Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls

BOOK: Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls
 
RAZORBILL
 
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M4V 3B2 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada, Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,
Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany,
Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank,
Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
 
Copyright 2005 © Bennett Madison
All rights reserved
 
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Madison, Bennett.
Lulu Dark can see through walls / by Bennett Madison.
p. cm.
Summary: When someone steals her purse and her identity, high-school junior and reluctant girl sleuth
Lulu Dark investigates.
eISBN : 978-1-440-67854-7
[1. Identity theft—Fiction 2. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 3. Mystery and detective stories.
4. Humorous stories.] I. Title.
PZ7.M26Lu 2005
[Fic]—dc22
2004026073
 
 
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For the real Lulu Darks: Emily and Lucy.
You could both be nicer, but you could not be good-er.
ONE
MY NAME IS LULU DARK. I AM NOT the girl detective type.
I’m not going to name names, but I know a thing or two about those amateur sleuths, the ones you read about in books, and they couldn’t be more different from me.
I do not speak Arabic or Chinese or German or even Spanish like they do. I speak English, and the only French phrases I know are things like, “I go to the beach,” or, “We go to the pool, yes?” I don’t do jujitsu, I don’t have a photographic memory, and I’ve never skydived. I can’t water-ski and I don’t want to. If there was a criminal escaping on water skis with a satchel full of priceless diamonds, I would certainly not chase after her in any way. What I would do is yawn and be glad that they weren’t my diamonds because for one thing, I don’t have any diamonds. My dad has a lot of valuable paintings, but if an evil crook carried them off across a tightrope, it would be no big deal because he’s a famous painter and he’d just paint some more. No death-defying pursuit necessary.
I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I believe in truth, and the truth is that if old Mrs. Banneker next door told me that her poor, beloved cat was missing, it wouldn’t occur to me to be intrigued. I wouldn’t say, “That sounds mysterious, Mrs. Banneker, I’ll go investigate.” Instead I would say, “That’s too bad, Mrs. Banneker. Good thing you’ve still got fifteen cats left.”
Of course, there’s no old Mrs. Banneker next door anyway.
Please. What universe do these girl detectives live in? In fact, the apartment next door is occupied by this yuppie couple who have never even introduced themselves. God knows what their names are. One time, though, I did hear them having phone sex when the signals on our portable phones crossed. Then I went and took like the longest shower of my entire life.
You must be wondering why I’m telling you all this. I must sound like a total jerk, dissing on imaginary Mrs. Banneker and some yuppies I don’t even know and . . . well, you probably know the girl detective’s name.
Pardon me if I’m peevish, but you would be too if you’d found yourself hiding out in a Dumpster at three in the morning over some petty amateur sleuth crap that you did not—repeat,
not
—sign up for. But what can you do when the criminals are practically lining up to bug you, and I’m talking
you personally?
When you’re a girl like me, you fight back. Which, of course, is how it all started.
 
