Tiffany is definitely glad that the best-looking boy in the universe just transferred to her high school. Her boyfriend, Wally, got caught hacking into the Pentagon’s computer system and was sent to boarding school, so she almost didn’t have a date for the Homecoming dance! But Tiffany knows that she’ll look fabulous next to her new boyfriend, Cannibal MacLaine—at least she thinks he said his name was Cannibal. Sure, it’s an incredibly unusual name, but then, he is from Los Angeles.
Then something even more exciting happens: A major Hollywood director wants to film a horror movie right in their school! Not everyone is as pleased as Tiffany though—in fact, her own mother is leading protests against the plan—but Tiffany is Head Yell Leader at Hi High, so she gets the chamber of commerce on her side. The movie studio signs the contract, and everything is going to be perfect . . . if it doesn’t turn into a perfect nightmare first.
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
Read an Excerpt
By Cynthia D. Grant
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2002 Cynthia D. Grant
All rights reserved.
The most incredibly fantastic thing happened at school today. It's enough to make you believe in God. Which I already do, of course. Just kidding, God!
The best-looking boy I've ever seen has transferred to Hiram Johnson High!
I ran into him in the parking lot this morning. You should see his car. It's a green Mercedes. I think it's a Mercedes. It might be a Honda. Actually you have seen his car because you're me and I'm you and what is the point of keeping this journal? Miss Jones says it will teach us to be more observant and put us in touch with our thoughts and feelings and help us learn to write concise sentences instead of just rambling on and on.
"Those are skills you need to work on, Tiffany," she said.
For some reason she thinks I'm in too much of a hurry and don't pay enough attention to what's going on in the world around me, particularly in her class.
Miss Jones explained that she isn't going to read our journals, just glance through them to make sure we're actually writing something, otherwise we'll get an Incomplete and won't graduate in June and our lives will be ruined. Barbie's just writing "I am so bored" over and over, but I figure I might as well do something. Who knows: Maybe my grandkids will see this someday! What a horrible thought. If I ever get that old, I am definitely getting a face-lift, but by then scientists will probably have figured something out so that people don't die or at least wont ge't wrinkles.
But instead of writing my journal, I've decided to videotape it, which is a lot more creative than putting words on paper. Besides, when I write, my hand gets all crampy. The last thing I need is that carpal tunnel syndrome. Then how could I do cartwheels and handstands? Plus, videotaping myself gives me modeling practice and I can study the tapes and see how I'm sitting. It's amazing how many girls just sprawl at their desks, like they think they're invisible from the waist down.
I figure if I have to, I can always pay someone to put all these thoughts and feelings on paper. Miss Jones hasn't approved the video cam yet. She's such a dinosaur, but I guess you can't blame her — she spent most of her whole life in another century.
Anyway, the boy in the parking lot this morning was so unbelievably handsome I went over and said, "Hi! Are you a new student?" Duh, like he could be the new janitor or something.
"Yes," he said. "We just moved up from Los Angeles. I wanted to be here when school started, but the house wasn't ready."
He lives in that new development, I forget what it's called, Weasel Creek or something, with the gigantic houses on the teensy little lots — and it turns out he's a senior, too.
I can't believe how well this year is starting out!
"You haven't missed much," I said. "By the way, I'm Tiffany Spratt, Head Yell Leader at Hi High."
"Cannibal MacLaine." He shook my hand.
Cannibal! What an incredibly unusual name, but he did say he was from Los Angeles.
"Really," I said. "That's so cool."
"My mom's Scottish," he explained, whatever that meant, but I didn't have time to figure it out because right then I was having a major brain flash: THE CANNIBALS could be the name of our group! Why should everybody but me and The Girls have a gang? That's all you ever hear about on the news. Not that we want to steal stuff or beat people up or get tattoos. We just think it would be fun to be a real group, with our own name and style and everything.
The Cannibals! Talk about an inspiration!
As I escorted Cannibal into the school, everybody was staring at us, not only because we looked so good together, but because I wasn't with Wally. Don't get me wrong — I still love Wally. But lately he's kind of getting on my nerves. He wants to be with me every second. No matter where I go, he has to be there, too. It's like — I don't want this to come out wrong — but it's like he's the gum and I'm the shoe.
Another reason Cannibal and I looked so great together was because I was wearing my blue sweater that matches my eyes — and his — and his hair is blond, like mine. Talk about a coincidence! Luckily, I shampooed this morning and my hair was sparkling clean. Some people think eyes are the windows of the soul, but personally, I think it's hair.
The last time she trimmed me, Marge said, "I want you to try this new shampoo, Tiffany. It'll make you fall in love with your hair. Remember, hair is like a fine fabric."
Finally, someone who takes hair seriously! My mother's threatened to cut mine off while I'm asleep, but I don't think she really means it.
