You're Kidding, Right?

April 6, 2008
By Kourtney Gerik, Mansfield, TX

It was another warm, sunny day in New Port, California, the perfect kind of swimming weather. Well, for anyone except me, because I’m the lifeguard. My boss hired my best friend, Josh, and me on September 1st, the day I turned thirteen. He was desperate for lifeguards because most of them had gone off to college. Anyway, it was Spring Break and I was sitting on the elevated lifeguard chair, drinking Dr. Pepper, looking out to the ocean when I saw Josh.

“Hey, Josh!” I yelled over the loud mob of people at the beach. Josh was the perfect California boy, beach-blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a gleaming smile.

“What’s up, Alice?” Josh responded.

“Not much, just making sure no one drowns on vacation,” I answered sarcastically.

“When is your next break?” he asked.

“In about five minutes, whenever Stephen comes to take over my shift so I can go on a lunch break. If you want to wait a couple of minutes, we can go back to my place and get some Hot Fries,” I offered, because I knew that was his favorite snack food in the world, and he could not resist it (even though Josh probably would have come anyway).

Josh’s face lit up and he replied, “Here comes Stephen now, once he gets here we can go get some Hot Fries!” I looked over where Josh’s eyes were focused and saw Stephen. As Stephen’s lean figure became larger, I grew more and more hungry. I think I might need more than just a snack.

“Hey!” Josh greeted Stephen as he climbed up the steps onto the lifeguard chair.

“We are going to the house, do you want anything to eat, bro?” I asked my fifteen year old brother, who was now sitting in the lifeguard chair and looking out toward the Pacific Ocean.

“Na, I just had lunch, thanks though.” Stephen answered as Josh and I walked to my house which was only a few blocks from the beach.

Once Josh had eaten his Hot Fries and I ate a Subway sandwich, we walked up to my clean, white and pink bedroom. As soon as we got into my room, I checked my iPhone to make sure I did not have volleyball or soccer practice today. (Which, of course I had volleyball practice at five so, good thing I checked my phone!) “You would be completely lost without that phone, wouldn’t you?” Josh said playfully.

“It’s my brain! I have all my school projects, soccer and volleyball practice schedules, and the times I work in here. If I did not have this,” I pointed to my phone, “I would probably go to a soccer game in my volleyball uniform when I’m supposed to be at work!” I admitted with a smile. Josh snickered. Just then I heard the garage door open and the slamming of my dad’s door to his silver BMW convertible.

“Is anyone here?” my dad, Henry asked loud enough for me to hear in my room, which is on the third floor.

“Hi Daddy! Josh and I are in my room.” I explained.

“Hey kids, why are you not at work?” Dad asked, confused.

“On break, but I need to get back soon. I have volleyball practice at five tonight, so I won’t be home for dinner,” I replied. Then Josh and I went back to the beach so I could finish up my shift.

A couple of hours later, I was changed and warming up for volleyball practice. Ever since I became captain of the team, I made sure I was at least ten minutes early. Once the girls showed up and we began practice, I realized that a few of the girls were acting strange. It seemed like they were hiding something from me, and one girl, Victoria, looked like she was about to cry. I tried not to think about it and kept going on with practice. Once volleyball practice was over, I was exhausted and ready to go home.

After I had said hello to my always cheerful, rosy-cheeked mom and animal lover dad, and told them how my day went, I jogged upstairs. I needed to check my phone to make sure I did not have soccer practice tomorrow. I looked on my dresser, where I had left it when I was on lunch break, only to find that my phone was nowhere in sight. I searched desperately in my room for my iPhone but could not find it anywhere. You’re kidding right?!

I went downstairs and asked my parents if they had seen my brain, but they hadn’t. Thinking that one of my brothers had stolen it as a joke, I raided both rooms, but soon found that my phone was nowhere in the house. My mom suggested that I call it and make sure I had not missed it in one of my brother’s messy rooms. I listened to the ringing in the receiver, but I did not hear my ring tone “Picture to Burn” ringing throughout the house as I had hoped. Giving up on any hope that I would find my phone tonight, I went to bed to get some much needed rest.

