Mom's pink bike. Check. Check?
Meet Sherman Mack. Short. Nerdy. Amateur P.I. and prepared to do anything for Dini Trioli.
Nobody knows who began it or when it became a tradition, but every girl at Harewood Tech fears being D-listed, a ritual that wipes her off the social map forever. When Sherman believes Dini is in danger of being D-listed, he snatches up his surveillance gear and launches a full-scale investigation to uncover who is responsible.
Could it be the captain of the lacrosse team?
The hottest girls in school, the Trophy Wives?
Or maybe their boyfriends?
One thing is for sure: Sherman Mack is on the case. And he's not giving up.
Part comedy, part mystery, and with all of Juby's trademark tongue-in-cheek humor, Getting the Girl takes on one of the cruelest aspects of high school: how easy it is for an entire school to turn on someone, and how hard it can be to be the only one willing to fight back.
On the Bleachers
I was sitting on the old blue bleachers with Dini. It was just the two of us. Alone. Together. It's not hard to find Dini Trioli alone because she's got this well-developed deep and artistic side that causes her to spend a lot of time by herself. I was waiting for her to stop chewing so I could make my move.
We had a perfect view of the Goths who smoke down at the far edge of the athletics field. I figure the Goths using the edge of the sports field as their smoking area is probably some kind of statement on how they feel about school sports. I can dig that. A lot of people feel the same way. Take me, for example. I'm always picked third from last. Second to last is Bailey Farber, who has only one and a half legs. The guy usually picked last is my friend Rick, who has ultrasensitive pain receptors, which make sports difficult for him. Or so he says.
I've also heard that if you pay close attention, which I always do, you can sometimes spot one of the Defiled wandering back and forth like a ghost at the very edge of school property.
It's my second month at Harewood Technical. Before I came here I was worried about going into ninth grade. High school in general has a reputation for suckage and I had heard that this high school takes the popularity thing to a whole new level.See, at Harewood Technical you have your usuals—jocks, Trophy Wives, scholars—but there's also this whole other class of people called the Defiled. They aren't just unpopular—they are basically invisible.
Only girls get defiled at Harewood Tech and so most of the girls from my old school, Harmack Junior High, were freaking out before school started, which I can understand.
I first remember hearing about the defilings at Harewood Tech when I was in fifth grade, although no one knows who started defiling or how long it's been going on.
When a girl gets defiled, her picture, with a D written over it, is posted on the mirrors of all the student bathrooms. It's like an official notice that she's crossed the line of no social return. At first, people say terrible things about why the girl got defiled, like that she's nasty or skanky or a slut or whatever. After a day or so of that, people start to ignore her. Not in a not-noticing way, but more in an erasing way. No one will talk to her or even look at her except the teachers, and from what I heard, even they mostly avoid the Defiled.
No one knows who decides who is going to be defiled. Some people think the Defiler is one person, other people think defiling is the work of a shadowy committee. So far, though, defiling seems like one of those things that kids in elementary school make up to freak themselves out about high school.
It was tense at first, though. I mean, most eighth graders getting ready to move to high school worry about how hard the work will be and whether they'll have any friends, but the girls in my class were nervous about getting defiled. It made me feel bad for them, which is why I offered to give them all free back rubs on the last day of eighth grade and on our first day at Harewood. None of them took me up on my generosity, but I know they appreciated the way I'm always looking out for them. I'm pretty much always looking out for the ladies. I guess you could say I'm thoughtful.
It's been over a month now and everyone seems to have relaxed. None of the girls from my old school have been defiled and neither has anyone else, so I'm free to focus on my real interest, which is getting with older ladies, which brings me back to Dini, tenth-grade goddess. I think the whole defiling thing might have been exaggerated. It just doesn't seem like that big a deal. Well, it probably is for the defiled people, but I still haven't seen one of those yet. Other than that, the school seems okay.
Dini kept nibbling on her sandwich. I could see the little green alfalfa sprouts poking out from the sides of the whole-wheat bread. She seems like a very healthy eater, which explains her skin, which is awesome, even though she's older. I was having fries and gravy from the Pirate Chips truck that parks on the street near the school. My skin probably looked like I had been stowed away on a boat for six months without proper food, water, or sun.
Maybe I shouldn't have gotten the fries. Dini didn't say anything, but I bet they grossed her out. I should have known that the combination of trans fats and meat-based gravy would be a turnoff.
I noticed Dini right away on the first day of school. Last Tuesday at lunch I took a chance and offered to buy her a hamburger. It was the first time I spoke to her. She told me she doesn't eat anything with a face. Somewhere, back in the fogs of time, the gravy slopped all over these fries must have had a face. Sure, it was the face of a gravy packet or a large mother MSG. But it was still a face. Fries are not good will-you-go-out-with-me food.
I slid the fries to the side and hoped the wind would blow the smell away from her.
"Hey, so there's probably a dance coming up sometime this year."
Dini nodded, giving me wide eyes to make up for the fact that she couldn't answer because she was chewing. She chews nicely. With her mouth closed and everything."I hate dances," I said.
Dini raised an eyebrow and swallowed her bite.