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Tales from a not so tale.., p.5
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       Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star, p.5

           Rachel Renée Russell
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  The girl is DESPERATE!!

  Anyway, I just turned around and walked right out of the room before they even saw me.

  If Brandon wants MacKenzie, he can have her!!!


  My life is so MESSED UP!

  All day I’ve been feeling SUPERdepressed and guilty.

  I finally made the decision to come clean to my parents and tell them EVERYTHING!!

  So what if I get grounded until my twenty-first birthday?

  I was like, “Um, Mom and Dad, can I talk to you guys? It’s really important!”

  Mom was like, “Sure, honey. But can it wait a little bit? It’s such a beautiful, clear night outside that your dad and I decided we’d all have a little Family Sharing Time.”

  I was like, OH, CRUD!! It was really BAD timing for Family Sharing Time ☹!!

  Then Dad just about knocked me over rushing out the back door with a big can of lighter fluid and a box of matches.

  Is it me, or do most fathers seem to have latent pyromaniac tendencies?

  They get really happy and excited whenever they grill food, light the fireplace, make a campfire, burn leaves, or do anything that involves fire….



  What’s up with THAT?!

  Well, tonight Dad decided to build a campfire in the backyard so we could roast marshmallows. And Mom brought out a big plate of Hershey bars and a box of graham crackers so we could make yummy S’MORES.

  I have to admit, I was actually looking forward to snarfing down that hot, gooey, chocolaty treat.

  Sounds like a fun, family-friendly activity. Right?! It was.

  Until Dad got a little carried away and burned his marshmallows to a crisp.

  When they caught on fire, he totally panicked.

  It looked like he was holding one of those flaming shish kebab thingies you see in fancy restaurants.

  He was frantically whipping the stick around in circles trying to put out the fire.

  The next thing we knew, those marshmallows were flying right off the end of his stick and practically going into orbit.

  OMG! Dad’s marshmallows lit up the night sky like a meteor shower or something. Actually, it looked kind of cool!


  But somehow, in all the commotion, one of the flaming marshmallows landed on the front of his pant leg and stuck there. Of course Brianna totally lost it and started screaming her head off!

  Thinking fast, Mom grabbed the bucket of water Dad had placed nearby and quickly doused the front of his pants just as it caught on fire. Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt or anything.

  But then our very nosy neighbor lady, Mrs. Wallabanger, came running outside to see what was going on.

  Dad tried his best to explain to her that while he was out in the backyard roasting marshmallows, he’d had an unfortunate little accident.

  Mrs. Wallabanger just stared at him with this really disgusted look on her face.

  She gave Dad a lecture about how he should be ashamed of himself and actually threatened to call the police.

  Then she stormed back into her house and slammed her door. But we could see her peeking out at us through her curtains.

  We were all superconfused about why Mrs. Wallabanger was behaving so strangely.

  Until I took a closer look at Dad and realized it actually looked like he had, um … wet his pants.

  Which also pretty much explained why Mrs. Wallabanger had TOTALLY FREAKED when Dad told her he’d had an “unfortunate little accident” in the backyard.

  We finally decided to call it a night, and Dad put out our campfire by shoveling dirt on it.

  Since Dad’s pants were wet, dirty, marshmallow-covered, and slightly charred from the night’s activities, Mom insisted that he take them off in the garage and throw them in the trash so he wouldn’t make a mess in the house.

  Then she rushed upstairs to get him a clean pair to put on.

  Well, Mrs. Wallabanger must have STILL been pretty upset, because when Mom got back to the garage to give Dad his pants, we heard this loud commotion out in our driveway.

  From what I could tell, Dad was having a really heated argument with someone.

  It sounded like a lady was trying to convince him she was there to help him. But Dad kept insisting in a really loud voice that he didn’t WANT or NEED any of her HELP.

  That’s when the lady said, “Actually, sir, I think you need to let me HELP you FIND YOUR PANTS!”

  OMG! I was shocked to see that police officer! But I had to admit, she had a really good point about the pants issue.

  Then Dad got an attitude about the whole thing and told the police lady that he didn’t appreciate her making a joke at his expense.

  But the police lady told Dad that he needed to calm down and have a seat in the back of her squad car so they could go for a little ride down to the station.

  I thought for sure Dad was going to get arrested or something.

  Thank goodness Mom rushed outside and explained everything about that flaming marshmallow, the bucket of water, and Dad’s no-pants situation.

  And after the nice officer lady was convinced Dad WASN’T wandering around the neighborhood peeping in neighbors’ windows, she apologized to him and left.

  In spite of the fact that the evening was a total disaster, Mom still insisted that we take a picture to put in her Family Sharing Time scrapbook.

  So we all posed in the kitchen holding a graham cracker with fake smiles plastered on our faces, just to make her happy.


  This was the WORST Family Sharing Time ever!

