Good Behavior Part 2
Xiao Dan had never smelled anything worse than the boy’s locker room.
She stopped herself from gagging and sucked in a breath. She had to focus. She needed to find the papers.
Xiao Dan always knew there was something wrong with this town. She knew that from when she was harassed about eating cats and dogs on the elementary school playground. From overhearing people in math class saying that they should ask Xiao Dan about the answers. From their shocked faces when
Xiao Dan told them that she flunked the latest quizzes.
But this? A bet?
That’s something Xiao Dan never saw coming.
Xiao Dan sifted through the blue lockers filled with backpacks, crinkled notebooks, and sneakers. She tore through the dog-eared textbooks and ripped jeans for hints. But all she found was herself coughing at the stench of clothing drenched in sweat and cologne.
Nothing in the lockers.
Xiao Dan put her hands on her hips.
If she were a book used to keep a tally of girls, where would she be?
If she were a vile teenage boy, where would she hide evidence?
“And this is the boy’s locker room. We renovated it last summer. Our boy’s kept winning championships, so we figured they should at least have a nicer place to keep their stuff.”
Xiao Dan’s hands balled into fists.
Xiao Dan ran into one of the showers and locked the door. She leaned against the white wall, squeezing her eyes shut and steadying her breath.
“Yikes,” Principal Gagnon said. “I apologize for the smell. You know how teenage boys are.”
“Oh, it is not an issue Dave,” a male voice said. “It’s only marginally better at the college level.”
Principal Gagnon laughed. “Well, I am glad to know it’s not just us.”
Xiao Dan rolled her eyes.
Principal Gagnon was talking to a scout.
She could picture Principal Gagnon now: his sweaty bald head, thinning eyebrows, and fake smile. He was forcing laughter and probably using too many hand gestures.
“This is a great school you’ve built, Dave. I’m impressed,” the man said. “The numbers are incredible. Both varsity football and hockey winning the state championship for the past five years? And baseball and lacrosse the past three? You’re not giving other schools a chance.”
“What can I say? Our kids have real talent. Have you looked at our test scores? We’re number one in the region and number four in the state. What’s fostered here is very special.”
The man clicked his pen. “Yes, it is. But, Dave, you know that professionalism and attitude–”
“Gregory, you don’t need to worry. The kids here are good. Everyone is friends. You know our town. The parents are working class people.”
Xiao Dan stopped herself from laughing. Working class? Only a small percentage of families here were actually working class. In middle school, Xiao Dan got made fun of over the fact her parents owned a Chinese restaurant. Almost everyone in her school were children of CEOs, big real estate agents, doctors, and lawyers.
“This is a very nice town, indeed,” the scout agreed.
“Exactly,” Principal Gagnon said. “This isn’t like the city. We pride ourselves on our good behavior.
Everyone has excellent manners. I can prove it to you. This Friday is homecoming. You and some other scouts can observe the school and then come to the game. You’ll see what I mean.”
Did Principal Gagnon know he was kidding himself?
Would the scouts believe that if they knew the truth?
“Okay,” the scout said. “I’ll be here.”
Principal Gagnon clapped. “Great! Now let’s go to the weight rooms. The varsity hockey team is spending their off-season training. They’re very dedicated.”
The man chuckled as Principal Gagnon walked out of the locker room. The door slammed shut and Xiao Dan’s shoulders relaxed.
Principal Gagnon was ready to suspend Xiao Dan after he found out she overheard conversation from the locker room. She didn’t want to imagine his reaction if he found her in here.
Xiao Dan checked the time and swore.
The boys would be coming back in ten minutes.
Where the Hell was this book?
She swung the door open and stepped forward.
A tile cracked.
Xiao Dan paused.
She looked down.
The tile was loose.
Xiao Dan knelt. Her hands traced around the white and blue floor. She dug her nails under the ceramic tile and lifted it up.
Inside were folded papers stapled together.
Xiao Dan carefully opened them and smoothed out the crinkles.
The first page was the contract.
This year, the varsity boy’s hockey team will compete to see who can sleep with the most ethnic minority girls in school.
The winner will get a $100 gift card to a place of their choice.
The following pages were the team roster.
Beside each boy were tally marks and the name of each girl.
Xiao Dan pulled out her phone and called Matilda.
Matilda answered after one ring.
A tear slipped down Xiao Dan’s cheek.
“I found the papers.”
“Are you sure we’re allowed to use this much paper?” Xiao Dan asked.