Monday, December 8, 2008

Tammy the Little Mermaid, Part Six

In my last post, I said there were six chapters left of this story. I lied -- there were actually seven (now five). Anyway, Chapter Twelve gets its own post. It might be my "favorite" chapter of all, simply for the sheer drama of it!

Also, I wanted to say thanks again for all the comments about crime-obsessed Brett, shouty Mr. DiBiaz, and of course the most wonderful person in the world herself, Tammy. I enjoy reading them. Oh, and if you're on Facebook, you can now join the "network" for this blog (see widget on the right).

Now let's get back to those crazy orphans (that's foreshadowing, by the way).

Chapter Twelve

On Friday morning, Beth woke up and thought to herself excitedly, This is the big day! I get to embarrass Tammy today! She had practically rehearsed what she was going to say to Brett. She just hoped it would work out okay.
(It's been pointed out before, but Beth really needs to go see Brett's counselor mom.)

"I just thought of something!" she cried anxiously while they were getting dressed. (they who?)

"What?" Wendy asked.

"How are we ever going to draw her away from Brett? We can't tell him that lie in front of her! She'll deny it!"

"Oh, yeah," Wendy said stupidly.

"Get her in trouble," suggested Brenda.

"Good idea! You know how Mr. DiBiaz said that if she yelled again, she'd be back in time-out? Well, I'll just get her to yell. It'll be easy! Someone wake Jinnie up. I'm gonna go eat breakfast. I want to get this school day over with as quickly as possible!"

Sixth period was the perfect opportunity to get Tammy in trouble. Beth sat right in front of her, and Mr. DiBiaz was the teacher.

"Hello, Tammy," Beth said with a funny little smile, turning around.

"Hi, Beth. Want some advice on guys or something?"

"Nah ... I don't think so," Beth replied casually. "Hey, where'd you get that necklace?"

"This?" Tammy fingered the little silver teddy bear dangling from a chain around her neck. "From Brett. Guys give you things sometimes when you're going out. Of course, you wouldn't know that."

(Um, when did Brett have time to give her a necklace? Wasn't he already having second thoughts about her like four days after they started "going out"?)

"Of course," Beth agreed. "Can I see?"

"My necklace? No!"

"Please," Beth begged. "I think the bear's kinda cute."

"Well..." Tammy considered. "Okay. But if you steal it..."

"I won't steal it," Beth promised. Tammy gingerly held out the necklace, and Beth took it. The necklace was cute, and she didn't want to do what she was about to do -- she hated ruining other people's things, even people like Tammy. But Beth had to. (Okay, that makes it all better then.) She pulled on the little charm until it popped off of the necklace.

"Oops," Beth said sheepishly.

"Oops what?" Tammy replied, looking up from her paper. "What did you do to my necklace?"

Beth held up the charmless chain. "Heh, heh," she chuckled.

"Oh, my..." Tammy rolled her eyes. "I should have known. Where's the charm?"

"I don't know," Beth said honestly.

(Calm down, Tammy, it can't have gone that far. It's probably right there by your shoe. And what are you going to do, glue it back on?)

"Who's screaming in class?" Mr. DiBiaz demanded. "We're trying to do math! Tammy?"

Yes! Beth thought happily.

"Mr. DiBiaz, she ruined the necklace Brett gave me."

"It ... it was an accident," Beth stammered. Her lower lip was trembling. "I'll pay for it..."

"It's okay, Beth," Mr. DiBiaz said softly. "Tammy, she said it was an accident! Why did you have to interrupt us?"

"Because Brett gave it to me. It's important. Now he'll think I don't even care about him!"

Mr. DiBiaz rolled his eyes. "For Pete's sake, you're eleven years old. You'll have broken up by next week."

(Gasp, what a cold, unfeeling orphanage leader! He just doesn't understand true luv.)

"No we won't!" Tammy cried.

"Don't yell. Now, Beth offered to pay for the necklace, and I don't think she should have to. It was an accident. Accidents happen. I'll pay for the necklace."

"But that's ... not ... FAIR! SHE BROKE IT!!!"

