©Elisa Salasin

The lunch bell rang and students spilled into the hall
I want my five dollars, said Jose, a 7th grader
I don’t have your five dollars, said Theresa, an 8th grader
You owe me. Jose followed her
I’ll give it to you tomorrow. Theresa slammed her locker
You said that yesterday. Jose blocked her way
I don’t have it, okay? Theresa moved around him
I want it now! Jose grabbed Theresa’s arm
She brushed his hand away. Get out of my face!
Give me my money! Jose shouted

Little Chicken, a recent refugee from Afghanistan, approached them
Theresa, why you no pay Jose?
I’m broke, Little Chicken, said Theresa
Theresa, you good person, so why? asked Little Chicken
She’s not a good person, said Jose. She owes me five bucks
Theresa help me English, said Little Chicken. She good
It’s: Theresa helps me learn proper English, corrected Theresa
You still owe me, demanded Jose, holding out his hand
I told you, tomorrow! Theresa swore
No fight, said Little Chicken, stepping between. I give Jose five dollar

Theresa and Jose watched Little Chicken unzip her backpack
Then Theresa rolled her eyes and exhaled,
dug a crumpled bill from her own pocket
and thrust it at Jose who grunted, examined the bill
and headed for the lunch line
See, I know you good person, said Little Chicken
Theresa tried to maintain her cool but was unable to
conceal a smile of embarrassment and delight.

©Robert Pressnall, 2010

As a young bird Bob Pressnall pre-tendered to be an eagle or a rooster but inevitably chickened out when challenged to fly. Then, as a bold chicken out of the closet, he was plucked from the classroom to be BAWP’s co-director in the early ’90’s, a feather in his resume! Now, though he still scratches out a living, laying eggs and cracking bad yolks for chickadees at the Albany Middle School roost, he anticipates the deep-fryer of retirement. Over easy.

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2 Responses to “Little Chicken by Robert Pressnall”

  1. jane juska Says:

    when you retire, the sky will fall.

  2. Barbara Bornet Stumph Says:

    Big Chicken Bob is good guy too!
    Barbara Bornet Stumph

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