by David Perlmutter
Tess Bloch shook the long hair on her head from the glasses on her twelve year old face, looked at the piece of paper she had just been handed, and groaned in a way that was easily audible.
“You have got to be kidding!” she said.
“I am not!” said Raymond Chan, opposite her in the editor’s chair of the Gordon, the creatively named newspaper run by the students of Gordon Korman Middle School, where Tess was both reporter and student.
Tess groaned again, glaring at the paper—and the name etched there—with dread. Laura Block. Tess could hardly conceal her discontent from a less than sympathetic Raymond.
“Come on, Tess!” Raymond said. “This is a prime assignment! Just the kind of thing you’ve been bugging me about for weeks! How often does it happen that a real life, fully preserved Egyptian mummy comes around to a little tank town like this? You should be grateful for the opportunity!”
“I am, Ray!” said Tess, fully aware of the graveness in her editorial voice. “But do I have to keep getting paired up with Larry? Isn’t it possible that we could get another photographer for the paper?”
Laura Block—familiarly known as “Larry” was the bane of Tess’ existence—or at least she was at this time in Tess’s life. She was, after all, the complete opposite of the scholarly, bookish, high-achieving Tess. Tall, thin, and angular—unlike the short and slightly pudgy Tess—Larry was a tomboy par excellence, excelling at every sport or game at Korman that did not involve a brain (as Tess pointed out to others when Larry was not around). But where our purposes are concerned, she was an excellent photographer, noted for always—always—getting the shots that were needed, regardless of the obstacles in her path. This was where Larry and Tess came to a parting of the ways, since Larry was not above risking her life—and Tess’, for that matter—in pursuit of the ever-elusive “perfect shot”.