Eloosive - A west wind was brought with it the smell of bread baking

“A west wind was brought with it the smell of bread baking,” I read aloud in a shaky voice. I glance down to make sure that both my legs are straight - Mr. Harris told me last week, in front of everyone, that I leaned to the right when I read and I don’t need that kind of embarrassment again.

At least I wasn’t as bad as Jamie in Chorus when he had to do solos. He would step to the front of the group, bring his hands together just in front of his belly button and begin to sing. Then his legs would start moving. Right heel up, right heel down, left heel up, left heel down; it was like he was trying to peddle a bicycle without his toes ever leaving the ground. Or maybe he was trying to fly.

“I watched the sunlight pour through my open window while I remained snug in the covers of my bed,” I continue. Mr. Harris will ask me to speak up, or more clearly, any second now. Or worse: Terry at the back of the class will holler, “We can’t hear you!” That stupid prick.

“There surely must be nothing finer in this world than the smell of fresh baked bread first thing in the morning,” I read. Oh, I beg to differ, Sir Honourable Mister Wankerton, or whoever this stupid author is. The truth is that there would be nothing finer than Mr. Harris announcing that we would never have to read in front of our classmates ever again, that we had suffered enough.

“A knock at my bedroom door rudely interrupted my peaceful reverie,” I manage to say without rolling me eyes. What is the point of this exercise in humiliation? Are we supposed to become more confident public speakers? I don’t see how that could possibly work. It’s just making me want to take up a vow of silence until I’m no longer forced to attend school.

My eyes graze over the next line and I fall silent. No. There is absolutely no way I’m reading that aloud. I’d rather fake a seizure. Or maybe die. Oh, if only I could die on command.

“Mr. Joyce?” Mr. Harris calls from his perch on his over-sized oak desk. “Please do continue.”

Sweat forms on my forehead, begins to collect in my armpits and my mouth goes dry. He must know what comes next, why is he making me read this? Why not… anybody else?

“Mr. Joyce?”

I drop the book and flee the classroom without looking back.

The End

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