"I just never had to try at all in school - ever."

I was confused. "But your grades. You've never even made a B."

"The other kids don't like you if you get more than a C. Who wants to be called Teacher's Pet or Geek Boy?" He shook his head sadly.

I couldn't believe my ears. He was an underachiever. Smarter than his grades had ever let on, and now he was destined for blue. "Son, you shouldn't have done that," I said. "You should've tried your best. I know, it doesn't mean much to you now, but it will later - when you don't have to see those kids anymore, and you're smart, and they're still trying to read the bathroom door signs. Hard work can take you far, land you a better job."

"Yeah," he agreed. "It can. Like Stevie Dumbois."

My ears pricked up. I knew the boy well. "What about him?"

"Well, he studies all the time, does his homework for hours and hours every night. I never bother doing it, because it's so stupid. You just look at it and you can see it. The answers, I mean. But Stevie spends so much time on it. I helped him out sometimes. He works until he gets an A, and he's the one who's going to be a doctor."

I shook my head. "Now, Davey, you don't know that."

"Yes, I do." He nodded his head violently. "The testers told him this morning, and he was telling us....."

I didn't listen for the rest. I didn't check the time. I rushed into my study and punched in Charlotte Dumbois' number.

Her pretty blond head came on the screen. "Yes?" her voice bubbled over the wire.

"Hi, Charlotte," I said.

"Oh, hi, Peter."

"I called because I heard you got Stevie's IQTFPP scores."

"Yes. Oh! Big Steve and I are so happy about it. Can you believe it? Little Stevie's going to be a surgeon! Isn't it wonderful?" Even her eyes were smiling.

"Yes. Congratulations," I said through a fog.

"And how did your little one do?" she asked politely.

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Lisa J. Parker's writing and creative works including poems, books, short stories, essays, movies, greeting graphics, and photographs.

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