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As story about a very naughty boy.

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Published by mathiesons, 2019-04-26 00:33:27


As story about a very naughty boy.

Keywords: Charles


by Shirley Jackson

The day my son Laurie started spanked him and made him stand
kindergarten, he gave up his little- in the corner. He was really fresh.”
boy clothes. He started wearing
blue jeans with a belt. I watched “What did he do?” I asked. But
him go off that first morning with Laurie slid off his chair, took a
the older girl next door. He looked cookie, and left.
as though he were going off to a
fight. The next day, Laurie sat down
for lunch. “Well,” he said,
He came home the same way at “Charles was bad again today.” He
lunchtime. “Isn’t anybody here?” grinned. “ Today Charles hit the
he yelled. At the table, he knocked teacher,” he said.
over his little sister’s milk.
“Good heavens,” I said. “I
“How was school today?” I suppose he got spanked again?”
asked. “Did you learn anything?’’
“He sure did,” Laurie said.
“I didn’t learn nothing,” he said. “Why did Charles hit the
“Anything, “ I said. “Didn’t teacher?” I asked.
learn anything.” “Because she tried to make him
“But the teacher spanked a color with red crayons. Charles
boy,” Laurie said. “For being wanted to color with green
fresh.” crayons. So he hit the teacher. She
“What did he do?” I asked. spanked him and said nobody play
“Who was it?” with Charles. But everybody did.”
Laurie thought. “It was The third day, Charles bounced
Charles,” he said. “The teacher a see-saw onto the head of a little
girl. He made her bleed. The

teacher made him stay inside yelled so much that the teacher
during recess. came in from first grade. She said
our teacher had to keep Charles
On Thursday, Charles had to quiet. And so Charles had to stay
stand in a corner. He was pounding after school. And so all the
his feet on the floor during story- children stayed to watch him.”
time. Friday, Charles could not use
the blackboard because he threw “What did he do?” I asked.
chalk. “He just sat there,” Laurie said,
noticing his father. “Hi Pop, you
On Saturday, I talked to my old dust mop.”
husband about it. “Do you think “What does this Charles look
kindergarten is too disturbing for like? My husband asked. “What’s
Laurie?” I asked him. “This his last name?”
Charles boy sounds like a bad “He’s bigger than me,” Laurie
influence.” said. “And he doesn’t wear a
“It will be all right,” my I could hardly wait for the first
husband said, “There are bound to Parent-Teachers meeting. I wanted
be people like Charles in the very much to meet Charles’
world. He might as well meet them mother. The meeting was still a
now as later.” week away.
On Tuesday, Laurie said, “Our
On Monday, Laurie came home teacher had a friend come to see
late. her in school today.”
“Charles!” he shouted, as he ran up My husband and I said together,
to the house. “Charles was bad “Was it Charles’ mother?”

I let him in and helped him take
off his coat. “You know what
Charles did?” he said. “Charles

“Naaah,” Laurie said. “Charles girl to say a word, and she said it.
was fresh to the teacher’s friend. The teacher washed her mouth out
They wouldn’t let him do with soap, and Charles laughed.”
“What word?” his father asked.
“Fresh again?” I said. “It’s so bad, I’ll have to whisper
“He kicked the teacher’s it to you,” Laurie said. He
friend,” Laurie said. “The whispered into my husband’s ear.
teacher’s friend told Charles to “Charles told the little girl to say
touch his toes. And Charles kicked that?” he said, his eyes widening.
him.” “She said it twice,” Laurie said.
“What do you think they’ll do “Charles told her to say it twice.”
about Charles?” my husband “What happened to Charles?”
asked. my husband asked.
“I don’t know,” Laurie said. “Nothing,” Laurie said. “He was
“Throw him out of school, I passing out the crayons.”
guess.” The next day, Charles said the
Wednesday and Thursday were
routine. Charles yelled during evil word himself three or four
story-time. He hit a boy in the times. He got his mouth washed
stomach and made him cry. On out with soap each time. He also
Friday, Charles stayed after school threw chalk.
again. All the other children stayed
to watch him. My husband came to the door
On Monday of the third week, that night as I was leaving for the
Laurie came home with another Parent-Teachers meeting. “Invite
report. “You know what Charles her over after the meeting,” he
did today?” he asked. “He told a said. “I want to get a look at the
mother of that kid.”

“I hope she’s there,” I said.

“She’ll be there,” my husband “Charles?” the teacher said.
said. “How could they hold a “Yes,” I said, laughing. “You
Parent-Teachers meeting without
Charles’ mother?” must have your hands full with
At the meeting, I looked over
the faces of all the other mothers. “Charles?” she said. “We don’t
None of them looked unhappy have any Charles in kindergarten.”
enough to be the mother of
Charles. No one stood up and
apologized for the way her son had
been acting. No one mentioned

After the meeting, I found
Laurie’s teacher. “I’ve been
wanting to meet you,” I said. “I’m
Laurie’s mother.”

Oh, yes,” she said. “We’re all so
interested in Laurie.”

“He certainly likes
kindergarten,” I said. “He talks
about it all the time.”

“He’s had some trouble getting
used to school,” she said. “But I
think he’ll be all right.”

“Laurie usually fits in quickly,”
I said. “I suppose his trouble might
be from Charles’ influence.”

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