(Strip Number 1375, Original Publication Date, 26 November 1988)
Panel 1: Apparently while Michael had been spending the day moping about Martha sharing his note with her friends, he never confronted Martha about it, no doubt due to his rules about absolute secrecy. In the meantime, poor Martha, ignorant of the fact that Michael now hates her, decided to draft a response note to Michael to answer whatever questions he raised with his note. Unlike Michael, she did not lurk in the hallway to shove it into his hands and extract a promise that he never share the note with anyone else. She just leaves it in his locker for him to find.
Panel 2: Martha writes in cursive and she indents. Oh Michael, what more could you possibly want from a girlfriend? Based on what Martha writes, we can assume that Michael’s note to her said something like, “I like you. Do you like me too?”
Panel 3: With a SHRED, RIP, RIP, RIP sound effect, Michael destroys Martha’s note while screaming, “AAAGHH!!” as Martha and her friends watch the action. I suppose Martha and her friends are just as stalkerish as Michael was yesterday, except it is reasonable to assume they may have looked in on Michael because they heard him screaming. Nevertheless, you get the old style comedy bit of three people at different heights looking around a corner.
Panel 4: Janet draws the conclusion that Martha should have put “love” instead of “like” and this is the reason that Michael shredded the note while screaming. Honestly, if I wrote a note to someone and they acted like Michael after reading it, I would think that boy is cray-cray and I just dodged a bullet. I would also worry a little about my friend Janet for coming to that odd conclusion. I wouldn’t want to tell a kid I just saw screaming in public that I loved him. Now if you compare the reactions of Martha getting a note and happily sharing it with her friends to Michael getting a note and shredding it while screaming, who would you think had the healthiest reaction? Hint: It isn’t mad Michael.
Summary: Ironically Mike gets the response he should have wanted, but now he can’t accept it because Martha failed him when he tested her loyalty. If he didn’t have those rules about absolute secrecy, he might have been able to tell her that he knows she failed his loyalty test. Now it is up to Martha to figure out what in the world is going on.