Maurice’s Problem

Art For Maurice's Problem - Liora Meyer

This story was inspired by Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series for children. No regrets.

It was a regular school day for everyone but Maurice. Maurice had a problem.
“Okay, class,” Mrs. Ekans said. “Today we’re going to be learning about state capitals.
Does anybody know what a state capital is?”
Maurice raised his hand. Mrs. Ekans didn’t call on him. She never called on him.
Denise, who sat all the way in the back of the classroom, raised her hand. Mrs. Ekans called on her.
“I don’t care,” Denise said.
“Good answer,” Mrs. Ekans said. She wrote Denise’s name under DISCIPLINE. Maurice raised his hand higher. Maybe this time Mrs. Ekans would call on him.
“Can anyone name a state capital, class?” Mrs. Ekans asked.
Maurice raised his hand even higher. Mrs. Ekans didn’t call on him. She never called on him.

Bobby raised his hand. It squeaked. Bobby was wearing a raincoat.
“Yes, Bobby,” Mrs. Ekans said.
“Pennsylvania!” Bobby said excitedly. A little bit of spit flew out of his mouth and landed on his raincoat. Bobby spat when he talked. That was why he was wearing a raincoat.
“Good answer, Bobby,” Mrs. Ekans said. She wrote Bobby’s name under DISCIPLINE. “Anyone else?”
Maurice raised his hand even higher and wiggled his fingers.
“Yes, Dan,” Mrs. Ekans said. Dan’s full name was Dank Meme. His parents thought they were very cool. Dan hated his parents.
“Maurice wants to say something,” Dan said.
Mrs. Ekans sighed. “What is it, Maurice?” she said resignedly.
“I have a problem, Mrs. Ekans,” he said. “You see, this morning when I was leaving my house I put a Band-aid on my stomach, right across the middle, in case I needed it later. Now, the whole day has gone by and I didn’t need it, but I can’t get it off my stomach.”
“Try taking off the left side first,” Mrs. Ekans said. Just then, the bell rang. All the children cheered and ran out of the classroom. The day was over. Maurice followed the rest of the class out of the room and onto the bus.

The next day, the right side of Maurice walked into the classroom. The rest of the class was already seated. Everyone waited for the left side of Maurice to walk in, but only the right side was there.
“Maurice, what happened?” Dan asked.
Maurice shrugged. “She said to take off the left side first, so I did,” he said.
“And did it work?” Bobby asked. A piece of spit flew onto his desk. He wiped it off with the sleeve of his raincoat.
“Well, I didn’t get the Band-aid off,” Maurice said. “But it was still good advice. I can use the Band-aid now.”
Mrs. Ekans looked at Maurice. He was wearing more Band-aids than there were students in the class.
“Well done, Maurice,” Mrs. Ekans said. She wrote his name under DISCIPLINE.

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Rivka Mandelbaum is a senior at the Fayth Aronson-Berkowitz Girls High School of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. She co-founded and remains involved in her school newspaper, and is one of the two Student Directors of her school's play. She enjoys science, especially neuroscience, and writing. She is on the jGirls+ Editorial Board as a member of the Fiction Department and as Editorial Coordinator, sorting submissions and coordinating behind-the-scenes efforts.
Accompanying photo: “Untitled” by Liora Meyer