A Wonderful Story This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The teacher slid the paper onhis desk and Greg felt his stomach drop. "See me" was scrawled across the top.Greg knew exactly what the teacher expected from him. The minutes slowly went by,until the bell finally rang and the sixth grade noisily went out to recess.Greg's upper lip was wet and his hands were clammy as he walked over to theteacher's desk. He frantically looked around the empty classroom. He wanted tomake sure nobody was left to witness his humiliation. At the same time, hedesperately wanted to find a small hole to crawl into.

"How may I helpyou, Gregory?" She let her glasses slide down her nose until they looked likethey were going to fall off her face. Greg could see that she was not going tomake this easy for him.

"Well, you, um, you wrote "See me" on the top ofmy story, so I uh, I came to see you."

"Oh yes, I do remember," she saidwhile shaking her head as she looked the paper up and down and up and down untilGreg thought that her head would roll right off her neck.

"Well Greg, I amvery impressed with your creative writing. I have a wonderful surprise foryou."

As if her being impressed wasn't enough, she had a wonderfulsurprise for him. Greg knew he was in for it this time. What if she told hisparents? They would get all mushy and proud. They would probably wind upblubbering all over themselves and telling all their neighbors and relatives.Greg would never even set foot outside of his room again in his life. Well, maybejust to eat. What could possibly be worse than that?

"This Friday,Gregory, you will be reading this wonderful story to the ENTIRE SIXTH GRADE!!!"As she practically shouted this out, she waved her decrepit hands all over andthen started clapping.

Greg's first reaction was that this lady belongedin a loony bin. Then reality hit him. In fact, it smacked him so hard, he almostfell over. Usually Greg controlled his emotions pretty well, but this was toomuch. "What do you mean? There's no way in the entire world I'm going to do this!I can't! I won't! I just won't!"

"Of course you will, Gregory. You'll dofine. All of the other boys and girls will admire you for your courage and yourbeautiful way with words." She said this as she laid her hand on Greg's shoulderand pushed him out the door. "Have a good time at recess, dear." The door thenslammed in his face.

His teacher obviously did not understand the amountof anxiety that had been boiling up in his body over the last few minutes. But ifhe said one more word, he was sure he would explode.

Greg got off theschool bus that afternoon dreading what would happen when he got home. He hopedthat his mom didn't ask how his day was. For some reason, his mom had thesemagical powers that let her know if Greg was lying, or even just hiding thetruth. It turned out that his teacher had called her during recess and shared thewonderful news with her. Greg's suspicions were confirmed, his mother wasdelirious with happiness. Of course, she had to take him shopping for a "darling"new outfit to wear in front of the class. After a full day of an exhilaratingshopping spree, Greg had enough.

When his mother was finally ready to gohome and let Greg sink even further into his pre-adolescent depression, sherealized that she had forgotten about shoes. Greg was able to stand the tweedslacks. Even the blue and red pin-striped shirt. The clip-on tie was starting topush it a little bit. When he had to get his hair cut so short that it just stuckout in little spikes, he was ready to have a coronary. But this was his limit. Aslong as he could wear his beat up old sneakers, he would survive the day ofembarrassment and name calling. How could this evil woman he thought of as hismother do this to him? The shoes were the ugliest things he could ever imaginecovering his feet with. They were a disgusting brown and had little tasselsgrowing from his toes. He hated them with a passion and fought with his motherfervently to persuade her to return them, or burn them, or feed them to theneighbor's dog. He tried to explain that there were a lot of homeless people thatwere in much greater need of a nice new pair of shoes than he was, but to noavail. His plan fell apart and his mother insisted on the shoes.

Well, nowthat he was stuck with those dorky looking clothes, he had to start lookingforward to making a complete fool of himself in front of the entire class. Hecould hardly wait.

That Friday, Greg came to school in his spiffy newclothes with his hair slicked back. (Well, what he had left of his hair.) Eventhe crevices behind his ears were squeaky clean. The worst part was that he hadto wait the whole day until he could just get it over with. Greg tried to forgetabout it and convince himself that he was not the least bit nervous. But, forsome odd reason, he could not hold on to anything that day because it keptslipping out of his wet hands. His face also got unusually hot every time someonein the class would glance at him. He hoped that he wasn't coming down withanything.

Greg knew that if he didn't snap out of this he would drivehimself crazy. After all, he was just sharing his thoughts and feelings in frontof all the people he had known since he was a child. All of his most privateinnermost thoughts and feelings. He quickly said a silent prayer that he wouldn'thave to drop out of school as a result of all the other students mocking him forthe rest of his school career.

Then it happened. The teacher loudly said,"Gregory, I'd like you to go to the front of the room with your wonderful story."Greg was really beginning to despise that stupid word. As he approached the headof the class, he looked around, and just as he expected, everyone was watchinghim intently, waiting for him to impart some secret knowledge.

Greg feltthe room starting to spin and he could have sworn that he heard people callingout his name and making funny faces at him. At that moment he discovered what itwas like to hate someone. Not just greatly dislike, but really hate. That was howhe felt about his teacher for making him go through this traumatic experience.His stomach started turning too, and he started getting a very vivid essence ofhis meal from last night. Too vivid. A wave of nausea came over him. He tried torun away, but he knew that he wouldn't make it. He jerked his head face down andvomited in front of the entire sixth grade. So much for the shoes.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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the best hurley said...
Dec. 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm
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