“Carver’s Block” by Robert Hofheimer, a.k.a. Shipyard
4:35 PM Wednesday
Kevin tried to relax as Dave sat across from him studying the model. The ragdoll body, checked shirt, and green overalls were fine and could be easily changed, but the face was wrong. Its eyes were bright with an alert but neutral expression and Kevin had added freckles to its nose. Dave liked that, but the mouth, with its crooked smile and jagged teeth, were more menacing than Dave had wanted. Kevin could tell that he’d missed the mark. Dave looked up from the model and forced a smile.
“It’s closer, but it’s still not quite right.”
Kevin made himself to look up from the doll and make eye contact with Dave
“It’s the teeth, they’re just too much. What we’re trying to go for here is something that looks more innocent. This is a kid’s best friend, he takes it everywhere. It needs to be sweet, but with something just slightly off, you know?”
“Yeah, ok.” Kevin nodded, he thinks he understands.
“Don’t worry about the body, but can you have another prototype of the head by Friday?”
Two days away. This was a big break for him and he had to get it right. Dave was his wife’s cousin, but Kevin knew he had to deliver. Two days. He’d made a ton of stop motion animation and knew he could crank out a model, but most of what he’d done was just stuff to entertain the students. Two. Days. His eyes dart from Dave to the doll and back again.
“Uh yeah, I’ll work something up. See you Friday.”
9:51 PM Wednesday
Back in his garage, Kevin stared blankly at his workbench. A row of faceless heads he’d rough cut out of polyurethane blocks stand in a clearing under his task light. The shelves were stocked with boxes of knives and chisels, copper wire, cans of buttons, and an old milk crate overflowing with cloth scraps. The cabinets on either side were filled with more carving blocks, clay, glues,
staples, paints and brushes. His sewing machine was tucked in the corner under a wall of threads, yarns, and ribbons.
Very sweet, but with something just slightly off.
When he was at the school he just made what he thought would be fun, what he liked. Kevin had never really thought about what other people might want from what he was making, it was just fun, a hobby he’d do outside of his “real” job.
A kid’s best friend. Sweet, innocent, but slightly askew. Not scary all the time, but maybe it could just flip somehow? Something about the smile.
“Maybe that’s the key?” he whispered out loud.
Something innocent, something sweet, but with an evil just beneath the surface. That’s what Dave was getting after.
When he told his wife that he was going to try modeling and animation full time, she’d been supportive, it had been over a year since he left the school and they were both getting worried. He had to swallow his pride when she insisted on asking her cousin to give Kevin a shot on a movie. This was Kevin’s first real movie, with studio backing, and Dave was a great director who could open lots of doors for him if it worked out. He had to get this one right.
10:22 AM Thursday
Kevin pushed his empty cart slowly down aisle 17 of the Culver City Toys ‘R’ Us hoping to find some inspiration. The vapid eyes of a hundred Barbies stared out at him, silently judging him for circling the store 3 times and still having an empty cart. Thankfully, there weren’t that many kids in the store on a Thursday morning, but he was pretty sure the redhead guy stocking shelves was getting suspicious.
He was no closer to cracking the code of the smile. How do you carve something that looks playful and evil at the same time?
He circled around a tower of My Buddy dolls in the middle of the wide aisle on the way back to the entrance. Dave kept calling the doll Buddy, but didn’t want it to look too much like the real toy. He’d said it was too boring for a movie.
“You have one day left” mouthed the Baby Wets-A-Lot’s on aisle 2.
6:17 PM Thursday
Looking at the ragdoll slumped on his desk Kevin thought back to his first day at Frank Schwartz Middle School. Ms. Tucker, the school secretary, had looked incredulously at his models and figurines as he’d arranged them onto the shelves and filing cabinets around his office. She’d been there for decades already, had seen a revolving door of administrators, and knew at that moment that “Assistant Principal Yagher” wasn’t cut out for the job.
There’s no time left. Just start carving.
Kevin places one of the polyurethane blanks he’d roughed into the shape of a head in the center of his desk and slides his chair away, leaning his elbows onto his knees and staring at the head, right where its eyes would be, hoping that the empty block would speak to him. A small ember of an idea starts to form in his mind and he quickly reaches up for his box of carving tools. The box slips out of his hand and comes crashing to the desk, the knives, gouges, and chisels clattering to the floor, and that dimly glowing ember falls dark. Kevin crawls down onto the floor and snatches at his scattered tools, hastily putting them back onto the desk and fuming at the memory of his lost idea. Jabbing his hand under the cabinet for a chisel he recoils as he scrapes the back of his hand against the overhanging laminate. Kevin looks at the scuffs on his knuckles and that once nascent idea explodes into a full formed vision.
