Club Dead

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Carrie Makes Cupcakes

One hundred thirteen students crammed into the room.

They were mad.

And they made me a cupcakes!

Vanilla with chocolate frosting and multi-colored sprinkles on top.

Carrie Unser made them and laid the box on the large desk at the front of the class. I counted twenty-four. The members shared as well as they could, some taking one bite and passing it onto another member.

“Thank you Carrie,” I said.

Carrie shrugged her shoulders and found a seat.

I did not see Brink.

“I knew that Blok was a crumb!”

“He is such a - ”

“Would he do that to the Smile Club? Would he? Would he?!”

“I think we need a chant.”

“Hold it,” Dawn said. “CJ is back!”

“Let’s cheer for CJ.”

“Please don’t,” I said. “I’ll cry.”

“You always do.”

They chanted my name.

I cried.

“Well, let’s get reacquainted. Then we’ll slam Blok some more and decide what to do.”

No one asked what happened, despite my visible bandages. Instead we talked about other forms of sweets we like.

“Ice cream!”

“Banana Cream Pie!”


“Gummy bears!”

“My dad makes killer peanut butter cookies.”

“My sister makes good coconut cookies.”

“Coconut? Yuck!”

And this went on for a while.

Then we chanted more.

“So, what next?”

“We didn’t slam Blok much.”

“Come on. What do we do?”

“We can’t let Club Dead die.”

“How about we hold it somewhere else?”

“Like a cemetery!”

“That would be awesome.”

“No! It has to be here, at school. Blissfield needs the pulse of death.”

“Blok wants to get rid of us!”

“Right now, I don’t feel especially valued at this school.”

“What’ll happen to our play?”

“This is the only place I feel good during the whole stupid week at this entire stupid school.”

“Does he know that?”

“Yes, CJ, does he know that?”

“I think he sees us as a problem that he can’t fix. You’re right Fretwell, I think he’d like to see us go away. As a problem, I mean.”

This made everyone quiet and thoughtful and worried that no one cared about them. Several kids licked their fingers of sweet frosting.

“Come on Club Deaders, let’s think.”

I adored Dawn’s persistence. I needed to absorb her vigor.

“Don’t just sit there and look dead. Think!” Dawn commanded.

“Has anybody noticed that we’re here?”

“Right. Why don’t we simply show up each week?”

“That sounds too easy.”

As on cue, an adult entered the room.

“Hello. Well, this is quite a gathering.”

Mrs. Stone stood at the threshold of the door hugging a clipboard to her chest. She wore a grey business suit. Uncle Grant would say that the outfit emanated inflexible, and possibly harmful, authority.

No one spoke. Many eyes pointed at the floor.

This was not good.

It was a rotten thing to witness how one adult could repress the energy of many young people.

Dawn wouldn’t have any of it.

“Yes, this is ’quite a gathering’. And we don’t need you.”

“Oh, it’s you Dawn. We haven’t spoken in a while. I miss our chats.”

“We never chatted. You just yapped at me.”

“Yes, well, be that as it may, and as I’d like to chat with all of you, I’m here for Fabian.”

“Her name is CJ!”

“What playful kids you are! Name changing, talking about death and eating cupcakes!”

Mrs. Stone’s upturned smile did a backflip.

“Fabian, come with me. And the rest of you, out. You have no permission to be here.”

Mrs. Stone stood away from the door to allow the 113 students pass by. I stuffed the cardboard box into the trash can. A wad of frosting hung from its edge. I fingered it and poked it into my mouth. I left the room with Mrs. Stone behind me clicking her high heels. I thought of crickets at night in the fall. I placed that thought next to the overwhelming delightful sweetness of the frosting in my mouth. I started to hum melody from a song that Frank likes.

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