This couldn't fail. It just couldn't. I'm not sure what Leeman had in mind by revealing his leak. Maybe he thought it'd shock us into complacency? Or make us disband?
Well if anything, the resolves of the couple hundred or so students had only been strengthened, and by throwing me out of school Leeman also gave me an unexpected advantage:
If I wasn't part of his school, I didn't have to follow his rules.
So how could we expose Leeman? I was in my room by this point and I ran over to my computer to open up a word document. Then I started to think this whole thing through.
1. Leeman's downfall has to be initiated by him. If it's student initiated, no one will take our word for it.
2. No one would take our word for it because they all thought that Leeman was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
So then what?
3. Get Leeman to show his true colors.
4. If it ain't broke, don't fix it... go "classic"
The beginnings of a plan were forming. I reached for my phone and started to dial Lionel, but decided against it. This was going to be old fashioned drama at work. If Lionel didn't know anything about it, then neither he, nor anyone else, could give it away or ruin it.
And that way I'd be the only one who could be blamed.
As I worked my way through the plan, I realized that at certain points I would need Lionel's help. Again I reached for my phone.
Again I hesitated.
After what happened today, I wanted to avoid all mention of this plan.
But I couldn't do it myself. Was there a way to warn Lionel without actually telling him?
Why yes. Yes there was. Lionel listened to a lot of music... rap wasn't his favorite, but he knew his way around... and Claudia... Claudia enjoyed movies... when she was younger, she could quote every Disney movie like she had written the scripts for them. Lion King was one of her favorites... and her favorite song from that movie...
Oh how convenient.
It was time to see how close my wingman really was.
The next day, I received many odd looks from my fellow students as I walked into homeroom and sat down. Somehow or other, the news that I had been expelled had made its way through the grapevine. Me being here would set off the grapevine once again and inevitably the news would make its way to Leeman.
Claudia and Lionel walked in a minute or so after I did. While they obviously didn't expect to see me, neither of them looked truly surprised. As usual, they were holding hands but today they seemed... I don't know... closer. A brief flash of resentment struck, but I booted it out as soon as it reared its ugly head.
I had had my chance, and I blew it. Because... because I lost my calm. I seemed to be doing more and more of that recently. Nobody had made a big deal about me punching Eva yesterday, probably most of them had been thinking about doing the same thing, but I still couldn't help but wonder what people thought when they looked at me.
Eva was in this homeroom with us, and when I walked in she had looked down at her desk.
I had lost it... but... didn't she deserve it?
"So Daniel," Lionel said as he sat down next to me. "What's the plan?"
I looked at the ground, feigning failure, and said "Plan? There is no plan."
"You can't be serious! Daniel, you've gotta have something! You certainly seemed like you did yesterday!"
"Yeah well that was yesterday Lionel. In case we've all forgotten, I have parents who aren't too thrilled about me getting expelled. They want me to apologize to Leeman."
"What?!?" said not only Lionel, but Claudia, and half the class who had been listening in. Which included Eva by the way.
I put up my hands in defeat. "We aren't talking Kings or successions, Even I can be caught unaware... I'm sorry."
Out of the corner of my eye, Claudia's head perked up. She stared at me hard, trying to catch my eye, but I didn't look at her. She'd tell Lionel, and Lionel would put it together.
I stood up and went for the door. As I did, I started to hum the tune to "It's going down." When I was almost out the door I added words.
"Meet me in the Trap, It's going down.
Meet me in the mall, it's going down.
Meet me in the office, it's going down.
Anywhere you meet me guaranteed to go down."
I didn't look back as I walked down the hall to Leeman's office. As I came to the door, I made a few preparations then stormed right in.
Leeman looked up, surprise turning to outrage on his face, but before he could start screaming I held up my hands and calmly sat down.
"Leeman, we need to talk."
"Daniel, there is nothing to talk about. Leave my school. Now."
I was good at haggling. Leeman obviously expected me to refuse, so he was put on edge when I stood and started to leave.
