Wonder Girligami: Biting Off More Than I Could Chew
Wonder Girligami: Biting Off More Than I Could Chew
Cover by SF Guillermo
Chapter 1 – The Party
I wasn’t always like this.
A girl scout, yes, but I’m not the image of one. Family and acquaintances will look at me and say ‘Oh, that girl is a Cadet, training to become an ambassador? No way.’ And that’s when it hits me that I go to these gatherings, even as a freshman, and I am the fool. The clown to make the people laugh.
Call me Jessie the Jester, Jessie Bennett, AKA Bennett Bozo the Clown. Used to be I was quiet, and Kane brought upon a new desire to go out and become something fresh.
It’s that soft beat, the one that you walk to and everyone will turn and look at you. “Oh, look! Jessie is about to vibe!” Some guy, holding a cup of apple juice exclaims. I’ve worked hard to look this way. This outfit has been meticulously selected to make me the star of the show. Maybe Ernest will acknowledge me and offer me some part in his fold. I don’t know, it’s hopeful thinking.
My hair will sway side to side, I’ll jump up and down to the song.
Then Ernest got on the mic, and the records came to a screeching halt, “Someone has taken my watch. If you find it, bring it to me. It’s worth twenty eight thousand dollars. If you see a blonde haired girl and her black haired, pretty cute looking friend, they’re the ones that have it.”
Some jocks of the football team looked me over, “Well, Jessie, where’s your pretty black haired friend?”
“Don’t say that.” I said.
“Heh, come on, it was just a joke.” he said, shrugging. All of his buds were like ‘yeah, yeah!’
“No, you’ll say this stuff as ‘just a joke,’ and then next thing I know you’ll try hugging me as ‘just a joke.’ I only look this way for myself.”
The guy huffed and walked off. It had become a search party for the blonde girl and her ‘black haired, pretty cute’ friend. It had gotten to a point where everyone had given up. Due to this, morale at the party was low, and everyone went home. Yet, there was a feeling that I had to find that watch.
I needed that watch for Ernest’s attention.
Chapter 2 – Riots
I was on the lookout for something new, something fresh in terms of leads. I don’t know why, it had stagnated. Heck, I think I saw Ernest with a new watch.
I was in Freshman Biology, the last class of the day when I heard the screams and shouts outside. Ever since Novick Hall was added, there would be the occasional scream or shout. My bio teacher, Mr. Sefton, said it was like ‘Arkham is knocking at our door.’ The man was always referencing Batman. He was always talking about it, he lived and breathed it. Especially after the whole Batfold deal. He made a puppet called “Batfold Jones,” based off of some character from Batman’s golden age, the greatest historian of batman.
He looked outside and swiftly locked the door.
“I’ll be darned, the rogues gallery has started a riot.” He said nonchalantly. He just sat back down while we all got up to look outside.
There he was, the creased crusader, right in front of us grabbing a kid and looking him in the eyes. He had that mask on, and his fist was raised. On his wrist I could make it out: the watch. It looked like twenty eight thousand dollars. The fluorescent lighting gave it a slight glimmer, and when the Dark Knight-igami froze in his place and looked back to see the bouncer from a few nights before rush at him, there was a glimmer of hope that the Batfold would be broken, just so I could get in and take that watch.
When a, ahem, pretty cute, black haired girl slid in, I realized that was her. And then there was the blonde girl, working her way through as well with a Batgirl puppet on her finger. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the girl was Emily Sampson.
“Jessie,” my teacher asked, “What are you looking at?”
I turned around and realized I was the only one standing, “Oh, I’m just watching what’s going down outside.”
When I turned back around, it was all over. The day had ended. The riots quickly subsided, and we all went home.
Chapter 3 – The Speech
I was working on my puppet during math, since that was the big trend at Kane. Bartholomew Lowe had been exposed, and so the creation of these puppets now had to be from the student’s imagination. It’s crazy how our system is made to not promote creativity, but control it. So, we don’t know what to make or how to make it. There’s no class anymore like “Intro to Paper Folding.” It was too niche.
I looked up for a second to hear the intercom, Principal Sampson saying something like “Everyone, please come to the gymnasium for a meeting.”
