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One of Us Is Lying

Check out our episode here! One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus



Monday, September 24th

Bronwyn

Heading to detention instead of a Mathlete meet-up, Bronwyn runs into Simon, the notorious school gossip, so notorious in fact that he's developed his own gossip app. Bronwyn is sure she’s been set up because she's not the type to get detention. Mr. Avery has a strict no phones in class rule and she always leaves hers in her locker so she doesn’t know whose phone he found in her bag. It turns out Simon, popular girl Addy and Captain America look alike Cooper were also victims of the same practical joker. It’s unclear if Nate, bad boy and permanent resident of detention, is there for the same reason or if he got detention all on his own. Mr. Avery won’t listen to reason, really why wouldn’t someone have two phones? He tells Bronwyn and the others to write a 500 word essay on how technology is ruining American high schools. By hand. Ugh.


Cooper

Within minutes, Cooper’s hand is hurting. His father insists that he only use his stronger left hand for pitching and do other, non-essential stuff like writing, with his right hand. Watching Simon grab a glass of water from the sinks in the back of the classroom, his water bottle that he always has with him apparently missing, Copper thinks about how dangerous Simon is with his gossip and seems to have it in for his crowd. Suddenly there is a loud crash outside, two cars have banged into each other. Mr. Avery goes to take a look leaving them alone in detention. Simon starts monologuing and takes a sip of water which he says tastes awful, then suddenly, he starts to choke. It seems he’s having an allergic reaction. Nate is first to Simon and Cooper digs into Simon’s bag looking for an epipen while Bronwyn calls 911 and goes for a teacher. Mr. Avery comes back, Simon’s turning blue, and sends Cooper to the nurse's office for epipens, but there aren’t any. When Cooper gets back to the detention room, the paramedics are there and they take Simon away. It’s not looking good.


Addy

Completely wrecked over what has happened, Addy desperately calls her boyfriend Jake. Unable to speak, Cooper takes over the call. They’re best friends, so it’s okay for him to comfort Addy. The students are allowed to leave detention after confirming that Simon has a severe peanut allergy, and they only saw him take a drink of water from a cup already in the classroom. The cup is taken for investigation. Jake takes Addy home and her Botox to the max mom gushes theatrical sympathy while her much younger boyfriend looks on. Jake handles her mom and settles Addy down.


Nate

Standing in the school parking lot with Bronwyn, Nate is at a loose end. Bronwyn admits to not having her car today, she was meant to get a lift after Mathletes with a boy, Evan, who she has a crush on but that didn't happen and now she doesn't really know what to do. Nate offers to give her a ride, she declines the death trap that is his bike but does take a few swings from his hip flask that he swiped from his father that morning. They sit on the ground and talk about what just happened and offer condolences. Nate lost his mom and Bronwyn her uncle around the same time. After 15 minutes and a few deep drags of the flask, Bronwyn accepts the ride with him. As she gets off the bike, Bronwyn receives a call. Simon is dead.


Tuesday, September 25th

Bronwyn

In homeroom the following morning the announcement of Simon’s death is made. Grief counselling is being provided for the 4 in detention. Bronwyn goes about her morning in a daze. She expects Simon’s gossip app, About That, to have some sort of announcement of the juicy information he was bragging about on the way to detention, but it’s still the news from last week. Bronwyn says hi to Nate, which is out of the normal and realizes she doesn’t really like Evan anymore. Too much has happened. When she heads to her counseling session, the guidance counselor has her recommendation from the Model UN organizer, just in time for her Yale submission. Yale is a family tradition and her chemistry grades nearly brought her grade average down which would have meant she could kiss Ivy League goodbye, until she managed to get her grades up, in a way her guidance counselor would not suggest imparting to other struggling students… *cough CHEATER cough*


Thursday, September 27th

Cooper

Keely, Cooper’s girlfriend, is desperate to spend time with him but he’s trying to avoid committing to arranging a date when he and the others from detention are called to the principal's office. Officer Budapest, who is conducting enquiries, asks them to confirm what happened. Later that evening after dinner, Keely unexpectedly turns up at Cooper’s house with Red Vines, she’s perfect. Cooper however is smiling at a text he’s just received from someone calling him handsome and wanting to come over, but now isn’t a good time...


Addy

Sitting at her vanity brushing her hair, Addy is waiting for Jake to arrive, but when she hears the doorbell, it’s at least ten minutes before he enters her room. Her mother can be exhausting! Addy is thinking how she looks next to Keely who is the beauty of their group, Addy would be the generic best friend in the movie. She remembers a year ago drunk Keely kissing Simon for five minutes at a party. Simon was never part of their group, just floated on the edges. When Jake finally arrives, he tells her Simon’s mom asked him to be pallbearer. He said yes, he could hardly refuse, they used to be best friends until middle school when Jake became a jock. Simon also seemed to be begging for attention after that, and when he broke a sexting scandal he became the person with all the gossip about everyone. Jake checks that Addy is still okay to go to the beach the following night, and she is, but she secretly hopes TJ won’t be there. Unlucky, Addy...