  Since we were all pretty traumatized from the marshmallow roast and Dad was still FURIOUS at that cop, I decided it was a VERY bad time to bring up the whole tuition bill issue.

  Maybe I’ll tell them tomorrow. Or I could always run away and join the circus…. ☹!!


  I was awake most of the night, tossing and turning and trying to figure out what to do about all my problems.

  When I first started at WCD, I never thought in a million years I’d ever actually want to stay at this school.

  But over the last couple months I guess the place has just sort of grown on me or something.

  Chloe, Zoey, and I have become really good friends. I actually WON the avant-garde art competition. And then Brandon asked me to the Halloween dance. Although, thanks to MacKenzie, things aren’t as good as they once were ☹.

  All I really need to do is figure out how to fix it all.

  At this point I basically have TWO choices:

  1. Just give up and transfer to a new school…. Which means I’ll ALSO have to go through the TORTURE of being the NEW KID all over again ☹!

  2. Rob a bank and pay my tuition with the cash. Which, unfortunately, could be the first step in my new life as a ruthless felon.


  Instead of spending four years in high school and four years at a major university, I’ll spend eight years in prison for robbery.

  And when I get married and have a baby, my poor daughter will take after ME and become a juvenile delinquent while she’s still in diapers.


  And then while I’m rotting in prison (and having superfun mani/pedi cell-block parties with those celebs), I’ll realize what a horrible mess I’ve made of my life and totally regret that I DIDN’T give my dad that telephone message from Principal Winston!

  Anyway, the ONLY choice I really have is to try to get a scholarship by winning that talent show.

  Unfortunately, I’m just an okay singer. But if I was in a band with supertalented musicians, I might have a chance.

  So on Monday I’m going to put up posters around the school and then hold au
ditions for a band. If I’m lucky, maybe there are a few really talented kids who HAVEN’T signed up for the show yet. Um … actually, BOTH of us wanna be in your band!


  I arrived at school an hour early today to put up audition posters for my band.

  I also got permission from the office to use the band room after school tomorrow.

  I know this is last-minute. But all I really need is for three or four people to show up.

  Although it was still fairly early in the morning, at least a half dozen groups were already practicing in various locations throughout the school.

  The CCPs in the cafeteria were blasting their music so loudly I could barely hear myself think.

  I peeked in and saw Chloe and Zoey dancing and flirting with Jason and Ryan. My BFFs looked SO happy.

  There was no doubt in my mind that they’d enjoy dancing with Jason and Ryan more than being in my ragtag band.

  I planned to tell them in the library today that I’d changed my mind about being in the talent show. I was sure they’d understand.


  As soon as I got done with my posters, I rushed to class early to try to finish up some homework that I hadn’t been able to complete over the weekend.

  I can’t believe how much homework they give you in middle school. There’s just NO WAY you can get all of it done.

  The last thing I needed was an incomplete, so I decided to come up with a really good excuse so my teacher would give me extra time to finish my assignment.

  For some reason, teachers tend to believe stories that are really supercreative, no matter how crazy or far-fetched.

  That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea for a handy-dandy manual called:


  I don’t think there’s anything like this on the market.

  So I decided to write down all the best excuses I’ve used over the years and place them in a simple form.

  And once I’ve collected enough of them, I plan to publish them as a book that could possibly become an overnight bestseller for students around the world:

  Hey! Maybe I can use the money from this book to pay my tuition ☺!

  So, today in biology, Brandon was staring at me.

  It wasn’t like I was staring at HIM the entire hour or anything. I’m just very observant and happened to notice it.

  I almost fell out of my chair when he leaned over and whispered, “Are you okay, Nikki? You look kind of down today.”

  But since talking to him would make me feel even MORE heartbroken than I already was, I just nodded and kept right on working on our human brain assignment.

  Unlike MacKenzie! That girl would NOT shut up the entire hour!


  She babbled nonstop to Brandon about her new lip gloss flavors and Mac’s Maniacs, all while making goo-goo eyes at him.

  While observing MacKenzie’s behavior, I prepared a lab report supporting my new hypothesis on intelligence and nutrition:

  It IS actually humanly possible to have the IQ of a toaster pastry and still function in society!

  Anyway, after class was over, Brandon didn’t try to talk to me again or anything.

  He just looked at me, shrugged, and walked away with this perplexed look on his face.

  It’s almost like he has no idea WHATSOEVER why I’m acting the way I am.

  Which is ironic because HE is the reason I’m a total PSYCHO.

  How can he NOT know how I feel?!

  But … what if he DOESN’T?!

  What if he thinks I’m just being mean for no reason?

  When I actually like him! A LOT!!

  I think!

  WHY am I so CONFUSED?!



  Today was the BIG DAY! AUDITIONS!!

  Although I felt superexcited, deep down I was really worried.

  If I don’t win the talent competition and snag a scholarship, I won’t have any choice but to transfer to a new school.

  Just thinking about it makes me break out in a cold sweat ☹!

