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Charlie sat down on his stool and stared at the lump of clay in front of him, whishing he could turn it into something amazing. He pressed the pedal and the wheel began to spin.
“Ok, class, I’ll be right back, I just have to get some more canvases from the store,” said Mr. Burke.
Charlie looked over at Johnny. He was sanding down a plank of wood to put in his rocking chair. Mark, beside him, was painting a beautiful sunset. Wow, thought Charlie. I wish I could paint like that. Mark was doing a wonderful job on the sunset. He was recreating a picture he took over the past summer. It looked exactly like the picture. The colors he was using worked perfectly. Then something wet hit him in the face. “Augh!” he yelped. He looked at the wheel and realized he forgot to take his foot of the pedal. Câ€˜mon, he thought. Why do I have to be so bad at this!
Mark stepped away from his masterpiece and sighed. Then he turned towards us and said “I have to leave now guys, I have a piano lesson.” Johnny and Charlie nodded and murmured things that could have been goodbyes, paying to close attention to their work to muster any real farewell. After he left, Charlie gazed at Mark’s sunset, wishing it was his. It was beautiful how he blended the colors together. The bright gold of the sun slid into orange at the edges because of the red sky. Charlie couldn’t believe that Mark had painted it.
“Is that Mark’s?” Johnny said.
“Yeah,” said Charlie. “Isn’t it really good?”
“Yeah. I wish I could paint like that,” he answered.
“I know, me too,” said Charlie.
About 5 minutes late, Mr. Burke came through the door. He put down the canvases and looked at us.
“Where’d Mark go?” he asked.
“He went to a piano lesson a little while ago,” Johnny told him. He put down his rocking chair and waved.
“See you guys next week!” he called and walked out the open door. Charlie had to stay a little bit longer because he had to clean up all of the clay he was using. Mr. Burke caught a glimpse of Mark’s painting and turned towards Charlie.
“Whoa. Who’s is this?” he asked.
“M-,” Charlie began to say Mark’s, but then stopped. For all he knows I painted this, he thought. He saw his opportunity and tried to cover up.
“-ine. Its mine,” he said.
“Well, Charlie, this is very good!” said Mr. Burke.
“Yeah…thanks,” Charlie muttered.
“I hope to see more next week,” he said. Charlie froze. Whoops, he thought. His face turned red and he turned and bolted out the door. Mr. Burke frowned. I wonder what that was about, he thought.
Later, Mr. Burke was driving home. He was very tired, but then snapped awake when his cell phone began to ring.
“Hello?” he answered. There was silence on the other end.
“Anyone there?” he questioned.
“Yeah. Hey, Mr. Burke. It’s Charlie,” said Charlie.
“Oh. Why are you calling, Charlie?” asked Mr. Burke.
“Well, it’s about that painting,” said Charlie.
“Oh, yes, the sunset one. What about it?”
“Well…. It wasn’t really mine,” said Charlie.
Mr. Burke thought about this. Mark did take out a canvas at the beginning of class, and Charlie had been working with clay. Now it made sense.
“What do you have to say about that, Charlie?” he finally answered.
“At first, I thought I could get away with it, but I wasn’t thinking, and hadn’t realized you’d expect me to do more,” he said.
“Well, Charlie, I had expected more, only from you not the painting, from you,” was Mr. Burke’s reply.
“It was actually Mark that painted it,” said Charlie. Well, thought Mr. Burke, now it all makes sense
“Charlie, thanks for confessing,” he said. “I won’t tell Mark that this ever happened.” Charlie breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thanks, Mr. Burke.”
“No problem,” he said. Then he closed the phone and sighed. At least Charlie had confessed. Then he sighed and watched the sunset as he drove home.