TITLE: GUIDE DOG
GENRE: YA horror
Mr. Mickford (well, technically, Father Mickford-I mean, we were at a Catholic school and everything was Father this and Father that), glanced down at the book on his desk. My dog-eared, frayed copy of Jane Eyre, the one I’d marked up with an aggressive combination of yellow highlighter and ball point pen. He hadn’t opened the book to see the damage, which was good-how many detentions could I take? I watched as the light shafting through the stained glass windows turned his balding head into a veritable Easter-egg of green and rose and yellow, and waited for the fall.
“Mrs. Cole says you were very dismissive of the book.”
I shrugged. “ Didn’t like it.”
“Okay, well…there’s nothing saying you have to like everything you read. But she said…”
I knew what she’d said. But it felt like good form to ask. “What?”
He cleared his throat. “That the book was…um…masturbatory wish fulfillment for ugly girls.”
The words fell between us. I propped my chin on my hand, as if considering. “Yeah, well…”
“So you did say it?”
Of course I had. It was far too creative to have come out of the mouths of any of the other kids in the class…which was exactly the attitude, my mother liked to tell me, that got me into trouble time and time again. You think you’re smarter than anyone else.
And as for what was going on right now, there was no point in not confessing. “Yeah. I did.”