Sunday, January 22, 2017
All the students looked at each other but no one answered.
“Then I will assume it belongs to all of you so this entire class gets an F,” Ms. Ortiz said.
The class groaned in unison.
“Unless the owner of this comes forward by the end of school day tomorrow, everyone in here gets a zero.”
“We need to figure out whose cheat sheet that was,” Bobbo said as he, Max, and Brooke walked through the halls to their next class. “Do you think Ms. Ortiz will let us look at the handwriting so we can point fingers?”
“Come on, Bobbo,” Max began, “even if we know whose handwriting it is, us saying that isn’t going to help. The person needs to come forward or that zero isn’t going away.”
“Brooke, are you in?” Bobbo asked.
“No. Max is right. The person needs to come forward or it doesn’t matter.”
“You of all people,” Bobbo shook his head. “What about your 4.0?”
Brooke and Max went into their class but Bobbo stayed in the hall. “Psst. Griffin,” a voice said from behind him. “I heard what you said. I’m in.”
Bobbo turned around. “Shala?”
“I can’t afford a zero on this test. You can’t maintain a C-average with a zero on your grade card. I say we ask Ms. Ortiz to show us the cheat sheet and we...persuade the cheater to come forward,” Shala punched a fist into her hand.
“I don’t think we need to go that far,” Bobbo said.
“You play your way, I’ll play mine,” Shala growled.
After school, Bobbo and Shala went to Ms. Ortiz. “Ms. Ortiz, can we see the cheat sheet you found today?” Bobbo asked.
“Why?” she asked. “Was it yours?”
“What? No,” Bobbo exclaimed.
“We want to see if we recognize the handwriting,” Shala said, matter-of-factly. Ms. Ortiz sighed and handed the paper to Bobbo and Shala. “I don’t recognize it,” Shala said.
“Sweet. I got question nine right,” Bobbo said.
“No, you didn’t,” Ms. Ortiz said.
“What?” Shala asked.
“Several of the answers on the cheat sheet are wrong.”
“So the perp made a cheat sheet that had wrong answers?”
“It was probably a mistake. The cheat sheet does match up with the study guide we did. I rearrange the questions on the test. Instead of writing down A for number one, they should’ve written down ‘transcendentalism.’”
“Sweet. I got that one right,” Bobbo said.
“No, you didn’t,” Ms. Ortiz said.
“We’re no closer to figuring this out,” Shala said. “We all may just have to take a zero.”
“No, I refuse to break my C-average streak,” Bobbo said. “Maybe it’s time to start questioning some suspects.”
“Was it yours?” Bobbo demanded when he and Shala found Trent playing basketball in the park.
“Was what mine?” Trent asked.
“The cheat sheet that Ms. Ortiz found in class. The whole class is going to get zeroes unless you fess up,” Bobbo growled through clenched teeth.
“Sucks to be you. The cheat sheet can’t be mine.”
“I’m not in your class, moron,” Trent said. “I expect this from him, but you Shala?”
“Sorry. I wanted to see where he was going with this.”
“Well, that was my idea. What do you have?” Bobbo asked.
“I think we should just go home. We don’t have any idea who it is and it’ll be dinner soon.”
“Yeah. We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas,” Bobbo said.
“I guess we’ll all just take zeroes,” Shala sighed. “I’ll see you at school, Bobbo. This was fun. Wish we would’ve been better at it.”
“I wish we had been, too. Not just for our grade but so we didn’t look like complete idiots,” Bobbo said. “See you, Shala.”
“Class,” Ms. Ortiz began, “I have decided not to give you all zeroes because of the cheat sheet I found yesterday. As Bobbo and Shala made me realize yesterday that most of the answers on the cheat sheet were wrong so it’s not like anyone could’ve gotten a perfect score.”
Bobbo and Shala perked up at this. “We actually did something?” Bobbo exclaimed.
“Well, I said the answers were wrong. You pointed out that the cheater would pass.”
“We did something!” Bobbo exclaimed again and he and Shala air high-fived from across the room.
“I wonder whose cheat sheet that was,” Max said, between bites of his pizza, at lunch.
“I don’t know,” Shala said.
“And I guess we’ll never know,” Bobbo said, ominously.
In Ms. Ortiz’s classroom, the cheat sheet was lying crumpled up in the trash can next to her desk. Ms. Ortiz took a sip of her coffee and frowned. “Mm. Cold,” she said and dropped the cup into the trash. The lid popped off and coffee spilled, completely soaking the cheat sheet.
“I guess we’ll never know…” he said, again, ominously.