Nate

Home for Nate is a dump, the chimney is crumbling, the yard hasn’t seen care for years, paint is peeling. It’s the kind of place you avoid. At home, Nate’s father is passed out drunk on the sofa. He’s always had a drinking problem but it got worse after Nate’s mom left, and worse still after she died. When he was still a functioning alcoholic, he had an accident which left him with a disability and social security checks which meant his drinking didn’t get interrupted. His mom was bi-polar, off her meds and addicted to cocaine. She would take off and come home all the time, until the one time when she never came back. Placing his bearded dragon Stan on his shoulder, Nate sits and eats leftover Chinese. He’s thinking about Bronwyn, how she was the only other non useless person in detention, and he laughs remembering her comment about no one having more than one phone, Nate has three; his personal, one for his customers and one for his suppliers. Nate is a drug dealer, but only weed and painkillers. He gets a text from a girl he’s hooked up with a few times, Amber, and arranges for her to come over, then he gets another from a friend with a tumblr link. Someone is claiming to have killed Simon, he was hated by everyone so would not be missed and the supposed killer took inspiration from Dateline.


Friday, September 28th

Bronwyn

Half watching retro vampire TV show Buffy and half reading Ulysses, Bronwyn is hanging with her sister. Everyone at school was talking about the tumblr post and looking at her differently and she can’t get it out of her head. Maeve, looking out her bedroom window, spies Nate sitting on his bike, parked on their drive. Her parents are out so she invites him in, Maeve is watching them like it’s a spectator sport. Nate ambles around the house until he sees a piano and asks Bronwyn to play. Though technically proficient, her music does not hold emotion, until tonight when she plays “Variations on the Canon” perfectly and with all the feels.


Addy

Officer Budapest is at Addy’s house asking the same questions about what happened at detention, getting more details about her visit to the nurse the day of the detention and about the tumblr post. Her mom flirts with Officer Budapest then mentally checks out, her sister Ashton bugs Officer Budapest about his line of questioning. When he finally leaves, Addy can get ready for the beach and Ashton follows her upstairs. While Ashton’s short marriage is falling apart, she thinks Addy and Jake are going strong. This makes Addy uncomfortable. Luckily the doorbell rings, it’s Jake aka Mr. Perfect himself. He’s brought TJ with him. Oh joy. Jake makes some comments about Addy’s sweatshirt and canvas sneakers, asks her to put on something “cuter” which she knows means more form fitting and she does even though it’s a cold night. When they get to the beach Addy feels sick, she hates everything now. Jake runs off to correct Cooper and Luis’s bonfire building efforts and leaves Addy and TJ alone. It turns out Addy slept with TJ over the summer, not a month after her and Jake's first time together. She got blind drunk, instigated everything out of insecurity and now wants to forget it. TJ is happy to do the same.


Saturday, September 29th

Cooper

Playing at an invitational baseball game before Simon’s memorial service, insert sports talk here, Cooper is pitching well. So well that a scout approaches him as he’s leaving with his dad and Luis. The scout comments that he’s had a striking improvement in only a few months. Insert pregnant pause here. At the memorial, heading toward their group of friends, Cooper and Luis run into Leah, a girl who tried to kill herself over the rumors Simon published about her on his app. She isn’t upset he’s dead and says everyone here is a hypocrite. She also shows Cooper the latest tumblr post. It’s written like the murderer was in the room and watched Simon die, that they planned the doctored water cup because they’d noticed he only ever drank from his own water bottle and his food was in inches of wrap. This is not good. But during the memorial Cooper can’t stop thinking about how Keely is too close and how the scout was right, that sometimes the improvement can be too good to be true.


Sunday, September 30th

Nate

Officer Lopez, Nate’s probation officer, is sitting at his kitchen table with him and Stan trying to get Nate to actively participate in the conversation. As far as probation officers go, she’s a decent one. She even goes to Simon’s funeral with him which is in half an hour, she has blackmailed him into going with a good evaluation report next time one is required, but still. The church is uncomfortable and Nate wants to bolt at every opportunity. The other detention kids are there and a few plain-clothes cops, but he spots them easily enough. The poem “Song of Myself” is read by the weird goth kid who always hung around Simon is an interesting choice. As the funeral party leaves, a buzz cut officer steps over and asks for a word.


