The doorknob rattled on the men’s bathroom at Wimpy’s Diner.  Inside was seventeen-year-old Wendell Molinson.  He had somehow been locked in from the outside and he was pretty sure he knew who the culprits were.  He’d lay money that it was Harold Belden and Arnold Trent.  Ever since he had moved last year from Lansing, Michigan to Sleepyside, New York, his life had been miserable. 

It all began the first day of his senior year of high school.  First, he was one of the youngest kids in his class.  Then, his mother did the unthinkable.  She had called him “Wendy”.  Sure, that had been her special name for him, but to say it in public on his first day of school! 

Before he could even make friends with anyone the teasing began.  He walked into homeroom and someone began singing the Beach Boy’s song “Wendy”.  He wanted to just crawl in a hole and die.  Fortunately, he was befriended by Steven Stratton.  It turned out they were both interested in the same things, science and math.  Both became members of the High School Quiz Bowl Team and both endured lots of teasing by a group of popular guys led by Harold and Arnold. 

Harold and Arnold were the captains of the football team and thought they ruled the school.  Wendell and Steven weren’t the only ones the two guys tormented, but to Wendell and Steven it felt like they were picked on the most. 

So here he was, stuck in the bathroom, the door jammed.  Wendell decided that he could do one of two things.  He could make a huge scene and play right into Harold and Arnold’s plans or he could just sit quietly and wait until someone wanted to use the rest room.  He decided to wait.  While he waited he plotted.

He wanted to find a way to pay the two of them back without totally humiliating them.  If he did that, he knew the teasing would only escalate.  He thought for several minutes when an idea came to him.  If it worked it would be wonderful.  Of course, if it failed there would be no living it down.  Still, they had to try.  He got so wrapped up in his plotting he almost didn’t hear someone pounding on the door.

“Open up,” the voice on the other side of the door yelled.

Wendell calmly replied, “The door is jammed from the outside.  I can’t open it.”

After a few minutes of rattling and shaking, the door finally opened.  Wendell calmly left the room and entered the diner.  He ignored all of the snickers and giggles from half the football team and their dates.

Steven was sitting at a booth in the far corner of the diner.  “What happened to you?” he asked.

“Itchy and Scatchy decided it would be fun to lock me in the restroom,” Wendell replied.  Itchy and Scratchy were the nicknames they had given Harold and Arnold.

“When is this going to stop?” Steven asked.  “I know that we should just ignore them, but that hasn’t worked.”

“I have an idea,” Wendell said.  “If we can pull it off it will be brilliant.”

“Spill it,” Steven insisted.

Wendell looked around, taking in all of the football players sitting in various booths around the diner.

“Not here,” he said and motioned to Steven that they should leave.

“Here’s my plan,” Wendell began as they walked out the door.

The next morning Wendell and Steven met in the parking lot of the school before the doors opened for the day. 

“Did you get it?” Steven asked.

Wendell held up a large manila envelope.  “It’s right here.  Boy, are Harold and Arnold going to be surprised.”

“If we can pull this off it will be so great,” Steven said.  “Those guys might think they are cool but they aren’t always the smartest.”

“Just remember,” Wendell said.  “Say as little as possible and let them dig themselves into their own hole.”

A few minutes later a beat-up Chevy of questionable color pulled into the parking lot.  The car appeared to head right toward Wendell and Steven.  They held their ground and the car swerved at the last minute and pulled into a parking spot.  Harold and Arnold got out of the car and sauntered over to them.

“Look what we have here,” Harold sneered.  “It’s little Stevie Stratton and his girlfriend Wendy.”

Arnold broke out in an over-the-top laugh.  Wendell and Steven stared them down, not saying anything for a few minutes.

Harold and Arnold didn’t know what to do.  They were never the ones to leave first.

Flustered, Harold finally asked, “Cat got your tongue?”

Wendell puffed up his chest, lifted his chin, took a deep breath and said, “No, I was just thinking about the secret I know.”

Steven stepped up next to him and puffed out his chest as well.  He didn’t say anything but just continued to stare at the two bullies. 

“What?” Arnold demanded.

“If we told you,” Steven replied taking a step forward, “it wouldn’t be a secret now, would it?”