My heart was racing, on the inside I knew what was happening: it was a meeting to talk about what happened the week before. My stomach was churning, would I be in trouble? No. No, I wouldn’t. I didn’t do anything wrong. I never said anything bad. I’ve been the model student except at the parties I go to.
I’ve been a good student. I wouldn’t be in trouble.
I was waiting for Principal Sampson to read off names of students, one by one. Like, Bartholomew gave sources of every student who bought puppets from him. But, that didn’t occur. Rather, Sampson was mad. He was yelling with such passion into the mic, asking for every student to raise their hand that bought it. He was asking about many things, until Alan Wade stepped up to the mic.
And there I saw it, the watch.
Alan Wade was Batfold. This was just simple logic, he had the watch, so did Batfold.
Alan started to talk, and it was a long winded speech about things I couldn’t care at all about, and then he revealed the bombshell. He reached into his back pocket and put on that balaclava, and then he placed the Batfold puppet on his finger.
“Because I am Batfold.” Yadda yadda yadda, stupid spiel and then another bombshell, “You’ll shut down Novick.” I think he said he’d be opening his own school? Ugh, rich kids.
There’s too many of them in Jutefruce! Why is this one even at Kane? He should be with those preps at Donner. My mom told me that they came here back in the forties. Just a lot of rich dudes, deciding to come and change this town for the better. That’s why we have the Kings and the McPhersons. Rather than living in LA, they’re here.
And now I’m sitting here, and the kid who my mom said in a sarcastic tone ‘Oh, poor boy, he has no parents but he has this huge mansion look at him!’ Is doing a selfless act, all the while wearing that watch.
I needed to confront him.
Chapter 4 – Moving
I had biked all the way to Wade Manor. Alan, with his black hair and wearing one of his stupid hawaiian shirts turned and faced me.
“Oh, are you a moving girl?” He asked, “Perfect, help these guys move this couch, I need everything out of here and either in storage or in my new house, come on, chop-chop!”
I didn’t know how to react. Two burly men from Gonzalo Vasquez Moving Company were hoisting thing after thing with so much delicacy and care, as though anything light as a feather was worth a million dollars. Looking around me, maybe all of this did.
So, I helped hoist a couch to the moving truck.
“Alberto, I swear!” I heard a man yell, “Stop looking at your phone for one second and start putting these things up!”
The kid who I think was ‘Alberto’ looked up and said “I’m sorry, Dad. Just, my squad was asking questions about this email we got.”
“I don’t give a rat’s corn chip. Start wrapping stuff up, or I’m going to get mad!”
“You already sound mad, Dad.”
As we placed the couch into the truck, a girl directed us around.
“Hey,” she said to me, “Do you even work here?! What are you doing? Come on! Learn where to put stuff!”
“I’m sorry, it’s just, I don’t work here. I came to get something from Alan.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize. You don’t even have the patch!” She said as she pointed at an emblem at the two burly men. She pointed at hers, which was rainbow, “I’m sorry. I’m Maria. I’m just helping my dad out.”
She motioned to her dad, who looked exhausted. Sweat was pouring down the middle of his shirt as though someone spilled a glass of water on him.
“Ah, I see. Well, I’m Jessie.” I said as I stepped out of the way of the burly men.
“Pleasure to meet you.” She had a southern drawl. She was gorgeous. Our eyes locked, and my heart dropped.
“Where do you go to school, Maria?”
“Lampert. I’m really good at Volleyball.”
“Oh.” Dang it. So I’ll never see her in the halls, then.
“Listen, we’ll talk later, when this isn’t so chaotic. How about four o’clock later today?”
I looked at my phone to make a notification, and I saw that tonight was yet another party.
“I’m not sure I can do that time.” I said, “There’s a party tonight just four houses down.”
“Oh, then I’ll see you there, the McPhersons, right? We helped move in some dinosaur sculpture a long while back.”
Alan was still bickering with these moving people, saying stuff like ‘No-no-no, please don’t break that, that’s my gaming computer,’ or ‘Oh my gosh, did you just shatter that glass? Oh, please, no.’
I touched him on the shoulder, his face was read and he looked at me.
“Oh, I just wanted to let you know I don’t work with these people.”
“Then you’re an intruder.”
“No, please, listen to me. I go to Kane, and I’ve been looking for a watch that was stolen from Ernest McPherson.”