"Tammy," Mr. DiBiaz said warningly.

"If I'd broken one of her things, you'd make me pay for it," Tammy muttered.

"Tammy, that is enough! You know I do not favor any orphans! I've just about had it with you. You interrupt us, you constantly shout. I think this calls for another trip to time-out."

"Oh, sure," Tammy said sarcastically. "You don't favor anyone. That's why when someone ruins someone else's thing, the person who ruined it gets nothing, and the other one goes to time-out. That's really treating us equally."

"Get to time-out ... RIGHT NOW!" Mr. DiBiaz boomed.

"Fine. I don't care. But what about practice? Have you forgotten that I'm the star of your play?"

"You can miss practice today! You are going to spend the rest of the night in time-out! (Will she have to sleep there?) Go there! NOW!"

"Okay," Tammy said simply, walking off.

Perfect! Beth felt like screaming. Her plan was turning out perfectly!

At three-thirty, Brett quickly walked into the auditorium and looked around for Tammy. He didn't see her, but he saw Beth heading toward him. Oh, good, Brett thought, pleased. Maybe she knows where Tammy is.

"Hi," Beth greeted Brett. "Um ... can I talk to you for a minute? In private?"

"Sure," Brett replied, studying Beth's face. She looked dead serious. "Does this have anything to do with Tammy?" Brett asked.

"I'm afraid so," Beth sighed. "Can we go up to one of the rooms? My room, or something?"

"I guess," Brett replied uncertainly. What was going on here?

"Don't worry," Beth reassured him as they were walking up the stairs. "It's serious, but not that serious. It just needs to be private."

"Oh." Brett breathed a sigh of relief. "I thought she -- Tammy -- committed a crime or something." Beth didn't laugh, and Brett grew more confused than ever. Was Tammy a criminal after all?

(Now I'm wondering if Brett's criminal obsession has something to do with his "shot" dad, even though I'm SURE I didn't bother to give it that much thought back when I actually wrote this.)

"You can sit on Brenda's bed," Beth said when they entered the room, after sitting down on her own bed. "She won't mind. Oh, can you shut the door?"

"Sure." Brett pushed the door closed and sat down. "So, what's this all about?"

"Well ... okay. You're going out with Tammy, right?"

"Right," Brett replied.

Beth sighed, and shook her head. "Then I have to warn you about this. You don't know about ... about Tammy's past, do you?"

"Her past? Not really. All I know is that her parents died a few months ago. Why?"

"She didn't tell you the whole story, huh? Well, there's a lot more to it than that."

"Did she committ a crime?" Brett demanded.

"Well, no. But she might. That's why I'm talking to you. You know who Stella is, right?"

"Yup," Brett said slowly. "She's the quiet one with the long blonde hair who's with you a lot."

"That's Stella," Beth agreed. "But she's not usually quiet. It all has to do with Tammy. See, Tammy came here from the streets. Her parents really died about two years ago. Mr. DiBiaz found her eating out of that dumpster out back." (OMG! Ew!)

"Yuck," Brett shuddered.

"We all thought that at first. We felt really sorry for her. Can you imagine being homeless -- a homeless girl -- at that age? I sure couldn't. But we didn't know that ... well, I'm sure Tammy was perfectly normal before her parents died. But living on the streets turned her sort of ... crazy."

"Crazy?" Brett repeated skeptically. "She doesn't act crazy."

"Well, I guess she's not crazy, exactly, but you know how people have those weird mental illnesses?" (I bet you know, Beth. And your sensitivity astounds me.)

Brett nodded.

"Tammy has one. Hers makes her a little ... strange. To some people, she'll act really nice. Then all of a sudden, she'll get moody and shout a lot. Have you noticed how often she does that? It's happened more lately because she refuses to take her pills."

"I have noticed," Bret admitted.

Beth nodded knowingly. "I try to be nice to her, and she just blows up at me. Especially around you. Some people, she takes a strong liking to, and others, she decides to especially hate. It's not that we hate her, it's just that she hates us. Well, anyway, Stella was nicest to her, so Stella was the one she decided to hate the most. And when Stella..." Beth dropped her head as if the memory were too horrible to repeat.

