“If I don’t have sex soon, I’ll die,” Renée sighs into her sandwich.

Don’t say a word, I tell myself, as everyone cracks up around me. I try to focus on my apple. It’s a Starking variety. The Starking has a number of offspring, including–

“I’m serious,” she says. She tosses her sandwich down and flops back on the school lawn. “I’m telling you, if I don’t get some action soon it will be the end of me.”

“Renée,” Clinton says. “Nobody dies from lack of sex.”

“Female ferrets can.” The words are out of my mouth before I can grab them.

“Really?” Renée sits up and raises a brow. “Tell us more, Wiki.”

Everyone – Robyn, Enrico, Nomhle, Clinton, Baka, Renée – are nodding, smiling.

I frown, unable to tell if they are serious or not. Sometimes people want to hear information, other times they’re making fun of me. I find it hard to know which is which. I wouldn’t even be eating with them today if Clinton hadn’t insisted. I usually eat alone. Less likely for my mouth to get me in trouble that way.

“Come on, Winile.” Clinton elbows me in the ribs. “You know you want to tell us, so let the facts come tumbling out.” He smiles. Clinton always has a nice smile. He’s also the only person in this school who calls me by my real name.

“I, for one,” says Robyn, “need to hear this.”

“I do, too,” Enrico says.

The rest grin, teeth sparkling in the sunlight.

“Um,” I swallow. “You see, the female ferret, when they go into heat, they can’t get out of it until …”

Baka’s eyes gleam, making me suspicious. He just wants me to make a fool out of myself.

“So…” Renée says. “Our poor lady ferret keeps needing it and needing it unless she gets some, right?”

“Exactly.” I nod. “Her death would be due to aplastic anaemia.”

“That sounds serious,” Enrico says.

“It is,” I tell him.

“Deadly serious,” Renée says. “Which is why we all need to find me somebody.”

I look back at my apple. If there is one thing I don’t know anything about, it is dating.

***

Tell us: Do you think the people at lunch find Winile interesting, or weird?