The Homework Snatcher

Ethan Rauschkolb , Guest Editorial

Leroy was sitting by himself in the school cafeteria, nothing out of the ordinary. He was trying, with great difficulty, to enjoy his ham sandwich. The cheese was warm and the ham was actively trying to escape it’s whole wheat prison. The whole sandwich reeked of loneliness and desperation, accurately representing how Leroy felt in the moment. He would never admit it, obviously, but eating lunch alone, going to class alone, and all around being, well, alone, was catching up. A change of pace was desperately needed, but Leroy had no real drive to change anything.

“Are you Leroy?” a small kid asked, approaching the barren lunch table.

“Depends on who’s asking.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.” The kid paused. “I wanna hire you.”

“I don’t want to be hired.”

“I have money.”

“Money can be very persuasive – how much do you have?” 

“Ten dollars,” the kid said, placing a ten dollar bill on the table.

“Better than nothing I guess,” Leroy sighed. “What do you need?”

“It was Bugs, he stole my homework… again.”

“That doesn’t sound like something too serious.”

“If I don’t turn that homework in, I fail.”

“I see, but why do you need my help?”

“I tried telling my teacher about it, but Bugs said it was his and I was the one trying to steal the paper.”

“And you need my help proving that he’s lying.”

“Right.”

“Let me finish eating my sandwich.”

~

As the two kids walked down the hall, Leroy stuffed his hands into the pockets of his sweatshirt and focused intently on his shoes, carefully avoiding eye contact with his peers. Even after several months, he still hadn’t gotten used to the dirty looks that were often cast his direction. He wasn’t sure he would ever get used to it.

“Why do you do that?” the kid asked.

“Do what?” Leroy responded.

“That,” the kid responded, gesturing to Leroy’s posture.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“Yes you are, you look guilty.”

“I don’t look guilty”

“Yeah you do.”

“Stop talking or I’ll charge you extra.”

“Fine.”

The kid seemed to struggle with the task if remaining silent, but managed to bite his tongue long enough to arrive at the classroom. The classroom was at the end of the science hallway, a somewhat intimidating hallway that contained a few too many fluorescent lights. Stepping through the doorway, Leroy noticed the several small mammal skeletons hanging from the ceiling, glaring at the two boys with empty eye sockets.

“May I help you?” the teacher asked, peering over her red glasses.

“I’m here to prove that Bugs stole my paper,” the kid said confidently.

Leroy elbowed him in the side.

“Can you please tell us why you believe Bugs?” Leroy asked, beginning to regret his decision.

“Why would I do that?”

“Please? It couldn’t hurt, could it?”

“Well, Bugs said he was walking in to turn his paper in early when he was jumped by Henry waiting behind the door, simple as that.”

“Do you always close the door when you leave the classroom?”

“Yes.”

“Then it’s obvious Bugs is lying.”

“Excuse me?”

“School doors have to open out, its regulation, so Henry couldn’t have hid behind it. Simple.”

“Oh, um…”

“You owe me ten dollars,” Leroy said, holding out his hand toward Henry.

“Thanks, Encyclopedia. I really appreciate your help.”

“Don’t call me that.”