Never Slow Dance with a Zombie - By E. Van Lowe Page 0,1

months at Salesian High made those middle school years seem like a Disney World vacation.

"I remember," said Sybil, her voice rising. "We were sitting right here, eating snickerdoodles and planning our fabulous high school careers. It was right after graduation, so we didn't even have to pretend we were studying."

She laughed out loud. Normally I would have joined her, but today there was nothing to laugh about.

13

"Read it," she said. She stopped painting midtoe, and looked at me with anticipation.

I shook my head. "What's the use? I've accomplished nothing on this list."

"Margot, that's ridiculous. I'm sure you've accomplished something. Go on, read it. If you won't, I will." She reached for the page. I yanked it away.

"All right already!" I sighed. I smoothed the wrinkles from the manifesto and read: and the entire world, hereby decree that my

My High School Manifesto

I Margot Jean Johnson, being of sound mind and in front of my best friend, Sybil Mulcahy. and the entire world, hereby decree that my high

school experience will far exceed that of junior high.

I will be popular.

I will be more popular than Amanda Culpepper.

I will be invited to parties

I will be invited to more parties than Amanda

Culpepper

I will have parties that kids will want to go to

5 a. Amanda Culpepper will not be invited

6, I will have a boyfriend.

7. I will have a boyfriend who is cuter than

Amanda Culpepper's

8, I will be Homecoming Queen.

8 a. Amanda Culpepper, eat your heart out!

9. I will be a cheerleader

10. I will have a ca

10. I will be Poem Queen.

11. Amanda Culpepper shall be done of these thing

14

"Wow," said Sybil as I finished reading. "I didn't realize how obsessed you were with Amanda Culpepper back then."

"What are you talking about? I wasn't obsessed with Amanda Culpepper. I couldn't care less about Amanda Culpepper."

She screwed the top back onto the nail polish bottle. "Not obsessed, huh?" she said, eyeing me skeptically.

"No. Of course not."

"Then how come her name is all over your manifesto?"

"I was using her as a benchmark, Syb. I could have used the name ... oh, Kirsten Dunst, to make my point."

"Riiight," she said, although I'm quite sure she didn't believe me. She changed the subject. "If it makes you feel any better, look at number one on the list. You are popular. Remember that time in gym class when we played dodgeball and all the girls, even Amanda, voted you the designated dodger? I do believe it was unanimous."

I stared at her. Was she being serious, or just trying to be nice? Sybil is the Queen of Nice. When I first met her she was standing in front of a bulldozer trying to keep it from plowing over an old tree. She clearly has a tendency to take niceness to unheard-of levels.

"Syb, being unanimously chosen as the person to throw balls at is not my idea of popularity."

"Oh? Okay, I guess I can see that." She again peered at the manifesto. "How about number three? We go to parties. My fifteenth birthday party. What a blast. We danced all night."

It was a slumber party whose exclusive guest list boasted three: me, Sybil, and her cat, Sebastian. We partied the night away to her grandmother's ancient Tom Jones recordings. Didn't she realize how utterly pathetic that sounded? She was obviously being nice. Again!

15

I read number six: "I will have a boyfriend." I shot her a look that had failure written all over it.

"I don't remember that." She took the page from my hand and read it for herself, as if that was going to change things. She looked up at me. "Okay, so no boyfriends, yet. We still have almost two years of high school left. We'll have boyfriends. And not just any boyfriends. Dirk Conrad even."

Dirk Conrad was a six-foot-two senior, with a great body and glacier-blue eyes that made every girl at school ache in her loins. Okay, so maybe nobody got a loin-ache, but you know what I mean. Dirk was hot.

"We can't both go out with Dirk Conrad, Syb."

"I know, silly. I'm using him as a benchmark."

She had to know that the Dirk Conrads of the world wouldn't be caught dead dating my type. And if you're wondering what my type is, let's just say I'm not the type to wind up on the cover of a fashion magazine. Don't get me wrong, I'm not fat. I'm just not skinny. I'm what I like to call an in-betweener.

"I appreciate the sentiment. But I don't think I'm Dirk's type."

"Why not?"

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