When Principal Stout had called Kevin to his office because “one of the O’Charlie kids” had been in a fight, he had been surprised to see Maggie sitting on what the students referred to as “the bench.” He had known Maggie O’Charlie as a generally good girl, though her older brothers were regulars in after-school detention. She had a black eye, reddened knuckles, and a smile he’d never forgotten. That was the smile for Dave’s doll.
9:59 AM Friday
Dave’s office door was cracked and Kevin could hear the end of his phone conversation.
“Uh huh… I don’t want to mess with Hasbro either… We’ll just change the name from Buddy to something else… Yeah, ok, look I gotta go, the guy’s almost here with the latest model… Yeah, I know, but I told my cousin I’d let him try and if it’s no good, we’ll chuck him and go with your guy… You got it, I’ll call you later.”
With the click of the phone in its cradle, Kevin pushes open the door.
“Hey Kevin, so what do you have? Let’s see what the little guy’s gonna look like.”
Kevin removes the doll from his bag and hands it across the desk to Dave who immediately smiles a real, not-at-all Jack Nicholson smile.
Kevin is too nervous to say anything while Dave intently studies the doll, gently nodding his head.
“This is it, Kevin. This is our doll. And we’re going to call him Chucky.”
The Other Entries
“The Ruffian Named Joy”, by Sam Gapinski, a.k.a. Callahan
“Mary,” he hollered. “Mary, where are you?”
Norm was agitated. He’d spent hours trying to perfect the shine on the floor in the doorway, restarting it several times only to wipe away what paint had not yet dried and picking away the rest. Norman was ever the perfectionist.
Mary, his second wife, was hosting an afternoon tea. She had heard his yells on the first several attempts to get her attention but was ignoring him. Her guests had grown accustomed to this sort of attempted interruption and were no longer phased, understanding the peculiar nature of Norm Rockwell.
Like every other time, Norm accepted the fact that Mary would not run to his beckon call, so he wiped his hands, stood up from his stool, and walked out of his den in search of his lovely, yet bullheaded, wife. She was his perfect match.
It was hot during the summer of 1953. Usually the women would sit on the patio to drink their tea and gossip about their husbands, their husbands’ coworkers, or their husbands’ coworkers’ wives. However, with the outdoor temperature hovering just below triple digits, Mary chose to impress her acquaintances with her newly purchased Frigidaire air conditioning unit – a true sign of prosperity. The chatter typically centered around someone’s wayward child or the affairs of the town dentist had shifted to nit-picking about how one could catch a cold with such a chilling device, a development Mary was mentally prepared for, but annoyed by nonetheless.
So when Norm entered the living room in a huff, Mary was ready to break away from the hen-pecking hyenas in her company to assist her distraught husband. She excused herself with a wry smile and followed Norm back to the den.
“Why don’t you ever answer me the first time I call for you?” Norm asked angrily.
Mary rolled her eyes, figuring the ire Norman was directing toward her was kindled by something else, something she was likely going to see shortly. The two entered the den where Norman’s latest piece was slowly sun-drying thanks to the rays pouring through the tall, thin windows.
“Well what, Norm?”
“What do you mean, ‘well what, Norm’? I mean, what do you think?” He gestured dramatically at the finally finished painting. Suddenly no longer angry, he turned back to it and beamed a big, bright smile. He was proud of this one.
Mary cocked her head to the side, refraining from giving her honest opinion until she could really take in what she was seeing.
“Well gosh, Norm. What’re you calling it?”
“The Young Lady with the Shiner”, he replied. A simple, to-the-point sort of title he was known for. “So, what do you think?”
“It’s…really something.” Mary had to force the words out of her mouth. She knew her ambiguous commentary would be taken negatively.
“Come now, Mary! It’s beautiful! Look at the detail. Look and the meticulous shadowing, the detail on the floor tiles, the girl’s wispy hair. It’s magnificent!”
Mary couldn’t argue his point. Technically speaking, it was a masterpiece. But the story it told was…odd.
“Of course, Norm, it’s magnificent. But…well…what in the world is going on in this painting?”
Norm stared at his wife for a moment, not understanding her question. He turned back toward his artwork, even more befuddled at Mary’s question after seeing his painting again.
