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October 31st, 2009

Vendor’s Night: A Horror Story

In Fall 1993, 4th grade, the school district gave us an ultimatum: Sign up for the instrumental music program immediately, or lose your chance forever. (Maybe it wasn’t like that, I don’t remember.) In order to help us decide, all of the purveyors of cruddy, banged up instruments from around town set up booths in the auditorium one evening for an event called “Vendor’s Night.” Each child interested in participating in the instrumental music program was encouraged to attend and pick out the instrument they would be playing for the remainder of their school days. This is an important decision, one that could make or break your social status (or your arms, if you selected the tuba over the flute, for instance), and should never be taken lightly.

However, in the age-old battle between Academia and the Arts, our teacher, Mrs. Jennings, had assigned us a “Scary Story”, to be written the night of Vendor’s Night, and turned in the next morning. How could we possibly concentrate on selecting an instrument when we had to focus our efforts on writing (and illustrating!) an 8-line story that was meant to scare our classmates?

Somehow, I managed to choose a cornet AND write and illustrate a story that earned me a “√+” and all was right with the world. But, it seems that my colleague, Matthew Mark, did not have such an easy time. When Mrs. Jennings push-pinned the stories to the corkboard, I noticed his hastily-crayoned picture and went to read the story. It read as follows:

“Once upon a time, there was a boy who had to go to Vendor’s Night to pick out a violin and so he didn’t have time to finish his homework. The end.”

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