The Red Blazer Girls

The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil Read Free Book Online

Book: The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael D. Beil
and I pounce on the box, elbows flying as we pull the books out one by one while Leigh Ann looks on in wonder, not quite sure what she has gotten herself into.
    “Thirty-one. Thirty-seven. Forty-five. Forty-four. Eleven. Twelve, seventeen, EIGHTEEN!” Margaret announces.
“Modern English Drama.”
She hugs it to her chest. Unlike the others, this volume is still wearing its plastic, standard library-issue dust cover, brittle and yellowed with age, and held in place by even yellower cellophane tape.
    “The moment of truth, ladies and gentlemen.” Mr. Eliot imitates a drumroll. “Spotlight, please.”
    “Aw, just open it.”
    Slowly, cautiously, as if she is afraid a snake is going to pop out of it, Margaret lifts the cover. Her eyes brighten, and her lips curl into an ever-so-slight smile. “Oh, my.”
    “What? Let me see,” I say, anxious.
    She holds the open book before us. Tucked inside the cover of volume eighteen of the Harvard Classics is another cream-colored envelope, exactly like the one that contained the birthday card! Written in Everett Harriman's distinctive cursive is the name Caroline.
    “Hmmm. The adventure continues. Is this—” Mr. Eliot starts, holding up the envelope.
    “Exactly what we are looking for?” Margaret finishes. “Yes, I believe it is.” She takes the book in her hands and begins to leaf through the pages.
    “Oh my God,” I say. “What if there's a map in there directing her to like a million dollars or something?”
    “Yeah! We could be stinkin' rich. Mwha-ha-ha!”Rebecca laughs maniacally as Leigh Ann wisely backs away.
    “Whatever is in that envelope belongs to your Ms. Harriman or to her daughter, not to you,” Mr. Eliot pointedly reminds her.
    “Who's to know?” Rebecca responds. “There are no live witnesses—unless you count the mold.”
    “What about me?” Mr. Eliot asks. “How are you going to keep me from talking, Mr. Poe? Shackle me in chains and build a brick wall around me?”
    “Oh, lighten up, Mr. E! And who's Mr. Poe?”
    “As in Edgar Allan, you dope,” says Margaret, placing the envelope back inside the book. “He wrote ‘The Cask of Amontillado,’ the story he's referring to. And we're not even going to open this envelope until we get to Ms. Harriman's.”
    “My first and only chance for easy money, cruelly dashed by an honest friend—and a teacher who calls me mister.”
    Leigh Ann shakes her head in disbelief. “I'm just amazed that the envelope is still there. All that time, and not
one
person checked out, or even opened, that book.”
    “I know. And it's a Harvard Classic.” Margaret looks inside the cover at the pocket where the old checkout card rests, undisturbed for so many years. “This book has been in the library for almost fifty years, and it has been checked out exactly once.”
    “Are you sure we can't take a peek at what's insidethe envelope now?” Leigh Ann asks. “I mean, aren't you
dying
of curiosity?”
    “Think of it like Anne Frank's diary; it's a …” I pause, searching for the right words. “It's a relic, a historical document. We owe it to future generations! It should be read. No, it MUST be read!”
    Mr. Eliot will have none of it. “Nice try, Sophie, but remember, it was Otto Frank, Anne's father, who made the decision to publish the diary. Not a bunch of strangers.”
    We start to leave, but stop when Mr. Eliot clears his throat.
    “Ladies, are you forgetting something?”
    We look around the ransacked boxes, expecting to see a book bag or something else that one of us is about to leave behind.
    “The books, ladies. We're going to leave them just the way we found them.” He looks at the carton containing the Harvard Classics and shakes his head. “This really is a shame, having these wonderful books hidden away, rotting. I can't believe they can't find any room for them upstairs.”
    “You have space in your bookcases,” Leigh Ann suggests.
    “Hmmm. Maybe I do. Okay, leave the mess for now.

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