Peter Furst had always been that; first. In school, he finished foot races first and consequently, was picked first for kickball teams. He finished tests first and always scored first in his class. Peter finished meals first, got his wheels first, danced first and romanced first. He was even named after the first pope!
And he was always first to explain how great this made him.
To his classmates, however, Peter became a first-rate pain and something had to be done. Gathering around a lunch table one day, classmates Matthew, Michael, Jason, Jenny and Jenny conspired against him.
Jason and Jenny were twins, and every class had two Jennys.
"Just once, I'd like to see Peter eat floor in basketball," Matthew said.
"Eat floor? I'd be happy to see him miss a basket."
"If he wants, I'll even let him be the first to miss."
"Make him miss."
"Make him miss? He's on my team. I want to knock the guy down a notch, but I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot."
Jason nodded. He too was on the team. He might not like Peter, but he liked losing less.
"Let's take this off the court. What about in class?"
"How do you mess up a guy in class?"
"I dunno. Just a suggestion."
"Could we make him fail a test?"
"Don't see how."
Everyone shook their heads and returned to their lunches. For the moment, Peter Furst would remain first.
The entire crew shared a class with Peter following lunch. It was the only class that all six students shared and therefore, was the source of umbrage with Peter.
Michael was brewing up a plan and Matthew was too. It was not surprising. Great minds think alike, they say and so it makes sense that greatly devious minds do the same. The boys concentrated on where Peter stashed his notes. Matthew smiled when he saw Peter tuck them into a workbook.
By the end of the day, the notes were in Matthew's pocket.
The next day, the conspirators met at lunch again.
"I had a few ideas about what to do with Peter."
"We've got something better than ideas," Matthew said, slidding a stack of folded papers across the table. "Peter's notes."
"You stole them?" Jenny asked.
"You stole them!" Jason congratulated.
"I thought about copying them wrong and giving them back, but my handwriting looks nothing like his. I say we let him go without."
"Why don't we give them back the day before the test?"
"Why would we give them back?"
"Have you ever studied for a test in one night?"
"Look, give them back the day before the test. He'll be up all night."
"That's not enough."
"Well, you think of something."
"Michael motioned for everyone to lean forward. He whispered his plans to the rest of the group. Around the circle, there were smiles and nods. It was a good plan.
It was the end of their last calss when Jenny watched Peter leave for the restroom. All the worrying had gone from his nerves into his stomach. Her opportunity was coming. Seconds after Peter entered the hallway, Jenny walked to the trashcan to throw away some paper. As she passed her target's desk, she slipped the notes into his binder.
Phase One of their plan was complete. When Peter accidentally pulled his notes out, Jenny thought he might faint.
Phase Two was Michael and Matthew's handiwork. Matthew had suggested keeping Peter from studying by calling him and keeping him on the phone, but he could easily dismiss them, and probably would.
Michael ran with it. Each of the conspirators agreed to set their alarm clocks for a particular hour of the night. Matthew took midnight. Michael took One. Jason and the two Jennys followed in hourly order.
Each of the conspirators managed to get a good night's sleep save a minute or two. Peter, however, got none.
Test day, everyone arrived at school, looking rested. Everyone, except Peter, that is. His hair was sprawling and his shirt was on backwards.
How did Peter fare, with hardly an hour of sleep? Of all his classmates, Peter Furst will be the last to tell.
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