"When Stella what?" Brett pressed.

"Oh, sorry. Stella ... Stella used to have a crush on you. She still does, I think. She was telling Tammy about it, and Tammy just ... I don't know, she just decided to go after you. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Tammy doesn't really like you at all."

"What are you talking about?" Brett said impatiently.

"I'm sorry," Beth replied. "But it's true. If she liked you, she would've gone after you the first day. (Yes, because she had so much time to, with auditions going until after 5.) On that Tuesday, she found out Stella liked you, so she decided to go after you the next day. Didn't you notice how she was coming on to you so strong?"

"Yeah," Brett muttered. He didn't want to admit it, but the pieces were starting to fit together.

"Tammy's never had a boyfriend," Beth continued. "But she likes to go after other people's. She really can't stand Stella."

"But what does all of this have to do with crime?"

"That's the part I'm getting to. Tammy told Stella that if she even said so much as one word to you ... she'd murder her." (dramatic organ chord here)

"Murder?" Brett snickered. "Sorry, but..."

"You don't believe me?" Beth interrupted. "Brett, there are child murderers out there. Someone who's lived on the streets doesn't care about that kind of stuff. And lately ... lately Tammy has been harrassing Stella. Writing her 'I'm going to get you' notes and stuff. Stella gave the notes to me and I've got them right in my drawer if you don't believe me. I've also got something that I probably shouldn't have taken, but I'm really worried about Stella ... Tammy's diary."

"Her diary? May I see it, please?"

"You sure can." Beth opened her top drawer and pulled out the diary and notes. The diary really was Tammy's; she didn't write in it much, so she hadn't missed it when Christina took it from her drawer. Beth had "added" three other entries. Beth hoped they would fool Brett. She had spent practically all night forging those things!

Brett flipped it open to the first page. "This doesn't say anything about murder. She's talking about how wonderful she is."

"That's from a long time ago," Beth replied. "Go to March 12th. It all starts there."

"Okay." Brett found a page with March 12th written on top. He began to read.

Well, the diary said, today I did it. I got my guy! Brett has definitely fallen for me. Poor sucker! Little does he know what I'm really doing. That stupid Stella is jealous. I can just tell. She believed my murder story. She should believe it. It's true! My parents were killed. My parents were wonderful people. Stella is still alive and breathing. Stella is a witch. If my parents must die, Stella must also die. And if she so much as says one word to that moron Brett, then she WILL die.

(Ha! How soap opera-ish can you get, Beth Tammy?)

Brett set the book down. "I don't believe it," he murmured. The trouble was, before, he didn't want to believe it. But the evidence was right there in the diary. Brett had seen Tammy's handwriting a million times, and it was the same writing. She really was crazy.

"There's more," Beth said solemnly. "Go on."

"I don't really want to..."

"You want to," Beth corrected firmly. "Go on."

Brett shrugged. "Okay." The next diary entry was a little longer. It said:

Yesterday I went over to Brett's house. I asked him out, and you know what? The stupid idiot said yes! He actually thinks I like him. What a dummy.
Something bad happened, too, though. I overheard Stella talking about Brett. She really likes him. I can tell. And I can't have that. I saw some detergent in the laundry room. I can slip some in one of her drinks. I know I can. The problem is... when? It has to be soon. I want to get her out of my life forever.

"She's a maniac!" Brett cried before he read any further. "She's going to put detergent in Stella's drink. I can't believe I was dumb enough to actually fall for her!"

(I can't believe you're dumb enough to fall for those diary entries!)

"It's not your fault," Beth said. "Crazy people are like that. But you see why I'm worried?"

"Yeah." Brett looked at Beth sheepishly. "At first I thought you were maybe the one that was nuts. But now..." Brett shook his head. "I can't believe I thought she actually liked me."

"It's okay..." Beth began.

"No, it's not okay. If she were just crazy, then maybe I could, like, get her help or something. But she doesn't even like me! She's using me."

Beth nodded. "Are you ... are you going to do anything about it?"

"Of course I am! I'm breaking up with her! Today ... right now."

