Requested by BloodRoseRed.
A/N: After Jasmine’s faced with that sadistic choice given by Vernon, Bender manages to break her out. Can they get the rest of the Club together and figure out a way to defeat Vernon once and for all?
I’m sitting in the classroom by myself when John came in and now I’m staring at him in open-mouthed surprise! I demanded to know what the hell John was doing here and he glanced over his shoulder into the hallway. John said that I’m coming with him because, it’s like he said, we’ve got work to do. Then he told me to consider it a secret mission! John took a desk and stood on top of it. I asked him what it was a secret mission for as he removed one of the ceiling tiles. He told me that he’s rallying the troops so we can figure out how to get back at that pain-in-the-*** Vernon! I asked John if we couldn’t take the hallway and he climbed into the ceiling. John said that it was too much risk, and then explained that Vernon almost caught him coming here. I teased John by saying that, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that he was looking for an excuse to see me. John tried to hide the grin on his face but he couldn’t help but smile. Then he said that he couldn’t have me tagging along if I’m going to throw him off his game. I told John that, if anything, I’m the only one to keep him on his game. He looked over his shoulder at me, still seated. Then John asked if I was coming with or if I was going to stay in this snoozefest by myself?
I tapped my pencil on my desk, considering my options. Then I realized that I didn’t have any. I asked John if he really had a plan. He gave me a mock-offended look and asked me if I’m really suggesting that he’d lie and make something up. Then he insisted that of course he had a plan, admitting that he doesn’t have all the… you know… steps. I mockingly accused John of making this up as he goes and then said that I was in and sprang from my desk. John joked that, for a minute, he thought that I’d turned wimp on him and said that it’s possible Vernon may stop in looking for me while I’m gone. I said that Vernon’s not going to be happy to see an empty classroom. John suggested that we leave Vernon a gift and then we motor. I suggested that I could leave a blackboard message, grabbing some chalk and writing out a message to Vernon. When I was done, I stepped back and read it aloud. “Dear Vernon — Went for a quick break. Will return soon. — Jasmine.” John applauded me, saying that it was truly a work of art. I took a bow and thanked him. John told me to come over and he’ll hoist me up. I asked John if he was sure that this was a good idea. He admitted that he wasn’t, but that’s what makes it fun; it was also the best way we could sneak around undetected. I grabbed John’s hand and he pulled me into the ceiling.
John led me as we both shimmied through the crawlspace. John said that it reminded him, he never got to finish his joke. I gave a heavy sigh but John ignored it. He told me that a naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm and a two-foot salami under the other.
Then he said that the blonde lays the poodle on the table and then the bartender says, “I suppose you won’t be needing a drink.” John finished by saying the naked lady says. I finished for him by saying the naked lady says “Between me, this poodle, and salami… we have all the moonshine and hard stuff we need.” John said that it wasn’t a bad try, but no. I asked John what she said and he admitted that he forgot. John told me that his old man taught him that joke and it was pretty much the only thing he’s good for. I continued crawling behind John but I could tell from his sudden silence that he’s thinking about his dad. I said that I was sorry about that. John claimed that it wasn’t my problem and his dad will be dead one of these days, but it’s not easy talking about him. I assured John that he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to. John said that it was cool, saying that his dad’s a tough son-of-a-bitch to deal with. John admitted that, sometimes, he has trouble sleeping. I asked John if he was okay. He told me not to repeat any of that to anyone. I said that he’s not the only one who feels that way about their parents. Then I suggested that maybe it would help if he talked to people more. John insisted that it was never going to happen. I said that I can’t say I didn’t try. After a bit of silence, I offered John my home. That, whenever he feels scared at his place, he can come to my room. John was silent for a bit, looking at me like I was a God send. Then he got his tough demeanor back and insisted that he’ll be okay.
