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Just Joking

Just Joking

I'm standing right on the edge of this huge boulder, looking over Sealers Cove on one side - where we camped last night - and Refuge Cove on the other. There's a cool breeze. I close my eyes and imagine I'm the last person on Earth. It's so peaceful. A three-night hike in Wilson's Promontory can be hard work, but it beats school any day.

Suddenly, I feel a large hand clamp down on each of my shoulders. I'm shoved forward. My stomach drops. My life starts to flash before my eyes. Then, just as suddenly, the hands pull me back.

"Tell yer mom I saved ya!"

I turn around. Roseanne O'Reilly is grinning widely.

"You idiot!" I shout. "What a dumb trick! I could have been killed!"

"It's lucky I was here to save you then," she says. "You should be thanking me."

"Thanks for nothing," I say.

It's a typical Roseanne joke. Dumb and dangerous. She's been pulling this trick on everybody since we left Tidal River yesterday morning. It's her first time hiking. I think she's a bit overexcited. She's new to the school. I don't know why she decided to join the hiking club. Probably because no other club would have her.

O'Reilly swaggers back to the trail where the rest of the group are resting against their backpacks.

"You should have seen Andy's face," she announces to the party. "I really had him scared!" Not that anybody cares. They're as sick of Roseanne as I am.

Danny comes over.

"Trail mix?" he says.

He hand me a plastic bag full of chocolate chips, oats, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. I take a big handful and pass the bag back. My hands are still shaking from the fright.

"Don't feel bad," he says. "Roseanne punched me in the nose this morning."

"Really?" I say. "Why?"

"She asked me if I wanted to smell some cheese. Before I could answer, her fist was right in front of my face, and the POW!"

"She didn't wait for your answer? That's not a practical joke - it's just a punch in the face!"

"Tell me about it," says Danny. "She made my nose bleed, too."

"What did you do?"

"Nothing. She's bigger than me."

"Good point. But we can't let her walk all over us like this. We've got to get her back. Got to teach her a lesson."

"Sure," says Danny through a mouthful of trail mix. "But how?"

I sit on the boulder and use a twig to pry a pebble out of the tread on my boots. Suddenly, the answer is clear.

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