"Oh, you can't right now. She's in time-out. But you can do it tomorrow, like over the phone or something."

"Time-out? What'd she do?"

"Oh, you know how crazy people are. She just started yelling a lot."

"Figures. We'd better go downstairs now. Thanks for telling me this. I could've still been going out with a maniac."

"Well..." Beth paused. "I just hope Stella will be okay. And I don't want anything to happen to you, either."

"Thanks," Brett repeated. "Don't worry. Whenever I get the chance, I'm going to dump her. I hope she'll leave Stella alone, too."

"I hope so. Well, bye."

"Bye," Brett replied. He started to leave, then turned around. "You know, she was saying you were the bad one. But you're not half as bad as she is."

(There's a backhanded compliment if I've ever heard one. Also what's with the goodbyes? Aren't they going to see each other at practice in a minute?)

"Thanks," Beth smiled. Brett left, and Beth shut her door. She felt like screaming out loud with joy. It had worked!

On Saturday, Tammy practically ran to the get-together room after breakfast. She dialed Brett's number. Brandon answered.

"Hi, Brandon," Tammy said. "Is Brett there?"

"Yeah," Brandon replied. "I'll go get 'im." Tammy heard the phone drop and some muffled voices in the background. Then Brandon came on the phone.

"Um, Tammy?" he said uncertainly.

"I'm still here," Tammy told him.

"Okay. Well ... well, Brett's not here after all. Um, he .. he has school."

"It's Saturday," Tammy said bluntly.

"It is? Oh, yeah. Brett has ... Saturday school."

"What'd he do?"

"He..." Brandon paused. "He didn't do his homework yesterday."

"Oh, okay. Whatever. Thanks, Brandon." Tammy hung up the phone. Obviously, Brandon was lying. Even Tammy knew that you didn't get Saturday school just for not doing your homework for one day, and Tammy didn't even go to regular school. Brett didn't want to speak to her. But why?

Tammy tried calling Brett three more times that day. The first two times, he was still at "Saturday school", and the third time, he had all of a sudden gone to his grandmother's house for the weekend. Tammy specifically remembered Brett telling her that one of his grandmothers was dead, and the other one lived in Paris. Why were the Jamisons lying to her like this?

"Oh, well," Tammy muttered to herself after the grandmother lie. "I might as well stop calling."

But the orphans were all acting so weird. Everywhere Tammy went, they gave her funny looks. Some of them snickered, some of them looked sympathetic. Tammy had a terrible feeling that something was going on ... something she should know about. (Poor clueless Tammy...)

On Sunday evening, while she was lying in bed, Tammy decided to invite Brett over to the orphanage for dinner. She was sure Mr. DiBiaz wouldn't mind, and if he said yes, she would know for sure that nothing was wrong.

So on Monday (a little less than two weeks before the play) Tammy headed for practice in a good mood. She was sure Brett would say yes.

He was in a corner of the stage, talking to Kevin Sumner and Scott Lunsford. He frowned when he saw who was coming, but Tammy didn't notice.

"Hi!" she said brightly. "Um ... I tried to call you over the weekend, but you were at your grandmother's."

Brett didn't say anything. He just looked at Kevin and Scott and the three of them laughed.

Tammy took a deep breath, suddenly uncomfortable. "Brett..." she began. But just as she was about to go on, she realized that the dinner idea was totally stupid. Who'd want to eat dinner with a bunch of orphans?

"What do you want?" Brett snapped impatiently.

"Well ... I was just wondering if maybe you'd want to come have dinner with us sometime. I know we don't have the best food here, but..."

"No," Brett interrupted boredly. "I'm busy."

Tammy gave him a strange look. "You don't even know what date I'm talking about."

"So?" Brett shrugged. Then he sighed. "Look, Tammy, I don't even want to see you anymore. So will you please just go away?"

"Why? Did I do something to make you mad?"

Brett sighed again. "I'm getting sick of your stupid innocent act. I know the truth about you. I know why everyone hates you. They're not jealous of you. You're a maniac!" (Some of the orphans and boys snickered.)

