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Text 1


by Susan Shreve


    Do you know how one might feel if he or she has cheated in a school test? Read the following and learn some lessons, if any, from the experience of the boy in the story.

    I cheated on a unit test in math class this morning during second period with Mr. Burke. Afterward, I was too sick to eat lunch just thinking about it.

    I came straight home from school, went to my room, and lay on the floor trying to decide whether it would be better to run away from home now or after supper. Mostly I wished I was dead. It wasn't even an accident that I cheated.

    Yesterday Mr. Burke announced there'd be a unit test and anyone who didn't pass would have to come to school on Saturday, most particularly me, since I didn't pass the last unit test. He said that right out in front of everyone as usual. You can imagine how much I like Mr. Burke.

    But I did plan to study just to prove to him that I'm plenty smart—which I am mostly—except in math, which I'd be okay in if I'd memorize my times tables. Anyway, I got my desk ready to study on since it was stacked with about two million things. Just when I was ready to work, Nicho came into my room with our new rabbit and it jumped on my desk and knocked the flashcards all over the floor.

    I yelled for my mother to come and help me pick them up, but Carlotta was crying as usual and Mother said I was old enough to help myself and a bunch of other stuff like that which mothers like to say. My mother's one of those people who tells you everything you've done wrong for thirty years like you do it every day. It drives me crazy.

    Anyway, Nicho and I took the rabbit outside but then Philip came to my room and also Marty from next door and before long it was dinner. After dinner my father said I could watch a special on television if I'd done all my homework.

    Of course I said I had.

    That was the beginning. I felt terrible telling my father a lie about the homework so I couldn't even enjoy the special. I guessed he knew I was lying and was so disappointed he couldn't talk about it.

    Not much is important in our family. Marty's mother wants him to look okay all the time and my friend Nathan has to do well in school and Andy has so many rules he must go crazy just trying to remember them. My parents don't bother making up a lot of rules. But we do have to tell the truth—even if it's bad, which it usually is. You can imagine how I didn't really enjoy the special.

    It was nine o'clock when I got up to my room and that was too late to study for the unit test so I lay in my bed with the light off and decided what I would do the next day when I was in Mr. B.'s math class not knowing the 8 ─  and 9 ─ times tables.

    So, you see, the cheating was planned after all.

    But at night, thinking about Mr. B.—who could scare just about anybody I know, even my father—it seemed perfectly sensible to cheat. It didn't even seem bad when I thought of my parents' big thing about telling the truth.

    I'd go into class jolly as usual, acting like things were going just great, and no one, not even Mr. B., would suspect the truth. I'd sit down next to Stanley Plummer—he is so smart in math it makes you sick—and from time to time, I'd glance over at his paper to copy the answers. It would be a cinch. In fact, every test before, I had to try hard not to see his answers because our desks are practically on top of each other.

    And that's exactly what I did this morning. It was a cinch. Everything was okay except that my stomach was upside down and I wanted to die.

    The fact is, I couldn't believe what I'd done in cold blood. I began to wonder about myself—really wonder—things like whether I would steal from stores or hurt someone on purpose or do some other terrible thing I couldn't even imagine. I began to wonder whether I was plain bad to the core.

    I've never been a wonderful kid that everybody in the world loves and thinks is so well, like Nicho. I have a bad temper and I like to have my own way and I argue a lot. Sometimes I can be mean. But most of the time I've thought of myself as a pretty decent kid. Mostly I work hard, I stick up for little kids, and I tell the truth. Mostly I like myself fine—except I wish I were better at basketball.

    Now all of a sudden I've turned into this criminal. It's hard to believe I'm just a boy. And all because of one stupid math test.

    Lying on the floor of my room, I begin to think that probably I've been bad all along. It just took this math test to clinch it. I'll probably never tell the truth again.

    I tell my mother I'm sick when she calls me to come down for dinner. She doesn't believe me, but puts me to bed anyhow. I lie there in the early winter darkness wondering what terrible thing I'll be doing next when my father comes in and sits down on my bed.

    "What's the matter?" he asks.

    "I've got a stomachache," I say. Luckily, it's too dark to see his face.

    "Is that all?"


    "Mommy says you've been in your room since school."

    "I was sick there too," I say.

    "She thinks something happened today and you're upset."

    That's the thing that really drives me crazy about my mother. She knows things sitting inside my head same as if I was turned inside out.

    "Well," my father says. I can tell he doesn't believe me.

    "My stomach is feeling sort of upset." I hedge.

