8.31.2005

Snarkometer 54 where are you?



"Hey, twerp," Tony whispered, then leaned over and poked Mark's arm with the sharp end of a pencil.

Mark focused on the arithmetic quiz in front of him. He read the same question
over and over. _What is three-fourths of two-thirds?_ He couldn't remember if
_of_ meant you were supposed to multiply or divide.

Tony leaned over and poked him again. "Give me the answer to number three."

Mark watched Mrs. Peters write the next day's lesson on the chalkboard. The teacher's frizzy gray hair reminded him of the scouring pad his mom used to clean pots and pans. Mrs. Peters never noticed when Tony picked on him.

"I don't know it," Mark answered, keeping his voice low.

"Liar." Tony jabbed him with the pencil again.

"Stop it," Mark whispered.

In front of him, Sarah Harris turned, looked at him and frowned. "Be quiet," she said through clenched teeth.

Mark stared at the nineteen freckles scattered across her cheeks and nose. He knew there were nineteen because he'd counted them once when he sat across from her at the lunch table.

"Mark's the one who won't leave me alone." Tony widened his brown eyes so he resembled a puppy.

Without turning around, Mrs. Peters wrote his name and Sarah's on the board, then put a checkmark in front of them. Oh great. Now he'd have to stay after school. Of course, the teacher didn't write Tony's. He never got into trouble.

Tony smirked. Sarah frowned at Mark before she faced front again.

At the end of class, Mark stayed in his seat and watched the other kids grab their books and leave. Sarah opened her textbook and busied herself with homework. Mrs. Peters sat behind her desk with her hands folded, examining Mark the way his mother examined leftovers to see if they were spoiled.



There's nothing overtly wrong with this, but I've read it five thousand times and seen it in a dozen movies. There's nothing here that says you're going to show me something fresh and new. I'd read the first three pages, but after that, if something amazing doesn't happen it's a pass.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

It strikes me as not very current. Nobody calls it "arithmetic" any more. Also, most schools have done away with chalkboards, using dry erase boards instead.

Anonymous said...

Actually here in the Midwest they still have chalkboards but mostly use overhead projectors.

Anonymous said...

My kid's school (the south) still uses chalkboards.

Anonymous said...

The schools here (southeast coast) still use chalkboards.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Georgia and we use the dry erase boards in my county.