"Brett, what in the world are you talking about?" Tammy demanded. "Where did you get that idea?"

Brett was beginning to get angry. "You really think I'm stupid, don't you? Well, as a matter of fact, I read it in your diary."

"What were you doing with my diary ... which, by the way, I haven't written in for about three months?"

"Beth gave it to me! You lied about her, too, Tammy. You're nothing but a dirty, crazy liar." ("dirty?")

"Brett, I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about," Tammy murmured, looking around at all the nosy faces watching her. "But can you please quiet down? Everyone's staring at us."


"Quiet," Tammy hissed. "And what 'truth'?"

"YOU KNOW WHAT TRUTH! I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE, USING ME LIKE THAT!" Now Brett was standing up. His face was bright red, he was so angry. (uh-oh!)


"You do?" Tammy asked incredulously. "Why? I mean, I know I'm not as wonderful as I ... as I say I am, but I'm sorry if I did something. I thought you liked me."

"I THOUGHT so, too, Tammy! That's before I learned the truth! Now, I hate your guts. Literally. You are the lowest of the low. I can't believe you're actually thinking of murdering that poor girl."

"Murder?! I'm not going to kill anyone!"

Brett gave a short, sarcastic laugh. "You may be a liar, but I doubt you'd lie to your own diary. You're sick, Tammy. There's one more thing I want you to know. There will be NO dinners. Nothing like that. Because we're NOT going out anymore. Hear that? I'M DUMPING YOU!" (Brett and practically everyone else laughed, except for Mr. DiBiaz, who was off to the side in a conference room, lost in his own world.)

"Brett, why are you doing this?" Tammy asked quietly. "What about everything we have in common? We can't just break up."

"Yes, we can. And we don't have anything in common, Tammy. I'm not a maniac. Goodbye." With that, Brett stood up and disappeared backstage somewhere.

Tammy was speechless. She couldn't do anything but watch Brett leave. There was a huge lump forming in her throat, but she couldn't cry. She couldn't even say anything to the stupid orphans still snickering around her.

"Are we all ready to start?" boomed Mr. DiBiaz, strolling out into the auditorium.

Nobody answered. They were too busy watching Tammy.

"Is our Ariel all ready?" Mr. DiBiaz cried in that annoying loud voice.

"Mr. DiBiaz..." Tammy began. She couldn't finish, though. Those words kept repeating over and over in a mixed jumble in her head: 'You are the lowest of the low.' 'I hate you.' 'I'm dumping you.' 'Goodbye.' Brett had dumped her. The one person in the world who cared about her had dumped her, just like everyone else. Tammy would never be able to face him again.

"Mr. DiBiaz, I quit," Tammy muttered. Then she hurried out of the auditorium before the tears would spill over.
Well! Coming up next: emo Tammy, a talk with one of the "nerds", and a shout-out to Josephine Richter.


Cory said...

Beth is seriously disturbed. Those forged diary entries, while not real, are frightening. What eleven year old comes up with that crap? Also, I love how the first real entry in Tammy's diary was about how great she is, and how Brett doesn't want to get Tammy help for her "craziness" because she used him. Apparently people with mental disorders don't deserve proper treatment if they've pissed someone off.

Recap That! said...

"Oh, you know how crazy people are." That's my favourite line. In anything, ever. Obviously Beth does.

NoseInANovel said...

"Who'd want to eat dinner with a bunch of orphans?"

Not me, let me tell you.


Anonymous said...

Brett, you shouldn't go making a criminal MAD AT YOU

I love how he LAUGHS as he dumps Tammy, too. Some loss...

Beth is creepy to forge diary entries. If Tammy were real she probably would not want to keep that diary after all of that...

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

"You're eleven years old. You'll have broken up by next week."

DiBias FTW! :) I had to scroll back to the first chapter because (a) after all that drama I *needed* to find out how it all began and (b) I couldn't quite figure out the title. And yeah, tis I from various lj comms :D

Sada said...

Now, I hate your guts. Literally.

Brett really can't stand Tammy's intenstines?

I also like how eating out of a dumpster means you're one step away from murderin'.

Oh man, this story is amazing.