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Prom Baby! – Word count: 37,533

Enid lay in wait under a clump of bushes on the very edge of Big Mesa High School’s parking lot. She would wait until the cheerleaders and football, soccer and tennis players left practice and walked out to their cars, then pick them off one by one. She still had the broken root beer bottle and Elizabeth’s trusty barrette by her side. She’d also sharpened a ballpoint pen into a homemade shank.
She heard a high-pitched giggle and peered out from between the leaves. Two girls with tennis rackets were cutting across the parking lot, laughing and rubbing their ample stomachs. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around. A perfect opportunity to get rid of two at once! Enid thought. She closed a fist around the homemade shank and crept out of the bushes.
But behind her, Enid heard a male voice calling out to the girls, and she quickly ducked back into her hiding place. Sure, I could take on all three of them, she thought, but I don’t want to draw too much attention to myself. Ten minutes passed before her next opportunity presented itself, Big Mesa’s equivalent of Winston Egbert, who went down without much of a fight.
She kept an eye on the entire parking lot, but things were unusually quiet. Maybe word got out about my brawl at the Fairi Burger, Enid thought, suddenly worried. What if they’re all out here hunting me?
A familiar-looking car took a hard left turn into the Big Mesa High parking lot, and Enid felt her heart jump into her throat when she realized whose car it was. The Wakefield twins’ Jeep! It’s got to be Jessica, though. Maybe she found Elizabeth before I could. Maybe Elizabeth is safe!
The Jeep slowed down and crawled through Big Mesa’s parking lot, as if its driver was searching for Enid. She wanted desperately to jump out from her hiding place and run to the Jeep, to see if it was Jessica or Elizabeth who had come for her, but a couple of big, burly football players had just left the football field and were on their way out to their cars.
The Jeep stopped and its driver stepped out of the car. Enid’s heart skipped a beat when she realized it was Elizabeth, and not Jessica, who had come to her rescue. The outdated hairstyle and matronly clothes had given her away. But no sooner had Enid spotted Elizabeth than the two football players had, too.
“Looks like we got some bitch from Sweet Valley in our territory,” one of the football players said to the other as they advanced menacingly on Elizabeth.
“Please, I don’t mean any harm,” Elizabeth said. “I’m just looking for a friend.”
The second football player snorted. “Did you hear that, Randy? I guess she’s looking for that crackhead who tore up the Fairi Burger.”
“Enid did what?” Elizabeth asked, alarm evident on her face.
“I guess you’re that dumb cheerleader from Sweet Valley, right?” Randy said, pushing Elizabeth.
Enid bit her tongue, willing herself to stay concealed until she had a clear shot at taking both of them down. I can’t stand to see them torturing Elizabeth, she thought angrily, a fist closing around the barrette.
“I’m not a cheerleader,” Elizabeth said indignantly. “I’m a journalist!”
“Oh, yeah, you’re the boring one,” Randy said. “I remember now.”
They both closed in on Elizabeth, and Enid couldn’t hold in her rage for one more second. She ran out of the bushes, screaming “Die! Die, die, die, you Big Mesa Bastards!”
In one quick move, she tossed the shank to Elizabeth, who caught it and stabbed Randy in the throat as if she’d been in prison all her life. That manslaughter trial scare over Sam Woodruff’s death must have given Elizabeth incredible insight on using homemade weapons, Enid thought proudly.
She swung the broken root beer bottle at the other boy’s head, relishing in the feel of glass hitting bone. “Elizabeth!” Enid said breathlessly as she kicked him in the balls. “You’re all right!”
“Of course I’m all right,” Elizabeth said, grinning as she pushed Randy’s face into the concrete. “I was never in trouble.”
“You weren’t?” Enid asked, quickly checking to make sure her adversary wasn’t still breathing. “But Jessica said–”
“Here’s a lesson you should have learned by now: Nothing Jessica says is true,” Elizabeth said. “Come on, let’s get out of here!”
Although Enid wouldn’t have minded taking out a few more Big Mesa football players, if only to feel the adrenaline rush, she hopped in the Jeep and Elizabeth floored it out of the parking lot, leaving a thick layer of rubber on the pavement.
“Thanks, Liz,” Enid said softly, looking down at her bruised and bloodied hands, now folded demurely in her lap.
“Thank you, Enid,” Elizabeth said, winking at her friend. She reached into her jacket pocket and tossed Enid a small baggie.
“No fucking way!” Enid said, tearing into the bag. “I hope you don’t mind if I snort this right here in your car.”
“No problem,” Elizabeth said. “You deserve it.”
Elizabeth sped back toward Sweet Valley as Enid’s high kicked in. She now understood her tweaker friend just a little bit more. And maybe, Elizabeth thought, recalling the feel of Big Mesa blood flowing over her hands, I could take a trick or two from Enid’s book.

