sheryl and I walked for a moment before she realized, “Hey! We’re the same age!”

***

It was Halloween a couple of days later, and I was walking to school in dress pants, shirt, tie, suit jacket, and a fedora. Mr. Black had, of course, announced that we were once again allowed to come to school in costumes on Halloween. And I was, of course, convinced by Sheryl to come as a detective, although there was no way that I was going to go as Watson.

“Hey James!” Sheryl caught up from behind me, with a deerstalker on her head and a pipe in her hand.

She took a look at my costume and said, “Well, it’s not Watson, but at least you came as a detective. Are you… Philip Marlowe?”

“Yep.”

Sheryl gave me a smile. Just then, a voice from behind us yelled, “Hey guys!”

We turned around and saw that it was Samantha, heading towards us in her costume. She was dressed up as a witch. Not one of those scary witches though; I guess you could say that she was one of the cute ones.

As Samantha ran towards us, her foot got caught on the end of her robe and she tripped, falling down onto the ground.

Concerned, Sheryl and I ran towards her to make sure that she was alright. Luckily, she got up and gave us a sheepish smile. Sheryl and I let out a breath of relief.

Then, the three of us continued on our way to a fun Halloween at school.

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This story is part of the After-School Detectives series.
The logo was created by solidgaunt, please visit his amazing gallery!

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After-School Detectives – Candy Surprise

Posted by cyberpfalcon on December 7, 2012

After-School Detectives Logo“Hey Watson!” yelled a voice from behind me.

I sighed and said, “It’s James, Samantha.”

Samantha caught up to me and gave me her usual bubbly smile.

I sighed again. I guess it was too good to last. A few days ago, she was, of course, acting all prim and proper in front of her crush, Matthew, and so she refrained from calling me by that hated nickname of mine. But now that we had finished up with Matthew’s case (and he wasn’t around to make her nervous), I guess things were back to normal. Oh well, at least she was using it affectionately. I think.

“Wasn’t Matthew’s performance simply fantastic?” Samantha said, still remember when her crush performed in Mr. Brown’s class only a few hours ago.

“It was alright,” I said.

We walked to the After-School Detectives clubroom and I opened the door. Sheryl Holmes was already there, with a bowl of candy in the middle of the table.

She picked up the bowl and held it out for us, “Candy?”

“No thanks,” I said, taking a seat.

“Sure!” Samantha eagerly grabbed a piece from the bowl and unwrapped it.

“What’s with the candy?” I asked.

“Well, we all need something to stimulate our minds,” Sheryl replied, “So I decided to bring in a bowl of candy to help with that.”
Oh, I knew what she was up to. “… You know that Sherlock Holmes used cocaine to stimulate the mind, not candy, right?”

Sheryl pouted, “Yeah…, but my dad wouldn’t let me have any.”

I raised an eyebrow as I imagined Sheryl asking her father for cocaine, and his subsequent reaction to his twelve year old daughter asking him for drugs.

Samantha pulled out her laptop and placed it on the table. “Guess what, guys? I can use my laptop to record our conversations with our clients now!”

“Oooh.” Sheryl and I gathered behind Samantha.

“See, it’s easy, say something,” Samantha said as she clicked on the record button.

Just then, Madeline entered the room, and we all stared at her. Madeline was the most popular girl in the school, and definitely one of the prettiest. What did the eighth grade queen of the school want with us?

Madeline looked at our still figures and raised an eyebrow, “Uh…, this is the After-School Detectives, right?”

We snapped out of our trance, and Sheryl introduced herself, “Yeah, that’s us. I’m Sheryl Holmes, but you can call me Holmes.”

Madeline raised an eyebrow again, “Okay then, Sheryl, I am Madeline Piers.”

Sheryl clenched her teeth.

Looking at me, Madeline said, “And you must be Watson, right?”

I sighed and cursed in my head at Sheryl’s announcement at the beginning of the year, “No, it’s James actually. And this is Samantha.”

As usual, Samantha gave a big smile and said, “Hi! It’s nice to meet you!”

“So, what can the After-School Detectives do for you?” asked Sheryl.

Madeline flashed what seemed like a smirk. “Well, you guys are in Franklin Delgado’s class, right?”

“Yep,” Sheryl replied.

“Well, could you guys find out what his favourite candy is?”

“Sure, but why do you want to know?”

“Well, I want to give him a box.”

“Why’s that?” The ever-curious Sheryl asked.

Madeline raised an eyebrow at this, “You sure ask a lot of questions. But if you must know, I guess I sort of like Franklin, he’s kind of cute. I want to surprise him with a box of his favourite candy.”

I raised an eyebrow at this. Now, Franklin was good guy. We were cordial to each other on most occasions. However, Franklin was also a bit… overweight. So to have one of the most popular girls in school saying that she found him cute was a bit… jarring. Also, she didn’t say it like most people would. That is to say, she wasn’t being shy or embarrassed about it.

Then again, she is one of the popular girls in school, so maybe she’s confident enough to know what she likes and to ask for it.

“Okay!” Sheryl said, excited again, “We’ll take the case!”