Alan looked at his wrist, “this watch?” He took it off and held it up, “My girlfriend got this for me. She said she to- oh… yikes… yeah, here you go.”
He just placed it in the palm of my hand! I smiled and he went, “Wait, for legal reasons and also so my girlfriend doesn’t kill me, what’s your name?”
“Jessie. Jessie Bennett.”
Chapter 5 – The Second Party
There she was, standing out in the crowd. I think it was the Purple Pants with the Orange and White striped shirt. Maria looked at me, and I looked at her.
“Oh my goodness, Jessie!”
“Hey, Maria. I’m glad you found the place.” I said as she hugged me. I hugged her back, but I barely even knew her. Yet, for some reason, there was a click.
She had blonde hair that just seemed to cover me. I was happy.
“So, where’s this Ernest McPherson guy anyways?” She asked while the music started.
“Oh, he’s upstairs. On that balcony.” She tilted her chin up, like a cowboy does to look at the horizon.
“I’ll be darned. He looks like James Gatsby.”
“Did your grade school teachers ever make you read that shlock?”
“Ugh, y’all don’t even know a rat’s tail from a cabbage patch. I guess schools are faster in Texas.”
“I… guess?” We started making our way into the house and even at the entrance I was in awe.
Every room was jam packed with dinosaur fossils and archeological artifacts. There was this replica of a caveman standing in the kitchen, and for a second I chuckled at the thought that Ernest would come down here at three in the morning and jump at the sight of this neanderthal staring back at him.
We walked up the stairs, and I reached the door. There was a long line of kids needing to fulfill requests. I held the watch in my hands, staring at Maria. When this burly girl opened the door, she noticed the dangling watch, and she marched towards us. She pulled me by the arm as Maria panicked and started to run towards me. The door slammed shut.
I stood in front of Ernest McPherson. The burly woman held my arm, nearly clawing into it.
“I-I have your watch.”
“Well, no duh you do.” McPherson, from a distance, looked all right, like that bad guy from Scott Pilgrim. In his white tuxedo, he was just a well dressed rich kid. Up close, he was covered head to toe in zits. His face was always red.
He was mad.
“Listen, you don’t need to yank me in, I’m just here to bring it back.” I said. Maria yanked the door open and walked in, and Ernest’s mouth opened.
“So, both of you have returned, hm?”
“Why, it’s the pretty black haired girl, nice outfit by the way, and the blonde girl.”
“I think I’m pretty.” I said, trying to stand up for myself.
“Sure. I mean, your friend is more pretty, but she’s also the one that stole my watch.”
“No, you have it all wrong. See, it was Alan Wade-” Maria started.
“Alan Wade? Batfold? Yeah, it wasn’t him. It was you too.”
I sighed, slamming the watch down on the table. At that moment, the glass on it shattered, and the watch stopped working.
“Oh no.” I gulped. I grabbed Maria’s hand, and we started to make a mad dash out.
“Sandra! They broke my watch! Get them!” He yelled, refusing to leave his seat.
Sandra wasn’t just burly, she was also fast. In her chest pocket, I caught sight of a puppet, that of a red haired woman in black and yellow.
“What’s that?” I asked to Maria as we ran, she briefly looked behind at the puppet.
“Giganta, like, from Wonder Woman.”
We made a mad dash over the fence and out. I didn’t hear any announcement.
But I have an announcement to make: I bit off more than I could possibly chew.
Chapter 6 – It All Ends at Scouts
It is now mid-November. Me and Maria have been hanging out all the time. It was also after the whole Girl Scouts debacle about who will earn the title of “Wonder Folder.” I didn’t even want to try out, but I did take to practicing my puppetry skills. I made a Donna Troy puppet, Maria had a huge collection of WW comics, and I became interested in Donna Troy’s character, even though her relationship with Terrence Long was weird. I don’t know, I never really used it. I didn’t have the blessing of the rest of the Amazonians, not even Theresa Carter.
Maria told me about her brother Alberto’s Jonah Hex puppet. When I asked her how he got it, she said “Somehow he did. End of story. It doesn’t matter how. He just did it.” But apparently she had earned her brother’s permission to make a Jenny Hex puppet. Well, Alberto made it, a really specific design and coloring.
