Case 6 - Costumes
"What are you going as?" Sheryl asked me one morning before homeroom started. She was, of course, referring to the fun little policy that we had at our school here, where, as long as it wasn't anything too extravagant, we were allowed to come to school dressed up in costumes on Halloween.
I turned around to face her, since she sat behind me, and replied, "I'm probably not going to dress up."
Sheryl pouted, "C'mon! We're the After-School Detectives, at least come as a detective!" Then, with a sparkle in her eye, "Why don't you come as Watson? I'll be coming as-"
"Sherlock Holmes, I know. And no, I'm not coming in as your sidekick."
Sheryl pouted and tossed a piece of candy into her mouth.
As Sheryl was beginning to argue with me again, Ms. Grey, our homeroom teacher, walked in. She smiled and greeted the class before launching into the morning announcements, "As you all know, Halloween is a couple of days away, and I know that some of you were excited about being able to come to school in costume. However, Mr. Black, our new principal this year, has decided that costumes will not be allowed."
After hearing this, Sheryl jumped straight up and yelled, "What?! Why?!"
Without missing a beat, as if she had expected this, Ms. Grey said, "I am sorry, Sheryl. I know how excited you were about this, but Mr. Black has decided that it is not appropriate for a school to have this sort of policy. Not all of us agree, but he is our principal, so I'm sure that he has your best interests in mind. Now, take a seat, Sheryl, and let us continue."
Sheryl pouted and took her seat. Then, she wrote down something on a piece of paper and passed it to me. The note read 'The After-School Detectives are going to get to the bottom of this!!!'
***It was after-school, and I was following an angry Sheryl as she stormed towards the principal's office.
Sheryl stormed past the principal's assistant, who helplessly shouted, "Hey, you can't-"
Not listening, Sheryl barged into the principal's office, with me reluctantly following her in. She slammed her hands onto Mr. Black's desk and yelled, "Why?!"
Surprised, the principal stared at her for a moment. Then he said, "Er, why what?"
"Why aren't you letting us dress up for Halloween anymore?!"
"Oh, that. As I'm sure your teacher has already mentioned, I find that it is inappropriate for students to be dressing up in costumes during school times. It disrupts classes and school activities."
"But it's just a little bit of fun! I'm sure that-"
"Look, Ms. Holmes, yelling at me isn't going to change my mind! I have made my decision and I have given you my reason. If you don't have anything else to talk about, please leave my office."
Unable to come up with any more arguments, Sheryl and I left the office. As we were leaving, we could hear Mr. Black muttering, "I'm just trying to save you kids..."
***"Hmph!" Sheryl let out a frustrated noise and threw a piece of candy into her mouth.
We were at her place now, trying to finish up one of our group projects for Science. Of course, Sheryl could barely focus on the assignment, since she was still angry about the whole costume thing.
"What's wrong?" asked Sheryl's mother, as she entered Sheryl's room with a plate of cookies.
"Our stupid principal won't let us dress up for Halloween!" Sheryl replied.
"Really?" Sheryl's mother placed the plate of cookies onto the desk, "If I remember correctly though, Robert loved dressing up for Halloween."
"Robert?" I asked.
"Oh, that's Mr. Black, your principal. We went to the same school back then, though we were never in the same classes." Sheryl's mother gave a shrug, "Well, I guess he grew out of it."
Sheryl pouted, "But now it should be my turn!"
"I know you were looking forward to this, sweetie," Mrs. Holmes patted Sheryl on the head, "But I'm sure your principal has a good reason for this."
Sheryl pouted again as her mother left the room.
***"Why are we here?" Sheryl asked me.
It was lunch time the next day, and we were in the library.
"Well," I said, "Your mother said that Mr. Black loved dressing up on Halloween back then, so I thought maybe if we reminded him of that, he'd let us dress up again."
"So how would the library help us?"
"Maybe there's a picture of him in one of these old yearbooks." I grabbed one of our school's yearbooks off the shelf and flipped to the back, where the students and their portraits were. Not finding Robert Black on the list, I said, "Of course, we would have to narrow down the years that he was at this school first."
"Oh, that's a good idea!" Sheryl did some mental calculations in her head. "Let's see, it should be around this year!"
She grabbed one of the yearbooks and flipped to the back. Then, she scanned through the portraits and smiled, "Found him!"
We then flipped through the yearbook to find that year's Halloween costumes section. Scanning through the photos for Mr. Black, we stopped when we saw a happy, young Mr. Black in a Halloween costume. Sheryl and I couldn't tell what Mr. Black was supposed to be (it was probably from a TV show before our time, or something like that), but it was the scribbles on the yearbook that caught our eye. Surrounding the pictures were comments making fun of those that had decided to dress up that year, with some of them directed at Mr. Black.
Now we understood what Mr. Black had meant when he said that he just wanted to 'save us'.
***After-school, I was following Sheryl as she stormed towards the principal's office again.
The principal's assistant saw Sheryl and immediately stood up to say, "Oh c'mon, not this again! You can't-"
It didn't work, of course, and Sheryl once again barged into Mr. Black's office, this time slamming down the yearbook onto his desk. "This is why you aren't letting us dress up?!"
Mr. Black took a look at the yearbook, then sighed and said, "Yes. Now you understand."
"Well, that's just garbage!"
Mr. Black gave Sheryl a glare, "Excuse me?"
"Sure, some people are going to make fun of us for dressing up, but when was that ever a good reason to stop doing something? We can't just stop doing things because we're afraid of what some bullies might think. Don't let the bullies win!"
Mr. Black took a look at the sincerity on Sheryl's face. Then, he sighed and said, "Alright, let me think about it."
Sheryl began, "But-"
That was when I interrupted, "Okay, thank you for hearing us out, Mr. Black."
I grabbed Sheryl by the arm and dragged her outside before she could say anything else.
"I was so close though!" Sheryl whined at me.
"I think you did good enough," I said, "He just needs time and he wants to save face."
"To save face?"
"You'll understand when you're older."
"Oh, okay," Sheryl and I walked for a moment before she realized, "Hey! We're the same age!"
***It was Halloween a couple of days later, and I was walking to school in dress pants, shirt, tie, suit jacket, and a fedora. Mr. Black had, of course, announced that we were once again allowed to come to school in costumes on Halloween. And I was, of course, convinced by Sheryl to come as a detective, although there was no way that I was going to go as Watson.
"Hey James!" Sheryl caught up from behind me, with a deerstalker on her head and a pipe in her hand.
She took a look at my costume and said, "Well, it's not Watson, but at least you came as a detective. Are you... Philip Marlowe?"
Sheryl gave me a smile. Just then, a voice from behind us yelled, "Hey guys!"
We turned around and saw that it was Samantha, heading towards us in her costume. She was dressed up as a witch. Not one of those scary witches though; I guess you could say that she was one of the cute ones.
As Samantha ran towards us, her foot got caught on the end of her robe and she tripped, falling down onto the ground.
Concerned, Sheryl and I ran towards her to make sure that she was alright. Luckily, she got up and gave us a sheepish smile. Sheryl and I let out a breath of relief.
Then, the three of us continued on our way to a fun Halloween at school.