Never cry by Mike Madigan

July 11, 2009

Frances was home with a cold the day the spyglass arrived in the mail. It was simply addressed “To
Frances”. No town was mentioned, but the box number 27 was right. How it got from the new supermail box they had erected in her small Newfoundland town of Woody Point to her back porch was puzzling. Even more puzzling was who dropped it off? No one knew she was at home. Or did they?
Frances started to worry. She knew the school was just over the edge of the know, across the small harbour but somewhat near the road looking her way. Anyone looking out the staffroom window could see her place but surely she didn’t think…. “Oh me Lard!” she thought out loud just like her
mother. Then to herself she inwardly said, “This is it…I’m in as much trouble as a caught tom cod!”
She definitely saw some red bristol board paper in the last staff window. Yes, the black on it was surely
writing. Being in grade two two years in a row wasn’t exactly something she was proud of, but like her older brother who was always on the pip, she had learned a thing or two from him. She would have told her parents that Cecil was skipping school on purpose, but the candies and chocolate he treated her to always kept her silent. Now it was her turn.
“Oh don’t they know I have a cold today?” she asked out loud as if they could hear her across the
water.” But she took the spyglass off her lap anyway, focused it at the bristol board in the school window,
and read the letters “FRANCES YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT AWAY!”
How she would explain this skipping-off-school to her mother and father when she had a real cold reminded her of the story teacher had told them about the little boy who cried wolf all the time. Now she
knew how he felt.

Mike Madigan


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