Then I asked John how much further it was to the next room. He said that we were almost there and that this would go way faster on foot, but beggars can’t be choosers. John told me that he thinks that we’re over the darkroom for the newspaper. I pointed out that Donna’s probably in there. I thought for a moment and suggested that maybe Donna can help us take down Vernon. John quickly rejected that, so I asked if he had a beef with her. John said that he wouldn’t trust that girl any farther than he can throw her because reporters will do anything for a story. John suggested that we just get the rest of the group. I told John that Donna wouldn’t say anything and I think we should give her a shot, prove herself. John asked me when I started caring about Donna being in the group. I joked that someone sounds jealous. John insisted that he’s not jealous, Donna’s just not one of us. I pointed out that Donna probably hates Vernon just as much as we do. John said that he’s not convinced. I asked John what we had to lose by adding someone to the group. John gave an annoyed sigh and then paused as he gathered his thoughts. I crawled up right next to him. John said that I’m annoying and asked if I knew that. I told John that I’d take it as Bender-speak for yes. John said that we should go get Donna before he changes his mind.
Just then, John motioned to lift up the ceiling tile and we both cried out as we landed in the darkroom right next to a small container of developer solution. In the dim light, I could barely make anything out but I could definitely see Donna, who jumped back terrified. John and I got up, holding our backs in pain. Donna asked what we were doing here and I explained that we wanted her to join us on our top secret mission. John corrected me by saying that only I wanted Donna to join us on our top secret mission. Donna asked John why he’s always such an ass. John said that he told me this was a bad idea and suggested that we ditch the snitch. John’s words, not mine. Donna said that he heard about what happened to Becky and the pregnancy test. John asked Donna what made her think that was him. Donna retaliated by asking John who else would pull a prank like that. Then she told John that he embarrassed Becky in front of the entire school. John said that she had it coming. Donna asked if she could get that on record! Like **** she’s getting that on record! I told Donna to take it easy and that nobody’s perfect! Donna asked how I could stick up for John when he’s proven time and time again who he is! John locked eyes with Donna and said that she doesn’t get to talk about him like he’s not here! I told Donna that, regardless of John’s reputation, he’s a good person! Plus, John didn’t act alone, it was both our idea. Donna looked at me, shocked. She asked me why I would do something like that. I said that Becky was going to spread a nasty rumor about Claire so John and I thought we’d ruin her credibility. John added that we also wanted to give the school something else to talk about. I told Donna that it was like I said, nobody’s perfect. Donna finally left Bender alone and asked if one of us was going to tell her what this “top secret mission” is about or does she have to do some investigative journalism. I told Donna that Vernon separated all of us for detention today. John remarked that Vernon’s acting like a bigger ***hat than usual. I explained to Donna that we’re gathering up everyone to get back at him. Donna asked why we needed her. I told her that I thought she would make a great addition to the team. Donna said that I’ve come to the right place. Then explained that she happens to have some rather compromising info on Vernon! John remarked that it was info Donna just “happened to have.” I shot John a dirty look and then turned back to Donna. I asked Donna what kind of info she had and she said that it was the kind you don’t want to get out. Donna explained that she had memos that prove Vernon’s been poking through students’ classified files in order to single them out and harass them!
John called BS, but I believe Donna. Problem is I remember what John said about the lazy principal and there’s no way we can get Vernon in trouble unless we have proof to back it up. I told John that he’s right, some proof would be nice. John said that he was glad that I see things his way. I told John that I haven’t forgotten our conversation in the classroom and we shared a smile. Donna gave us a look and then rummaged through a filing cabinet saying that we should take a look for ourselves. Donna handed me a mimeographed copy of one of the memos. I skimmed through the memo saying that it said the Principal knew what Vernon was up to and warned him to stop. Donna explained that Vernon’s been targeting students from day one. John wanted to see it, so he snatched the memo out of my hands. I wonder if Vernon’s been snooping around my file. I asked Donna who else had a file and she explained that every student has one, some are more full than others. Donna said that it’s what her sources tell her. John rolled his eyes, remarking that of course Donna has a “source.” Then said that we should take this to the others. I asked Donna if she’s coming with us. She said that she should finish up here and that she’ll catch up with us later. Then she told us that we should feel free to keep the memo. I asked Donna if she was sure and she said that she’s got plenty more. John admitted that this wasn’t a complete waste of time. I told Donna that it’s Bender-speak for “Thanks for helping us get the dirt on Vernon, we owe you one.” Donna only replied with a “Your welcome.” John and I helped each other back into the ceiling.
