XP

“Repeat it,” Brian, the seventh-grade DM, says, holding a cigarette lighter directly under my fist. “I can’t play until I’m 14.” “So stop asking.” His grip releases and I shake the pinpricks from my fingertips. “Now hand it over.” I pull a folder crammed with notebook paper from my backpack. Brian yanks out a character …

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Shoes, or What Not To Do When People Call You Names

As the bus doors opened, a tall man planted his feet wide in the threshold and stretched his long arms to the top corners of the jamb. He wore jean shorts and an old concert tee, and he had what looked like a cold sore on his lower lip. Our eyes locked as he leaned out toward me and my …

The Forbidden Room

The rink had just been resurfaced, but adjusting to the extra stickiness of the floor was only Ryan's second problem. His first was a tall bottle-rocket of a girl. Jessica. Seconds before, Ryan had been practicing his backwards dance moves. He was getting better, but he knew the real jam skaters didn't knock so many sixth graders off …