I couldn't find my calculator. That's how the day started. I'd torn my room apart... upended my laundry hamper, flung clothes across the floor, rattled through my junk drawer. No calculator.

Danny was going to be there any minute to drive me to school... and I couldn't find my calculator.

I dug through the random items that inhabited my desk... 'Move, Desk Lamp! Paperclips, gum, random hook, old stale marshmallow, pencil, hmm... and whatever this thing is.'

I huffed out a sigh... my bedroom looked like it'd been ransacked by a pirate monkey... and two or three of his closest primate friends. And I still couldn't find my calculator... And Danny was already knocking on the door. I scuffed out from my bedroom to fling it open for him.

My hair must have been pretty Einstein-esque (probably from rummaging around under my bed)... because Danny had his lips pressed together, trying not to laugh at me... This didn't however, prevent him from making snide comments, "Someone rub a sock on your head, Melatonin?"

At this point I should mention that my name is not Melatonin... My name is Melanie- a nice sort-of normal name. Danny, however, has called me Melatonin ever since my fifth grade speech on cultural awareness put the whole class to sleep.

He says it's only right to name me after a sleep-promoting chemical... I say that's big talk for someone who was named after a yogurt company. At which point, he rants that his grandfather's name was Dannon, his second-great-cousin's name was Dannon... and also some sort of third-uncle or whatever had the name Dannon.

Then he repeats the agreement we made back in the seventh grade: I am to call him 'Danny' in public... Because if I call him 'Dannon', he'll use my other nickname... 'Melanoma'.

So, unless I want to be forever known as Melanoma... I must call him Danny... but only in public.

"Someone drop an skunk in your bath-water, Dannon?" I pantomimed smelling something awful and holding my nose. He smiled a stalemate smile and stepped inside.

Another fact I'm supposed to keep to myself: Dannon takes baths. I know for a fact because... well... because I accidentally walked in on him once. He was taking a bubble bath... so I didn't see anything... I swear. (wink)

Now, while I see nothing wrong with a guy taking a bath, he seems to think it's incredibly emasculating. Which is funny... because I think baths are more masculine than showers.

I'd like to go on about the genders of certain self-washing techniques, but, alas, I must get to school.

But first I must find my calculator.

"I really can't find it anywhere," I know I'm sounding whiny now... but I'm really frustrated.

"Did you look in my car?"... Oh, yeah. Danny had gone over a speed bump yesterday, the lame zipper on my backpack had ripped out under the weigh of two textbooks and a notebook, and all my stuff had scattered across the back seat... all because of a stupid yellow speed bump.

And, although I hate awarding the victory to Danny, he was right. My wayward calculator had been wedged beneath the driver's seat, between a half-empty bag of cheese puffs and a box of birthday candles.

Who only eats half a bag of cheese puffs?... Wait... that was me.

We parked in the senior lot... between the gym and the stray watch tower. Apparently the school used to be a forest... and the forest used to have a ranger... who used to have a watch tower. I'm just wondering why they tore down all the trees but left the tower standing.

Sick sense of humor? Too lazy? Or maybe the school requested that it be kept... like a watchtower at a prison.

Wow, I'm wandering off on a lot of tangents today.

Where was I?... School. Yeah, that place.

Danny and I wove our way through the parked cars to the back doors of the high school without incident... but then, on the way up the stairs, the tennis ball came back to haunt me.

Only this one was bigger.

I swear... I was just walking up the stairs with Danny, once again minding my own business, and this tennis ball...

... this giant tennis ball comes bouncing down the stairs and knocks a poster off the wall. The poster starts to fall on top of me, I step backwards to avoid it... and I step right off the stair... backwards.

Once again, at this point, there's nothing I can do but fall. My body pitches backward, the weight of my backpack pulling me down... I try to bend at the waist so that I'll at least land on my butt... but that just makes me twist at a strange angle and bash my head into the hand rail.

I woke up at the bottom of the stairs surrounded by students... and Danny was shouting at me. "Melanie!... Melanie?! Are you okay? Can you hear me?"

Something serious must have been going on if he was calling me by my real name... but for the life of me... I couldn't remember what had happened.

At first I'd thought I had lost my memory... but I remembered Dannon... and I remembered that this was my school. I could confidently identify the speckled blue linoleum that I was lying on as belonging to Ribbon Park High School.

So why did my head hurt so bad... and why did I suddenly hate monkeys?