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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016

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Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA


Frank’s Version

After lunch, Mrs. Shell gets ready to read us a story about a boy who never gets to carry the flag out to the pole. Before she starts, Susan Thatcher raises her hand and says the trophy the principal gave her for the spelling bee is missing. “It was right here on my book,” she says. Mrs. Shell asks if anyone has seen Susan’s prize. A boy in the back points his finger at me. Mrs. Shell stoops down and finds the trophy in my desk. I tell her that I didn’t put it there but she takes my recess time away for a week.

My teacher has one long sentence that is pages long, tells me to think about what I have done as I write it down. After two periods of copying words, my hand begins to hurt and I tell my parents what happened at school. “I don’t even know that kid,” I say.

My mother writes a note to the teacher. She tells her that I am no angel but of all her boys, I am the one to tell the truth. If he says he didn’t take it then he didn’t take it. Mrs. Shell reads the note then walks back to see the boy who pointed at me, asks if he is sure that I took the trophy. “I saw him take it from Susan’s desk and hide it behind the pencil box,” he says.

“But Frankie,” Mrs. Shell says, “I never mentioned a pencil box.”

screen door
the squeak
of a childhood song

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