Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can you change the past?

Submitted by Charlotte Adams, professional organizer, from Mary Jane Maffini’s mystery series.

Have you even wished you could go back and change the past? I definitely have and I still do.

The thing is, I am haunted by guilt. Sure, it’s over something that happened a long time ago and I was just a teenager, but I am still feeling the aftereffects. And not just me. Someone else is in a much worse position. But let me start at the beginning. Back when my friends Sally, Margaret, Pepper, Jack and I (best known as the misfits) were students at St. Jude’s, we didn’t put an end to a horrible bullying situation. Don’t get me wrong, of course, we tried to help the victim, Mona Pringle, whenever we found her in a terrible or embarrassing situation. It’s just that we never really stood up to the bullies and made them stop. I guess we were like a band-aid solution, but the wound never healed.

Sure, I helped to calm Mona when the bullies left her naked and traumatized in the girls’ locker room and my friend Sally found her something to wear. Jack Reilly rescued Mona from her locker where she’d been imprisoned late on a Friday afternoon, presumably to spend a wretched weekend. And Pepper escorted Mona past the threatening gang, offering to have her police officer father deal with them. An empty bluff, but it worked.

We all did what we needed to in the moment, but we didn’t fix the problem. Maybe we didn’t know that we had the power to. Maybe we thought that these bullies were invincible. Maybe they were. Just look at who they were: four girls (Serena, Haley, Tiffanee and Jasmin), bright, beautiful, well-off with beautiful clothing and many admirers. Would the school administration have taken us seriously for a minute?

There’s no way to know, because we didn’t. We just rescued Mona when we needed to and let things go, busy with our own lives and our own problems. I am horrified now by this. I realize from my research that many bullies are actually attractive kids who excel at many things and just think it’s fun to torment some lesser beings. Guess who the authorities are likely to believe? Not Mona, thin as a bird with bad skin and a nervous twitch and not us misfits either. They would have gone with the winners.

It’s too bad, because now that we’re in our thirties, the same bullies are getting back together in our little town of Woodbridge. The ringleader, Serena, is looking to make amends with Mona, who is now a 911 dispatcher. It’s too late in Mona’s mind. She seems to have snapped. She’s ranting about revenge.

This time I need to do the right thing and stop what is going on and help Mona. I am just hoping that she’s not the reason bad things are happening to the four pretty bullies. When I say bad things are happening, I mean people are dying in nasty hit and run collisions. Has poor Mona turned into the villain or is someone continuing to make her miserable? And where is she? Why isn’t she at work or at home? How long will it take until all four bullies are lying in the morgue surrounded by innocent bystanders?

Can I make a difference this time? I sure hope so. Lives are at stake. The police (that’s Pepper now) are telling me that they’ll handle it. But I’m not so sure they’ll reach Mona in time. I’m the one she’s calling and I know I have to take action.

What about you? Is there someone in your past that you wish you had stood up to? And do you have any advice for me? Anyone?

Charlotte Adams has many mysterious adventures, often when she really should be taking care of her own organizing business. It's just that she wants to help people. She'd prefer not to get arrested, but whatever it takes, as you can see in these five titles.

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  1. I would say, look for the other victims... you have to know Mona must not have been the only one! There may be another - or several others - who were bullied too.

  2. What you're doing now for Mona is a good thing.

  3. Thank you, Victoria. I know you are a sleuth yourself! Wise words.

    And Dru, I appreciate that! I think I needed to hear it.


  4. Charlotte -- your heart's always been in the right place. Just try to stay out of trouble helping Mona!
    Sometimes there's a long build-up before you're able to stand up to someone. And then there's that infamous 'straw'.

  5. Charlotte, I enjoyed reading about your adventures. What a time you had with this one!

    Until someone invents a time machine, you can only live in the present and hope that you can do the right thing now. I hope Mona understands that.

    BTW, can you come to my house and organize my office? :-)

  6. I agree with Victoria... it is scary to think of all the bullying that goes on and how much we all probably ignored when we were in school if it did not affect us personally. Not a good idea to look back into it too deeply...maybe we too could have prevented a murder or two.

  7. Thank you all. I am trying to get my head around the problem and, yes, prevent a murder or two.