    "Okay," he says and he pats my leg and gets up.

    Just as he shuts the door to my room I call out to him in a voice I don't even recognize as my own that I'm going to have to run away.

    "How come?" he calls back not surprised or anything.

    So I tell him I cheated on this math test. To tell the truth, I'm pretty much surprised at myself. I didn't plan to tell him anything.

     He doesn't say anything at first and that just about kills me. I'd be fine if he'd spank me or something. To say nothing can drive a person crazy.

    And then he says I'll have to call Mr. Burke.

    It's not what I had in mind.

    "Now?" I ask surprised.

    "Now," he says. He turns on the light and pulls off my covers.

    "I'm not going to," I say.

    But I do it. I call Mr. Burke, probably waking him up, and I tell him exactly what happened, even that I decided to cheat the night before the test. He says I'll come on Saturday to take another test, which is okay with me, and I thank him a whole lot for being understanding and all. He's not friendly but he's not absolutely mean either.

    "Today I thought I was turning into a criminal," I tell my father when he turns out my light.

    Sometimes my father kisses me good night and sometimes he doesn't. I never know. But tonight he does.


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作 弊

















    我象往常一样高高兴兴地去上学,就好象一切正常,风调雨顺。没有人,甚至包括布克先生在内,会有所怀疑。我会坐在斯坦力· 布鲁姆旁边——他的数学成绩好得惊人——时不时地偷看他的考卷,抄下答案。那会是件极容易做的事。事实上,以前的每一次测验,我都得控制着自己,不去看他的答案。要知道,我俩的桌子实在是靠得太近了。




























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Text 2

Stolen Day

by Sherwood Anderson


    It must be that all children are actors. The whole thing started with a boy on our street named Walter, who had inflammatory rheumatism. That's what they called it. He didn't have to go to school.

    Still he could walk about. He could go fishing in the creek or the waterworks pond. There was a place up at the pond where in the spring the water came tumbling over the dam and formed a deep pool. It was a good place. Sometimes you could get some big ones there.

    I went down that way on my way to school one spring morning. It was out of my way but I wanted to see if Walter was there.

    He was, inflammatory rheumatism and all. There he was, sitting with a fish pole in his hand. He had been able to walk down there all right.

    It was then that my own legs began to hurt. My back too. I went on to school but, at the recess time, I began to cry. I did it when the teacher, Sarah Suggett, had come out into the schoolhouse yard.

    She came right over to me.

    "I ache all over," I said. I did, too.

     I kept on crying and it worked all right.

    "You'd better go home," she said.

    So I went. I limped painfully away. I kept on limping until I got out of the schoolhouse street.

    Then I felt better. I still had inflammatory rheumatism pretty bad but I could get along better.

    I must have done some thinking on the way home.

    "I'd better not say I have inflammatory rheumatism," I decided. "Maybe if you've got that you swell up."

    I thought I'd better go around to where Walter was and ask him about that, so I didbut he wasn't there.

"They must not be biting today," I thought.

    I had a feeling that, if I said I had inflammatory rheumatism, Mother or my brothers and my sister Stella might laugh. They did laugh at me pretty often and I didn't like it at all.

  "Just the same," I said to myself, "I have got it." I began to hurt and ache again.

    I went home and sat on the front steps of our house. I sat there a long time. There wasn't anyone at home but Mother and the two little ones. Ray would have been four or five then and Earl might have been three.

    It was Earl who saw me there. I had got tired sitting and was lying on the porch. Earl was always a quiet, solemn little fellow.

    He must have said something to Mother for presently she came.

    "What's the matter with you? Why aren't you in school?" she asked.

    I came pretty near telling her right out that I had inflammatory rheumatism but I thought I'd better not. Mother and Father had been speaking of Walter's case at the table just the day before. "It affects the heart," Father had said. That frightened me when I thought of it. "I might die," I thought. "I might just suddenly die right here; my heart might stop beating."

    On the day before I had been running a race with my brother Irve. We were up at the fairgrounds after school and there was a half-mile track.

    "I'll bet you can't run a half mile," he said. "I bet you I could beat you running clear around the track."

    And so we did it and I beat him, but afterward my heart did seem to beat pretty hard. I remembered that lying there on the porch. "It's a wonder, with my inflammatory rheumatism and all, I didn't just drop down dead," I thought. The thought frightened me a lot. I ached worse than ever.

    "I ache, Ma," I said. "I just ache."

    She made me go in the house and upstairs and get into bed.

