It began with a mysterious note, “Will you go to the Mother/ Son, Father/ Daughter dance with me (yes/no)?” unceremoniously stuffed through the upper vents of seventh grader Kathy Cromwell’s locker at some point between third and fifth period last Thursday. Sources confirm that Cromwell’s initial reaction to the note was confusion, expressing to several nearby students her belief that, in the absence of her father, she was to be accompanied by a guardian or special friend of the male gender. Her initial hypothesis, therefore, was that the note had been sent by a special friend of her mother who declined to be named in this article.
“I was the one who, like, set her straight” asserts classmate Jenna T. Strong, who wore three bras to her interview and began each statement with “for the record.” Strong explained, on the record, that there would be a twenty to thirty minute window during which students could dance with other students, provided they obeyed the toaster rule and avoided gazing for over two seconds below the neck. “[Cromwell and I] are basically best friends,” she finished, making sure her Tiffany pendant was visible over her semi-sheer tank.
Armed with this new information, Cromwell expanded her search in new directions, beginning with a re-examination of the note in question. She suspected it had been sent by a man, as it bore no instances of substituting @ signs for a’s, which every girl in class had been doing for weeks except for Becca Lundt. But Becca got her braces stuck to Darick J.’s foreskin last September, so she was still grounded and would not be attending the dance. The note was scrawled in black pen on a torn piece of crumpled notebook paper, and had been folded into three pieces. But something seemed off with some of the upper right creases– they appeared entirely too rounded and smooth to be the result of idle fiddling.
Those in attendance recount how, with inspired determination, Cromwell fished through her purse, finding at the bottom her contraband L’oreal eyeliner. She carefully dusted the side of her pencil above the rounded area, and slowly an image began to form in negative– a three! She meticulously shaded across of the paper, revealing several unintelligible doodle marks, but a semi-coherent set of markings at the head of the page caught her eye: “History, period 3.” She had her lead.
The following Monday, dressed in her best detective attire, Cromwell discreetly slipped away from her friends during milkbreak and tiptoed into Mr. Horner’s History classroom. She scanned the room to confirm its emptiness, then silently slid the class roster from beneath a neatly stacked pile of graded reading responses, each exactly one page long. Finding the class list for period 3, she extracted the iPhone hidden in her left Ugg Boot and took a picture– someone on this list was sure to be the perpetrator!
“After excluding the girls and the randos, I was left with a solid list of five potential suspects, which I snapchatted to my best friend, Sam K,” reports Cromwell. At Cromwell’s direction, Sam K. then texted the five “most basic gosses” in the grade, with each message listing a different boy as the author of the note. It took only five minutes to find her answer, with The Bitchy Olivia responding “OMG how did u kno!?! Don’t Tell Kath lol :p.” The boy in question was none other than Henry Fowler, seventh grade representative of both the robotics and debate teams. As third period let out, Cromwell waited by Mr. Horner’s door with the note.
Conflicting reports place the timing of Fowler’s outburst between five and seventeen seconds after Cromwell’s approach, but she was consistently quoted as saying some form of “I got your note” immediately before Fowler burst into tears and fled the scene. Those present for the incident speculate that Fowler was perhaps overcome with emotion, seized by the same insecurity that caused him to ask Cromwell out in such an objectively lame manner. However, new documentation obtained exclusively by The Zamboni offers a differing theory. While innocently sorting through the middle school trash, our Creative Director was able to recover the original note, now mostly obscured by contraband eyeliner. In her mad rush to uncover the truth behind the note, Cromwell had inadvertently planted the seeds of a tragic conclusion. In the midst of the dark scribbles, choppily but clearly circled, the word no stood cruelly highlighted on the page.