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receiving an early education

in fourth grade
i sat in
the back row

between cindy
the blonde

and gary
the tough guy.


one day
while mrs. anderson
was teaching us
long division
on the chalkboard

gary the tough guy
leaned over my desk
and whispered
“hey cindy!
betcher too chicken
ta pull yer panties
down right here!”

he punched me
in the arm
after he said it.

cindy the blonde
leaned across
my desk
and whispered back
“and what’ll
you give me
if i do?”

he smiled
and pointed
at me.

“i’ll make everton here
show ya HIS thing
first right here.
WON’T ya everton?”

he punched me
in the arm again.

i’d never seen
a girl without
her panties on

except for my sister
who i used to
take baths with
when i was younger

and i sat there

cindy the blonde’s
face lit up
and she whispered
“REALLY? right here?
he’ll show his thing
right here?
out of his pants
and everything?”

“out of his pants
and everything”
gary the bully repeated.


mrs. anderson’s chalk
slipped on
the blackboard
and her fingernail
scratched across it
like sandpaper

while i sat there
with a sore arm
and a limper
than normal


- terry everton

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