Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
4th Grade Fragments
by Ken Rodgers
Asuncion arrived but we called him Junior. At first I thought he might like to be my friend. He rolled his Rs like softballs rolling in a bin. He broadjumped farther and begged to pitch. He was older. We told him, "Not on our team." I heard the teachers whisper.
Mrs. Morgan made us read a poem by Robert Frost. The poem spoke of a wall that had a mind of its own. Made things hard for the farmers that lived on each side—a stone wall, with stones like large balls. She held a thick book flat in her right hand and walked up and down the rows as we each tried to read a couple of lines.
Lonnie Mac picked ear wax and rolled it into little balls. He tossed them at me. Mrs. Morgan didn't see that. Susan E. picked at the busted piece of pencil lead buried in the heel of her hand. After I jabbed her I told her she would soon die of lead poisoning.
The concrete basketball courts hid behind the bus barn and the long yellow buses parked outside. The naked shade of Chinese elms and cottonwoods deflected the warmth of the sun. The morning chill nipped my ears. We played two-on-two and missed a lot of baskets.
Lonnie Mac was on my side, but Susan E. didn't come to watch. When we did make one, the ball stuck in the twine net and we had to knock it out with a long, dead cottonwood branch. Asuncion played the best. He made too many baskets and we spent too much time trying to knock the ball loose. When next he drove to the basket, I tackled him and he pounded his fists into my face. They banged hard and clipped at my frozen ears.
Mrs. Morgan came and clamped us with her hard hands. She wore black shoes with thick, short heels. She made me sit beneath a table in her office. She locked the basketball up in a tall, metal wall locker and patted her hands as if ridding herself of dirt. My ears still hurt.
Ken Rodgers, Boise, ID
Casa Grande Union High, Class of '65.
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