We crawled through the ceiling when John stopped. He shushed me and asked me if I heard that. I heard the sound of a pencil tapping on a desk and whispered to John that it’s coming from below us. There was Allison, sitting criss-cross on top of her desk trying to balance a pencil on her nose. The pencil fell and we opened a ceiling tile to watch Allison try it again. John said that Allison was one strange girl and asked said strange girl if she knew that. I admitted that it’s what I like about her. Allison dropped the pencil and tried to shush us, saying that we ruined her concentration. She continued with another attempt as though me and John weren’t even there. John asked Allison if she was the least bit curious as to A) Why we’re here and B) Why we’re in the ceiling. Allison admitted that it’s not the weirdest thing she’s seen before. John remarked that it shocks no one. I explained to Allison that we want to put an end to Vernon and his reign of tyranny and that we need her help to do it. Allison asked why they needed someone and she quotes, “strange.” I asked Allison if she really wanted to spend her entire Saturday balancing a pencil on her nose or if she would rather help us get Vernon back with the dirt we have on him. Allison failed at balancing the pencil again, but let it drop on the ground. She asked if we think that we can really take down Vernon. John asked Allison if the sky was blue. She said that it depends on who you’re asking, explaining that she knew a guy who was blind all his life and he couldn’t see anything at all. John rolled his eyes and asked why he even asked. I asked Allison if she was coming. Allison said “Sure! Why not!” and, just like that, we recruited the basket case! She sprung to her feet and John and I pulled her up into the ceiling! I led everyone as we crawled though the ceiling in search of the next room.
Brian bobbed under headphones as he wrote his essay. I opened the ceiling tile and John and I poked our heads down to see Brian. John remarked to look at the dweeb as I called out to Brian. Brian continued to write as John said that he’s got this. John reached into his pocket and then threw a pencil at Brian. Brian swiftly took off his headphones and searched for the culprit, demanding to know who did that. John snickered and Brian looked up and laughed, noticing John. Then Brian asked John if he knew how dangerous that was, saying that he could’ve taken his eye out. John told Brian to quit being a wuss. Then Brian asked what we wanted, saying that we should be in our own classrooms. Brian explained that, if Vernon finds out he’ll… John finished for Brian saying that Vernon will do nothing. I told Brian that it’s why we’re here, we’re taking down Vernon. Brian asked why we needed a “wuss” to help us. Then insisted that we should do it ourselves! Brian said that, if we’ll excuse him, he has an essay to finish! I told Brian the truth, that this essay is meaningless! It’s nothing more than a way for Vernon to keep us down and, if we play by his rules, we’ll get an F in life! Brian asked me what I suggest that we do and I told him that there’s one thing that’s not meaningless, the dirt we have on Vernon. Brian seemed intrigued by the dirt and then threw his pencil down saying that he’s in! Brian stuffed his walkman in his pants and John and I helped Brian into the ceiling. Brian greeted Allison and she acknowledged his presence. I said that it looks like we’ve got everyone. John said that we needed to keep this train moving to the next stop, the library! I asked John if he knew how to get there from here. John confidently said that the library’s that way, headed in one direction and then stopped. God, please tell me John didn’t forget the way. Then he started speculating that the library was that way, definitely that way. With everyone rounded up, we crawled as a group toward the library and I really hope John didn’t forget.