"Excuse me. Daniel. Perhaps I was a bit hasty in telling you to leave. Is there something you wanted to speak about? Maybe you've been in contact with Mr. Stephens?"
I stopped. I didn't turn, but I stopped and waited for him to continue.
"You can keep it."
"You can keep the money, and I will recall your expulsion."
I waited a little bit more.
"And I will also reveal my other informant."
He had another one? Not surprising really.
"Here" he said offering me a folded piece of paper.
"The name of my informant. As a show of good faith I will give this to you. Don't open it until later."
"And in return?" I baited.
"You keep the bribe quiet."
I took the paper as a thought came to me.
"Why bribe anyone in the first place? If you are truly the principle for this school, why would you be worried that we could do any damage? Surely they wouldn't find anything wrong if they were to investigate?"
Leeman was quiet for a moment. The obstinate glare had returned to his face.
I went for the door again.
"Damn you! Yes. If any question were brought to my administration one or two slight faults might be found."
I stood facing the door, waiting for him to continue. This was all well and good, but now I needed Leeman to explode like he had yesterday, and for that I could us some hel-
"You're done Leeman" Lionel stated flatly. "First a bribe, now a little cover up eh? For some reason I thought threatening students went against the Code of Conduct."
"Mr. Stephens! You are not allowed in here at this time. Especially to be making frivolous assertions and claims that you nothing of!"
"That was slick by the way Daniel. The words to "Be Prepared" and your oh so subtle hint about where your plan would take place."
I grinned for an instant "I figured if anybody would get it, it would be you."
The brief exchange seemed to infuriate Leeman even more.
"Gentlemen, and I use the word very loosely, this is not Lunch mod. And this is no longer Mock Debate. You will give me the money, forget this whole incident, and drop the attempts to get me fired. Why the long face Mr. Stephens?"
Lionel had grown very still when Leeman demanded the money.
"I uh... I don't have it anymore."
It was Leeman's turn to grow still.
"What?" he asked in a very quiet, very vulnerable voice.
"I don't have it. Why? Why was it so important? Doesn't that just help your cause?"
As Leeman collapsed into his chair, my mind went into overdrive. Why would someone be so upset over the disappearance of a piece of evidence that could incriminate them?
Unless... the fact that the evidence was gone was the thing that incriminated him.
"You... you stole that money from the school didn't you!" I said slowly. "That's why nothing is getting repaired, and why you don't want anyone to look into your administration, and why you now want it back!"
Leeman didn't say anything, but he didn't have to. The look on his face said it all.
Very slowly I reached into my back pocket, grabbed my phone, and hit "Send Recording."
All but one member on the Board had a cellphone.
It sure doesn't take long for the police to arrive does it? When the sirens and flashing lights pulled up in front of the school Leeman didn't move. He just waited until they busted into the room and and handcuffed him. And just like that, he was gone.
We received another early dismissal. As the three of us walked home, or rolled home in Claudia's case, we discussed the events of the day.
"So I'm impressed that you put two and two together Lionel, but catching on to the whole bluff with Leeman, that was good." I complimented.
Lionel nodded and grinned. "I'm not your wingman for nothing!"
Claudia said something to Lionel that I didn't catch, because I had remembered the piece of paper that Leeman gave me earlier. I fished it out of my pocket as we turned the corner onto our road.
I heard the sound of a motor revving followed by the screech of tires. A car was speeding down the road. I had just finished reading the name and at first I couldn't believe it. But as I looked up at the driver who was now speeding towards us, the name on the note was confirmed.
He edged his car onto the sidewalk that we were walking along. Lionel was looking back at Claudia who was trying to stand up and kiss him. I didn't have time to warn them. I shoved them both off the sidewalk as the car came closer. Charles tried to swerve and hit Lionel, but he was going too fast, and he was already too close. The back end of the car whipped around at about many many miles per hour and caught me right in the chest. I remember hitting asphalt and thinking,
Guess Leeman got the last laugh after all.
Then my vision began to grow dark, until it was blacker than the asphalt that I was now bleeding on.