Chapter 7: Planning and Springing the Trap Words so far 1104: RL 4.2 My hints about the wart must have been working with Bubba, because he ignored me the rest of the day. Ashley understood now about not talking to each other at school, at least for a while. Not even standing by each other. So we had no communication. By the time I got on the bus, I was about to burst with the need to talk about what had happened. Ashley was sitting with Linda this time, but she motioned over her shoulder with her chin as Linda chattered. I saw that there was an empty seat not far behind them. I realized now that she’d sat with Linda because Linda is the first one off the bus. That would give us almost 15 minutes to talk. As soon as Linda got off, Ashley moved back next to me. She immediately got out her diagram from yesterday. I looked at it. [insert diagram here xxx] Diagram: A neat square for the room. Within: A small rectangle she had added near the door, labeled Dict) with little Ps around it, and attack symbols (maybe arrows). Mr.H = Mr. Horner near front of rooms with many more Ps and attack symbols; xxxspeaks of dictionaries, P for pigs, a line meaning attack (arrows all along it), lines showing movement (single arrow at end of line) PL for Pig Leader, k for kids. Mr.S = Mr. Starr; She has 3 lines by each element, with B, D, and A (before, during, and after the attack) It was so much simpler and to the point than mine. Ashley was focused on looking for the pigs’ motive, the reason that they had attacked. She had made a speech bubble next to the BEFORE line next to Mr. Horner’s symbol. It simply said, Dictionaries. “What’s that about?” I asked. “Think about the last thing he said before we started hearing the ceiling noises, Ramon.” Suddenly it made sense. “Wow! So that’s how you knew it would be the library,” I said softly. “Well, I didn’t even think of this until you mentioned the destruction squad at the dictionary cart in the back of the class,” she answered. “Have you made notes of everything you could remember from today’s attack?” She was getting out another piece of paper. “Well, no,” I admitted. “But I’ve gone over it in my mind about a million times.” “OK,” she took charge. “Don’t look at my notes yet. Just close your eyes and give me a list of everything you noticed that you think might be important. If it’s not on my list, I’ll add it, then we’ll go over whole list to see if it makes us think of anything else.” “Well,” I began. “I noticed the pigs were mostly focused on the dictionaries and encyclopedias, even after the wolf showed up and started eating them. I just hadn’t made the connection that the last thing Mr. Horner said before…wait a minute!” the school is not going to replace them, because we’re starting to do all that stuff on computers.” “That’s right,” she jumped in. “The last thing Ms. McAllister said before we heard the ceiling noise was about the dictionary she picked up. I’ve got all that, so what else?” “Exactly!” she almost yelled. “I don’t know yet how that leader stuff fits in, but I’m almost positive that was part of the message, AND,” she paused, dramatically, “the next attack will be tomorrow morning in the computer lab.” “The leader kept very calm when…” A shiver forced me to stop as an image of the wolf crunching those pigs came into my mind. I had to just sit for a few seconds trying to calm myself. “Go on, Ramon,” Ashley said in a comforting voice. “It’s OK now. Finish your thought.” She sounded like Ms. Goldman, the school counselor. “He stared straight at the wolf and then actually closed his eyes. He took a deep breath and it seemed as though I could feel him becoming more powerful.” “That’s good! I hadn’t noticed that, she said, scribbling furiously. Then what?” she prompted. “The sprinklers came on and the wolf started fading. The leader stayed focused on him until he was gone.” “Wow!” Ashley exclaimed. “I missed all of that with the leader. Good work!” She continued writing. “Anything else you can think of?” “Just a thought,” I said. “Those dictionaries and encyclopedias are getting awfully old anyway. I think “I don’t get it.” “Think, Ramon.” After a minute it came to me. Mr. Horner had said we were going to the lab first thing on Thursday to continue learning to use an online dictionary and thesaurus for our writing. We would be going to the opera assembly straight from the lab. “Oh! I get it.” I could see that she was proud of herself for being such a good detective. The more I got to know Ashley, the more I liked her… as a friend, of course. “So we’ve got a whole day before that happens. Do you have a plan?” Now I was getting excited. “Not yet,” she answered. “Let’s think about it.” We sat in silence. Ashley was doodling on the edge of her diagram as she pondered. “Hey,” I said. “Are we done with the remembering part?” The bus was rounding the last corner before my house, pushing me against her shoulder. “Why? Is there something else?” “I’m not sure if it’s important, but the leader was standing in a spot on that bookshelf that really didn’t get much water from the sprinklers. He hardly even got wet, and he just stood there watching until all the other pigs were out the door.” “The wolf was completely gone about the same time the last surviving pig scurried out the door. That’s when the leader looked at me one more time before he leaped over the entire class and bolted out the door himself.” We were coming up on my stop. The bus lurched to a stop and I sprang up, noticing the driver watching me in the mirror. I hoisted my backpack onto my shoulder. Ashley looked up at me without really taking her face away from her doodling. Because her eyes had to angle up, her eyebrows went up too. “Text me if you come up with anything more tonight. Otherwise, we can talk more on the bus tomorrow morning.” “OK,” I answered, but I didn’t like that idea. “Look,” I said across the rail as I went down the steps to the curb, “It wouldn’t hurt to text first, but then we could actually just talk on the phone. She smiled. “Text first,” I shouted as the bus door swished shut.