The next morning I knew I had work but was not sure what time I was supposed to start saving people’s lives. I decided to go in at ten, because I did not want to be late. When I walked into the brightly lit shack so I could go and change into my swimsuit, I heard my name. As I turned around, I saw Josh starring at me with a puzzled expression on his face. “What are you doing here so early? Your shift isn’t until noon,” Josh reminded me.

“Someone stole my iPhone and I have no idea who! I don’t know if I have soccer practice today or not, I didn’t know what time my shift was today, and I can’t remember what research project is due when we get back from spring break,” I said hurriedly. “You haven’t seen it, have you?”

“No, the last time I saw it was at your house yesterday, and you know I would never steal it. One, because I am your best friend, and two, I have my own iPhone, so there would be no need for me to steal yours,” Josh assured me.

“Can you please help me find it? Otherwise I will probably go mad. Whoever did this must have really wanted to mess up my life,” I breathed in exasperation.

“Sure, of course I’ll help you. Are you sure Stephen or Ben didn’t do it?” Josh questioned.

“Absolutely! I trashed both of their rooms last night and interrogated them this morning. I don’t have any idea who would have stolen my phone,” I stated with a hint of hysterics in my voice.

“You have volleyball practice at 6:30 tonight; you told me your schedule a couple of days ago. So go home for awhile, and then come back up here to work. After that go home and change. Then go to volleyball practice. Chill out, you’ll be fine. I will help you find the thief, and you can get your phone back,” Josh instructed in a calming voice.

“Thanks, see ya, “ I replied, reassured. I waved goodbye to Josh and ran home.

Five hours later, I was changing for volleyball practice, but not really noticing what I was actually putting on. I just could not stop thinking about who could have stolen my phone or why they would have stolen it. Was someone jealous? Did they want revenge? But for what? Did someone just really not like me? No, no, no, I have to stop thinking about this, right now I need to only think about volleyball. When I got to the sports complex, most of the team was already there. As I got closer to the team, I noticed that they looked like they were about to burst out laughing. I looked down at myself and realized that I had put on my soccer clothes instead of volleyball. Oh well, I did not have time to change now.

About midway through practice, I realized that Destiny, Chloe, and Victoria were all acting a bit odd. Last practice they acted this way as well, how abnormal. None of them talked to me unless absolutely necessary, and they never made eye contact. I tried to not let this bother me, but I wondered if this had something to do with the phone incident. Knowing Josh, he probably had already told all of the volleyball and soccer girls about my iPhone. Stop it now! I must stop thinking about my stupid phone. We have a big game coming up!

Once practice was over and we were all in the locker room changing, Chloe, the snottiest girl on the team, suggested that we go to CJ’s Coffeehouse. Most of the team wanted to go, but I told them I had stuff to do. Really, all I needed to do was talk to Josh, because I knew either Victoria, Chloe, or Destiny had stolen my phone.

“Hey, Josh. Can you do something for me?” I inquired over the phone.

“Yah, sure. What would you like me to do?” I could almost hear him smiling.

“Can you go to CJ’s? I am positive that one of the volleyball girls stole my phone. I would put my money on Destiny, she has never really liked me. Try to remain unseen and get as much information as possible,” I explained.

“Ooo, sounds like fun! I’m hungry anyway, so I get to spy on girls and eat at the same time! Those are two of my favorite things to do,” Josh squealed with excitement.

“Thanks, they should already be there by the time you get across town. Bring your phone and call my house phone. I can listen to their conversation while I’m working out,” I instructed him.

“Sure thing! I’m on my way over there now. So I should be getting some girly gossip soon!” Josh exclaimed.

I chuckled into the phone, then said, “Talk to ya later!” and I hung up. I went down to the weight room, which we had put in our basement a couple of years ago. I waited anxiously for the phone to ring, I paced back and forth, the house phone clutched in my hand, knowing that I should probably be stretching but just could not stand still. Finally, I heard it! The phone rang, and I pressed the talk button quickly. It sounded like Victoria was carrying on the conversation. They were just rambling about guys for awhile, then moved onto what color they should highlight each others hair etc, etc. Then I heard my name, I was so surprised that I almost dropped a thirty pound weight on my foot. The co-captain of the team, Annasophia, said something about how she was really sorry that my iPhone had been stolen. Followed by lots of, I know, that’s so terrible, I feel so bad for her, that kind of thing. Then I heard Destiny say something that was really disturbing.

