Ring Of Accusations
Tammy sat on the cushioned chair in the secretary’s office. She snapped her gum loudly, breaking the half silence in which the only sound was the acute click of computer keys.
Irritated, the secretary, Miss Birch, shifted her gaze from the blue screen. She peered over the top of her glasses. The girl sitting across from her was wearing the girls’ catholic school uniform of a white blouse and plaid kilt, but the button-up shirt was only buttoned halfway and the bottom was tied at her slim waist. The kilt had been rolled up several inches above Tammy’s knees. The tenth grader’s haphazard pose conveyed the fact that Tammy didn’t care that she might be suspended within seconds.
The door to the principal’s office opened and Mr. Willis emerged, closely followed by another tenth grader named Sara-Anne.
As Sara-Anne passed Tammy she flipped her long black hair over her shoulder and, sending a triumphantly smug look at Tammy, she went back to her classes.
Tammy let a venomous look pass over her face then, entering Mr. Willis’s office, she silently muttered a string of curses directed at her mortal enemy.
"Now, Miss Walker, you do know why you’re. Don’t.. you?" Mr. Willis asked her, sitting down at his desk.
Now I know why the rest of the school calls him Mr. Witless, Tammy thought. His gray tweed suit was rather rumpled and his graying hair was fuzzy. He took out his handkerchief and mopped his brow under Tammy’s gaze.
"No." she replied after a pause.
"Oh... of course." Mr. Willis said, his nervousness increasing. "Well,..uh...Miss Deveraux...that is..she accused you, Miss Walker, of..." he took a deep breath. " Of stealing her ring. The ring her father gave her for passing last year."
"WHAT?!" Tammy burst out. Jumping up she pointed a finger at the principal. "You had better not believe that chit! She’s been trying to get back at me for months for humiliating her last year. Which was not my fault." Her voice had risen to a screech. Tammy fell back into the chair, still muttering under her breath.
Mr. Willis took several deep breaths, along with three little pills, and leaned back in his chair.
"Jeez, I’m sorry Mr. Willis. Really. But Sara-Anne is just trying to get me into trouble. Are you okay?" The expression on her pretty face changed from vile anger to concern.
"Yes, thank you."he replied weakly.
"Can I ask you a question?" He nodded and she continued. "When and where from was her ring stolen?"
After thinking for a moment, the hared man said, "I believe she said from her knapsack during second period."
"That would have been during French. We have the same period on Tuesdays." she explained. "Anyway, I usually have to sit behind her." Her face fell.
Mr. Willis, though constantly nervous, was a gentle soul. He got up, fetched Tammy a cup of steaming tea (He never drank coffee.) and placed it in front of her. She smiled her thanks. He sat on the edge of his desk and mused. "That would make you a perfect target for a set-up. And with Miss Deveraux’s grudge against you...oh dear."
"Yeah." Tammy mumbled, then sipped the tea. Suddenly her eyes lit up. "I wasn’t sitting behind her today! Someone had taken my seat, so I sat on the other side of the room!" Tammy’s spirits rose visibly and she stood up. "Do you know what this means? It means that the other student could have stole the ring, if it was stolen at all!"
"By George you’re right!" the little man cried. "What was the girl’s name?"
"Priscilla. Priscilla Dawkins." Tammy recalled.
The overjoyed principal pressed the buzzer on his intercom and repeated the student’s name to Miss Birch. Within two hours Priscilla, Sara-Anne, Mr. Willis, Tammy and a Detective Greco found the ring (in Priscilla’s locker) and charged the thief.
Tammy wasn’t expecting anything from Sara-Anne, but Sara-Anne surprised her by apologizing. Though she didn’t bother hiding her resentment, Sara-Anne made the apology sound sincere.
Tammy shook her head as she walked home. This school day had brought out a hidden talent in Tammy: the ability to solve mysteries.