As Cannibal and I walked down the hall to the attendance office, I was thinking about that TV show that's set in a high school and how they should make a show about our school. They could call it Hi High and it would be all about me and The Girls and our exciting adventures as cheerleaders, and Cannibal could play my boyfriend in the show, and Wally will just have to get used to it.
I wanted to wait and walk Cannibal to his room, but the secretary said, "Tiffany, you're late for class again."
"That's okay," I said. "It's just English."
Dean Schmitz came out of his office and squinted at me.
"Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?" he said.
So I had to go, but Cannibal said, "Thanks," and I could tell it was from the heart.
I couldn't wait to find The Girls and tell them about Cannibal and how we were going to call our group The Cannibals. Unfortunately, The Girls were already in class, but then I got this brilliant idea: We could get T-shirts or jackets with The Cannibals printed on them! It would look supercool and everybody would want to be a Cannibal, but we'd have to say "sorry," but be really nice about it so we wouldn't hurt anybody's feelings.
I drove to the mall but it was still closed, so I went to the gas station and drank low-fat mochas until the stores opened at ten.
Then I went to the Quik Print shop where they personalize T-shirts and hats, et cetera. I thought about making some bumper stickers, too, but then I thought, no sense going overboard, we can always do that later.
I told the girl behind the counter that I wanted five red sweatshirts and five red T-shirts: one for me, Shelby, Barbie, Kendall, and Ashley, with our names printed on the back and The Cannibals on the front in big black letters.
"The what?" the girl said.
"The Cannibals." I wrote it down, just in case. She didn't exactly look like the world's best speller.
"How are you gonna pay for this?" she demanded.
I showed her my mother's Visa card, which I borrowed last week and forgot to give back.
"You're Elizabeth Spratt?"
"Yes," I said. There wasn't time to go into all that. "And I need the shirts today."
"It's kind of an emergency," I explained.
The girl's eyeballs rolled up like she was having a mini-seizure but she said, "Okay, come back later."
I did some shopping while I waited and it was great. The mall isn't crowded at all on school days! I got a really cute blouse and some shoes and a jacket.
Then I bought some earrings and a couple of posters and an ice cream cone, mint chip and jamoca almond fudge, and when I went back to the Quik Print place, the shirts were ready.
They looked great! I couldn't wait for The Girls to see them! School was almost over, so I asked the girl if I could use the phone. You'd have thought I wanted to borrow her toothbrush, but finally she handed it over. Luckily, the school can't afford videophones, or things might not have gone so smoothly.
I called the attendance office and said, "This is Mrs. Ramirez. May I speak to Shelby, please?"
The secretary wanted me to leave a message, but I said no, it was too personal.
Shelby finally came to the phone — the girl was giving me looks like I was phoning Hong Kong — and I said, "Hello, darling. Did you remember to wipe?" and Shelby said, "Mother, is that you?"
I told her about Cannibal and how handsome he is, and she said, "I know. I couldn't agree with you more, Mother."
Then I told her how he gave me this fabulous idea for the name of our group and she thought it was fabulous, too, and said she'd get The Girls and they'd meet me in the parking lot after school.
They were waiting when I got there: Shelby, Ashley, and one of the twins — I thought it was Kendall but it turned out to be Barbie; Kendall was practicing her synchronized swimming — and I showed them the shirts and they were like, omigod! It's like we're in a rock group or something!
"I know!" I said. "That's exactly what I was thinking!"
So then we started thinking we could be a real band. Ashley has a great voice and Kendall plays the piano, and Shelby used to play the saxophone until she saw a picture of how it makes her face look.
Barbie said, "Everybody's going to want to be in our group!"
But they can't, because we've been friends forever, practically since kindergarten, and also because most people aren't as good-looking as us, and it would make them feel insecure. I know that sounds conceited, but it's true.
The Girls formed a screen around me so I could put on my new T-shirt; then Shelby said, "Isn't that Cannibal coming?"
I ran over to his car and said, "Hi, remember me?"
"Of course," he said, smiling. His teeth are so white they could be in a gum commercial!
"How was school today?" I asked.
"Just fine," he answered. "People here are really nice."
"I have a surprise for you," I told him. "Look!"
I guess he thought I was pointing at my breasts. He looked confused.
"No," I said, "the T-shirt! The name."
"Wow," he said. "That's cool. Are you in some kind of group or something?"
"Yes." I pointed at The Girls. They waved. "But it's also kind of in honor of you."
"Me?" he said.
"Well, yeah, because you're new at school and because it's such a cool name. It's the most unusual name I've ever heard."
"What do you mean?" he persisted.
Was this guy in Special Ed or what? How could anyone that handsome be so dumb?
"That's your name, isn't it?"
"What's my name?"
"No," he said. "It's Campbell. Campbell MacLaine. It's Scottish."
"Oh," I said.
But we've decided to keep the name for our group since we've already got the shirts.CHAPTER 2
Something intensely strange happened in computer class today.