“Mary, isn’t it obvious? This young girl has a black eye and is waiting to meet with the principal of her school.”
“Of course, Norman, I can see that. The Lord gave me two eyes just like you. But why? Why does this poor little girl have a black eye? What happened to her?”
“Oh. Well, you know, I hadn’t really thought of that before.”
“Wait, what?” Mary was incredulous. Granted, Norman rarely revealed his art to her before releasing it to the public. But it shocked Mary to think he could paint such a disturbing scene without ever considering what had happened to cause an image so outlandish.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Norm admitted. “Maybe she finally popped one of the little boys who always tug on her pony tails. Or perhaps she caught little Susie stealing her bologna sandwich from her lunch sack. It doesn’t really matter, does it?”
Mary, completely aghast, decided it wouldn’t be worth the months of sulking he’d surely fall into if she gave a bad review. “It’s lovely, Norm.”
He didn’t buy it. “What’s the matter with it? Why are you not telling me what you really think?”
“No, Norm, it’s lovely, really it is. The detail is superb. It’s just…why is she smiling like that?”
Norm looked back at the painting, tucking one hand under the opposite arm and using the other to rub his chin. His eyes narrowed as he gazed upon his painting, seemingly having just noticed the little lady’s smile for the first time.
“Huh. Interesting. I hadn’t really noticed that before.”
Mary’s eyes bulged and her jaw fell open. How was that even possible, she wondered. How does an artist work on something every single day for months on end, yet have no idea what they’ve created.
There was a long period of silence as the two stared at the painting. Mary would periodically shift her weight from one foot to the other as she took in the painting from a very slightly different angle. As much as Mary was trying to understand the painting, her mind was even more focused on trying to make sense of the man she had married some 20 years prior. Is this man a loon? As the quiet analysis dragged on, Norm grew dejected. Mary sensed this and finally broke the silence.
“You know, Norm. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more detailed painting in my entire life. It’s truly magnificent. And frankly, that little girl has some spunk. I like her.”
Norm’s sunken shoulders perked up a bit. He grabbed his wife’s hand and squeezed, which told Mary that her validation was greatly appreciated. They gazed at his masterpiece another few seconds before a thought entered Norman’s mind.
“You know, I think she’s smiling because she has joy. Joyful people can find the beauty in any circumstance.”
“What a lovely idea, Norman. I think you’ve just given this little lady a name.” Mary smiled sweetly at her husband as she turned to leave the den. She considered his words as she made her way back to the brood of vipers waiting in her living room, sipping tea and perpetuating gossip.
“The Punch”, by Rob Bartilucci, a.k.a. Kwikstop
Principal Walsh pushed up his glasses and cursed himself for thinking what a quiet day it had been as Mrs. Davis entered his office.
“Help yourself.” Principal Walsh said with a chuckle as Mrs. Davis walked past the chair to his credenza where the pot of now lukewarm coffee sat. Principal Walsh’s gaze fell to the cabinet below where he kept something a little stronger but only for a second. That was for Friday afternoons after a very long week and certainly not for 1pm on a Tuesday.
“Oh, I intend to,” Mrs. Davis retorted, “this one might take a while. In my fifteen plus years of teaching at this school I’m not sure I’ve seen a situation quite like this one. Quite frankly I have simply no idea how to handle this.”
“Well that’s why they pay me the big bucks, to handle difficult situations,” Principal Walsh replied, “Now why don’t you tell me why Ms. Mary O’Malley is sitting outside my office with a shiner…Oh and also why we seem to be missing a second perp.”
“It’s a bit of a story I’m afraid,” Mrs. Davis explained, “but I’ve talked to everyone and finally pieced it together.”