Addy

After the service and as Simon’s body is being lowered into the ground, a female plain-clothes police officer approaches Addy. She wants her to come to the station for a few more follow-up questions. Addy doesn’t know what to do and when Jake saunters over and gives his permission. It seems he has made the decision for her. At the station the detective shows Addy an article from About That. It claims Bronwyn cheated on her chemistry test, Nate is dealing drugs, Cooper is taking performance enhancers and she slept with TJ. Addy is freaked out that Jake has seen it because she’s built her world around him. It’s actually an unpublished article. Simon died before publishing it. The Detective wants Addy to admit the truth, as she sees it Addy went along with the group's plan to kill Simon. She can help her. Something gets through to Addy’s brain that she doesn’t have to stay, she isn’t under arrest, so she gets up and leaves. The only person she can call for help is her sister Ashton.


Cooper

Reading what Simon found out about the others first, Cooper is stunned by his rumor. The juicing allegation is not what he was expecting. The Detective wants Cooper to tell them who planned the murder, Cooper suggests they look at who set them up with the cell phones but the Detective admits their line of enquiry will remain on the four. Cooper calls his dad who loudly rants at the Detective and orders Cooper to leave the station. The Detective tells Cooper that the others are being told the same thing, and that one will talk and be treated better than the others. Cooper thanks the officer for his time and leaves.


Bronwyn

At the station, Bronwyn has her parents instead of a school district child representative with her so she doesn’t spend long answering questions. Her father is very silent on the way home, her mother vocal at the allegations. Then Bronwyn tells them everything, how she used the computer after her chemistry teacher and he hadn't logged out and all the tests were there on his google drive so she downloaded them to a flash drive and had been using them to pass for months. Her parents are disappointed, but it seems more in that it doesn’t discredit her motive. When her mother asks if there is anything else she needs to tell them, her mind goes to the question “Did you have any reason, beyond this, to dislike or resent Simon?” She looks her father in the eyes as she lies “no.”


Nate

Office Lopez stays with Nate throughout his questioning and even has his back by dialing the detective back. He’s lied to her every week during their meetings and still, she is helping him. When she drops him off at home she doesn’t pull any punches and warns him that if the accusation is true, she can’t help him. The others have steady homes and involved parents, making him the obvious outlier and scapegoat. Nate heads inside to the stale smell of vomit. At least his dad made it downstairs to the sink this time. Kicking the kitchen cabinet a few times and throwing cleaner and water at it, he leaves. The puke will be Future Nate’s problem. He gets on his bike and drives to Bronwyn’s. Her dad is outside, he wants Nate to go away and tells him he doesn’t want to have police involved. Looks like he really is the outlier and scapegoat.


Addy

Ashton takes Addy back to her apartment, they can’t get in touch with their mom and Ashton thinks it better to get a lawyer. Over coffee on the balcony, Addy tells her everything. Ashton has never been a fan of Jake and insists that Addy be honest with him before the truth does come out as it always does. Addy agrees and they go to Jake's house. The conversation is not pleasant. Jake shouts, swears and punches the wall until paint falls and blood splatters his knuckles. He tells Addy that she ruined everything.


Monday, October 1st

Bronwyn

A nicely expensive but discreet lawyer has been put on retainer by Bronwyn’s wealthy parents. She tells Bronwyn not to talk to the others from detention or the school administration or police without her present. So of course when Bronwyn gets to school, who does she look for? Nate. He admits he needed to see her the other night and talk through things and he gives her a burner phone so they can at least talk and text. She’s sure her lawyer would disapprove of associating with someone who happens to have a stash of cell phones which landed her in detention in the first place.


Cooper

There’s tension within Cooper’s friend group which comes to a head when Jake punches TJ ahh! TF in Addy’s gossip was TJ Forrester! So Jake gets sent home, TJ’s face is a mess and Addy is the group pariah. The others are hypocrites since they’ve cheated and done worse than her. There is also an awkward moment at lunch when Cooper doesn’t have hold of his phone and he gets a call from Kris with a K. He blabs something about them being German and a baseball buddy. On his way out of school the Coach approaches him with a list of interested colleges and their initial scholarships offers. Then Cooper bumps into Mr. Avery carrying a heavy box who spits something about paying attention, texting and gossip. In his car, Cooper gets a text from his mom. His Nonny has had a heart attack.


Nate

After having his house searched, Nate has called all his suppliers and put his dealing on hold until things blow over. It’s past midnight now and he's watching Japanese horror movies when he decides to call Bronwyn on the burner he gave her. They talk for a while, about his mom, how the gossip is true but they didn’t kill Simon. Bronwyn even explains how she doesn’t think Nate is a sociopath. As she hangs up, Bronwyn admits she did have a crush on him back in 8th grade, Nate only admits it in his head. He reaches over and texts Amber back for her to come over.


