Guest author Kylie wrote this doozy when she was in fourth grade, just a few short years ago. No, really, you guys. Kylie just turned 14. Fourteen! When I was 14, the Internet didn't even EXIST.* But if it had, I certainly wouldn't have invited some 32-year-old woman to make fun of me on it. So, hats off to you, Kylie! And as usual, when I say "hats," I mean Claudia Kishi–style fedoras with, like, cavemen and Day-Glo dinosaurs hot-glued on them. But you knew that.
[*Okay, whatever. Technically the Internet existed. But in 1991, I had as much knowledge of its existence as the dudes from Color Me Badd had of mine. In other words, none.]
Welcome to Tademy Academy, a not-so-cautionary tale of hazing among the middle school elite, Kylie expertly divides her plagiarism efforts between two sources: the Australian tween TV show The Sleepover Club (based on the British book series of the same name) and the American book series The Clique. Kylie took the characters from The Sleepover Club (who are, surprisingly, NOT named Lauren, Kate, Stephanie, and Patti—hi, Britstralians, I'm onto you) and inserted them into the basic plot of The Clique: rich-bitch private school girls spend equal amounts of time harassing their classmates and obsessing over clothing. And YES, that means there are enough outfit descriptions here to instantly qualify Kylie as a Baby-Sitters Club ghostwriter. (Congratulations, Kylie! Just make sure you hit your jumpsuit and slouch socks quotas in every book.) Then she tossed everything together and set it at a boarding school, because it is a well-known fact that sending your characters to boarding school can do nothing but improve your story (see also camp).
Welcome to Tademy Academy
Sada says: I guess if your last name is Tademy, you really have no choice but to open an academy.
We awoke right on time, as per usual. Well, Fliss and I did. 4:00 am sharp.
“ Fliss, do you think purple glitter eye shadow is too bold for the first day of seventh grade,” I asked.
“ Yeah,” Fliss replied.
“ Hey, what about that pink eye shadow you bought at Sephora,” she asked, picking it out from my Maybelline makeup bag.
“Maybe,” I said. “Put it in the preliminary bag.”
“ Hey, Frankie,” Fliss asked. “ Should straighten my hair, curl it, or just use Bump Its?”
“ Straighten it. Unless you bought a new curling iron that doesn’t frizz up your hair,” I replied.
“ To curl or not to curl, that is the question.”
“OMG, you should put that cute Marni sundress in the bag,” I told Fliss.
“ With black Hue leggings, OMG!,” Fliss squealed.
Sada says: That sound you hear? Is Shakespeare rolling over in his grave. But wait, do people say OMG out loud? Really?? Youth of today, please confirm or deny.
“ Shut up,” screamed my adoptive twelve year old sister, Juno. That’s not her real name, she just changed it after she saw the movie. It’s really Rosita. She used to live in Texas, before her parents died, and she was sent to an orphanage, but she pretends she’s from England and speaks with a fake British accent and uses British slang. It seems incredibly stupid to me, especially since everyone knows she faking it, but she says it’s loads of fun.
Kylie says: What kind of girls get up at 4:00 am to get dressed and made up???? I’m with Juno. God, I really shouldn’t have seen that movie at age 10.
Sada says: The kind of girls who have a preliminary bag filled with Bump-Its and name-brand leggings, that's who. As Juno would say, blimey!
At least that can be forgiven because she dresses well and we are good friends because we are the same age. And we go to the same boarding school. Juno doesn’t believe in shoes. I know it’s so sad, but I don’t care much what those nasty TASs have to say about Jew.
Sada says: She doesn't believe in SHOES? Like, at all? I thought maybe Juno was a hippie but the "dressing well" part threw me off. (And I dressed like a hippie for many years, so I'm totally entitled to make that joke.) I'm guessing she just doesn't believe in shoes whose cost is equivalent with a month's rent. So far? I think Juno is brill.
The TASs are the Tademy Academy Socialites. It’s one of the TA social societies. It not even the most exclusive one, which is the one I’m going to be in. It’s called the Deltas. Let me explain social societies at Tademy Academy. You can’t join a soc until seventh grade for one thing. They help you meet boys from the boys’ school, Carlyle College, grades 7-12 and have radical parties.
Kiley says: Carlyle College? Was it ever a real college????
Sada says: Dude. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Tademy has multiple groups whose main purpose is to exclude others. How many popular girls can one school have? So far the only thing I'm relating to here is the word "radical"—though not in terms of parties. Most of my 7th grade parties involved eating fistfuls of green M&Ms, listening to Bell Biv Devoe, and avoiding playing Spin the Bottle for fear I'd end up kissing someone gross (or, in early '90s parlance, a "total dog").
