. obviously something is troubling yon. Maybe she could help."
"I'm not crazy!"
"No one said you were."
Josh stood up so fast the chair flew out behind him and fell to the floor. He headed for the door as quickly as he could, but before he left he turned back to Kirkpatrick.
"One more thing . . ." Josh kept his hand on the doorknob, as if touching something—anything— solid and real would give him the courage to ask the question he needed to ask and face the answer he knew he would get.
"How much," asked Josh, "is two plus two?"
Kirkpatrick looked at him, expecting there to be a punch line. "What's your point, Josh?"
"Just answer the question," said Josh.
Kirkpatrick shrugged. "Three, of course. The answer is three."
Don't Touch That Dial
Rumor was that Hal Hornbeck lost it completely that same day, during fourth period. Not that Hal had ever been wrapped too tightly to begin with, but for some reason, he walked into his Spanish class and went totally loco. Everyone who saw it had their own version of the story, but everyone did agree on this basic sequence of events: Hal had walked into class, looking tired and confused. Then, for no apparent reason, he launched into a screaming fit and had to be dragged out.
Rumor also had it that he refused to say anything that made sense to Dr. Cutler, the guidance counselor. He just kept asking for Bertram, whoever that was, perhaps an imaginary playmate.
Kevin and Josh, who did not have Spanish class with Hal, heard all of this in passing, but didn't think much of it. They had enough concerns of their own.
Kevin and Josh also avoided Nicole Patterson tothe best of their ability, which might have been a mistake, because Nicole, who was in Hal's Spanish class, had the most accurate description of what really happened. Nicole claimed that Hal walked into the room, saw her, and began screaming at the top of his lungs. Everyone thought it was pretty funny that a clod like Hal could be frightened by someone as petite as Nicole.
During lunch, there was further talk about how Hal had gotten a zero on his first-period math quiz, but Kevin was too busy looking for his sister to care much about the current status of Hal Hornbeck's math skills. Kevin was hoping Teri had come up with some advice as to what to do about the glasses.
Teri did, indeed, have some advice.
'Take the glasses, and smash them with a sledgehammer," she said. "I'll do it for you if you want." That was easy for her to say—they weren't hers. She wasn't the one who needed them. She wasn't the one who got sick when the glasses weren't around.
"They can't be destroyed," said Kevin.
"How do you know? Have you tried?"
"What if we try to destroy them and they destroy us instead, in defense?"
"You're talking like the thing is alive—it's just a pair of glasses."
Kevin didn't answer her, and his silence made Teri shudder. "Then we'll bury them," said Teri, "where no one will ever find them. You, me, and Josh together—okay?"
Kevin squirmed his way out of answering her. If she had made this suggestion the night before, when he was weak and vulnerable, he would have gone out with her in the middle of the night in his pajamas, and buried them halfway to China. But that was then. Now Kevin had a better idea, one that he was certain would work just fine, although he wasn't about to tell anyone. He would keep wearing the glasses, but learn to shut up.
Kevin was reminded of a diabetic kid he knew. The kid went to class, played sports, had fun—was normal in every way. The only thing was, he had to have a shot of insulin every day, for the rest of his life.
That's how it would be with Kevin and the glasses.
What's the big deal? Kevin told himself. He had worn glasses every day for as long as he could remember. So now the rest of him needed glasses as much as his eyes did—what was the difference, really? He could grow used to keeping the glasses on and keeping his mouth shut, the way the
Jennifeer Denys Michelle Roth Bella Settarra Tina Donahue