“Can you keep a secret?” Margot asked.

“You can call me the soul of discretion.”

“OK, I’ll call you the soul of discretion, Robbie. But can you really keep a secret?”

“Do you even know what discretion means, Margot?”

“Of course I know what it means, but I’m not sure you do.”

“OK, I’ll humor you. How can I be the soul of discretion and not keep a secret?”

“Discretion means the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment. So if I told you my secret, and you decided it was important for someone else to know it, you would use your own discretionary soul to tell them.”

“I see what you mean. Allow me to defend my position. Suppose you tell me your secret. Then a situation arises where it is a matter of life or death. You will die unless I share your secret with the doctor or someone. Wouldn’t you want me to tell your secret then? By using my own discretion?”

“Fair enough, in a hypothetical sense. But if I want you to keep a secret that has nothing to do with life or death, can you keep it?”

“Is this a secret somebody else told you? Are you breaking confidence here?”

“Oh, puh-lease. It’s my secret, and mine alone. Unless I share it with you, Robbie. I’m not sure if I want to share it or not, which is why I asked the question in the first place.”

“Is that about that party last week? Because you might think your antics were a secret but trust me - everyone at the party, and most of the people they know, are well aware of all of your Tequila-prompted shenanigans.”

“No, it’s not exactly about that party. And in spite of what you may think, not everyone there knows all about every one of my shenanigans.”

“Is that so? Name one person who was at that party that doesn’t know about them. All of them.”

“Well, there’s me, to start with. I was too far gone to remember half of them.”

“Oh, that’s rich. Maybe I should ask if you can keep a secret. Oh, wait - your shenanigans, beginning with your table dancing, aren’t a secret.”

“Don’t remind me of the table dance. That’s one of the things I do remember. What else did I do? After I put my clothes back on?”

“How about a trade, Margot? You share your non-party secret with me, and I’ll tell you about your other party antics.”

“No can do, Robbie. You haven’t even told me if you can keep a secret yet.”

“OK, fair enough. Yes, I can keep a secret. Do we have a deal?”

“Oh you can, can you? So tell me about a secret you kept. So I can believe you.”

Robbie scratched his head. “Remember old Mrs. Peterson? And how she thought everyone was out to get her?”

“Yes, I do, poor thing.”

“Well, she wasn’t totally wrong. Ginny broke into Mrs. Peterson’s house one night, trying to steal some money. For drugs. Ginny told me all about it when I was high and asked me to keep it a secret.”

“HAH! You just proved you can’t keep a secret.”

“Wait a minute, here. You told me at that party that you knew what Ginny did.”


“So it wasn’t a secret any longer.”

“That’s fair, I guess. So tell me instead about a time when you failed to keep a secret. And what happened because you messed up and told it.”

Robbie gave Margot one of his patented Cheshire-cat grins. “No way. It’s another test. If I tell you about a time I failed to keep a secret, you’ll be convinced I can’t keep one.”

It was Margot’s turn to smile, like the cat that ate the canary. “So there was a time when you didn’t keep a secret. Gotcha.”

“Nice try, amateur. I didn’t say there was such a time. I just said that if there was, and I told you, I would fail your second lame attempt at a test.”

“So was there such a time, Mr. Smarty Pants?”

“I’ll never tell.” Robbie shook his head. “So spill the beans. I can, and will, keep your secret.”

“I guess I can trust you. And I’m dying to tell someone. OK, I’ll tell you my secret. But you better pinky swear not to tell anyone. Ever.”

“I pinky swear not to tell anyone your dirty little secret, ever.”

“I didn’t say it was a dirty little secret.” Margot offered Robbie her pinky. He curled his pinky around hers and repeated his pinky swear.

Margot looked around, to make sure they were still alone in the school hall. Then she pulled Robbie closer and leaned up to whisper in his ear.

“When I left the party and headed home, I was all by myself. Nobody was there to see my next shenanigan.”

“OK,” Robbie whispered back. “So what did nobody see you do?”

“You know the captain of our football team? The douche-bag that basically forced himself on Susan and told everyone about it?”

“Who doesn’t?” Robbie nodded. “I still don’t know why he’s not expelled, or arrested, or something.”

“It’s a he-said, she-said kind of situation,” Margot assured him. “Don’t even get me started about the whole attitude men have, believing women are asking for it when they aren’t.”

“I guess I get it,” Robbie frowned. “Anyway, yes, I know the football captain, Mycroft.” Margot put her lips close to Robbie’s ear again to continue.

“I left the party to walk home and clear my head, even though it was snowing. Maybe partly because it was snowing, I can’t honestly remember.”

“It was snowing, and I thought you were crazy to be walking in that. But you wouldn’t let me walk you home.”

“Right. Thanks for the offer. Anyway, I was just down the street from the party, and I saw Mycroft’s motorcycle, parked by the curb, covered in snow.”

Robbie frowned, but he asked her to go on.

“I brushed the snow off the seat, took a dump on it, then covered my poop up with snow. That’s my secret. And yes, it’s a dirty little secret. And you better never tell a soul, especially Mycroft.”

Robbie stepped back and put his hands on his hips. “Oh, don’t worry, Margot. I won’t tell a soul. It will be our dirty little secret. And do you know why I won’t tell anyone?”

“Because you pinky swore?”

“Because that wasn’t Mycroft’s motorcycle. It was mine.”

August 19, 2020 20:39

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