“Who would like to share out next?” Mr. Rivera scanned the room and called on a boy in the second row. He read from his notebook.

 “My name’s Joey. I have a pet python named Slippery, a bulldog named Cupcake, and I went to Portugal for three weeks this summer. I don’t have any brothers or sisters, but my mom’s a doctor. Oh, and I like baseball.”

“Thanks so much, Joey,” Mr. Rivera said before attempting to repeat the process with another student.

“Oh wait,” Joey exclaimed, shooting up out of his chair, clutching his notebook – a panicked expression etched on his face. “Mr. R – I’ve got a bunch more to read.”

Mr. Rivera smiled and gave him the proverbial green light. He was eleven minutes into the new school year and he was already picking battles. Good grief.

After class, the teacher wiped his brow and went around the corner to the psychologist’s office. He tapped on her door with a single knuckle and said, “Hey!”

Ms. Velasquez waved him in. “What’s up, Rivera? Surviving day one?”

“Barely.” He cracked a grin. “Quick question for you about one of my kids in first period.”

“Is it Joey?” Ms. Velasquez asked.

“It is. So…what do I…what can I – is his mom really a doctor?”

Ms. Velasquez almost spat out her coffee. “No. The first thing you need to know about Joey is that he lies about everything.”

“Oh. Well that’s great.”

“Did he tell you about the python?”


“He doesn’t have one.” Ms. Velasquez repositioned her glasses.

“The bulldog?”

“Cupcake? Completely fabricated.”

“I take it he didn’t go to Portugal for three weeks this summer?”

“Sadly, no.”

Mr. Rivera frowned. “So…the kid doesn’t even like baseball?”

Ms. Velasquez let out a sigh and said, “Beats me.”

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