“I heard that Jessica Monroe stole it. You know, the one from that soccer team she is captain of,” Destiny accused. I was shocked, not just by the words but the way she said them. It hurt me. It sounded like she did not like the fact that I was on a soccer team. It almost made me angry, but since I was working out, I put all of my energy into it instead. That was all I needed to know. Jessica had stolen my phone and she was going to pay back for what she had done to me.

“Thanks, Josh,” I breathed with gratitude.

“Certainly, I had fun! I had two bottles of Fuze and lots of fruit snacks,” Josh rejoiced.

“I’ll see you at work tomorrow. What time do I work tomorrow by the way?” I questioned.

“Nine, and you have volleyball practice at noon, remember you have a big game coming up this weekend!” Josh reminded me.

“Thanks so much, I owe you one. Actually I owe you like three, but whatever,” I said in a smart alecy voice.

“Bye Alice.”

“Bye Josh.”

The next day went by very quickly. I kept thinking of good pranks to pull on Jessica. But every time I thought of a good joke, I always told myself that I am a nice person and I should not do that. After volleyball practice was over that day, I took the net down by myself and then walked into the locker room. Almost everyone was gone, but then I saw it! Destiny had my phone in her hands!

“What in the world do you think you’re doing!” I shrieked angrily.

She was shocked that I was in the locker room, clearly I had taken her by surprise. “Nothing! Just well, ummm, here’s your phone back,” Destiny cried and ran out of the door. I stood in shock for who knows how long. Once I realized what I had just witnessed was real, I called Josh right away. I told him as quickly as I could everything that had just happened. After that, I called everyone that was in my address book on my phone, to tell them the same thing. All the volleyball girls said that they thought Destiny should be kicked off the team for lying to everyone and stealing my phone. As captian, I was the only one who had the authority to take anyone off the team. Even though it hurt me, I knew I had to do it. So I called Destiny and told her the news. Everyone stopped talking to her once we got back from Spring Break. Every person in the school seemed to know what happened and shunned her for it. Destiny kept trying to talk to me and I just kept ignoring her. I knew it was wrong, but I could not face her. I could never trust her again. After about a week of disregarding her, I finally let Destiny talk to me.

“I’m sorry! I was just jealous and I hated you being on the soccer team, having a job and getting straight A’s…,” Destiny admitted,

I cut her off, “I just don’t understand why you did it. I mean, even if you were jealous of me, that is no reason to steal a person’s phone,” I accused her. “And what does me having a job and getting good grades in school have anything to do with you being so resentful?”

“You’re always so busy. You come to the volleyball games and practices, but if we go somewhere as a team after a game or practice you never come. You always have to go to work or soccer. It infuriates me sometimes because you never get to be with the team. I know I should not have stolen your phone or lied. I shouldn’t have done any of it. I hope you will forgive me,” Destiny said with tears in her eyes.

“So you stole my phone because I am always busy?” I questioned.

“Yeah, I thought that if you thought one of the soccer girls did it, you would quit soccer and spend more time with the volleyball team or at least miss some of the practices, I know that thing is like your brain,” Destiny confessed.

“Well, I forgive you. I cannot hold grudges. And I will try to come to more of the volleyball outings if I have a chance, as long as you promise to not to steal my iPhone again,” I said with a smile.

“Thank you so much! I promise I will never steal anything from anyone ever! Come on let’s go get some ice cream on me,” Destiny celebrated.

And just like that, I had my phone back, and an honest friend back as well. This experience woke me up to how busy I really was for a thirteen year old. So I decided to not work everyday and play soccer for half of the year, and volleyball for the other half. That way, I actually had time to get my full eight hours of sleep and be able to hang out with my friends for the first time in a long time.

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