Even better, they guarantee you a spot on the drill squad. I’ve wanted to be on the drill squad since I was five years old. I think this could be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. I mean, I could be partying with Ashlee, Maree, Courtnee, Britnee, Lacey, Tracey, Stacey, Macey, and the best of the best in the Deltas, Andy Tachman, Candy Campbell, Mandy Griffin, Sandy Flynn, and Randy Lewis. Yay! Plus you’re guaranteed a date to all school dances and functions.
Kylie says: What’s with the matchy-matchy names of the Deltas?
Sada says: Seriously. Rosie's going to need to drop the "Juno" if she wants to stand a chance here.
I quickly e- mailed Jayne Jonstone and Lottie Love, our camp friends, to give them the scoop.
Hey Jayne and Lottie,What’s up? Guess whose going to be a Delta? Me, Francesca Frankie Frank Frankfurter Franks and Beans Chapman, assisted by Felicity Flissie Fliss Dillon, Kendra Ken Kenny Lindsay, Lindsay Lin Lyndz Sandburg, and Rosita Rose Rosie Fine, aka Juno Jew Fine. I can’t wait for seventh grade. It’s much easier to e-mail you now that you live in New England, and it’s already 1:00 pm there, so you’re surely awake. Over here it’s 9:00 am and Fliss and I just started the preliminary fashion round. Tademy Academy, here we come!
Sada says: It's already 9:00 a.m.? Time flies when you're filling up the preliminary bag! Sadly, NO, they don't attend boarding school in Alaska. They're in California; fourth graders in Australia just aren't super familiar with U.S. time zones.
Love,Frankie Chapman & Fliss DillonAka Mrs. Francesca Efron and Mrs. Felicity Sanborn.
Sada says: Oh, look, they're planning to marry the stars of High School Musical** much the way my friends and I were going to divvy up and wed the members of New Kids on the Block. That's cute.
[**Yeah, had no idea who that Sanborn character was. I'm not a pervy old lady, I'm just handy with the Google.]
P.S. I’m hosting SIGMA!!!!!!! - FlissP.P.S But I’m still hosting all the boy-girl parties, right?- FrankieP.P.P.S I call shotgun in Ryne Sanborn’s convertible in twelve years. - FlissP.P.P.P.S You are insane about that guy.- FrankieP.P.P.P.P.S I can’t help it.- Fliss
Sada says: Calling shotgun 12 years in advance? Hilarious. But probably ill-advised. I shudder to think of all the repossessed vehicles I might have ended up in.
P.P.P.P.P.P.S We’re signing off for real. - FrankieP.P.P.P.P.P.P.S- I’m Juno no more and I’m finally awake.- Rosie
Just then, the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” Rosie yelled, giggling at this ridiculous outfit Fliss joked about dressing me in.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE,” Rosie squealed.
“ Guys, check this out,” she yelled.
“ OMG,” Fliss said.
Dear Francesca Chapman, and Rosita Fine,You two have been chosen to pledge for the Deltas. This will involve many risks. You will be asked to do something spiteful, something forward, something embarrassing, and something scandalous. What these things are will not be revealed in this letter. But the other pledges are to be revealed .Felicity DillonKendra LindsayLindsay SandburgKirsten JohnstonSarah Jo HansenHolly MalloyMallory LazarusEmma-Jean GreenePiper TademySarah-Charlotte HopkinsGillian TompkinsMelissa PerkinsAnd remember, only five gals will make it.
Sada says: Dear Girls Whose Names Cannot Accommodate a Nickname Ending in a Y or double E: You are screwed. xoxo, Andy
Sealed with a Kiss,(squeal) Andrea Tachman
ANDY TACHMAN WROTE US A LETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I worship the ground she walks on!
My cell phone rang. “Hello?”
“Frankie, is that you?’’
“Kenny, what’s up?”
“I just got the best news….”
“You’re about to be a Delta, right?”
“And so are you!”
“I know, isn’t it amazing?”
“I can’t believe it!!!”
“Frankie,” Fliss shouted.
“I’ve got to go, bye.”
“So, Frankie, what shirt do you chose to go to the Top 5,” Rosie asked.
“Oh, my American Eagle polo shirt with my Aeropostale jeans.”
Kylie says: OK, there is way too much screaming here.
Sada says: BUT ANDY TACHMAN WROTE THEM A LETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (squeal)
After that, the time flew by, and I was wearing that outfit with hi-top felt-pen attacked Keds and diamond studs from Claire’s.