    It wasn't so good. It was spring. I was up there for perhaps an hour, maybe two, and then I felt better.

    I got up and went downstairs. "I feel better, ma," I said.

    Mother said she was glad. She was pretty busy that day and hadn't paid much attention to me. She had made me get into bed upstairs and then hadn't even come up to see how I was.

    I didn't think much of that when I was up there but when I got downstairs where she was, and when, after I had said I felt better and she only said she was glad and went right on with her work, I began to ache again.

    I thought, "I'll bet I die of it. I bet I do." I was pretty sore at Mother.

    "If she really knew the truth, that I have inflammatory rheumatism and I may just drop down dead any time, I'll bet she wouldn't care about that either," I thought.

    I was getting more and more angry the more thinking I did.

    "I know what I'm going to do," I thought; "I'm going to go fishing."

    I thought that, feeling the way I did, I might be sitting on the high bank just above the deep pool where the water went over the dam, and suddenly my heart would stop beating.

    And then, of course, I'd pitch forward, over the bank into the pool and, if I wasn't dead when I hit the water, I'd drown sure.

    They would all come home to supper and they'd miss me.

    "But where is he?"

    Then Mother would remember that I'd come home from school aching.

    She'd go upstairs and I wouldn't be there. One day during the year before, there was a child got drowned in a spring. It was one of the Wyatt children.

    Right down at the end of the street there was a spring under a birch tree and there had been a barrel sunk in the ground.

    Everyone had always been saying the spring ought to be kept covered, but it wasn't.

    So the Wyatt child went down there, played around alone and fell in and got drowned.

    Mother was the one who had found the drowned child. She had gone to get a pail of water and there the child was, drowned and dead.

    This had been in the evening when we were all at home, and Mother had come running up the street with the dead, dripping child in her arms. She was making for the Wyatt house as hard as she could run, and she was pale.

    She had a terrible look on her face, I remembered then.

    "So," I thought, "they'll miss me and there'll be a search made. Very likely there'll be someone who has seen me sitting by the pond fishing, and there'll be a big alarm and all the town will turn out and they'll drag the pond."

    I was having a grand time, having died. Maybe, after they found me and had got me out of the deep pool, Mother would grab me up in her arms and run home with me as she had run with the Wyatt child.

    I got up from the porch and went around the house. I got my fishing pole and lit out for the pool below the dam. Mother was busy—she always was—and didn't see me go. When I got there I thought I'd better not sit too near the edge of the high bank.

    By this time I didn't ache hardly at all, but I thought:

    "With inflammatory rheumatism you can't tell," I thought.

    "It probably comes and goes," I thought.

    "Walter has it and he goes fishing," I thought.

    I had got my line into the pool and suddenly I got a bite. It was a regular whopper. I knew that. I'd never had a bite like that.

    I knew what it was. It was one of Mr. Fenn's big carp.

    Mr. Fenn was a man who had a big pond of his own. He sold ice in the summer and the pond was to make the ice. He had bought some big carp and put them into his pond and then, earlier in the spring when there was a freshet, his dam had gone out.

    So the carp had got into our creek and one or two big ones had been caughtbut none of them by a boy like me.

    The carp was pulling and I was pulling and I was afraid he'd break my line, so I just tumbled down the high bank, holding onto the line and got right into the pool. We had it out, there in the pool. We struggled. We wrestled. Then I got a hand under his gills and got him out.

    He was a big one all right. He was nearly half as big as I was myself. I had him on the bank and I kept one hand under his gills and I ran.

    I never ran so hard in my life. He was slippery, and now and then he wriggled out of my arms; once I stumbled and fell on him, but I got him home.

    So there it was. I was a big hero that day. Mother got a washtub and filled it with water. She put the fish in it and all the neighbors came to look. I got into dry clothes and went down to supper—and then I made a break that spoiled my day.

    There we were, all of us, at the table, and suddenly Father asked what had been the matter with me at school. He had met the teacher, Sarah Suggett, on the street and she had told him how I had become ill.

    "What was the matter with you?" Father asked, and before I thought what I was saying I let it out.

    "I had the inflammatory rheumatism," I said—and a shout went up. It made me sick to hear them, the way they all laughed.

    It brought back all the aching again, and like a fool I began to cry.

    "Well, I have got it—I have, I have," I cried, and I got up from the table and ran upstairs.

    I stayed there until Mother came up. I knew it would be a long time before I heard the last of the inflammatory rheumatism. I was sick all right, but the aching I now had wasn't in my legs or in my back.



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