parody of Gryphon
What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers ‘ 5
should hire him and do a threesome act.” She spun the turnstile round three
time: for she gotninto the spin and spun out the store. ‘ fphon
Characters, says Piper on tiptoe, so we all can hear him. He laughs and 2
checks his watch. Madeen slinks over to Tobacco to be in asking distance in
case he don’t already have a date to the dance. Miz Della’s patting some pow- j: Charles Baxter
der on. I’m staring at the door after Fur Coat and Ethel, coming to terms
with the fact that my daddy ain’t coming. It’s gonna be just Uncle Henry and ‘ ‘5 TL
Aunt Harriet this year, with maybe Mama calling on the phone between sets 7: I
to holler in my ear, asking have I been a good girl, it’s been that long since she’s
taken a good look at me. i ‘ V
“You wanna go to the Kwanza celebrations with me sometime this week or , ()11WedI1eSd3Y 3ft_ert1oot1, between the geography lesson on ancient Egypt’s
next week, Candy?” .; 1 . _ hand-operated irrigation system and an art project that involved draw-
I turn and look at the dude. I can tell my face is falling and right now I F mg 3 model city next to a mountain, our fourth-grade teacher, M1-_ Hibler,
don’t feel up to doing anything about it. Holidays are depressing. Maybe there’s . I _deVe1oPed 3 Co11gh- This Cough began with a series of muffled throat-clear-
something joyous about this celebration he’s talking about. Cause Lord knows pf. 11185 and P1’og1‘eS-Sed to P1‘oP111SiVe I1oiSeS CoI1tained Within Mr. Hib1e1″s Closed
Christmas is a drag.The sister who taught me how to wrap a gele asked me was i’ mouth “Llsten *0 him?’ C3101 Pete1‘Son Whispered to me- “H53 801’1f1a blew
I coming to the celebration down at the Black Arts Center, but I didn’t know T; 3 1113-” MI‘- H1b1e1″S 1a1Jghtef-d3Zed 311d inf1’eq11ent-So11I1ded 3 bit like his
nothing bout it, ~ * ; cough, but as we worked on our model cities we would look up, thinking he
“Look here,” I finally say, “would you please get a pencil and paper and 1 W33 enl_oYiI18 3 joke: and See Mr. Hibler’s face turning red, his cheeks puffed
write your name down for me. And write that other word down too so I can 1‘ out. This was not laughter. Twice he bent over, and his loose tie, like a plumb
1ook it up)’ it line, hung down straight from his neck as he exploded himself into a Kleenex.
He writes his name down and spins the paper around for me to read. . ‘E; He Wo11-Id excuse ‘himself, then go on coughing. “I’l1 bet you a dime ” Carol
“Obatale.” ‘ 1 Peterson Whispered, “we get a substitute tomorrow.” 3
“Right,” he says, spinning it back. “But you can call me Ali Baba if you want i‘ 1 Carol sat at the desk in front of mine and was a bad person-when she
to.” He was leaning over too far writing out Kwanza for me to see if that was ‘ thmlght no One Was 10010118 She Wou1d b1oW her nose On I_1oteboo1< Paper, then
a smile on his face or a smirk. I figure a smile, cause Obatale nice people. 1 CT‘-lmple It up and throw it into the wastebasket-but at times of crisis she spoke
the truth. I knew I’d lose the dime.
‘t “No deal,” I said.
When Mr. Hibler stood us in formation at the door just prior to the final
ii; bell, he was almost incapable of speech. “I’m sorry, boys and girls,” he said.
“I seem to be coming down with something?’
“I hope you feel better tomorrow Mr Hibler ” Bobby Kr ‘ A
yzanow , th
‘L. gulltless brown-noser, said, and I hearti Carol l’eterson’s evil giggle. Mre.
L . 1 ler opened the door and we walked out to the buses, a clique of us start-
Ing noisily to hawk and raugh as soon as we thought we were a few feet beyond
it b Since Five Oaks was a_rural community, and in Michigan, the supply of
I b cjp 3‘:a::::te teachersfwas limited to the town’s unemployed community college
5 . 1%“ I . I _ es, a poo 0 about four mothers.These ladies fluttered, provided ease-
E The atss days, and nervously covered material we had mastered weeks earlier.
1 ere ore it was a surprise when a woman we had never seen came into the
li E33131; llliext day: Carrying a purplepurse, a checkerboard lunchbox, and a few
ooths. e put the books on one side ‘of Mr. Hibler’s desk and the lunchbox
on e other, next to the Voice of Music phonograph. Three of us in the back