“Good,” Madeline said. Then she stood up and turned to leave. “Let me know when you have the information.”

“Bye!” Samantha gave Madeline a hearty farewell as she left the room.

Then Samantha turned to her computer. “Oh! This is a perfect chance to make sure that this works.”

She stopped the recording and played it back. The three of us listened to ourselves and Madeline. Happy that the software worked, Samantha smiled, “Looks like it works!”

Sheryl gave her a thumbs up, “Good job!”

Then, she turned to me, “Well then, James, looks like we have a stakeout to conduct!”

Great…

***

We followed Franklin after-school the next day, and we watched as he went into the local candy store.

“This is our chance! All we have to do is see which candy he buys the most!” Sheryl started darting towards the store. “C’mon!”

She rushed into the store as I followed her in at walking pace.

Oh, and what a glorious store it was. There was candy everywhere. All sorts of candy from all over the world, just sitting on the shelves, waiting for a happy customer to buy them.

Unfortunately, we were here on official After-School Detectives business, so we focused our attention on Franklin and, sadly, not on the candy. We watched as he grabbed different types of candy off the shelves and put them into his cart, with no indication of which ones were his favourites.

“He’s buying too much candy!” Sheryl whispered to me. “There’s no way to tell which one he likes best!”

We continued watching Franklin for a few more minutes, to no avail. Then, I decided that we had to try another approach.

Calmly, I walked out of our hiding place and towards Franklin.

“What are you doing? Get back here, James!” Sheryl hissed at me from her hiding spot.

“Hi Franklin,” I said to my classmate.

Franklin looked away from the shelves. “Oh, hey James, what’s up?”

“Just looking for some good candy. Any recommendations?”

“Oh, well,” He held up several boxes, “These are all pretty good.”

“Hm, they do look pretty good, but I only have a couple of bucks, so I can really only buy one. Do you have a favourite?”

“Oh, then you got to go with these,” He held up a box of Cara-Rolls, “These are my absolute favourite!”

“Hm, I guess I’ll give them a try. Thanks, Franklin.”

“No problem,” Franklin gave me a happy smile, “See you at school tomorrow.”

We parted ways and I walked back over to where Sheryl was.

“His favourite candy is Cara-Rolls.”

“What?!” Sheryl exclaimed. “How did you find out?!”

“Well,” I said, smirking a little, “I asked him.”

***

The case was over. We gave Madeline the name of Franklin’s favourite candy, and presumably she was going to give him a box, and then they’d go on a date, and then there would be a happy ending. You know, stuff like that.

Only, the case wasn’t really over. Not yet.

It was at lunchtime on Friday, one or two days after we had given Madeline what she was looking for, when Sheryl and I heard a commotion behind us while walking down a hallway in our school.

We turned around to see a goo-covered Franklin sobbing as he ran past us.

“Oh, look at the fatty run!” a voice in the middle of the commotion yelled, as the others around it laughed.

The voice came from Madeline, and the laughter came from her clique.

“What just happened?” Sheryl pondered as she pushed through the crowd, with me following right behind her.

We reached the center, and saw Franklin’s locker door left opened. On the floor nearby, was an open box of Cara-Rolls. Except that there weren’t any Cara-Rolls inside. Instead, there was a spring-loaded trap that had already flung its goo at its intended target.

Sheryl walked over to the box and knelt down next to it, as if to get a better look, hoping that it wasn’t what she thought it was. But it was.

Seeing Sheryl, Madeline smirked, “Oh look, it’s the little detective.”

Sheryl glared at her, “You did this to Franklin! You used us to bully Franklin!”

“Hey, hey!” A girl behind Madeline piped up. It was another popular girl named Francine. “Don’t you dare go accusing Madeline now. What proof do you have that it was her that did this?”

“You came to us, asking us to find out what Franklin’s favourite candy was, and now there’s this disgusting trap in his locker! Of course it was you!”
Madeline smirked again, “I don’t remember ever going to see you.”

With that Madeline turned around and started walking away.

Sheryl stood up and was about to pounce on Madeline. So I grabbed her arm, hoping that was enough to stop her.

Sheryl turned around and glared at me, “Let go of me!”

I looked at her in the eyes, “Stop it, Sheryl. That won’t help.”

Sheryl continued glaring at me for a few more moments before calming down. Then, she asked me, “What have we done, James?”

***

A teacher was able to help Franklin clean off whatever the goo was. Unsurprisingly, Franklin then went home for the day.

Sheryl and I were sitting in the clubroom after-school, with Samantha’s laptop on the table. Samantha had stepped out to use the washroom.

Then, suddenly, Sheryl jumped up and darted to the laptop. She pulled out a flash drive and plugged it into the laptop.

Surprised, I took a moment before asking, “What are you doing?”

“Samantha recorded everything that Madeline said when she was in here!”

I stood up as well, “That’s right! We can take this to the principal and prove that it was Madeline who did this to Franklin!”

“No…” Sheryl flashed an evil smile.

I studied Sheryl for a moment, “What do you mean? Why wouldn’t we give it to the principal?”

