In Charge This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Wearing his neon orange belt, David Rivers, the fourth-grade safety patrol captain, is notorious throughout the halls of Pine Glade Elementary for persecuting any student who dares commit the heinous crimes of running through the halls or trotting off the sidewalks onto the grass. Under David's reign, Pine Glade has seen a significant decrease in disorderly conduct, and his bust of the kid selling over-priced candy to a group of second-grade M&M addicts led to his triumphant seizure of the school's presidential office - making him the first fourth-grader in Pine Glade history to do so.

David is the envy of his classmates with his perfectly spiked hair, his smile almost as flashy as his Nikes, and the fact that he can already multiply and divide fractions. More than his love for basketball, Michael Jordan, Xbox and school-wide justice however is his adoration for Jake, his older sister Madison's boyfriend. David has Jake's hair, clothes, walk and talk, just diminished into a 4'7" version. So, arriving home from school a thrilled smile springs upon David's face when he sees Jake's car parked outside his house.

Running through the front door, David is already thinking of what to inform Jake of - his recent Xbox game purchase? The math contest he won? His imagined future conversation is quickly shoved to the corner of his mind as shouts from the living room fill the foyer. David's feet remain planted firmly on the ground as the bickering between his sister and Jake continues.

"How could you do this, you stupid $%@*." David considers the violation he would have to file for anyone at school who used this type of language, yet the pensive crumpling of his eyebrows reveals a deeper concern for the outcome of this argument. Of course, he knows exactly what is going on - it is the instinct of an elected official to always know - Madison and Jake are breaking up. David will likely not see Jake again since he is going to college the following year. The situation is inevitable.

Madison emerges from the living room, make-up smudged with tears, and Jake follows, his head low, jaw locked. David suddenly feels something he has never felt before. He knows he can't write a violation slip to end this feeling, or multiply or divide it in his head. It won't vanish with the press of a button on his Xbox control-pad, and won't be melted by his brilliant fourth-grade smile. Frustrated, David bites his bottom lip as his mind races to arrive at a solution to tame the unfamiliar feeling that has crept into his mind. Yet his innate nine-year-old tendency to utilize law and order and logical heuristics is useless. For the first time in his nine years on earth, he feels powerless.

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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