We dropped down out of the ceiling and into the library with me giving a sigh of relief. John exited the ceiling saying that his legs felt like jelly. Allison exited the ceiling saying that we’re right back here where we started. Brian exited the ceiling and then dusted himself off saying that his parents were going to kill him because they just bought him those pants. I assured Brian that it’s all for a good cause. I even insisted that there’s nothing bad in that crawlspace. Brian was about to explain the bad in the crawlspace but John told Brian to forget it. I heard the sound of someone entering the library through the door. I screamed that it was Vernon and we all scrambled and hid, but it turned out to be Andrew, thank God! Brian even called out for Andrew as we all came out of hiding. John asked Andrew what he was doing here and he said that, not that it’s any of our business, but he had practice early this morning with the team. Claire showed up and asked what we were up to. We looked up to the second level and saw Claire looking up from a book! Brian showed his shock at seeing Claire here. I told Claire that she doesn’t have detention today and asked what she was doing here. Claire explained that she had an extra credit history assignment due yesterday and she’s turning it into Vernon a day late. Allison remarked that it was a bummer. We all looked around at one another. Brian said that we’re all back here and asked “Now what?” Everyone looked to me and John. Allison asked if the plan was to take down Vernon. John said “Bingo.” Claire said that she assumed that we have a plan. I said that we did… sort of. Andrew pointed out that we’re going to have to do a whole lot better than “sort of.” John shot me a look and whispered to me that he didn’t think this far ahead. I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I didn’t have a plan, so I turned to the group and told them to listen up and insisted that they don’t rush me because greatness takes time. Brian said that I sounded like John. John remarked that Brian said it like it was a bad thing. I told John that I am getting a little worried that he’s rubbing off on me which earned me a perverted eyebrow wiggle as I had to explain that I meant mentally. Allison couldn’t help but giggle and said that John and I have no idea what we’re doing. Claire suggested that everyone just go back to their classrooms and wait! Brian said that he’s not going back. Then the group started bickering and I stared up at the ceiling in frustration. John approached me and asked if we could chat privately for a sec. I asked John what it was about and he said that it was about us. Then John glanced at everyone bickering and said that he didn’t want to talk about these clowns. I agreed to go somewhere private with John and I really hope that it’s not about what I think it’s about. That this whole thing was useless or he was going to try and dump me again. With a glance over my shoulder, I ducked out of the library.
John and I cut across the football field toward the stands. John led me under the bleachers, saying that it felt like middle school all over again. I asked John if he was seriously already making out under bleachers in eighth grade. John said that it was the sixth grade. I lightly elbowed him in the ribs as I ducked beneath the cold metal benches. I told John to watch his step and we came to a halt in a cool, shady spot. John told me to listen and said that, about his mixed messages, between me, school and the nightmare that was his homelife, it felt like he’s being jerked in a hundred different directions. I told John that I understand, saying that I haven’t exactly been living on “easy street” either. John remarked that he didn’t realize that this was a “woe is me” competition. I told John that it’s not, I was just saying that I feel for him. John just said “Oh…” and I touched his cheek. I said that it’s okay, I’ll give him a pass this time around. John smiled and leaned in for a kiss and, before I knew it, we’re in the middle of a heated makeout session. Our hands explored each other and passions escalated until we heard shuffling in the grass. I shushed John and told him that someone’s coming! John and I crouched behind a pillar and watched two shiny dress shoes approach. I quietly told John that it’s Vernon to which he muttered that Vernon’s a ****blocking piece of ****! To my surprise, Vernon took a seat on the bleachers! I reminded John that Vernon doesn’t know we’re here! I peeked between the benches and watched Vernon open a styrofoam takeout box saying “Hola, mi amor.” Vernon lifted up a giant, leftover burrito and gnawed off a huge bite. John remarked that we’re trapped like ****ing rats here! The bench creaked as Vernon shifted to let out a long fart! Great, just our luck. John and I try to have a private moment and Vernon has to ruin it. I remarked that it was vile. John said that he can’t take any more of this and that we had to scram! I crept beneath the bleachers, looking for anything useful. My eyes landed on a forgotten baseball tucked in a patch of grass. About 30 yards away, I spotted the rusty equipment shed. I told John that I’ve got an idea and said that, when I say run, he runs! John said that I better know what I’m doing and I told him not to worry, because I have a good arm. I launched the baseball straight for the shed where it landed squarely on the roof with a loud clang. Vernon demanded to know who was screwing around over there and said that, if we punks think we can pull one over on him, we’d better think again! Vernon marched down the bleacher steps to inspect the noise and I quickly said “Run!” John and I rushed in opposite directions back to the school. Hearts racing, we hurried back to the library. I looked over my shoulder and shared a smile with John. I’m sad that the romance was cut short, but knowing we escaped Vernon gave me a sense of relief.
John and I casually slipped back into the library unnoticed. The group looked around at one another as they waited for someone to speak. John told Brian to come on and that we’re all waiting. Finally, Brian cleared his throat and said that we were all full of ****! John told Brian to watch it and Brian responded with “Screw you, Bender!” According to Brian, this had everything to do with John’s attitude and that we’re only here because he forced us here!
