24 Lost and Found
(By Elaina Satti)
Now class, I want you to write the best essay you possibly can. I'll give you until the end of the period, and then I'll collect them. Miss Anderson's weary voice rose above the whispering and muffled giggles. "Remember, be creative - and use your imagination!"
Are there any questions? she asked, secretly hoping there weren't. It had been an extremely tiring day, and she just wanted to put everything behind her and relax.
A tall boy with mischievous brown eyes who was sitting in the back of the room, cracking his gum in the most obnoxious way, slowly raised his hand. He was Jonathan Lacket, class clown, feared by teachers, "worshiped" by students everywhere. If there was an assignment to get out of, he would find some way for himself and the class to get out of it. Miss Anderson's heart sank.
You can't what? she asked, not looking up.
Use my imagination, he answered slowly, as if talking to a little child.
Why ever not? She stared at him wonderingly. He had her full attention now.
Lost it, he replied, as if she needed no other explanation.
You, you lost your imagination? she asked in disbelief.
Yup. The gum cracking became louder.
Miss Anderson's sense of humor was now starting to get the better of her, despite how long her day had been, so she decided to play along .
Well, this certainly is serious, she said, trying to be solemn. "When exactly did you lose it?"
Um, um, today.
Yeah, today. About, about now, he decided.
Oh, really? Hmmmm. Do you have any idea where you lost it? She was beginning to enjoy this.
Um, could be ... could be home, or could be here. Don't know. The gum cracking became even louder. "Don't know where it is, don't know what I did with it, and don't know where it could be. Just lost it," he answered casually.
Oh, I see. Well, have you checked in the Lost and Found? I'm sure if you went down to the office and asked the principal, he'd -
No, no, he said quickly. "I, ah, already checked at the Lost and Found and, um, it wasn't there. Yeah, it wasn't there."
Well, Jon, I, ah, guess there's nothing you can do. You certainly can't do this assignment without an imagination, and it's clear you've lost yours, so you're excused, sighed Miss Anderson.
The class,which had been listening intently throughout the conversation, now buzzed with admiration and envy (but mostly envy) while Jonathan threw a triumphant glance at no one in particular and cracked his gum with satisfaction.
Oh, Jon, Jon, wait a minute. I have an idea, Miss Anderson said, turning around. "Maybe, maybe if you stay after school tonight, I could help you find it. I'm sure, with both of us working together, we could certainly find your imagination. And you can stay as long as you need to - maybe even the whole afternoon! How does that sound?"
Um, Miss A? he asked quietly.