Pauly saw a social studies book setting on the counter so he grabbed it, hoping Winfred would be in such a hurry she wouldn’t notice. He did his best to look deep in study when Miss Winfred finally made her way to him.
“You need your history book, Mr. Witty.” she said, tapping her finger on the social studies book. “Are you listening today or only talking?”
Pauly could feel his face getting uncomfortably hot as she stood above, waiting for him to bring out his history book.
“I… I left it at home,” he stammered, looking around the room at all the peering eyes.
“Not a good place for it during an open book test,” she smirked, dropping the test on his desk.
He waited for her to get back to her desk before he took a peek at the first page. Every question on the first page he remembered the answer to, so he leaned back in his seat and relaxed a little. The real problem was deciding whether he should purposely give the wrong answer for a couple, so he didn’t upset Winfred’s tough test reputation.
Pauly jumped when he felt a small but stinging pinch on the inside of his arm. He looked back and saw Shari Glintz smiling at him. She slid a small folded paper across the desk toward him. He glanced at Winfred. When he saw she was busy correcting papers at her desk, he reached back and grabbed the note.
Pauly rested the note under his palm on the desk. There was no guessing what the note said. He’d barely said two words to Shari the entire school year. The few times he saw her at lunch or on recess she always had her nose in a book. It was probably better that way. Recess was like a zoo with all the cages left open. And, other kids always liked to tease her because of the bright pink glasses she wore, but she was so absorbed in the books she read, she never seemed to notice.
Keeping an eye on Miss Winfred, Pauly slowly opened the note to minimize the crinkling paper sound. There was one sentence written on it: ‘You can use my book when I’m done.’ He smiled and nodded at her, folding the note and slipping it into his shirt pocket. So far he hadn’t needed the book but by the second page he figured it couldn’t hurt to check a few of his answers.