“What can I do?” Frankie said.
“You have to continue your father’s work.” Ian said.
“But, I’m in high school.”
“I just want to have fun…I’m tired of being the strong one…It’s always me.”
“Well, you can continue his work or you can be like everybody else and be clueless.”
“But I’m fifteen. What can I do?”
“You’re in the biology club right?”
“It’s what we need.” Ian said and smiled.
Frankie started thinking about her friends. The Biology crew. She felt like such a nerd, but she really loved it. It’s what she and her Dad had in common. A love for exploring.
When Frankie joined biology club freshman year, it was like finding the right pair of jeans. She just fit in.
Frankie walked in to her biology class and the sight of dead pigs floating in formaldehyde didn’t stir her stomach. She actually liked it. Her teacher was reading something on his laptop and looked up with his glasses sitting at the tip of his nose.
“Oh hello, you must be Frankie. I was just reading about you.”
“Oh, yes. What did you read?”
“Oh, it’s the teacher email from the registrar office just letting me know you’re in this class. Nice to meet you, I’m Mr. Pepper.”
“Well, you can sit at table six Mando needs a partner.”
Mando looked at her and waved. His dark brown faux hawk hairstyle made his blue eyes stand out. He was kind of cute. Not bad she thought, I just hope he’s smart.
“Hi, I’m Mando, nice to meet you.”
“Hey, I’m Frankie.”
“Where you from?”
“Oh, why are you in Deadlands?”
“Deadlands, that’s what we call Redlands cause nothing ever happens here.”
“Well, do you like biology?”
“Yes, I really do. I like to dissect things. Weird right?”
“No, I like to dissect things too. Also, Mr. Pepper is cool.”
“Ok, so what are you studying?”
“We’re starting a section on insects. Mr. Pepper has a special interest in insects especially roaches.”
“Cool, my dad is an entomologist at Redlands University. That’s why we moved here. he’s a professor.
Frankie felt at ease and got in to geek mode, “I like roaches. They can be pests but they can also be nutritional. Did you know that in China there’re roach farmers?”
“Yeah! I heard they are full of vitamins and have medicinal properties.” Mando responded.
“What are you two talking about over there?” asked Mr. Pepper.
“Roaches!” They both shouted.
“Oh, well Cadence what do you think about roaches?” Mr. Pepper asked.
“I think they’re fascinating. They can be gross but they can also help people. It’s like a paradox.”
“Hmmm, well I am an advisor to the biology club you are welcome to come by. We meet Wednesday afternoons.”
“Ok, I’ll be there.”
Mando smiled. “You’re the first girl to ever join. The guys are gonna freak…you’ll see.”
“No worries. I’m used to being the only girl.” She smiled.