We all looked at the floor as this clearly hit home for us. It was obvious that someone needed to take charge. I insisted that, no matter what, we’re all in this together! Allison said that it felt right that it’s in the library. Brian admitted that it was kind of full circle. John insisted that it was the same old BS. I said that one thing’s for sure, we all **** at keeping promises. I asked if anyone could honestly say that, after everything we promised right here a week ago, that they stayed true to their word to remain friends. Everybody shuffled their feet in silence. Claire asked who could forget me smooching with John. John asked Claire why she had to bring that up and asked if she enjoyed rubbing that in his face. Then insisted that he and Claire were never going to work out anyway! Claire argued that John didn’t even give them a chance claiming that, when things got difficult, he bailed and found the next willing woman! John defended me, saying that at least I cared about him and didn’t care about whether or not I was seen with the burnout! Then John pulled Claire aside and they bickered among themselves as I felt the guilt eating at me alive. Brian said that, regardless of what happened at Stubbie’s, I was his only friend on Monday morning. Brian looked at Claire and Andrew asking them if they knew how horrible he felt when Stubbie and his meathead friend confronted him in the hallway. Then Brian pointed out that I was the only one who did anything about it while Claire and Andrew just stood there and didn’t do a thing! Brian turned to me and told me to go ahead and ask them why. I couldn’t help myself and asked Andrew what was up with that as I had a pretty good idea of why Claire didn’t help. Andrew asked what we expected him to do. Brian said that we expected Andrew to do something, anything! I told Brian that Andrew has a point and to lighten up on him. Brian said that we were all unbelievable as it’s always the same lame excuses! Then Brian asked if any of us are capable of change! Andrew said that the stupid thing was Rogers and Stubbie forgot about it anyway and Andrew was all worried about what they would say for nothing. Then Andrew admitted that, after apologizing to Larry, he realized how stupid he was for trying to maintain his “jock” image. Andrew told us that it was a huge weight off his shoulders. Claire took a few minutes away from her fight with John and gave Andrew a sympathetic look, saying that she understood the pressure of keeping up appearances. Then Claire looked directly at me and she said that, regardless of what I did, she realized how much of a ****ty person Becky was and thanked me for helping her see that! I was so relieved that I told Claire that of course I would because she’s my friend and said that I’m sure Claire would’ve done the same for me. Claire looked at her feet, admitting that she’d like to think so and then chewed her lip, a little uncertain. Allison sobbed quietly to herself. Claire asked Allison what was wrong. Allison said that she couldn’t see it and that a little attention from Becky was all it took to… Allison actually struggled to finish while wiping tears from her eyes. Claire put her arm around Allison, comforting her. I said that we have to be smart about how we use this time because Vernon could walk in at any moment and we have to figure out what to do about him. Brian admitted that I’m right. Claire agreed that Vernon has become a problem. Andrew said that Vernon’s constantly overstepping his authority. John remarked that Vernon’s become a full blown tyrant. Allison reminded us that it brings us back to the question at hand… What are we going to do about Vernon? I said that we all needed to confront Vernon, something John agreed to. Brian asked if that was really such a good idea. I said that I don’t see why not. Allison reminded us that we have to consider the consequences. John told Allison to check this out as he removed the memo from his jacket. Claire asked what it was and John told her that it’s the dirt we have on Vernon. Andrew asked what it said and John asked me if I would like to do the honors. John handed the memo to me and I read it aloud. “To respect privacy and retain objectivity in our communications with the students of Shermer High, please discontinue your unauthorized viewing of the student information. Any further viewing is grounds for immediate dismissal from the Shermer High staff.”
John said that he doesn’t know about the rest of us, but he doesn’t like people keeping tabs on him so we’ve got to get rid of those files. I told John that I’m with him, I don’t like Big Brother snooping around my life either. With a fiery determination, John marched right out the door without a word to anyone. I told John to hold on while the group looked at each other, terrified about what John was about to do. I really hope John’s not going to do anything stupid.
A/N: What’s Bender planning and will The Breakfast Club be able to stop him? Check next Tuesday and find out! Also feel free to share your thoughts and make your own request.