Amazing Kids! Magazine

Shavings

By Max Kessler

 

On Ross’s desk, he knew there was failure, so “it’s only natural for me to avoid it,” he thought. He approached the pencil sharpener. What did it matter anyway? He didn’t know anything about the 2008 crisis, and he didn’t much care. He felt the eyes of the other students sitting with their hands on their head, puzzled by the test in front of him, follow him up towards the mechanical pencil. He breathed in a breath of despair. He already held the grade of C- and there was only so much more destruction his grade could face. The sharpener began its whirring process, and this, this was a calm before the storm to Ross. He looked down upon the white sheets covered in black ink on his fellow classmates. He looked over at Fiona’s paper. She was already on question 6 or something. Of course. He looked over at his best friend’s paper of ten years, Barry, and to no surprise of his own he saw blankness. Ross gave him a solemn nod of solitude to show that he too had no idea what he was doing. The whir became white noise to Ross’s ears. Calming of some sort. He peeked over at the papers. Already he saw “Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Federal Reserve.” All I know is how much money I have in my pocket, and the hum of this sharpener.

“Ross don’t you want some time to take this?” he heard Ms. Merriweather nag in his general direction.

Ross breathed deeply. He didn’t know if he could take this anymore. He felt his fists clench up. “You’re right, I should get to it Ms. Merriweather.” He took his pencil out of the sharpener. It was sharp as ever. He looked down on it. Nah. He walked back to his seat, wondering how bad this grade would be. Could it be down to single digits? Ross didn’t know but he didn’t much care. He read over the first question: How should a bank handle the economy needs stimulus? Ross had no clue. He began to write his answer: give out money to everyone who needs it. Though he knew it was incorrect, he was ready to put a little Ross on this page.

As he began to write, the tip of his pencil broke. Ross put his face in his hands. Perfect. He looked over at Barry, and motioned for a pencil. How? Barry mouthed. Fair play, Ross thought. He breathed in deeply and decided to cut his losses.

He moved the tipless pencil around in his hand. What to do. He erased a misspelling he had made in everrryone. The pink of the eraser stained the page.

Wait a second.

He looked at the next question: Who’s the prime minister of England? I know that one. And so, Ross began to innovate. He flipped the pencil over and began the T in Teresa May. It was there, in splinters of the pink eraser. He finished the word out and continued on to the next question. His luck continued on. From one question to the next, Ross filled them in: writing sentence after sentence, impressing even himself. As he finished up the final question, Ms. Merriweather called for the collection of the test. He tenderly lifted up his crumbs of eraser, holding it like a mother would a baby. With each step, he became increasingly certain of his hundred approaching. That C- would skyrocket. Inches before landing on the desk of the teacher, Barry tapped his shoulder, and instinctively, Ross turned. The paper turned ever so slightly, and so his work turned with it too. Ross looked down and saw all of his answers laying upon the ground.