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Rated: E · Chapter · Children's · #2319627
A frustrated 5th grader wonders if he is the shortest boy in the World!
          David Is Short
"The Rope Monster"

“Why Me?” David wondered, as he marched into the gymnasium single file last one on
the boy’s line.

It was another dreaded 10:35 gym class. What made it worse though was David had to
go through this nonsense twice a week!

That’s right. David had a “physical education special,” as the teachers all called it,
every Monday and Wednesday at 10:35. Two times the torture for the shortest boy in
fifth grade at The Hillcrest Hollows School.

Oh how David despised walking into the gym. There was that smell. It was always the
same scent too, fake "Garden Fresh." Ugh.
Maybe it was just a strong ammonia odor that was supposed to fade but
instead it just never went away.

That str
ong scent stuck to the inside of David’s nostrils, and remained there for hours.
It was not enough to make him puke yet it was certainly enough to convince
David that the chemicals used to polish the glossy, wooden gymnasium floor were
unhealthy for a growing ten year old boy.

Maybe they were even dangerous to breathe in.
“Are my lungs being damaged?” David wondered to himself.

David once asked his friend Aaron, “Do you think those stupid custodians use those
poisonous cleaning fluids on purpose to make us suffer?”

Aaron simply responded by rolling his eyes and walking away.

That of course didn’t convince David that he was mistaken about the chemicals being
dangerous to his health.

His final thought lasted just long enough for David to become distracted by that long,
eight-foot rope hanging high above his head in its usual threatening way. The thick
strand of hemp was waiting for everyone in class to climb. Yes it was rope climbing
Monday. The rope almost seemed to mock him.

David imagined the twisted tan rope calling out to him with big black eyes and razor
sharp front teeth, “Come on David, is today your lucky day? Can you finally reach the
top? How about climbing me even half way up? Then it chortled, "I don’t think so.”

“You’ll never do it. Hah,hah,hah!” David heard the rope hysterically cry out.

David clearly remembered last week when he struggled to climb up the rope about
a quarter of the way. His feet started to fly out into the air flapping from side to side from
under his body. He quickly dropped down from the rope awkwardly landing on the not so
cushiony mat knees first. His classmates had cracked up, pointing at David’s twisted body
while yelling “Shorty!”
Now that was not part of David’s imagination.

David suddenly felt nauseous. He looked around the room at his classmates. David
glanced at his knees in these ridiculous looking cotton, blue shorts which came
down to the bottom of his knee caps. No one had such short legs as he did.

“Did somebody make me have short legs so that I could suffer? Maybe some
children get to have normal legs while others are born with abnormal legs? So it all
has to balance out. And I get the imbalance of course,” thought David.

He pushed one of his dirty blonde bangs to the side away from his right eye,
inhaled slowly and counted to ten in an effort to relax. Sometimes this exercise
worked well. However, David now had a stomachache too, a real live pain in the
middle of his gut. He knew that this would go away if he would stop feeling so
nervous and just calm down. But how?

The rope was ready to make sure everyone in that gymnasium would see David’s
short, skinny legs look helpless once again.

David almost screamed out, “I hate gym!” But he knew better than that.

Nothing mattered right then because at that second the gym teacher, Mr. Moore’s booming voice
echoed throughout the large room.

“Okay children, those whose first names begin A through F line up in row 1, G
through L in row 2; those whose names begin with M through R in row 3, and S
through Z in row 4. If there are any extras in each group then go to the end of your
row,” barked the fifth grader’s gym teacher.

After hearing these instructions, several children made quick, puzzling glances at
the classmate nearest to them. David saw the looks and was confused as almost
everyone else. Maybe these puzzled expressions would help prove that it wasn’t the
students who were mixed up, if no one understood the directions. Especially the
“extras” comment the bossy gym teacher made really baffled the children.

“What does he mean?” Nate whispered to David across from where the rows were

David stared at Nate and responded to his question with a weak shrug of his bony
shoulders. Though he was only in the gymnasium less than ten minutes, David felt
as if he had been here an hour. Mr. Moore could tell there was great confusion over
his instructions. He was not about to let a juicy moment like this pass. His booming
voice echoed throughout the gym once again.
“For those who do not understand what you were told to do it might be
time to use Q-Tips. Yes, I think you might want to clean out your waxy ears. The
gym teacher continued, You have thirty seconds to get in rows. We’re not in
Kindergarten anymore.”

“Of course a few of you act like you are,” Mr. Moore rambled on in his usual
insulting manner.

Ralph said in a low voice, “I wish I was,” but luckily for him Mr. Moore did not
hear him. Or maybe he did but the teacher ignored the boy so he could continue
to insult the students.? Maybe Ralph would find out later.

However Mr. “Boss Man” as the children liked to call him-behind his back of
course-kept going.

For good measure, the control freak of a teacher said in a lower voice that could
have easily been a whisper in the hushed gym, “As a matter of fact you know
what? I’ll give you sixty seconds to get into the correct rows. If you can’t follow
simple directions then its thirty minutes detention after school. I’m using my
stopwatch. Now go!”

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