CHARLES By Shirley Jackson

Topics: Girl, 2005 singles, Boy Pages: 3 (981 words) Published: December 2, 2014
CHARLES by Shirley Jackson

The day my son Laurie started kindergarten, he gave up his little-boy clothes. He started wearing blue jeans with a belt. I watched him go off that first morning with the older girl next door. He looked as though he were going off to a fight. He came home the same way at lunchtime. “Isn’t anybody here?” he yelled. At the table, he knocked over his little sister’s milk. “How was school today?” I asked. “Did you learn anything?’’ “I didn’t learn nothing,” he said.

“Anything, “ I said. “Didn’t learn anything.” “But the teacher spanked a boy,” Laurie said. “For being fresh.” “What did he do?” I asked. “Who was it?”
Laurie thought. “It was Charles,” he said. “The teacher spanked him and made him stand in the corner. He was really fresh.” “What did he do?” I asked. But Laurie slid off his chair, took a cookie, and left. The next day, Laurie sat down for lunch. “Well,” he said, “Charles was bad again today.” He grinned. “ Today Charles hit the teacher,” he said. “Good heavens,” I said. “I suppose he got spanked again?” “He sure did,” Laurie said.

“Why did Charles hit the teacher?” I asked.
“Because she tried to make him color with red crayons. Charles wanted to color with green crayons. So he hit the teacher. She spanked him and said nobody play with Charles. But everybody did.” The third day, Charles bounced a see-saw onto the head of a little girl. He made her bleed. The teacher made him stay inside during recess. On Thursday, Charles had to stand in a corner. He was pounding his feet on the floor during story-time. Friday, Charles could not use the blackboard because he threw chalk. On Saturday, I talked to my husband about it. “Do you think kindergarten is too disturbing for Laurie?” I asked him. “This Charles boy sounds like a bad influence.” “It will be all right,” my husband said, “There are bound to be people like Charles in the world. He might as well...
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