“Here’s the thing – gingham check is a complete cliché,” Lindsay said as she reached over to swipe a couple of French fries from my plate.  She ignored me completely as I gave her hand a playful swat, dipping the stolen goods into my pool of ketchup.  “I mean, why shouldn’t Dorothy wear a red dress, you know?  It would go much better with the ruby slippers.”

“I think the idea is that she grew up on a farm in Kansas,” I ventured.

“Well, right.  Okay, so she could be wearing a potato sack,” Lindsay went on.  “Or a flowered dress.”  She grabbed another fry, and I let her get away with it.  “Or anything – anything but that stupid blue-and-white check!  It’s been done to death!”

She stabbed the air with the fry to make her point.

“Are you sure you want to mess with a classic?” I asked.

“Don’t even get me started,” Lindsay replied.

“You should see what I’ve got in mind for the flying monkeys.”

“I can’t wait.”  This was the truth.  Lindsay Sweet is my best friend and has been since before we were born.  No, I’m not kidding.  Our moms met in Lamaze class, and when they realized that their due dates were a week apart, they decided that we were destined to be best friends forever.  Which has turned out to be true, so far, even though Lindsay and I are about as different as two people can get.

For example, Lindsay was wearing red-and-black-striped tights under a pair of cutoff jeans, a black long-sleeved T-shirt under a red short-sleeved concert T-shirt for some band that I’d never heard of, and black Converse low-top sneakers.  She had twirled her long curly red hair into a doughnut on each side of her head, Princess Leia-style, and she had on bright red lipstick — the only make up she ever wears.

I, on the other hand, had on a blue T-shirt and jeans.  My hair is brown and cut short around my face.  The last time my mom went to see her hairdresser – Jacques – she insisted that I come along “to do something with my hair.”  Jacques told me that he was going to make me look like “Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday,” and since I had no idea what that meant, I got intimidated and said, “Okay.”  So then he chopped off all my hair, and now half the time people mistake me for a boy.  Which isn’t helped by the fact that everyone calls me “Nick” instead of my real name, which is Nicolette.