Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sleepover Friends #5: Lauren's Big Mix-Up

By Susan Saunders. Published 1988.

The girls get to travel into “The City” by themselves, to stay with Stephanie’s grandmother, who is pretty much the shit. She’s awesome.

Stephanie is excited for the others to meet her old friend, Tiffany. But Tiffany is just a major bitch; she’s totally condescending to the other girls, including Stephanie. Stephanie, however, doesn’t seem to see it. Kate sure does, though, and eventually tells Tiffany off. She gets mad and goes home.

Now Stephanie’s mad at Kate, and a bit at the other girls, too. But they make up over spying on people through their windows with a pair of binoculars. Creepers.

Their class at school is writing in journals as an exercise. Lauren goes to write about the day in hers, but it turns out to not be her suitcase, but somebody else’s. The girls search through it looking for a name, but they only find a box with “C. Harkness” written on it. Inside the box is a reel-to-reel tape.

Lauren is able to borrow some clothes, and they get Stephanie’s grandmother calling around to all her friends to borrow a player to play the tape on, in case there’s a clue as to who it belongs to. Lauren calls all the Harknesses in the phone book, but isn’t able to talk to everyone. She takes the addresses with her, and the other girls bring their journals. Then the girls go shopping by themselves, and then meet Stephanie’s grandmother for lunch. Stephanie picks up what she thinks is her journal, but it’s actually Kate’s. And Kate let out some hella steam about Tiffany and Stephanie in her journal. So of course, Stephanie gets mad, and runs out of the restaurant.

Her grandmother says she’ll put Stephanie in a cab back to the apartment. But Patti insists she should go, too, and the girls will go to the historical museum. Of course, just let ten-year-olds wander around by themselves. Oy.

The museum is closed, so the girls try going to the addresses Lauren has, but they don’t get much out of that. Then when they try to catch a bus back to the apartment, Patti gets on the bus, but it leaves without Lauren and Kate. Then the two of them find a dog under a car. They catch a taxi back to the apartment, taking the dog with them. They remember seeing a flyer about a missing dog.

When they get back, Stephanie is working on getting a reel-to-reel player to work, to listen to the tape. It’s almost all empty, except for the end. It sounds like someone having an argument, and then a bang, and it ends. They consider that it could be a gunshot, but figure it’s probably not.

They call the number on the flyer, and the woman, Elizabeth, comes over right away. It is her dog, Max. She offers to give them a reward, but the girls refuse. So instead, she says she’s the light operator for a play, and says the girls can come watch the show from backstage. Um, you might want to check with your stage manager first. But the girls accept.

Except for Stephanie. She says she’ll go to dinner, and then ice skating with Tiffany and her grandmother. Guess she’s still mad.

At least they get some theatre stuff right. They girls are surprised at how calm it is backstage. And it actually has the stage manager calling q’s to the light op. So, from a theatre geek, good job, Susan Saunders!

In second act, the girls hear something familiar. What they heard on the tape is actually dialogue from the play. When they tell Elizabeth afterwards, she says that the author often tapes himself reading from his scripts, to see how it sounds. He doesn’t live in the city, but he stops by the theater sometimes, and she’ll give him Lauren’s info the next time he does.

Stephanie isn’t happy when they get back. Tiffany stood them up. But now at least Stephanie sees her for the little bitch that she is.

Back home in Riverhurst, on Monday, Lauren gets called to the principal’s office. She gets nervous, but it’s all good. The school had a call from C. Harkness! He’ll put her suitcase on a bus, if she’ll send his back the same way.

Lauren asks how he found her, and he had seen “Lauren” and “Riverhurst” on the front of the journal, and then “Kate”, “Patti”, and “Stephanie” on the inside. Then he called to school to see if they could help. Lauren says of course they could, everyone knows the Sleepover Friends.

If I were a parent, I’d be really concerned about the security at the school if they’re so willing to help a complete stranger locate a kid. Kinda scary.

o   Lauren says that in Riverhurst, people knew them well enough to not be annoyed by phone call at midnight. I find that doubtful.

o   Lauren says she’s too old for a childhood disease. Y’all are ten!

o   Harkness just makes me think of Captain Jack Harkness.

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