Wednesday, October 3rd

Addy

Ashton won’t let Addy skip school. Pretty much as soon as she walks in she spots Jake. He looks and speaks to her with hate and her “friend” Vanessa has scrawled whore on her locker. This sends her into the bathrooms for a 3 period crying fit. Deciding to sneak out and go home, she runs into TJ who is heading to a doctor's appointment about his nose. He swears he told no one, so how did Simon find out? Addy realizes Simon’s post only implied but didn’t outright state they had slept together, but realistically, she wouldn’t have been able to keep the whole truth from Jake. TJ tells Addy the next day, she should sit with him at lunch and give everyone something to really talk about.


Thursday, October 4th

Bronwyn

At lunch, the cafeteria suddenly goes silent as everyone looks at their phone. Maeve lends hers to Bronwyn, there has been another tumblr post. This one details word-for-word Simon’s post and adds at the bottom that they need to connect the dots, that the four will lie. Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper are called into the principal's office and Principal Gupta tells them they are in a safe space, the police will start interviewing the student populace the following day. None of them speak. When she leaves for a moment, the awkward silence is broken. Turns out Addy has her own thoughts and opinions, she hates Simon for what he did to people, his long exposés that really harmed people. She also knows what kind of peanut oil is needed to kill someone, thank you Food Network. When Principal Gupta comes back in Cooper, southern accent in full effect, says that with all due respect they shouldn’t say anything and they leave. Just after midnight, Nate makes his usual call to Bronwyn. It’s her turn to pick the Netflix movie to watch together, as she’s scrolling she points out that the planted phones haven’t been investigated, which seems odd.


Friday, October 5th

Cooper

Lucas and Cooper head to the hospital to see Nonny. She’s frail but looking and sounding better. She throws $20 at Lucas to go and fetch them some candy and take his time about it so she can talk to Cooper. He tells her exactly what’s been going on and how he’s feeling. Nonny listens and believes him, tells him not to worry about lawyers, she’s paying and that she has seen the way Cooper is with Keely. She isn’t the one for him, the person he’s texting is and he needs to be with that person, he deserves to be happy. Cooper feels better and goes in search of his little brother and the candy.


Nate

When Nate gets home early from a party at Amber’s house he finds his father still up and muttering about hearing his phone ringing. Ignoring him, he heads into his room and calls Bronwyn, it’s his turn to pick the movie. Half way in, she complains it’s too much to watch alone. They joke-not-joke about her sneaking out and watching the rest as his house, she can meet his lizard. Stan the bearded dragon, get your mind out of the gutter! In the end, Bronwyn is getting pings about her minutes nearly being up so they hang up and go to sleep, Nate will get a new phone to her. All this time he’s been ignoring texts from Amber on his other line.


Saturday, October 6th

Addy

Ashton hands Addy a 10am beer. They need to do something but Addy lived by and for Jake, and now she needs to find her own identity. When Addy tells her she needs to go home to her husband and not babysit her, Ashton confesses that her marriage is over, she caught Charlie cheating. A vase was thrown and everything. Now Addy needs to tell her why she lied to the police about being in the nurse's office on the day of the murder, Addy’s tells were obvious. She confesses that she went for pain killers for Jake, not herself. She didn’t want to say anything because Ashton doesn’t like Jake. Doesn’t matter now. They decide to rent bikes and go for a ride around the park. In a coffee shop after, Addy realizes she’s starting to come back together. She’s also grateful Cooper isn’t treating her differently like the rest of their social circle.


Bronwyn

As part of their usual routine, Bronwyn finishes her run and heads into the library to pick up Maeve. She finds her logged on a library computer looking at the admin access to the About That app. She committed identity theft of a 6 year old to get untraceable computer access. She’s found an encrypted file she needs to download about Cooper that is older than the piece Simon was going to post, which was time stamped for the day before his death. Maeve doesn’t like the app, doesn’t like what it does to people or the hold it has on them. She got the admin access a couple of months ago when she spotted Simon using the library to make his posts, she just copied the logins from the computer’s search history. On their way home they stop by a housing development where Nate has stashed a new burner phone for Bronwyn. It has a picture of Stan on it with a caption, actual lizard.


Cooper

At a party that night, Cooper spots Vanessa pawing at a disinterested Nate. Heading outside, Jake is there and already very drunk. He lays into Cooper for defending his cheating ex and confesses that his mom cheated on his dad a few years ago. Yes, they’re still together but nothing is the same. Others in their group drift over. Luis tells him that he and Jake have been invited by Simon’s mom to take something of his to remember him. Cooper was obviously not included. It’s creepy though. Then Luis’s girlfriend and party host, Olivia, hands her phone to Cooper. He and the others in the detention group are featured in the Bayview Blade due out the following day. All their secrets are laid out and they are noted as persons of interest in the case.


Monday, October 8th