Sada says: Diamonds at Claire's? Shyeah right! I can't be THAT old.
Fliss had borrowed my Hue leggings and had thrown on a white Delia’s dress with pink Converse All-Stars. Finally, Rosie was wearing a cute pink Abercrombie tank top and a Hollister denim skirt, with black Chuck Taylors. We walked into Tademy Academy with confidence, where we ran into a TAS, Tara Luna.
“Nice Keds,” the eighth-grader said. “Not.”
I tossed my blond hair in her face and walked right on by.
Sada says: Wikipedia has taught me that The Clique reviles Keds. Which totally makes sense seeing as white Keds were my exclusive sneaker of choice during middle school (preferably sans laces) and I think it's fair to say that I would never, ever, never have been tapped to join the Pretty Committee.
Whatevs. If they're good enough for Kelly Kapowski, they're good enough for me.
“Hey, Frankie,” Maree Pillsbury yelled out. “Rosie, Fliss.”
“Hey,” we all yelled and walked over to her.
“ Okay, you guys,” she said. “Tonight and tomorrow, you make your first set of pledges. Frankie, you’ll get Ella Gris by putting a donut on her seat in the cafeteria. Fliss, you’re to tip Tara Luna’s tray in the cafeteria in front of everyone. Kenny, you’re going to leave a fake love letter for Charlotte Reyes in her locker. Sign in with her crush, Dominick Fitch’s name. Make it very romantic. Spray it with Axe. It should tell her to meet him at the fountain in the courtyard. When no one shows up she’ll be humiliated and her locker will stink. Lyndz, you’ll cut off Casey Wallace’s ponytail. And finally, Rosie. You will put frogs in Raquel Weaver’s locker. Leave a banana peel on the ground and get a bucket of chili. The frogs will jump out at Raquel, and chase her down the hall. She’ll slip on the banana peel, slide down the hall, and trigger the bucket of chili to fall down on her. Got it? Because it’s the game plan.”
Maree always talks like that, because she’s on the world’s premiere girls’ football team.
Sada says: WOW. The Deltas might be lax on the Keds wearing, but DAMN, they are some evil bizznatches! Inflicting donut butt? Cutting off ponytails—and presumably NOT donating them to Locks of Love? And utilizing the Devil's own body spray (aka Axe)? Noooooooo! But the mind-blowingly elaborate Frogs in Raquel's Locker Chase Her Toward a Banana Peel That Triggers a Bucket of Chili to Fall on Her Head plan is my favorite. For obvious reasons.
“Got it,” we all said.
At dinner, it was proven that we didn’t get it. I bought a slice of pizza, a apple, and the Chocolate Covered Donut. “Are you guys sure I should do this?,” I asked.
“Totally,” Kenny said. “You still want to be in the Deltas, right?”
“Right,” I said, not so sure that I did.
“ The coast is clear,” Fliss said. “ Drop the bomb.”
“Okay,” I said hesitantly. Just then, I got a text.
From: Kenny [Sada says: Yes, it appears this text is from her friend who is standing next to her. Technology is awesome!]To: FrankieFrankie Chapman never hesitates when it comes 2 the Deltas. DTD=Drop The Donut!!!!!!!!
And I did. I placed the donut right on Ella Gris’s seat. Two minuets later, a splat rang throughout the cafeteria.
Sada says: Can we all stop for a second and savor the poetry of "a splat rang throughout the cafeteria"? (Alternatively, you can take this time to ponder how a splat can ring.)
Ella sprang right up out of her chair. She looked at the back of her pants. Her seat was covered in chocolate frosting and Boston cream was dripping down her legs. She screamed and everyone laughed.
“ See ya, Boston,” an eighth grader yelled as she ran out of the cafeteria, humiliated.
Kylie says: God, Frankie seems like a real bitch.
Sada says: I am so glad I didn't go to Tademy Academy. In my middle school, we at least had the decency to insult people anonymously in a slam book! We never made them sit on breakfast pastries!
My phone began to vibrate.
From: MareeTo: FrankieThe Boston cream was a nice touch. That was a total accidental donut I threw in the basket. It must have been fate that you grabbed it, right?
Sada says: What basket? I thought Frankie bought the donut in the cafeteria. My God, just how much pull do these Deltas have??
From: FrankieTo: CourtneeTotal fate! Awesome, right?
Kylie says: I was right!
Sada says: There's nothing she wouldn't do for the drill squad. NOTHING!
NEXT TIME: Our (by which I mean Kylie's) story continues with with liberal spritzes of Axe body spray. In case you were wondering what that smell was.