It was a perfect moment. You know the type. That feeling you get every now and then when—just for a second—everything seems so ideal? Charlie, Daisy, and I were in our usual booth at Big Blonde—the slightly elevated one, right by the pool table. We were a little bit bored. It had been ages since anything interesting had happened, and I, for one, didn’t have high hopes for the evening. We’d been having the same exact type of fun every Friday night for months. Why should this one be any different?
Well. It was.
We were at the club to see this band called the Many Handsomes, and apparently everyone else in Halo City had the same idea. The place was totally packed with people, including, it seemed, half the kids from Orchard Academy, where Daisy, Charlie, and I are juniors. Everyone was buzzing around, scoping each other out, doing their usual thing.
“This band is going to blow up, like, any day if this many people are on to them,” Charlie said. “Is there anyone who’s
not
here?”
I glanced around the room. Our booth had the best view in the whole place, and Charlie had a point. There were so many people at Big Blonde it was hard to pick any one person out of the crowd. It was a faceless throng—my favorite kind. But as I let my gaze drift through the mass, I started to recognize a few faces—one by one, and then more.
Adam Wahl, Charlie’s friend, was sitting at the coffee bar with all the other guys from the jazz band, and Trina Rockwell and Blair Wright, the two most popular girls in the school, were standing by the bathrooms, examining themselves in the mirrors of their compacts while they gossiped with each other.
“Look,” Charlie said. “Even Berlin is here.”
Berlin Silver had just transferred to our school in January. When Charlie mentioned her, I followed the direction of his gaze, peering over the rims of my glasses.
Berlin was standing by the jukebox, studying the selection and shaking her butt in an approximation of rhythm. She was blond and leggy and practically as tall as me, which was nice because it made me feel like less of an overgrown freak.
“Ugh,” Daisy groaned, shaking her head ruefully at the sight of Berlin. “Berlin Silver has a terrible case of the vile juju. Beware. Wherever she goes, only trouble can follow. It is a matter of bad karma.”
I laughed. “You’re mixing your mysticisms. Karma or juju: you only get to pick one. And I don’t see why you have such a problem with Berlin. What has she ever done to you?”
“Nothing. That’s the point. Neither of you guys notice it because she sucks up to you.
You
both have money and important parents. But when it comes to a scholarship student, she has no reason to acknowledge me at all. I don’t think she’s ever uttered a word in my direction.”
Daisy likes almost everyone, so I always listen up when she has a nasty feeling about someone. In this case, I felt bad. I hate it when the snobbier people at our private school treat Daisy differently because she’s not, like, a sultan’s daughter or something.
“I’ll take your word for it,” I told her. “Sorry I never noticed. No one gets away with being a jerk to my friends.”
Charlie was listening to the conversation, taking it all in with careful consideration. He looked across the crowd at Berlin appraisingly. “I’ll tell you one thing,” he said. “Snob or not, that girl is hot.”
“Whatever,” I replied. “She’s just your usual run-of-the-mill blonde.”
Berlin had turned from the jukebox and was dancing all by herself. She was wearing a blue sequined tube top and skintight black pants. She had her hands over her head and was hopping from side to side, swaying precariously on her enormous espadrilles. It was a weird dance, but I had to admit it was sort of cute.
“It’s a fact.” Charlie shrugged. “There’s not a guy at school who’s not into her.”
“Except you.” Daisy ribbed him with her elbow. “Right?”
“Right,” he said unconvincingly.
I twirled a chunk of hair around my pinky. “It is funny how she doesn’t quite fit in, though,” I mused. “Think about it. She’s rich, well dressed, and pretty. It seems like the perfect formula for head-cheerleader-style popularity. But aside from having the boys drooling, she’s not exactly the queen of Orchard Academy.”
“Well, she is a little weird,” Charlie pointed out. “And all she ever talks about is how her great-grandfather invented the aluminum can.”
“It’s like she learned how to be a person from watching
Dynasty
reruns on cable,” I agreed.
“Exactly,” Daisy said. “As a matter of fact, I predict that she’s only here because French
Vogue
says this band is fashionable.”
“I canceled my French
Vogue
subscription, so I wouldn’t know,” I said. “But you have to admit they’re on to something. Look around. Everyone in this room can tell that something big is going to happen tonight.”
I was sort of right, it turned out, although in the end it didn’t have much to do with the band.
The three of us scanned the crowd together, taking it all in. It was nice to be just the three of us, all calm and easy in the middle of that pandemonium.
Then Daisy whispered, “Don’t flip out, Lulu. Your favorite people are here.”
I groaned. Daisy didn’t have to say the words. I knew exactly who she meant.
Rachel Buttersworth-Taylor and Marisol Bloom were making their way into the place, glued to each other as usual. They tossed their ponytails around, laughing and chatting up everyone they saw.
Even though they’re my total enemies, there was such a good vibe in the club that I almost smiled when I saw them working the crowd. I caught myself just in time, though, holding my frown and rolling my eyes. When you have enemies, it’s important not to go soft about them.
“Lulu.” Daisy’s voice was firm. “No fighting with Rachel Buttersworth-Taylor tonight. Okay?”
“Maybe you should try liking them,” Charlie suggested. “They actually can be somewhat cool.”
“What?” I snapped, annoyed. “You want me to like them? This feud with Rachel and Marisol isn’t even my fault. You both know that!”
It’s so silly to think about now, but it all started over a boy.
Rachel and I have known each other since kindergarten, but we haven’t always been enemies. In fact, we never paid much attention to each other at all until seventh grade, when she started “going with” this guy named Sam Mason. That’s what you call it in seventh grade because you’re obviously not
going out.
There’s no
out
to go to—except for maybe the playground, which isn’t all that romantic.
BOOK: Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls
12.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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