I needed the blessing to become “Wonder Girligami.” The issue was, I didn’t know how.
… Until I noticed Sandra was in the troop.
… And she noticed me.
I don’t know what I felt in that moment. There’s been so much drama in the Amazonian troop, and I think her tackling me demanding twenty six thousand dollars for her bosses’ watch really took the cake.
I think, through it all, I’ve learned to not react. It’s the best way to get this through.
I took the punches, each one, and then I rolled over, and laid there.
Sandra was pulled away, and her Gigantagami fell out of her pocket.
Theresa Carter talked to me after the meeting. She’s been wheelchair bound, but she still leads. I kind of respect her for that.
“Wow, I’m- I’m uh… Sorry. I’m sorry about that.” She started. It was clear, ever since her promotion that she had a lot to learn.
“Listen, how were you supposed to know?”
“I mean, like, Sandra was too old to be in the troop. Like, she’s almost graduated. And those muscles, almost looked like a guy, amiright?” I didn’t like that. I mean, I’ve been raised to think that everyone has their own traits and bonuses to them.
“Call me Tess.”
“Okay, Tess, I don’t care about how Sandra looks. My main issue is that Sandra did this right in front of everyone.”
“Listen, gal pal, mad respect to you for not fighting back. That’s a true testament to what a girl scout is.”
“Well, thank you.”
“Shows some maturity, or whatever.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“But why’d she do it?”
So, I told her all of this. I started from the party, up to now. She would say “Mhm.” or “Ah” sometimes.
At the end, she asked “So, what is it that you’re going to do now?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “I mean, my side hurts. I’ll get better. I was just wondering if I could take up the mantle.”
“I guess Wonder Girligami?”
“I mean, sure. It doesn’t matter to me. We apparently have girls with Giganta puppets here. And, as you can see,” She slapped her wheelchair, “I can’t stand!” She laughed. I didn’t know what to do, so I tried laughing with her, “I’m also a part of this little group with Alan, so, my effort is spread thin everywhere. If you can just protect stuff here, that would be perfect.”
I nodded, and I took out my Wonder Girligami puppet. She had black hair, while I had yellow. She was, in all sense of the word, my opposite. Yet, I found some sense of kinship with her.
“Okay. Yeah. That works.”
“Oh! Wait! Hold on, I’ll tell Alan. I have a sidekick now!”
Of course, it was CJ Whogley. The OriRobin.
Who else could it have been? He Lives with Alan Wade, he’s friends with nearly everyone. Why would it be anyone different?
He was in my math class, after Novick was removed and he returned. He walked up next to me, sat down and smiled.
“Wonder Girligami?” He asked.
I sighed, “Yes?”
“Listen, Tess told Alan, who told me. He knows you, I think you took his watch.”
I breathed a deep breath, not this again.
“It wasn’t his watch. It was Ernest McPherson’s.”
“That’s exactly what I thought.” I joked.
“Anywho… Do you know Theodore Franklin?”
“No.” I said. He frowned.
“Uh… Jonathan Yen?”
“No. Are you going to keep listing names, or will I just have to say yes to one of these?”
“Do you know me?”
“You’re OriRobin. I just kind of connected the dots.”
He held up his hands, “Hey, hey, not so loud!”
“Listen, we’re forming a little team, a group of kids. I call it the Young Justcrease.”
“Stupid name. And we aren’t kids, we’re teens.”
“Okay. Well, are you interested? You’re not ‘Wonder Womanigami’, you’re Wonder GIRLigami.”
I sighed, “Fine. But can my friend come along for the ride?”
“Does she have a puppet?”
“Just OriJenny Hex.”
“Oh, someone new? Yeah, sure.” CJ said. I took his hand and shook it. He smiled.
At the end of class, he took my arm and asked, “I know this sounds weird, but you and your friend would be the only girls on the team, would you be interested-”
“No, let me cut you off right there. I don’t like boys and neither does she.”
CJ nodded a somber nod, a nod of defeat, “What’s your GPA like?”
“The trip, you know, to DC. It’s coming up.”
“Freshmen can go to that?”
“Uh, yeah, of course they can.”
“Well, sign me up.”
Jessie Bennett Will return in Justice Pleats: The Scissors Cut.