“I’m going to upload this onto the Internet.”

“What good would that do?”

“She said that she thought Franklin was cute. When the other bullies hears it, they’ll turn on her.” Sheryl’s evil grin grew larger.

“You can’t do that, Sheryl. We can’t just take matters into our own hands like this. Besides, do you really want to do to Madeline what she did to Franklin? Do you want to be like her? Let’s just bring this to the teachers!”

“Even if we told the teachers, she’ll just get suspended. She won’t stop. No, she needs to learn how it feels like!”

“Yes, that’s probably true, but this isn’t how she’ll learn. Don’t stoop to their level, Sheryl. I know you’re angry, but don’t give into your anger! Don’t give in to your dark side!”

Sheryl raised an eyebrow and looked at me, “… What is this? A Star Wars parody?”

“Well, I kind of always wanted to say that. But look, Sheryl, let’s do this the right way, okay? We’ll talk to the principal on Monday.”

Sheryl looked at me. Then she sighed, “Okay…”

At this moment, Samantha walked back into the clubroom. Looking at us, and feeling that something was wrong, she asked, “Uh, did I miss something?”

Sheryl walked over and gave Samantha a hug, “Remember when you recorded Madeline earlier?”

Samantha’s eye widened, “That’s right! We have proof that she did this to Franklin!”

“Yeah…” Sheryl said, devoid of her usual energy.

Samantha noticed, “Um, that’s a good thing, right, Sheryl?”

“Yeah…” Sheryl said in the same flat tone.

Sheryl walked over to her bag. “Well, it’s late, so let’s go to the principal on Monday and show him the recording.”

Samantha smiled and started to say, “Okay, that sounds go-”

But Sheryl just left without saying another word.

***

Soon after that, Samantha and I followed suit and went home as well. I knew Sheryl had a point, Madeline probably wouldn’t stop her bullying just because she got suspended. But what else could we do? After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. At least, Sheryl understood that now.

Or so I thought.

It was Sunday night when I received an email from Matthew. I opened it and there was a link to a popular online video sharing website. Clicking on the link, it brought me to a video. Well, there wasn’t any video, but there was definitely audio.

It was an edited version of the recording, edited so that the After-School Detectives would remain anonymous and highlighting the fact that Madeline had said that she liked Franklin and that she asked what his favourite candy was.

***

Sheryl avoided me on Monday. She came in just as the bell rung for every class and ducked into the washroom between classes.

Finally, during lunch time, I was able to catch up with her in the hallway.

“Sheryl, did you-”

Just then Francine ripped open the Madeline’s bag and dumped the contents out. “Get away from me, fatty lover!”

Madeline’s former clique of bullies walked away with a few of them mockingly singing “fatty lover” as the Madeline picked up her things.

Then, she saw Sheryl.

She flashed a glare at Sheryl and started walking towards to us. However, the principal appeared in front of us. “Madeline, could you please come with me to my office?”

Madeline flashed another glare at Sheryl, but the principal intervened, saying sternly, “Now.”

Madeline looked up into the angry face of our principal, and managed to mumble, “Yes sir.”

The principal led the way and Madeline followed.

As the two disappeared from our sights, Sheryl ran off and ducked into the washroom again, avoiding me.

I sighed and walked off to eat my lunch, hoping that she would talk to me soon.

***

It was after-school, and as usual, I was walking towards the clubroom. What was unusual was that Samantha was standing outside of the clubroom, just leaning on the wall.

“Hi James,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

“Hi Samantha… What’s wrong?”

“Sheryl is in the clubroom, just sitting there,” Samantha said, with tears welling up in her eyes, “I tried talking to her, but she didn’t want to talk. Maybe you could go in there and try talking to her?”

“Yeah, I will.” I handed Samantha a tissue.

“Thanks,” Samantha said. She took the tissue from me and started wiping away the tears. “I’ll wait here.”

I opened the clubroom door and walked in to see Sheryl sitting on the table, staring outside the window at the blue sky. I closed the door and put my bag down. Then, I walked over and sat next to her on the table.

“Hi Sheryl.”

“Hi James.”

We both sat there in silence for a little while, reflecting on recent events.

Then, I started up again, “Sheryl, are-”

Suddenly, Sheryl grabbed my arm and placed on her forehead on my shoulder. Then, she started crying.

In between sobs, she said “I- I didn’t mean to do- do that to her.”

I sighed, in anger and in relief.

I placed my hand on the back her head, giving her a psuedo-hug. “I know, Sheryl, I know.”

After that, we went to the principal. Sheryl explained what had happened and that she was the one that had uploaded the recording. Luckily, she only got a week of detention.

After the recording came out, Madeline’s clique abandoned her and blamed the whole thing on her. Madeline was suspended for a month.

As for Franklin, I think he will be okay. The After-School Detectives brought over a box of Cara-Rolls, which he happily accepted and shared with us.

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This story is part of the After-School Detectives series.
The logo was created by solidgaunt, please visit his amazing gallery!

Posted in After-School Detectives | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »