Someone Cheated

By Jess D. Taylor

It might be Donnie, because it looks like his wicked smile was wiped off his face with a Kleenex or something. There are bits of fuzz. But it could also be Patty because she loves everyone looking at her. Someone cheated and Miss Darling’s armpits are blooming sweat flowers. Her teeth seem browner than they should be, and I can see her bra strap poking out of her sleeveless shirt. I hate to see her flustered. I hear phrases like “handwriting sample” and “principal’s office” and I feel a little tremor crawl up my thick white underwear.

I don’t dare look at anyone. I stare at the bra strap, loving it, but also wishing (for her sake) that she’d tuck it away like her hair, which is always in a ponytail. I realize that Miss Darling might even have been pretty once; I can tell by the curve of her cheeks and the way her muscles move in her upper arms. Maybe she should let her hair down. I would if mine weren’t so frizzy.

I risk a sideways glance. Donnie looks like he’s holding in a poop. Patty is asking why we take tests anyways because all we do is memorize stuff, and someone, I can’t tell who, seems itchy all the sudden. Almost everyone could be guilty. I relax a little, begin to believe my own story: No one with a perfectly bump-less ponytail and a skirt that reaches the regulation knees would be capable of copying someone else’s vocabulary test.

No one who knows to describe her arms as flabby and her hair as incorrigible and her face as unremarkable would even need to cheat on a vocabulary test anyway, unless of course she was sick and tired of being good all the time, as invisible as Miss Darling’s bra strap on a good day.