Mr. Brewer was telling his teenagers joke again — "One; he holds the lightbulb in place and expects the whole world to revolve around him, har har" — when suddenly the door's kicked open and twelve guys in black suits and really cool sunglasses rush in and throw Mr. Brewer on the floor, shouting, "Everybody stay where you are! Don't move!"
As if we would! It was better than an episode of Dead Crooks, starring all of us, especially Mr. Brewer.
At first I thought the men were terrorists who'd hold us hostage while the whole country watched us on TV and prayed. But it turns out they were the FBI and that someone's been using the school's Internet hookup to hack into the Pentagon's computers!
Then Principal Brown and Dean Schmitz ran in, and everybody yelled at everybody else, and it was real exciting and confusing.
The agents demanded to see what was on our computer screens, and Mr. Brewer cried, "For heaven's sake, they're researching college campuses!"
Which wasn't exactly true. At that moment I was checking out a psychic in LA that I'd heard about on an infomercial.
A few girls were crying and the boys looked scared, but like I kept saying, "We've got nothing to hide!" Besides, nothing terrible had happened. Apparently, a few bombers got mistakenly sent to some tiny little island, but nobody even lives there!
The FBI guys started hauling the computers and wastebaskets out of the room and Principal Brown left to call the school attorney. Meanwhile, a bunch of news guys had materialized outside the windows and were taking pictures until the FBI guys pulled down the shades. Drat.
They questioned each of us students — talk about rude. I didn't think the FBI would act like that! Then we finally got to leave. I made a quick stop in the john to check my hair. It was holding up beautifully.
The halls were jammed and people were totally freaking out. Mrs. Martin's whole class was crouched under their desks! They thought there'd been an earthquake or a bomb threat or something.
Outside, the reporters were interviewing the kids standing around, which really ticked me off. None of those kids was even in the room when it happened! Luckily, I spotted Marcy Richmond, the Channel 7 News gal. I explained that I was the school's Head Yell Leader and had been trapped in the raided classroom with the FBI, so if anybody knew what was happening, it was me.
Marcy signaled to her cameraman and he started filming. Then she said, "We're here at Hiram Johnson High School, where FBI agents have determined that the school's Internet system has been used to breach national security ... blah-blah-blah ... with a student who was trapped in the raided classroom. Your name, young lady?"
I wondered. Was this the right moment to drop the "Spratt," which sounds so, I don't know, flat and boring, and just be known by my first name alone, which is what I've always planned to do professionally?
"Tiffany Spratt," I decided, looking right into the camera. "Head Yell Leader at Hiram Johnson High."
"Tiffany, can you describe what you witnessed in the classroom?"
"I'd be glad to, Marcy," I began. "What started out like any other day was suddenly —" But at that moment, Dean Schmitz lifted me up and set me down somewhere else.
"Thank you, Miss Spratt, that will be all," he said, and then he was hogging the camera.
It was maddening.
Principal Brown was going around telling everybody to go back to class, but I drove home and put on my Cannibals sweatshirt and set the VCR to tape the five o'clock news.
My father came out of the room he uses as his office and said, "Tiffany, why does it say The Cannibals on your sweatshirt?"
There wasn't time to go into all that. "It's the name of our school mascot, Daddy."
Actually, the dolphin is our official school mascot, but all the other schools laugh at our teams and call us the Fighting Fish. Could we possibly change our mascot to The Cannibals?
"That's rather odd, isn't it?" he queried.
"I have to run, Daddy. Talk to you later," I said.
When I got back to school, the campus was an absolute madhouse, but I finally found Marcy and her cameraman. She asked me what The Cannibals meant and I explained that we were thinking about changing our school mascot. Then she said, "Tell me, Tiffany, how do you feel about Mr. Brewer?"
I explained that I was practically positive that Mr. Brewer wasn't a spy, and that he would never approve of any of his students horsing around with the Defense Department.
I knew he'd appreciate that.
Finally, the reporters and the FBI left and rumors were flying around campus. Like, whoever broke into the Pentagon — and I heard a million guesses — would probably go to prison and be on television and get offered a big job with Microsoft. Kendall even heard that the president (of our country) was flying out to personally thank the perpetrators for pointing out this potentially fatal flaw in our national security.
Come to think of it, Wally said something about the Pentagon the other night, but I thought he was talking about one of his stupid video games. Sometimes I think he loves them more than me!
At dinner tonight my parents were all worked up about the FBI raid: "What if somebody had gotten hurt?" et cetera, et cetera. But the only person who almost got hurt was my brother, who'd somehow messed up the VCR and accidentally taped an old episode of Quincy, so I never got to see myself on the news!
"It's not like I did it on purpose!" he whined. Which is probably true; he's only a freshman.
"Were you scared, Tiff?" asked my father.
"Of what?" I plucked a piece of salad off my mother's plate. She tried to stab my fingers with her fork.
Excerpted from The Cannibals by Cynthia D. Grant. Copyright © 2002 Cynthia D. Grant. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.