* * *

“Oh, no, Miss Lila,” Eva said, looking worried and wringing her hands. “I no think we should do this.”
“Well, I do,” Lila said, determination showing on her pretty face. “Step back, Eva.”
In one swift motion and with strength she didn’t even know she had, Lila had kicked in the glass doors of the Sweet Valley post office, her designer stiletto heel slicing through the glass like butter.
“Mama’s coming, sweetheart!” she cried, stepping over the broken glass and entering the post office lobby. From somewhere in the building, Lila could hear the baby crying. It was muffled from the box, but she could tell it was definitely her baby.
Lila hurried toward the sound. She knew there wasn’t much time until the police would show up, but the Sweet Valley Police Department wasn’t much of a threat, she reasoned. If she couldn’t talk or buy her way out of trouble, she could blow her way out.
A mountain of boxes was stacked behind the counter, and Lila leapt over it as if it were an Olympic hurdle she had to clear. Knocking over several boxes, she finally uncovered one with tiny breathing holes punched out of it that was emitting he heart-wrenching sounds of her baby crying for her. Lila swiftly tore open the box and lifted out her son. He was teary-eyed, but otherwise OK.
“I have you back!” she cried, hugging him to her chest. “I’ll never try to return you or exchange you for comparable merchandise ever again!”

* * *

Jessica unzipped the garment bag to reveal her prom dress and sighed with pleasure. It’s perfect. Just perfect, she thought. She idly ran a hand over the pale pink fabric. It was short and tight, made of a stretchy fabric that would cling to every single one of her newfound curves.
She had already taken a peek at Elizabeth’s prom dress, and there was only one word that could sum it up. Boring! Jessica thought. It falls almost all the way to her ankles! And what is up with the high neck and long sleeves?
“But this dress,” Jessica sighed happily, “is fit for a queen.”
She held it up to her body and twirled around her room as if she were dancing her first dance as prom queen. She couldn’t wait for tomorrow night, when she would finally prove that she was the most popular, most desirable, most fertile girl at Sweet Valley High.
“Jessica?” Elizabeth said softly, knocking at her twin’s door. “Can I come in? We need to talk.”
“Uh, hang on a second,” Jessica said, hastily shoving the dress back in her closet. “OK, come in.”
“Jessica,” Elizabeth said, her hands on her hips. “I got to Enid before Big Mesa did.”
“Oh, good,” Jessica said breezily. “I trust she got rid of most of them?”
“A few,” Elizabeth said, casting her eyes downward and catching sight of a huge pile of Jessica’s crusty, unwashed underwear on the floor. “I got rid of one as well.”
“Just one?” Jessica cried, anguished. “But you’re an overachiever!”
“I got rid of one, and I want to get rid of more,” Elizabeth said, moving her gaze up to look her twin straight in the eye. “After what they did to Mr. Collins, I’m ready to wipe Big Mesa off the face of the earth. And I have a plan.”
“A plan?” Jessica asked skeptically. “No offense, Liz, but I’m the master schemer around here, remember?”
“I know,” Elizabeth confessed. “That’s why I need your help.”
“I could help you, Liz, but it’s going to cost you,” Jessica said solemnly.
“What?” Elizabeth asked warily.
“One prom queen title,” Jessica said, holding out her hand.
“You’ve got it,” Elizabeth said, shaking her sister’s hand. “Now, here’s what I have in mind…”

