We've been talking recently about our favorite Christmas stories (we have to, or else it would be too hard to remember that it's Christmastime . . . Khartoum gives no hints). One we thought of Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, in which a female bully threatens to stick a pussywillow down another girl's ear and let it grow into a tree. When pronounced in the character's voice, it's a pretty good threat.
On my way home from school this week, though, I saw a better one being enacted. One of the local boys' schools (the ones where the uniform is camouflage) had just let out, and so lots of these maybe 12-year-old boys were sauntering along the edge of the road. Through the window of the bus, I saw two big boys dangling a littler boy by his arms, holding him above one of those holes in the sidewalk. The holes usually go down about six feet before hitting a stream of raw sewage. Now THAT'S scary.