Small Town Politics (For Kids) / by Rita Twan

Ms. Alice was just trying to teach us a lesson, is what we told the police when they asked us. It was two days before the class election and Ms. Alice said we should conduct a poll of who people were going to vote for. So everyone ripped a scrap of paper from our notebooks and we passed up our folded votes.

DeMarcio, Dana, and L.J. were the choices. DeMarcio makes fun of my “fat chinky” brother so I sure as hell wasn’t voting for him. I cried and told the principal because my brother isn’t that fat, he’s trying really hard and it’s tough because my mom keeps giving him really big lunches. The principal told me it wasn’t okay to cry all the time and that what was I going to do when I got to middle school because the teachers there don’t let us act like babies.

I wanted to vote for Dana because she’s Black and there aren’t any other Black kids in our grade and I know what that is like because I’m the only Asian girl, but Dana told everyone she hates Chinese people and I asked her why and she said I definitely didn’t hear right because she said Chinese food, she hates Chinese food not people.

One time L.J. said that the reason everyone likes the cream part of the Oreos is because white is better than black and then Dana got really red and I started to cry and then Mr. Suarez told me to sit outside in the hallway by myself because I was interrupting Spanish class and I told him I’d stop crying and he said to say it in Spanish because “no English in this class and no ching chong either” and so I wasn’t going to vote for L.J. either.

I was really only trying to be funny because sometimes I want to say something but I can’t because I don’t really have friends and my voice is quiet and I don’t really speak out loud in classes. So I thought, haha wouldn’t it be funny if I did a write-in and so I wrote “SpongeBob Squarepants” really fast and handed that up.

Ms. Alice tallied up our votes on the board and I could tell when she got to mine because her face pinched up all small probably because that is not how she expected her lesson to go and she said, “Who wrote SpongeBob Squarepants. That’s not funny this is not a joke.” Except it was funny and everyone laughed and I laughed too even though you’re not supposed to laugh at your own jokes.

So then the next day everyone is talking about it in the hallway and I’m excited because my brother always says I’m funny, but my parents say my English is too fast for them to understand so usually I think maybe I’m not funny because one out of three is not a very good review. I wrote in my journal that it was a very, very good day because I learned that I am funny. But then it’s the election and SpongeBob Squarepants gets 40 of the 62 votes and it turns out that is actually very bad because then we didn’t have a student president. The student president is in charge of planning our Spring Fling dance, which is a big deal for our grade because it means we are done with elementary school and are big kids now and can go to middle school.

We are supposed to vote for a king and queen just like high schoolers on TV do but our teachers said “You lost your right to voting and to dancing.” This was okay for me because I am not very good at dancing and also I guess not very good at voting, but it was not okay for DeMarcio who got very very mad because he wanted to be king and he starts walking around the room and breaking things and Ms. Alice tells him to sit down or she will give him detention. DeMarcio tells her he’ll do what he wants and that his dad pays her salary and can shoot her in the brains, and then he turns over the hamster’s cage and then the hamster starts going very fast all over the room.

The other kids are frozen and Ms. Alice is too because we are scared to step on the hamster but Ryan stands up and takes his shirt off and starts screaming, “NOOOOO NOT MR. TWINKLE” and he runs into the hallway and starts smashing his head into the lockers. Ms. Alice can’t run well because she is old so she goes to the principal and he says that special kids like that should be forced to take medicine and he calls Ryan’s grandma to pick him up but Ryan’s still running and then he smashes into DeMarcio’s locker but this time he falls on the ground and there’s blood everywhere and Ryan is screaming on the floor and I am crying.

DeMarcio runs into the hallway with a fist of broken crayons and hamster bedding and he sees the blood on his locker and Ryan on the ground and he gets mad and he starts kicking Kyle and then more kids come out from the other classrooms to see what’s going on in the hallway and then DeMarcio slaps another kid on the arm and says “RYAN COOTIES” because everyone plays that game and everyone starts to hit everyone because no one wants Ryan’s cooties and they’re screaming and the ambulance comes but we’re all in the hallway and they can’t get through and Ryan is bawling and asking for his grandma.

The next day DeMarcio’s dad comes in with his badge and he puts Ms. Alice in handcuffs and he sits with us and so does the principal and they tell us Ms. Alice was a sick woman who took away our constitutional right to vote and she would never hurt us again and that teachers forget that our good American tax dollars pay their salaries. I start to cry and mumble “I..was just… be…funny” in between gasps but the principal makes me sit outside by myself. I am interrupting the class.




Rita Twan is borrowing lots of money from the government so she can fix your teeth one day.