I slammed the bottle of gel down on the bathroom counter. “This time, hair, you’re going down!”
I popped open the lid and squeezed a wad of purple go into my palm, then stared at the one spike of blond hair sticking out stubbornly from the side of my head. I usually didn’t use gel on my hair, but this was a serious case. I totally needed a haircut, that was obvious. I’d just been too busy lately, what with being in the play, and science fair, and everything.
I slapped the gel onto the side of my head, then combed down the sticking-out part. The piece of hair stayed down, but now I looked like someone had sneezed on just one side of my head. I rubbed gel everywhere, to make it look even, and combed some more.
As soon as it dried, that one piece of hair stuck up again.
“I give up!” I yelled. It was too late to try anything else. For a moment I thought about getting the scissors, but instead I grabbed my backpack and headed off to school.
“Nice look, bro,” my friend Kyle said when he passed me in the hall. “Was it 80’s day and nobody told me?”
“Ha ha, very funny,” I put my hand up to feel where my hair was sticking out, then froze. There was a ton more of it sticking out than there had been before. I ran into the bathroom to check in the mirror. Sure enough, a big patch of hair on the side of my head was all standing on end. I got my hands wet and slicked it down again. It sort of stayed.
The bell rang. Snap. I ran to class.
By third period, my hair stood out all around my head. Most people didn’t seem to notice, but Shyla raised her eyebrows and almost giggled, and Sam asked me if I’d stuck my finger in a light bulb socket. That was kind of what I looked like, I thought when I saw my reflection in the steel countertop in the cafeteria line.
As I crossed the lunchroom with my tray, I nearly ran over Anneliese Blair. She stood right in front of me, her frizzy brown hair doing its best to escape from the sideways braid that snaked down over her shoulder, and her eyes about twice the size they were supposed to be, staring at me through her thick, rectangular glasses.
“Did you do that to your hair on purpose?” She asked me.
“Yeah, sure,” I said.
“No you didn’t,” she reached up to touch my head.
I ducked away and tried to get around her.
She gasped, “You’re becoming a surge point! Quick, don’t move.”
I wasn’t sure how to not move quick, so I just kind of stood there and stared at her while she dropped her massive backpack to the cafeteria floor and started throwing out books and papers. “Aha! This will work!” she pulled out a stick of gum that looked like it had been down there for about six months.
Anneliese unwrapped the gum, then popped it in her mouth while she twisted and fiddled with the wrapper. She made the wrapper into a long silvery worm, curved it in a C, and handed it to me.
“Stick this behind your ear!” She said in an urgent whisper. “That way, when the energy blast strikes, it won’t take you into another dimension. It’s sort of like a lightning rod. It’ll protect you.”
I stared at her as she scooped up all her backpack stuff and put it back away. Slowly, hoping no one was watching, I put the gum wrapper behind my ear. Just in case on the crazy odd chance she was telling the truth. At least no one would be able to see it there, not with my hair going all spiky.