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"BOZO"



The school bell rang for the third time and I started walking down the hallway toward my Grade 3 classroom door. I never went into the classroom before the bell rang, because other children in my class were always making fun of kids who lived in the orphanage. So every day, I walked really slowly and I was always the last person to get to the room. As I turned the corner, I saw a little girl standing by the water fountain. She was a girl who sat on the other side of the classroom from me. She was somewhat huddled down between the wall and the drinking fountain, and she was crying.

"Are you stuck in there?" I asked her as I walked by.

She did not say anything. I stopped, turned around and walked up closer to her. I noticed that her dress was all wet and that she was trying to hide herself as best she could behind the water fountain.

"Please go away," she said in a real low voice.

"I know what happened to you and I know it was a real accident too," I said as I opened my eyes real big and wide, and shook my head.

"Please, please go away," she begged hiding her face against the wall.

"You can have my over-shirt to wrap around you, if you want."

However, she did not say anything at all and she just kept on crying.

Then I walked over to the janitor's closet and opened the door. I picked up the heavy metal bucket that he used for mopping floors and sat it in the big, white sink. I filled the bucket with a bunch of water and walked back over to the girl at the water fountain. She just stood there facing the wall. I raised the bucket up as high as I could get it and dumped the water all over her. She screamed out real loud and two of the teachers came running out of their classrooms. One of them grabbed me by the shirt and took me to the office.

Mrs. Dryer, the principal, asked me why I had dumped the bucket of water on the girl. I told her that the girl was making fun of me and that she called me "a Bozo." So I poured the water on her. I got in bad trouble when I got back to the orphanage that afternoon. I had to clean toilets and sinks all afternoon and I did not get any supper either.

The next day, when I went back to school, my teacher told me to go directly to the office. When I arrived, I saw the little girl's mother and father standing in Mrs. Dryer’s office. I knew that I was in bad trouble, really bad trouble this time.

I waited outside the office door, and they talked for a very long time. Then Mrs. Dryer called me into her office and asked if I wanted to sit behind her big desk. So I did. All three of them started smiling at me and the girl's mother began to cry. The man took a brown paper bag from behind his back and sat it on the desk. Mrs. Dryer told me to open the bag and see what was inside. I reached over the desk and carefully opened it. Inside the bag, I found a new metal lunch box with a picture of Mickey Mouse on the side. Nobody said anything else, so Mrs. Dryer told me to go back to my class.

That afternoon the orphanage made me throw the lunch box in the garbage can. They said that I did not deserve it and besides, the other kids did not have one.

Late that night, alone in my room, I remember looking out the window, staring up at the stars and saying to Jesus, "Maybe all big, grown up people ain't so dumb after all."



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