Literature by Robert Bucheron
Issue 26 • April 2015 • Charlottesville

Write your full name at the top of the page, today’s date, and your geophysical coordinates. Do not scribble in the margin or make any other marks which can and will be misinterpreted. Use scratch paper, which is the same thing as scrap paper, if you absolutely must. Answer as many questions as possible. If you don’t know the answer, do not make a wild guess. Guessing will not improve your score. It will only make you feel miserable.

Part 1, True or False

1. Jeremy Stallings is the hottest boy in your class.

2. Jeremy Stallings could ask any girl for a date, and she would immediately say yes without checking the calendar on her mobile device to see if she was already scheduled, even Cheryl Nothweiler, who is about as stuck-up as they come and probably gets money from her father, who is divorced and lives in Arizona.

3. Jeremy Stallings can make a layup four tries out of five.

4. If he wanted to, Jeremy Stallings could play professional basketball right now, but he knows the value of an education. He wants to finish school first by going to a state college on a full athletic scholarship. He is committed to excellence. Anyway, that’s what he said to Mrs. Johnson in front of everyone in social studies.

5. Cheryl Nothweiler will never understand Jeremy as well as you do because she lacks empathy, which is the ability to inhabit another person’s skin, and if he does ask her for a date, it will be a momentary lapse in judgment.

Part 2, Fill In the Blank

1. If you had only one wish in the world, it would be to go on a date with ______________.

2. The gym bleachers are a good place to hang out between classes and study, way better than the student lounge or the media center, formerly known as the library, because boys sometimes shoot baskets there to kill time, and _____________ might show up.

3. Jeremy Stallings’s best friend is that skinny boy with the awesome shoes who can outrun anybody, maybe including Jeremy, and whose name is ______________.

4. Once you accidentally got within five feet of Jeremy, and you were petrified with fear that you might have to say something, but fortunately he was looking in another direction, and when you were finally able to move a muscle and you looked in that direction too, who should be lurking there but ______________.

5. Jeremy Stallings doesn’t know you exist because ______________.

Part 3, Multiple Choice

1. The Stallings family is like local royalty because:
a) They own a Ford dealership.
b) Mrs. Stallings was supposedly a dancer before she got married, although what kind of dancer is up in the air, but she’s got fabulous legs, according to what your father heard at the lodge.
c) Jeremy’s older brother Kenneth was in the army, and he went to Afghanistan, but he came back in one piece, and now he works at the Ford dealership, and he’s one of their top producers.
d) Mr. Stallings is descended from the British peerage.

2. After basketball, Jeremy’s favorite leisure activity is:
a) Swimming laps.
b) Playing video games.
c) Reading nineteenth-century Russian novels that have about a hundred characters with names nobody can pronounce, but they are fiercely true to life and filled with the ache of longing.
d) Helping his little sister Maggie with her homework.

3. Jeremy once got in trouble because he:
a) Forgot to do his weekly chores. It was the week of the semifinals and the team had practice almost every day, and he was hardly even home except to sleep.
b) Borrowed ten dollars from his mother’s wallet and forgot to tell her.
c) Stayed up late at night reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
d) Lied to protect his best friend, the boy who runs so fast.

4. Cheryl Nothweiler, who admittedly is a bright student and can probably do whatever she wants to in the future, in addition to being very attractive, has one tragic flaw which is:
a) She looks down on anybody who isn’t bright and attractive.
b) She comes from a single-parent household, which isn’t her fault, but she only sees her father who lives in Arizona about once every six months, and he tries to make it up to her by showering her with jewelry which is not really appropriate for a girl her age, let alone this cinderblock wasteland called a school, and it’s pathetic to watch.
c) She runs around with a fast crowd.
d) She does not value Jeremy at his true worth.

5. Mike, that’s Jeremy’s best friend, or maybe his name is Miguel but he goes by Mike, has spoken to you a few times, maybe out of pity, but he was very sweet and considerate, and he runs cross country in addition to playing basketball, which means he is both a team player and a highly motivated self-starter. You could never ask Mike to put in a good word for you with Jeremy because:
a) He would never stoop to such a deed.
b) Jeremy would laugh out loud.
c) You would die of shame if anyone got wind of it, which they certainly would even if you swore Mike to secrecy, because naturally Jeremy would tell the entire student body about this deaf-mute who can’t open her mouth from stage fright when they’re not even on stage.
d) You might be developing a crush on Mike, which means you are being disloyal to Jeremy, which makes you a despicable person and incapable of forging a meaningful relationship with anybody. So you might as well admit it, crumple this quiz into a little ball, cram it between your pale palsied lips, and chew on it until your teeth hurt.

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