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Curriculum change

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I liked that the school paper was named The Northeaster, because I loved autumn Northeasters that blew in after Labor Day and flushed away summer’s muggy heat. The tourists vanished, the Beaches belonged to the locals again. But I never wanted to be a journalism student. It was forced on me by a curriculum change this second half of my senior year.

“Yes, well…” The counselor pursed her mouth at the word ‘nude’ and her eyes got shifty...

Sharon arched her left eyebrow, amused. Asked if I could find typos as well as I drew. Complimenting and teasing me at the same time, strangely exciting. I found more than her. She allowed I possessed many talents.

She didn’t want anybody to see her waiting for me. That was really smart of her. That’s how rumors start in high school. It took four kicks for the cold engine to sputter to life. Then the choke caught and held. When the Cushman plodded up to speed my eyes streamed; only sissies wore goggles. Then I was home, wondering what the hell to do now.

“I’ll go take the poor child home.” He was yawning and scratching under his arms. My life flashed in front of my eyes. I would die if he went. But he smirked, more comprehending than I could have imagined. “You told her you’d come get her yourself,” he said.

Maybe some crazed rapist from New Jersey snatched her off the street in broad daylight.

“Ish. Some girl.” He handed me the phone. “First time for everything,” he grumbled. “Now they’re calling you at home. Where’s it gonna end?”

I never found out what happened to Mr. Lundquist. I never got my apprenticeship with an art studio to paint live nude models. My fledgling art career died unborn. My mother used her contacts to find me a job as a newspaper copy boy. To the amusement of jaded newsmen, I avoided any slightest possibility of intimacy with females. I blamed it all — loss of my art, my pathological distrust of girls — on the unwanted curriculum change.

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Professional writer, Pacific Northwest. 20 Books: “Sleeping Planet” 1964 to “Venus Mons Iliad” 2018–19. Most on Amazon for sale. Il faut d’abord durer.

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Bill Burkett

Bill Burkett

Professional writer, Pacific Northwest. 20 Books: “Sleeping Planet” 1964 to “Venus Mons Iliad” 2018–19. Most on Amazon for sale. Il faut d’abord durer.

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