Wrigley pulled her spelling folder out and plopped it on her desk.
She looked up as Mrs. Harris spoke. “Yesterday I had a special word on the board. Who noticed it?”
Bouncing up and down, Wrigley raised her hand. “It's onomatopoeia, o-n-o-m--”
Mrs. Harris held up her hand to stop Wrigley. “First, Wrigley, you need to wait until I call on you.”
Wrigley felt her face growing hot. “I'm sorry.”
Mrs. Harris smiled and nodded her head. “Now I’m glad you can spell it, but today I thought we'd try something different. How many know what this word means?”
Wiggling in her chair, Wrigley dipped her head and hunched her shoulders. She managed to peek out of the corner of her eye and saw a few hands raised.
Shaking her head so that her braids slapped her in her face, Wrigley mumbled, “No fair, it’s spelling class, not definition class.”
Mrs. Harris didn't answer her; instead she walked to the front of the room, and continued her speech. “If you can't use a word in a sentence, then what good is it to know how to spell it?”
Afraid that Mrs. Harris might reprimand her, Wrigley kept her thoughts to herself. I’d get a 100 on my spelling test.
Mrs. Harris continued. “Instead of a spelling bee, we'll have an onomatopoeia bee. Everyone will demonstrate that they know the definition by giving an example. If you're wrong, then you're out. Everyone line up.”
Dropping her pen, Wrigley kicked it across the room. By the time she retrieved it, she scooted into a spot near the end of the line. Her stomach rumbled, so she clicked her pen, in—out,click—click—click.
Mrs. Harris pointed to Katie. “You're up first, Katie.”
Smiling, Mrs. Harris nodded her head. “Very good. Next?”
Wrigley attempted to make some sense of it all. Maybe it’s a disease.
She clicked her pen again, and almost missed hearing Billy say, “Achoo rhymes with flu?”
Mrs. Harris’ lips turned down and Billy shuffled back to his seat while the class snickered.
Wrigley’s mind whirled. She didn't think she could handle it if her nemesis, Lynn, knew the answer and she didn’t. Nemesis had been a spelling word awhile back, and Wrigley joked that Lynn’s picture would be in the dictionary next to it. Why didn't I look up onomatopoeia? Deep down, she knew it was because she wanted to learn to spell it before Lynn did. She clicked the pen a few more times.
The next kids answered correctly with the words, "crackle, pop and snap."
Cereal slogans? No, that can't be right; achoo doesn’t fit. Wrigley watched as each student made an attempt.
Before Lynn responded, she glared at Wrigley. “Flutter.” When Mrs. Harris turned her back, Lynn made a face at Wrigley.
Wrigley bit her tongue to prevent it from escaping from her mouth. With the way her day was going, Mrs. Harris would turn around and catch her. She clenched her fist around the pen, her knuckles turning white as she clicked it in rapid succession.
It appeared that onomatopoeia wasn't a vegetable, alliteration, or a simile when the kids who answered, "zucchini; glittery gold; and a nose like an elephant" were sent to their seats. Mrs. Harris looked at Wrigley. How did it get to be my turn so fast? Think, think!
As she bit her bottom lip, Wrigley noticed her thumb felt numb from clicking her pen so much. “Hum…”
A smile spread over Mrs. Harris’ face. “Great one, Wrigley.”
Wrigley started to open her mouth to protest, but a loud snort from Lynn quickly changed her mind. She clamped her lips shut.
The next round flew by, eliminating several more kids, but a few answers like slash, murmur, and whizz received an approving smile from Mrs. Harris.
When it was Lynn’s turn, this time she made a full spin and squared her shoulders with Wrigley. “Tsk, tsk.”
Wrigley’s eyes darted to Mrs. Harris’ face. She clicked her pen again when she saw the teacher nod.
Too soon it was Wrigley’s turn. She felt her head spin and her stomach churn. She would have to admit defeat. Lynn would probably gloat about it forever; Wrigley clicked her pen as she concentrated on the common thread between the correct words. Suddenly, it all clicked inside Wrigley's brain. She pulled her shoulders back and said, “Click!”
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