Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Trust Me

At age nine, my classmate Mark was small with dark eyes and dark hair -- even dark peach fuzz on cheeks still round as a baby’s. His terrible grades belied a quick mind and, sitting across the aisle from me, he’d pranked me countless times. Whenever Sister Mary Albertina reminded us to use our talents for good, I was torn -- between watching how long her eyes stayed on Mark, and looking at him myself.

So, after nearly a year of fourth grade, I was ready when his heyday came around. By the afternoon, he’d been able to squeal, “April Fool!” a dozen times to other kids. But not to me. Finally, he did lean across the aisle and poke me.

I ignored him.

“Hey,” he persisted, “there’s a dollar on the floor.”

Was he crazy? Did he think I was still that easy?

“Yeah, right.”

“No, really! It’s on the floor in front of your desk.”

I could feel others listening in. So I didn’t look at Mark and I didn’t look where his hand reached over and pointed.

Instead, I shrugged. “You can have it.”

“All right!”

He jumped up and as he took a step, I peered around my desk. And saw a dollar on the floor. He snatched it and waved it at me and I heard laughing as my face got hot.

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