  And as if I wasn’t already STRESSED OUT enough, MacKenzie kept staring at me and giving me the evil eye the entire time I was at my locker.

  I was like, “Hey, girlfriend. You’re creeping me out. Just take a picture, why don’t cha?”

  But I just said that inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  All my classes bored me out of my skull, and the day seemed to drag on and on and on.

  When school was FINALLY over, I hurried toward the band room to get ready for the auditions.

  As I passed the cafeteria, I couldn’t help but notice MacKenzie and a few of her CCP dancers crowded around one of my audition flyers.

  Of course when she saw me, she started whispering about me and giggling like an evil little witch.

  She had a lot of nerve to be talking about me right to my face like that.

  However, since I had somewhere to be, I just ignored her and rushed right past.

  I got to the band room about ten minutes early and was relieved to see a dozen or so kids warming up on their instruments.

  I started to feel a lot better. But mostly I was hopeful that maybe my crazy plan was actually going to work.

  I could tell they were pretty good musicians just by listening to them.

  At 3:45 sharp I decided to get the show on the road.

  “Okay, I’m ready to get started now, if you guys are!” I said cheerfully. “Here’s the sign-up sheet.”

  This kinda cute guy who was drumming on the seat of a chair looked up at me and smiled. “So, you’re the one who’s using the band room today? We’ll be out of your hair in a minute. As soon as our tuba player shows up, we’ll be moving to the choir room to practice with the glee club.”

  Out of my hair?! Now I was totally confused. I was pretty sure I must have heard him wrong. “Excuse me? Aren’t you guys here for the talent show?”

  “Yeah! We’re the jazz band, and we’re doing a few numbers with the glee club.”

  I just stared at him with my mouth dangling open. “Umm, okay. I just thought that … um … you all were here for …” My voice trailed off.

  A guy rushed in and grabbed the tuba. Then everyone filed out of the room.

  My heart sank. I groaned and collapsed into a chair.

  Other than me, the room was now totally empty.

  I glanced at the clock. It was 3:55.

  Don’t panic! I thought. Maybe everyone is just late or something.

  I looked back at the clock and wondered if it had stopped working. It was moving so sloooooooowly.

  3:58. 4:00. 4:03.

  And still no one arrived.

  4:05. 4:08. 4:11.

  By 4:15 I sighed deeply and finally admitted the obvious.

  My brilliant plan was a complete and humongous


  NOT a single person had bothered to show up for my auditions ☹!

  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so alone.

  I got a huge lump in my throat and tried to fight back my tears.

  I was such a LOSER!

  Maybe transferring to another school wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

  It seemed VERY obvious that no one here actually liked me. I’d just been kidding myself to think so.

  My thoughts were interrupted by Violet, who stormed into the room and slammed the door.

  “Oh, there you are! What the HECK is going on? I told everyone they should have checked in here first! Some people are such IDIOTS!”

  You ALWAYS know exactly how Violet feels about something.

  Mainly because she’ll tell you rather loudly whether you want to hear it or not. But I kind of like that about her.

  “Well, thanks a lot for canceling your auditions at the last minute. I’ve been practicing that stupid song on the piano for hours! I guess fame eludes me yet again,” she huffe
d, scowling at me.

  I just shrugged and tried to wipe away my tears before she noticed them. “I’m really sorry….”

  Suddenly her face softened, and she looked concerned. “Hey! Are you okay?”

  “Sure. Just, um … severe … allergies. Actually, I’m fine. But did you just say ‘canceling’?!”

  “Yeah! You did it on such short notice. What happened?”

  “What do you mean, what happened?!”

  “What do YOU mean, what do I mean?!” Violet looked at me like I was crazy. “You canceled it! Right? Okay, come look at this.”

  I followed Violet down the hall, and we stopped at the exact spot I’d seen MacKenzie and her friends almost an hour earlier.

  Violet pointed at my flyer. “SEE? It says ‘CANCELED’!”

  Sure enough, scrawled across my audition flyer in black marker was the word “CANCELED!!”

  I could NOT believe my eyes!

  I rushed farther down the hall, to the flyer I’d posted over the drinking fountain.

  It said “CANCELED!!”

  I checked the flyer on the wall near my locker.


  I went around the entire school ripping my “CANCELED!!” flyers off the walls.

  Then I threw them all in the trash.

  No wonder no one had bothered to show up for my auditions.

  And I knew just who was behind it all.


  I could feel the tears coming again. Only this time they were tears of anger.

  Since it was almost time for my mom to pick me up, I decided to take a shortcut through the cafeteria to get to my locker.

  My mind was racing. I still had that tuition bill and no way of paying it.

  What was I going to do now? Tell my parents? It looked like that was the ONLY answer.

  As I entered the cafeteria, I suddenly heard music and familiar laughter.

  I froze and gasped.


  I had stumbled into MacKenzie’s dance rehearsal. After what that girl had done to me, she was the LAST person I wanted to see.

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