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45 Mrs. Jones felt a sharp gust of uneasiness, but smiled “Well, Mrs. Jones, with all due respect, if everybody nervously. Something about his presence threw her off knows my name, anybody can figure out what my father’s balance. job is, defeating the purpose of the game. It wouldn’t any longer be exciting. I rather offer the opportunity to my The teacher pointed her gaze again at the list, trying to classmate,” he replied. avoid the sharp stare she was being subjected to and asked, “Who do we have here?” Reading his name on the Mrs. Jones understood Brandon might be apprehensive roster, then meeting his eyes, she said, “Would you mind about the others poking fun at his name and the possibility introducing yourself to the class?” of being ridiculed because of it. But she would not allow any bullying, no matter how rich they were. “Ah, you mean “I’m Brandon Walker.” He icily said, and then looked because your name is the same as our president, everyone away. Mrs. Jones quickly peered at her list once more, will think your dad is actually our president, right?” The looking puzzled. The list read “Brandon Wagner,” not class giggled but she quickly wrinkled her forehead and “Walker.” “Hello Brandon, and welcome! Excuse me, raised her index finger, signaling disapproval. Her angry but did you say your name was Brandon Walker?” “Yes reaction exterminated everyone’s laugh in a flash. madam, that’s correct,” he promptly replied. “Oh, my goodness,” she responded, sounding embarrassed. “I have Moving her eyes away from Brandon, she faced the others on my list ‘Brandon Wagner.’ I guess we misprinted your and asked, “What do we say about bullying?” “Bullying surname!” she added as her cheeks slightly turned pink. is never okay,” the pupils replied in chorus. Brandon remained motionless and quiet. There was a serious Brandon did not respond to her comment. expression on his face. “Okay, Brandon, just because you have our president’s name doesn’t mean you have to be Trying to save face as quickly as possible, she went on related. Many people are named after famous personalities, pretending nothing had happened. “So it’s Brandon but that’s just a delightful title to have. You can still tell us Walker, just like our president. What a glorious name about your father’s daily routine, and we can continue the to have!” she said. There was again no response from game and guess his job, right?” She added. Brandon. He stood there as if waiting for the next question. “But Mrs. Jones, my father is The President.” Mrs. Jones felt awkward with the silence and worried that Mrs. Jones smiled awkwardly and let a single “oh…” she might have suggested something that made him feel escape her lips. As far as she knew, Mr. Brandon D. uncomfortable. She had been warned to be extremely Walker, The President of the Republic, did not have any careful with her language in class and her actions towards children. Did he? She was sure. Am I sure? She wished these rich kids in order to avoid possible legal action she had her phone with her to quickly google it, but there against the school from their powerful parents. She were no phones allowed in the classroom, including hers. was aware she was tiptoeing on thin ice with this boy. She regretted her own rule, a rule she had implemented Eventually, as she was about to speak again, Brandon at the beginning of the class. All mobiles were muted and swiftly proceeded, “Well, I guess, I will sit down and let locked in her desk drawer. But regardless of the small the next person keep the exercise going” cloud of doubt hanging over her head, she followed her gut, believing that this kid was playing mind tricks on Mrs. Jones was baffled by his reply. her. He thinks he can make a fool of me? Let’s see who the boss is here…, she thought. “What do you mean? We wouldn’t want to skip your turn! We are all eager to know about you, and find out about She had to navigate her words with care, as she had been your father’s daily routine; right kids?” No one said a taught. The slightest slip of her tongue could cause the word. Sensing the standoff between the two of them, all end of her dream job. A job everyone wanted, but few the students opted to remain neutral and quiet, turning would get. the atmosphere in the classroom unexpectedly dense. F “Oh, great!” she stated. She glanced right and left, ebruar Feeling a wave of uneasiness taking aim at her chest, Mrs. checking on everyone’s expression, looking for clues on Jones tried to steer the boat into safe waters and hesitantly their faces, but they all appeared as confused as her. No, articulated, “Is everything okay, Brandon? Shall we they know nothing, so this kid is making things up. He’s just y 20 continue?” The boy met her eyes, then glanced down to playing with me, she thought. “Great, great, so your father his feet. He tucked both of his hands in his uniform short is the president. Perhaps you mean he is like a CEO?” she 2 pants and shrugged. added. “Every company has a president, and this person 2 202202.indd 45202202.indd 45 2022-01-24  1:25:362022-01-24  1:25:36

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