The Case of the Second Grade Hamster

One day Suzie and Jennifer and Denice were early for second grade and putting away their books and chatting. Just then, five of the biggest boys in the class came in and shut the door behind them.

“Give us your lunch money,” said Ted.

“No!” said Suzie.

“Give us your lunch money now,” said Ted. “We just voted on it and from now on all girls have to give boys their lunch money.”

Just as Ted was saying that, the rest of the class walked in behind him.

“No way are any of us giving you anything!” said Nancy, standing with the rest of the girls.

“Are too!” said Ted. “There are only 15 of you and 16 of us. Plus girls have to do what boys say, right John?”

Now John was class president, and was generally a firm believer that boys had to stick together, no matter what. So he said, “Yes. We have voted, and you have to. Right guys?” John wasn’t really sure at this point how he felt about the lunch money thing, but all the boys yelled “Yeah!” so loudly that he decided it must be the right thing to do. Plus, even though he didn’t really need the money, he wasn’t gonna turn it down.

Most of the girls were pretty mad at this point. A few were yelling and a couple were crying. Ted and his friends really seemed to enjoy making some of them cry, so they started up a chant of “Give it up! Girls suck!”

While all the chanting was going on, Nancy got up on a chair and yelled, “Fuck no! We are not giving you our lunch money! The whole rest of the school would tell you that you are all being big, fat dickheads!”

Which was around the time that the teacher walked in.

Mr. B. stood there shocked for a moment, so before most of the class knew he was in the room, Ted had time to also jump on a chair and yell, “The whole rest of the school agrees with us! And you are just an uptight bitch!” (A term he had heard his father use to his mother just the night before. He had googled it, and although he didn’t understand the uptight part, he thought calling Nancy a girl dog was pretty cool.)

Then Ted saw Mr. B. (who his dad hated because he said he was an uppity lahtay drinker who looked faggotty, none of which Ted could spell well enough to Google), and he immediately jumped down and said, “She said the F word and called us dickheads!”

“Nancy,” said Mr. B. sternly, “You know much better than to use words like that in this classroom! I expect better of you! And Ted, I heard some inappropriate speech come out of your mouth as well. I need to know right now what is going on!”

Of course everyone tried to talk at once, and some of them were shouting, and the crying girls kept on crying and quite a few of the boys were feeling really uncomfortable and tried to quietly go back to their seats.

“John,” said Ted. “You better make those wussy boys stand up and stay up here with us. Tell them if they sit down my brothers will beat them up after school.”

John didn’t move right away. He looked at Mr. B. And at Nancy. And at Ted, who stood there with his arms crossed across his chest. Five or six big boys were standing behind Ted. They glared at John with their dull and piggy little eyes.

“John,” said Ted. “If you don’t make those boys come back here right now, then I’m going to make sure my dad tells Paul’s dad to fire your dad from the firm.”

John knew all their dads went to special meetings together at night sometimes, and he didn’t like how ANY of this was going, but he nudged the rest of the boys out of their seats and soon all the boys were standing more or less together.

“Enough!” said Mr. B. “Nancy, try to get Denice to stop crying. Suzie, what happened?”

Suzie explained what happened, at which point Mr. B. pointed at the boys. “Ted, John, explain yourselves. Did you tell the girls that they have to give you their lunch money?”

“That’s not fair!” said Ted. “You didn’t even ask for our side of what happened! You always take their side!”

Mr. B. just stared at John.

“Well, sir,” said John, trying to regain his composure. “We voted on it, and anyway… boys need more food than girls because we always, like, running around and stuff. Plus if we get extra lunch money we will just buy bigger lunches, and then we will give them some. You know. The ones who need to eat… Denice is totally too fat, and stuff. We would be helping her out by making sure she doesn’t eat too much.”

“John,” said Mr. B. “You cannot take the girls’ lunch money. It is as simple as that.”

“Well that is just outrageous!” said John, who was really getting on a roll now and was starting to believe he might actually be doing a good thing. “This is America, and we have a right to vote! You didn’t even listen to our side at all. We have some really important ideas about how lunch money is being spent in this school, and you won’t even take one single second to listen to them. You just say NO like you are totally the boss of us!”

“John,” said Mr. B. “I am your teacher. I am the boss of you. I don’t care how many times you vote about it and how loudly you yell, I am still going to tell you that you can’t take the girls’ lunch money. Now sit down, all of you.”

A few boys did try to sit down, but Ted’s group kicked them in the shins and glared until they stopped moving. Mickey hesitantly raised his hand and said, “Why don’t we compromise?” and most of the boys yelled a loud YES while most of the girls yelled NO and a few on both sides were beginning to look scared.

John got back up on the chair. “I propose that we only take all the lunch money from the fat girls and half from regular girls and then those two skinny ones, we give them each an extra quarter.”

“Yeah!” yelled most of the boys. “You have to admit THAT sounds fair,” yelled Ted. Some of Ted’s minions began to chant “YOU are NOT the BOSS of ME!”

Mr. B. calmly blinked at the boys for a moment. Meanwhile, some of the girls were getting pretty upset that he was even letting this go on at ALL, and wondering if he was even really ON their side and generally feeling like things were not going well at all.

“Boys,” said Mr. B. calmly. “This is not a debate. You don’t get to take any lunch money from ANY of the girls. Furthermore, if I see you try, you are going right to the principal. If you will not sit down quietly, you are going right to the principal. That is the end of it. Now, can we get some work done?”

John was really getting worried now. He really didn’t want to get sent to the principal, but he didn’t see how he could back down now, and he really was worried about getting beat up or having his dad lose his job. He decided to try again.

“Can’t we sit down and discuss both sides? Can’t we work something out where everyone will be happy?”

“Boys! SIT DOWN!” said Mr. B., looking unusually stern.

It was at that point, while the rest of the class stared owlishly at their teacher’s face, that Ted grabbed the class hamster. He held a sharpened pencil in his other fist, and for just a moment he forgot that his dad had kicked his mom last night with his work boots. Ted felt like a man.

“ALL the girls give us ALL their lunch money NOW and for always! They all have to promise on a thousand Bibles that they will. Or I will stab Hammy to death right now!”

Then the principal walked in. I’m not sure how this ends. I don’t know if the principal told everyone that they were at fault, there are two sides to every argument, and fired Mr. B. for not maintaining order in the classroom. Or perhaps he suspended some boys, expelled some others and called the police to take Ted to juvie. I don’t know how it works out, but I hope the hamster lives.

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