The four continued to stare at one another.  Harold and Arnold started to squirm.

“Come on,” Harold said.  “Spill your guts.” He finally stepped forward, lifting a fist as if to strike Wendell.

Wendell looked at Steven and then the both stared back at Harold and Arnold, never flinching once. 

Finally, Wendell taunted, “You know what we’re talking about.  Just think about it.”

The staring continued, and Harold and Arnold squirmed some more.  Wendell could almost see the wheels turning in their heads trying to figure out what they had on them.

Finally, Arnold gasped. “How’d you find out?  No one was supposed to know except the football team.”

“Shut up, Arnold,” Harold growled through gritted teeth.

Wendell and Steven just kept staring. They had baited the trap and the two football captains seemed to be taking it hook, line and sinker. Subtly, Wendell changed positions and Harold spotted the envelope.

“What’s in there?” Harold demanded.

“Insurance,” Wendell replied.

“They have pictures,” Arnold declared to Harold.  “How did they get pictures?  Everyone was sworn to secrecy.  You promised.”

“They don’t have pictures,” Harold insisted.  “How would they get them?”

“Don’t you remember what happened in the move Porky’s?” Arnold asked.  “My life is over.  No one was supposed to see us sneaking down the hall with only our birthday suits on and a washcloth covering our junk.”

“Shut up,” Harold repeated.

Finally, Wendell spoke, “That’s right guys. We’ve got proof right here in this envelope.  And let me tell you, despite your size, or lack thereof, the washcloth didn’t help much.”

Harold looked at Arnold one last time and said, “What is it that you want?  If it’s money, I can probably get you twenty dollars this afternoon.”

“It’s not money we want,” Wendell said.  “We’re tired of your bullying and we want it to stop.  Not just to Steven and me but to everyone else you think you are better than.”

Harold looked at Arnold then back at the two friends.  He thought for a few minutes and then finally nodded his head.  “It’s a deal,” he agreed reaching for the envelope.  “Now give me the envelope.”

Wendell snatched it back.  “Do you think I’m stupid?” he asked.  “I’m hanging on to this.  If I get wind that you have bullied any student, even thought of bullying someone, you’ll find your pictures on the front page of the school newspaper and they won’t be censored.”

“Yeah, right,” Arnold said.  “Like Mrs. Shipman would allow that to be printed.”

“We have friends in high places,” Steven said cryptically, then stared him down again. 

“Okay,” Harold agreed.  “We won’t bully and you won’t print those pictures.”

  “Agreed,” Wendell said, extending his hand.  The guys shook on it.  Then Harold and Arnold looked around to make sure no one else saw them talking to Wendell and Steven before turning and walking away.

For several minutes, Wendell and Steven didn’t say anything.  Then, Steven said, “We did it.  We actually pulled it off.  I can’t believe it.”

“I can admit now, I got a little nervous when Harold tried to grab the envelope.  I thought we were goners,” Wendell replied.

They started to walk toward the school.  “You’d better put that envelope in a safe place,” Steven said.  “We wouldn’t want it to land in the wrong hands.”

Wendell opened the envelope and pulled something half way out.  “Yeah,” he said. “Because it has such incriminating evidence.  They walked straight into our trap.” He showed the sheet of paper that was in the envelope.  In bold letters it read Gotcha Sucker.  Revenge can be sweet.

Author’s Notes

This was written as part of Ronda’s (Roluru) 17th Jixanny writing project.  Write a story about a secondary character at the age of 17.  I chose Wendell Molinson.  For some reason when I started the story I forgot the Wendell had a given name in the series.  So I named him Orville and had a story almost finished.  Then someone reminded me that Wendell was his given name.  That changed the story. 

My dad had a boss while I was growing up whose name was Wendell but everyone called him Wendy.  I would always have to think twice when Dad would mention him because I’d think he was talking about me.  Didn’t think when I named Steven Stratton that I had Wendy and Steven, me and my husband.

This is also written as part of MaryN’s 17th Jixanny picture worth a thousand words challenge.  I used the door knob picture for inspiration.

Huge thank you to Laura (Motowngirl) for editing this at the last minute.

Word Count 1452

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2017 by WendyM. Images from Absolute Background Textures and and manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2017.

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