When I was a child my mother always read The Ugly Duckling to me and explained how I should never judge a book by its cover. I never really understood what she was talking about - until fourth grade, when something happened that changed my life. I didn't realize it then, but Mrs. Beaker's fourth-grade classroom was a baleful and vindictive place. No one would have known this better than Dexter Doodle. He was the joke of the class, but not by choice. Dexter was short, pudgy, and had hideous buckteeth. I was an obnoxious child and one day I started calling him "Beaver-face" and the whole class followed suit. Soon everyone had almost forgotten his real name.
During lunch Beaver always ate by himself with his face nearly hidden in his lunch bag. My table would throw food at him as though he were an animal. Once in a while he would try to retaliate by hurling something back, but he usually got caught. When the lunch monitor led him to the office, we would all laugh hysterically.
At recess my friends and I had the most fun torturing Beaver-face. We would stand at the top of the slide and when we spotted him, we'd slide down and charge after him as if we were hunting a beaver. This would only last so long though, because soon he would go up to the recess aide and beg to go to the bathroom. He never came back, and we suspected he was hiding.
Nice teacher that she was, Mrs. Beaker always let everyone sit with his or her friends, until one day. During quiet reading time, Frank and Kyle started throwing paper. In a matter of minutes the entire class was involved, and the floor was covered. For our punishment, Mrs. Beaker decided we would have a permanent seating arrangement. As she dictated who would sit where, there were a few sighs of relief and many groans of disappointment.
When she read my name, I was relieved because I had a couple of my friends nearby, not to mention Chris, my crush. Then the class erupted into laughter. I looked around to see what was so funny, and I came face to face with Beaver. He was assigned to the desk right next to me! I dreaded sitting near him and thought I was going to die! How could Mrs. Beaker do this to me, one of her best students?
The next few days I ignored Beaver. Then my ex-best friend started a rumor that I liked him. That was the last straw. If sitting next to him was going to make me this miserable, I decided I would make his life twice as terrible. I started passing a note
around the room that said Beaver smelled like fish, and that I didn't think he ever took a bath. I told everyone that he didn't brush his teeth, and that I thought he had lice. Everyone in the class caught on....