It all began on Monday with Mary in a great mood. Mary’s mother was a nurse who worked long hours but this weekend was one of her very rare weekends off. They had spent two glorious days together which culminated in her Mom brushing out her normally unruly hair and braiding it as they sang along with the radio. Mary entered school as proud as a peacock over her braids, then got back a paper with a better grade then she had expected and Mrs. Davis gave them extra reading time in the morning. She thought it was shaping up to be a great day, but things took a very sharp turn at lunch. That was when the trouble with her classmate Sally started. Sally was the queen of the backhanded compliment and had a tongue so sharp that you didn’t even know you had been cut until you saw the blood. Mary and her friend Lilly had picked seats in the cafeteria a little too close to Sally and her clique. It started with Sally making a few comments about how much nicer Mary’s hair looked in pig tails then it normally looked. Mary’s blood grew hot as Sally continued on about how her Mom took her to the best salon in town and how they could do tight gorgeous French braids that looked just so much better then some sloppy braids done at home. Mary’s blood had now gone into a full boil and she was seeing red when she tried to tell Sally off, but Sally cut her off with an extremely condescending comment about how she was complimenting her little pig tails, when Mary yelled, “YEAH, WELL I’D RATHER HAVE PIGTAILS THEN A PIG FACE LIKE YOU!”. Before anything else could be said Ms. Conrad who was monitoring lunch that day ran over and pulled Mary out. Mary tried to explain but all Ms. Conrad had heard was what she yelled out so she was given a lecture a note to take home to her parents and get signed. Mary had always disliked Sally but that lunch had turned it into hatred and the disappointed look from her parents that night had turned it into a blood feud that she vowed to carry to the grave.
“Ahh, I guess that explains how they would get into a fight today, but I still don’t get why Sally isn’t here.” Principal Walsh interrupted.
“Nope,” Ms. Davis replied, “Not quite that simple, there is more…”
The next day Mary was determined to get back at Sally. During free reading time Mary conspired with her best friend Lilly on what they should do. “Wait, little Lilly’s involved in this too?” asked a shocked Principal Walsh.
The shock was understandable. Lilly’s parents had decided to enroll her in school early even though her early August birthday could have seen her wait a year. This compounded with the fact that she was naturally just a smaller child made a sharp contrast between Lilly hand the rest of the class. She had endured plenty of subtle jabs from Sally as well over the years and was only to happy to help. They brainstormed idea after idea without a single good one until Lilly finally said that she wished that Sally would just go away. As she said that Mary’s face lit up. Excitedly and a little too loudly she told Lilly about a story her older sister had told her. There had a been a boy who was always getting in trouble and the whole class hated him and then one day he finally went too far and punched another kid and not only got in trouble but transferred to the other class. Because she had said this a little too loudly some of the other girls in the class had now jumped into the conversation. One girl even mentioned that it was a great plan but there was no way they could get Sally to throw a punch, she was way too smart for that. Mary was shocked because several of the girls now in on the plan were from Sally’s clique. She quickly realized that being part of that group must not have saved them from Sally’s sharp remarks. Mary knew they were right, Sally had an uncanny knack for starting trouble but never actually getting in trouble. However, her rage had given her a keen sense of focus and she had the answer. She would have Lilly punch her, then they would all tell the teacher it had been Sally. With all the girls agreeing to stick to the story there was no way that Sally wouldn’t be transferred to the other class. Ms. O’Malley had the other class, or Meany O’Malley as she was known to the kids (and even an few fellow teachers) and there was no question that a problem child would be moved quickly to her class if discipline was needed.
“But if Lilly punched her, why isn’t she here too!” Principal Walsh interrupted yet again.
“Because the story gets even crazier,” Mrs. Davis said as she continued with the story.
The girls had hatched the perfect plan. Recess was right after lunch and they would gather by the thick bushes at the south side of the playground. Lilly and Mary would sneak through the bushes into the woods, down the small hill to the creek. Lilly would punch Mary and then they would all go straight to a teacher and tell the story of Sally’s sucker punch.
“Wait Ms. Gibson monitors recess, wouldn’t she see all this?” Principal Walsh asked and immediately wished he could take the words back as he said them.
“Ohh Ms. Gibson who should have retired at least ten years ago, ” Ms. Davis laughed, “Yeah with those Coke bottle glasses she should be able to see kids two districts over, but yeah she didn’t see a thing.”
Mary and Lilly quite easily made it past the bushes, down the hill and to the creek. Mary told Lilly not to hold back and that it was ok and she wouldn’t be mad at her at all. Then Mary closed her eyes and winced as she waited for the blow. But instead she heard footsteps on the hill and when she opened her eyes she realized that Lilly had run off. She started to follow after her when she heard the other girls. They were asking why Lilly was back so soon and why they hadn’t heard anything. In a flash it became accusations that Little Lilly had chickened out and Mary could tell Lilly was on the verge of tears.
Mary acted quickly punching herself in the eye as hard as she could and walking out slightly dazed to assure the other girls that Lilly was no chicken, but a hero.
“She punched…herself?!?” Principal Wash exclaimed in disbelief. “I..It’s…I can see…What,” he stammered, “Well I mean she still has to be punished for lying and getting another student in trouble.”
