Trout and Me

Trout and Me

Susan Shreve


Ben’s always been a good kid; it’s just that things keep happening to him that get him sent to the principal’s office. Starting in first grade, when he tried to flush Mary Sue Brigg’s favorite purple teddy bear down the toilet after she made fun of his lisp. Now that he’s in fifth grade, things are a little better, until the day Trout up in class. Trout doesn’t have a last name, “just Trout” — he’s got a red question mark tattooed on his chin, he looks like trouble, and the only person he wants for a friend is Ben. So what’s a nice kid like Ben supposed to do when the bad new kid is stuck to him like glue? Not much.


This Monday, my last week of sixth grade, I was walking up the front steps of Stockton Elementary School and there was Trout. I was sure it was Trout. It had to be, and my heart flipped over. He was standing at the top of the steps in front of the double green doors, looking around for me like he used to do every morning of the fifth grade. And my heart flipped over.


“So what’s up?” he used to ask.


“Not much,” I’d reply.


Then he’d throw down his long arm around my shoulder and we’d go in the front door of the school.


“Today I was thinking of pulling the fire alarm during sixth grade lunch,” he’d say. “Whaddaya think?”

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