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Entry 27 Girls Asking Questions

I was glad that Monday morning I got to ride with Stasch to school. Tomorrow, Aunt Aliza would take him to school and I would ride all alone. I did not want to think about that. I helped him lock up his bike and escorted him back to the little kids' side. Then I headed in to Honors English where we learned about outlining papers. My head was spinning with boredom by the time I made it out in to the hall.

I nearly forgot to tell Koli about the rabbi.

"What do I want with a Jewish rabbi?" she asked and rightfully so, since Koli like most people is not Jewish.

"He says real poetic prayers," I replied, "the kind that uplift you with beauty."

"What if he tries to convert me?"

"Tell him to fuck off and say I sent you."

"That sounds great," sighed Joshua.

"Look," I explain. "The rabbi went to Cornell before he went to seminary."

"Big deal," answered Joshua. "My dad went to Yale."

"That's better than the pastor," answered Koli. "He got a scholarship to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and turned it DOWN! Where's the rabbi's synagogue."

"He doesn't have one..." we were just about at the auditorium and it was time for biology where we started covering the parts of the cell and where we sat huddled together to block out sensory input from the idiot contingent who didn't know a halfway interesting subject when they had it.

After biology we headed toward social studies. I told Koli where the rabbi worked.

"He's an unemployed rabbi?" she asked.

"No," I answered. "He works as a security guard. You've probably seen him on the days you take YGTA back to Myrtle Hollow."

Koli pressed her lips together and turned to Atalaya. "Let me know if that teacher you've got gives you any grief. I swear that social studies teachers are the worst."

Social studies teachers weren't the worst. It was just that Atalaya had stepped out of bounds with those crazy answers on a quiz. The teacher handed back the quizzes face down. Atalay nonchalantly flipped hers over. She had A with lots of comments. I had an A too, but without all the comments. Clipped to Atalaya's quiz was a cream colored index card and a smaller piece of paper.

The second piece of paper was a library pass. The teacher had fought Atalaya to a truce and given her an extra reading. I wished I had an extra reading too. I thought about asking for one. I mean, I did like economics now that I could do it with the numbers. We got to go to the board twice as we figured supply and demand curves.

"What if either of those curves bends like a parabola?" Atalaya asked.

"You mean you don't know calculus," the teacher toyed wtih Atalaya.

"Is that what you use to figure the slope?" I asked and then I realized I'd forgotten to raise my hand. I hoped I wouldn't get in trouble. There's a place over the line where you don't just walk, you soar. I was t here but like that guy in the Greek myth who flew too close to the sun, you know what happens next.

"You don't know calculus either?" the teacher taunted me.

"Do you?" I felt like asking but I bit my tongue. I felt my face go red and he had his revenge. He moved along with the lesson.

"I'm going to ask our math teacher about those curves," I told Atalaya as we headed toward geometry. Math teachers after all had calculus. First though it was board time and Lenny, Atalaya and I were in a dead heat at our own private proofing bee. You can't really have a proof bee for geometry because unlike spelling or French grammar, there is more than one way to solve many problems. I thought about that as I approached the teacher's desk.

He was packing up his papers and anxious to get his own lunch. He too had a short lunch period. I thought about living in an old Jewish world where everyone said long prayers about young lions that go hungry after meals. "I have an economics question," I managed to tell him.

"I don't know much about economics," he answered.

"It's really more math than econ," I said and I showed him the curved lines. "How do you take the slopes of the curves?"

"You need calculus," he said dismissively.

"Yes, but is there a way you can explain it to a ninth grader?"

"Yeah..." he sighed. "You know that slope is rise over run. Well a derivative which is something take with calculus is the slope at any given point. It is change in Y, the vertical over change in X, the horizontal."

"A derivative is a bunch of little slopes," I said.

"Yes," answered the math teacher.

I felt my face burn with anger. The economics teacher had just been trying to make things hard for us. Wait until I told Atalaya! Of course Atalaya was off at the library getting her extra reading. Still, I had my secret, but what fun are some secrets unless you tell.

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