“That’s the thing,” Mrs. Davis said softly, “when she saw how Lilly was being treated and decided to help her friend it seemed to burst the rageful bubble that had been causing so many of her bad decisions. She thought of how horrible it would be for Sally having the girls she thought were her friends turning on her and being accused of something she didn’t do. So, she came straight to me and confessed the whole thing.”
“So, she told the truth,” Principal Walsh said, “she didn’t fight with anyone and helped a friend. But she did punch herself. I mean what do I do with that. Is she in trouble? And if so for what? But I also can’t just send her home with a shiner and do nothing? What do I even do here?”
“I’ve got to get back to my class,” Mrs. Davis said as she stood and with a sly smile continued, “But I’m sure you’ll figure it out, I mean after all that is why they pay you the big bucks, isn’t it?”
“Love”, by David Eberlin, a.k.a. Pholoaf
“Goodbye Mrs. Adam, have a great weekend,” said Jimmy to his third grade teacher.
“Bye Abby, see you on Monday,” Jimmy said to Mrs. Adam’s daughter.
Abby and her mom left the school where she attended and her mom worked at and got into their mint green Woody. The driver side panel had a dent in it that was beginning to rust. Abby had to jiggle the door handle to get it to open so she could sit in the back seat.
“When are we going to get a new car?” asked Abby.
“When money starts growing on the tree in our backyard” Mrs. Adam replied.
When they got home, Mrs. Adam told Abby that today’s chore was to dust the living room and family room.
“I better not find any dust when I come to check or you’ll be sorry.” she warned her daughter.
“I promise I’ll do my best,” Abby assured her mom.
Abby started to dust as her mom went into the kitchen to make dinner. Hank Williams played over the radio. Abby finished and sat on the lopsided couch and began to read Curious George for the umpteenth time. Mrs. Adam returned from the kitchen still holding the wooden stirring spoon in her hand. She began to inspect the lamp on the end table.
“Abby! What do you see on my finger?” she yelled.
“Dust?” whispered Abby.
“I asked you to do one chore! Can’t you do anything right? Come over here and stand still so I can give you some love”
The way she said love made Abby flinch. She knew what that word really meant to her mother. Abby walked over to her mother and turned around. Her mom wielded the wooden spoon like a small sword and struck Abby seemingly as hard as she could on her rear. She counted as she punished her daughter “1!…….2!…….3!…….4!……and 5!” She wound up extra for the last one as was her habit. The final strike knocked Abby down to her knees, skinning her left one. Abby winced in pain and held her knee.
“You better not have gotten blood on my carpet! You know we can’t afford to get it cleaned again. Go put a bandaid on your knee and come for dinner” Mrs. Adam directed her daughter. On Monday, when they parked the car in the school parking lot, Mrs. Adam had to pull the hand brake twice to get the car to stop rolling backwards.
“Abby, go get the janitor so he can come look at this.” Mrs. Adam told Abby. Abby went and got the janitor and stayed with him while he inspected the car.
“Go on inside Mrs. Adam, I’ll keep Abby as my helper,” The janitor told Mrs. Adam.
Abby liked the janitor, he was always nice to her and asked her how she was. Sometimes, if he had candy, he would sneak it to her. The janitor got under the car and Abby sat next to him leaning up on the side of the car.
“How was your weekend Abby?” He asked
“Fine,” Abby replied.
“Uneventful, I see. Probably best, seeing as tomorrow is going to be rough for your mom. You know, she does so much for everyone here, I’m surprised they don’t make her the principal. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say nothing but praise for her. And with your daddy passing last year….you just be glad you still got one parent who loves you”
When the janitor said the word “loves”, he noticed Abby wincing and touching her knee.
“Hey, Abby, you said your weekend was uneventful, what happened to your knee?” he asked.
“I fell. It’s nothing, just stings a little bit still.” she replied.
“Tell your mom, this brake is gonna need to be replaced soon so she shouldn’t park on a hill” he told Abby.
“Sure thing!” she said as she skipped into school.
That night, Mrs. Adam was in a particularly dark mood as the anniversary of her husband’s passing approached.
“Abby, why did Mrs. Chance tell me she had to talk to you today”
“She said I was talking, but it wasn’t me! It was Lucy!’ Abby pleaded.
“No daughter of mine is going to embarrass me, especially not where I work!” Abby’s mother yelled. “Go get your father’s belt….The one with the big buckle this time!”
