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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » 歪歪小学的荒诞故事 Sideways Stories from Wayside School » Chapter 10
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Chapter 10
Paul had the best seat in Mrs. Jewls's class. He sat in the back of the room. It was the seat that was the farthest away from Mrs. Jewls.

Mrs. Jewls was teaching the class about fractions. She drew a picture of a pie on the blackboard. She cut the pie into eight pieces. She explained that each piece was one-eighth of the pie.

Paul never paid attention. He didn't see the picture of the pie. He didn't see anything.

Well, he did see one thing.

Actually, he saw two things.
39He saw Leslie's two pigtails.
Leslie sat in front of Paul. She had two long, brown pigtails that reached all the way down to her waist.

Paul saw those pigtails, and a terrible urge came over him. He wanted to pull a pigtail. He wanted to wrap his fist around it, feel the hair between his fingers, and just yank.

He thought it would also be fun to tie the pigtails together, or better yet, tie them to her chair. But most of all, he just wanted to pull one.

Slowly he reached for the one on the right. "NO! What am I doing?" he thought. "I'll only get into trouble."

Paul had it made. He sat in the back of the room. He paid no attention to anyone, and nobody paid any attention to him. But if he pulled a pigtail, it would be all over. Leslie would tell on him, and he'd become the center of attention.

He sighed and slowly withdrew his arm.

But Paul couldn't ignore those pigtails. There they were, dangling right in front of him, just begging to be pulled. He could close his eyes, but he couldn't make the pigtails disappear. He could still smell them. And hear them. He could almost taste them.

"Maybe just a little tug," he thought. "No, none."

There they hung, easily within his reach.

"Well let them just hang there!" thought Paul.

It would be foolish to pull one, no matter how tempting they were. None of the other children in the class pulled pigtails; why should he? Of course, none of the other children sat behind Leslie, either.

It was just a simple matter of being able to thinkclearly.
40That was all. Paul thought it over and decided not to pull one. It was as simple as that.
Suddenly his arm shot forward. He grabbed Leslie's right pigtail and yanked.

"Yaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" screamed Leslie.

Everybody looked at her.

"Paul pulled my pigtail," she said.

They all looked at Paul.

"I ... I couldn't help it," said Paul.

"You'd better learn to help it," said Mrs. Jewls. She wrote Paul's name on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE. "Tell Leslie you're sorry."

"I'm sorry, Leslie," said Paul.

"Hmmmph," said Leslie.

Paul felt horrible. Never again would he pull another pigtail! Except, there was one problem. He still wasn't satisfied. He had pulled the right one, but that wasn't enough. He wanted to pull the left one, too. It was as if he heard a little voice coming from the pigtail saying, "Pull me, Paul. Pull me."

"I can't," Paul answered. "My name's already on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE."

"Big deal," said the pigtail. "Pull me."

"No way," said Paul. "Never again."

"Aw, come on, Paul, just a little tug," urged the pigtail. "What harm could it do?"

"Lots of harm," said Paul. "Leslie will scream, and I'll get in trouble again."

"Boy, that's not fair," whined the pigtail. "You pulled the right one. Now it's my turn."

"I know, but I can't," said Paul.
41"Sure you can," said the pigtail. "Just grab me and yank."
"No," said Paul. "It's not right."

"Sure it is, Paul," said the pigtail. "Pigtails are meant to be pulled. That's what we're here for."

"Tell that to Leslie," said Paul.

"Leslie won't mind," said the pigtail. "I promise."

"I bet," said Paul. "Just like she didn't mind the last time."

"You just didn't pull hard enough," said the pigtail. "Leslie likes us pulled real hard."

"Really?" asked Paul.

"Cross my heart," said the pigtail, "the harder, the better."

"Okay," said Paul, "but if you're lying. ..."

"I promise," said the pigtail.

Paul grabbed the left pigtail. It felt good in his hand. He pulled as hard as he could.

"Yaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" screamed Leslie.

Mrs. Jewls asked, "Paul, did you pull Leslie's pigtail again?"

"No," said Paul. "I pulled the other one."

All the children laughed.

"Are you trying to be funny?" asked Mrs. Jewls.

"No," said Paul. "I was trying to be fair. I couldn't pull one and not the other."

The children laughed again.

"Pigtails are meant to be pulled," Paul concluded.

Mrs. Jewls put a check next to Paul's name on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE.

But at last Paul was satisfied.
42True, his name was on the blackboard with a check next to it, but that really didn't matter. All he had to do was stay out of trouble the rest of the day, and his name would be erased. It's easy to stay out of trouble when you have the best seat in the class.
In fact, Paul could do this every day. He could pull Leslie's pigtails twice, and then stay out of trouble the rest of the day. There was nothing Leslie could do about it.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Leslie screamed, "Yaaaahhhhhhhh!"

Mrs. Jewls circled Paul's name and sent him home early on the kindergarten bus. Nobody would believe that he hadn't pulled Leslie's pigtail again.


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