* * *

Practically everyone in Sweet Valley had gathered at the courthouse for Mr. Collins’ trial. Mr. Wakefield had agreed to represent the teacher, and Steven, looking forward to spending more time at home, was helping his father with the trial.
Elizabeth and Jessica sat next to their mother in the front row, Elizabeth anxiously clutching her sister’s arm. Jessica seemed bored, but had agreed to come along for moral support and to skip school. Most of Sweet Valley High’s student body had turned out for the trial, including Bruce, who seemed unusually absorbed in the proceedings.
“Mr. Collins is my idol,” he whispered to Elizabeth from behind. “I want to know how he does it.”
“How he does what?” Elizabeth whispered back over her shoulder.
“How he bags so many hot, underage chicks, man!”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Well, he does look like a young Robert Redford,” she said.
The judge, an ancient man who looked like he was about to fall asleep, shuffled into the courtroom. The bailiff called for everyone in the courtroom to rise. As Mr. Collins stood up, he looked over his shoulder at Elizabeth, who gave him an encouraging smile.
“The prosecution calls Roger Collins to the stand,” said the district attorney.
“Can they do that?” Jessica whispered to Elizabeth. “That seems really fucking wrong.”
“Of course they can do that,” Elizabeth said. “Remember when I had to testify against myself in violation of my fifth amendment rights during my vehicular manslaughter trial?”
“I don’t know,” Jessica whispered back. “I wasn’t there. We were fighting, remember?”
“That’s right,” Elizabeth nodded. “Thank goodness that psycho Margo came to Sweet Valley so you and I could rekindle our sisterly bond.”
As Mr. Collins took the stand and was sworn in, Elizabeth could see a flicker of nervousness pass over her once confident teacher’s face.
“Mr. Collins, do you remember molesting hundreds of young girls over a fifteen-year period?” the district attorney asked.
“I don’t know,” Mr. Collins said. “I don’t remember.”
“Do you remember, Mr. Collins, drinking alcohol before molesting these young girls?” the district attorney said.
“I – I don’t,” Mr. Collins said. “Although I guess I must have, since my blood tested positive for alcohol.”
“And do you remember knocking up 75 teenage girls from Big Mesa High School IN ONE NIGHT?” the prosecutor asked, yelling into Mr. Collins’ face.
“I don’t remember,” Mr. Collins cried, putting his head in his hands. “I don’t remember!”
“Stop it!” Elizabeth cried, jumping to her feet. “Just stop it!”
“Elizabeth, shut the fuck up and sit down,” Mr. Wakefield muttered through clenched teeth.
The bailiff made a move toward Elizabeth, his handcuffs drawn.
“I know who did it!” she said passionately. “I know who did it, and it wasn’t Mr. Collins!”
The bailiff looked at the judge, who shrugged.
“The prosecution calls Elizabeth Wakefield to the stand,” the district attorney said, clearly annoyed.
As Elizabeth passed Mr. Collins on her way up to the stand, they exchanged a warm smile. “It’s going to be all right,” she whispered to him.
Elizabeth took a seat, smoothing down her skirt over her engorged stomach. She raised her right hand and swore to tell the truth.
“All right, then, Miss Wakefield, who did it?” the district attorney asked. “Who could have possibly impregnated hundreds of young women in Sweet Valley and Big Mesa?”
“God,” Elizabeth said confidently. Everyone in the courtroom gasped.
“It seems we have a surprise witness,” Mr. Wakefield said. “Thank Christ.”
“You see, I am one of the pregnant teenagers in Sweet Valley,” Elizabeth said to even more gasps.
“You’re what?” her mother cried. “Elizabeth, when did this happen?”
“I know you didn’t notice, Mom, Dad,” Elizabeth said, nodding toward each of her parents. “And I was really too frightened to tell either one of you.”
“We just thought you were putting on a little bit of weight,” Mr. Wakefield said, shaking his head in wonder.
“Jessica’s pregnant, too,” Elizabeth said, pointing to her sister. No one in the courtroom seemed surprised by that piece of news.
“Now, Jessica, I would have expected,” said Mrs. Wakefield. “Still, I hadn’t really noticed.”
“Mom, I’ve put on, like 137 pounds,” Jessica complained. “I’m almost as big as Lizzie.”
“Well, you are identical twins,” Mrs. Wakefield said thoughtfully.
“Order in the court!” the judge yelled, banging his gavel, even though there wasn’t really any need to call the court to order.
“Miss Wakefield, could you please tell the court how you came to believe that God was impregnating all these young girls?” the prosecutor asked.
“Yes, sir,” Elizabeth said. “A few weeks ago, I had a dream. In that dream, an angel appeared to me and told me I would give birth to the second coming of Christ. The next day, I started exhibiting symptoms of pregnancy, and, well, here we are.”
“So it is your opinion, then, Miss Wakefield, that young women in Sweet Valley and Big Mesa who are experiencing the same condition were not, in fact, molested by Mr. Collins, but were impregnated by a deity?” asked the district attorney.
“That’s right,” Elizabeth said. “Anyone who knows Mr. Collins knows he’s a little bit pervy, but he’s an excellent English teacher – and an excellent reproductive health teacher, as well.”
“Well, I believe her,” the district attorney said to Mr. Wakefield, shrugging. “Judge, I ask that all charges against Roger Collins be dismissed.”
“Yeah, whatever,” the judge said, banging his gavel and leaving the courtroom.

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11 2009

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