When Abby returned her mother began to take out her rage on Abby. The welts from her previous punishments hadn’t even begun to heal as new ones formed over them. Her mother’s breath stank of gin and it clouded her aim. She swatted Abby from her legs to her back leaving deep red marks and eventually drawing blood.
“I give you this love, because I love you” Abby’s mother whispered when she finished. “Never disappoint me again.”
Abby limped off to her room, hoping her mother would just go to bed and leave her alone. The next morning, Abby’s mother rushed into her room.
“Get up! We’re late! You didn’t hear my alarm and wake me up?!?” Abby’s mother snarled.
She flung Abby out of her bed and Abby crumpled into a heap on the floor. Her white nightgown had specks of red on the back of it.
“You stained your nightgown! Give it to me to clean!” You’ve got some nerve, young lady! And on all days, you choose the day your daddy died to do this! Get over here! You must need some love to set you straight!”
Abby cried in terror and ran past her mom into the hallway. Abby’s mother pushed her as she went by and Abby smashed into the wall. A cheap print of Norman Rockwell’s “Mermaid” fell off the wall, bouncing off Abby’s back. She ran into the kitchen with her mom chasing after her. Her mother was getting angrier and angrier as she chased her daughter down. When she finally caught her, she wound up and smacked Abby in the face. Again and Again, she smacked her in the face. Abby’s left eye began to swell shut.
“Put your clothes on and get in the car” She yelled at Abby.
The car ride was silent the whole way, save for Abby’s occasional wimpers.
When they pulled into the school parking lot, there were boys playing tackle football beside the lot.
“You tell anyone who asks, you got clocked by an elbow roughhousing with the neighbor’s boys.” Abby’s mother directed.
“Of course mommy,” Abby timidly replied.
Abby and her mother got out of the car. Abby’s mother went around the car to get some classroom supplies out of the trunk. As she opened the rusting trunk door, three boys playing football, tackled another directly into the car. The brake failed and the car lurched backwards. The right rear tire rolled over Abby’s mother and pinned her to the ground directly in the line of the rolling tire. There was a scream and a horrible squelch. A group of students gathered around and one began to scream hysterically. The janitor rushed over and seeing what was left of Abby’s mother, yelled for everyone to go inside. He grabbed Abby and told her it’s best not to look. Once inside, Mrs. Jankowski from the front desk took Abby and set her down in front of the principal’s office on a bench. She went into the principal’s office as he was getting off the phone.
“How are we going to tell her,” Mrs. Jankowski asked the principal.
“What timing…” he muttered. “Two parents in two years…On the same day too. What a shame”
“I guess I can go tell her, she’s gonna be broken up inside.” Mrs. Jankowski solemnly whispered.
Abby overheard what they were whispering about and now knew what happened to her mother. As Mrs. Jankowski and the principal peered out the door at her, a smile crept over Abby’s face.
“No more love.” Abby thought to herself and her smile grew.
“Helen of Kirkconnell”, by Art Berger, a.k.a. Clockwork
In the style of a Scottish ballad by Walter Scott, “Helen of Kirkconnell,” in which a young
lady, beloved by two dueling gentlemen, intervenes to save her favorite and suffers a
I wish I were not Helen, girl:
Cuz girls are s’posed to dance or cry
or do anything else but try
to defend my Kirkconnell name!
Dumb Jimmy, see, he got some thought
that I liked bugs, and liked to taunt
me with some beetles, then he’d flaunt
his ant collection–lame.
Don’t get me started on Little Clive
who’s tallest in our class despite
his silly name. He likes to fight,
but so do I; it’s how I get my fame!
Jimmy dropped a centipede
down the back of my dress in Math.
Gross, but was nothing a good bath
couldn’t rid me of the same.
Clive, though, saw him do it
and thought that he would defend me
as if I wanted him to, God send me
better friends who aren’t so lame.
So Jimmy and Clive are duking it out
and I’m just s’posed to stand there,
making a garland of my hair?
I’ll show them this girl’s no dame!
I throw myself right in between,
and pinch and poke and shove:
my mother says it’s ‘cuz of love,
or else the curse of Kirkconnell’s name.
Then poor ol’ Clive thinks
he’ll deck Jimmy with one good punch
but not in time can I hunch
away, and end up fairly maimed.
“Black-eyed Susan” the other girls
giggle and call me as I walk by,
but I just spit with one great cry,
“Helen Kirkconnell’s the name!”
I wish I were not Helen, girl:
Cuz girls are s’posed to dance or cry
or do anything else but try
to defend my Kirkconnell name!