"And Then..." by Marc Alexander Valle
My 10-year-old self elaborated to my 13-year-old brother, “So before our time there was the Great Depression. And before the Great Depression there was the Old West. And before that there was the American Revolution. And before that were the medieval times. And before that there was Rome. And before that there were dinosaurs. And before that there was the big bang. And what was before that? Well, it must come from a time where there is no time.”
“What?” my brother said.
“It all has to come from something,” I said.
He didn’t hesitate. “Get out of here!”
The moral: Never hassle your 13-year-old brother with philosophical ruminations on the universe. Especially when he’s listening to fart competitions on Howard Stern.
"Ice Cream Party" by Marc Alexander Valle
“Well,” my dad said, “you can’t just say that you don’t want to sing in the Christmas concert, Marc.”
“Why not?” I said.
“They’re not gonna like that. You’re gonna have to tell them that you’re a Jehovah’s Witness.”
“What’s a Jehovah’s Witness?”
“Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas.”
I gave Mrs. Reed that excuse the next day.
“I didn’t know you were Jehovah’s Witness,” she said. “But you pledge to the flag.”
“Yeah, my dad said that we’re not that kind of Jehovah’s Witness.”
“Alright, but there won’t be any ice cream party for you.”
Over the next few weeks, students taunted me:
“Ice cream parties are fun.”
“There’s gonna be music.”
“You don’t like ice cream?”
One week later, the entire class was treated to ice cream. Myself, the actual Jehovah’s Witnesses, and misbehaved students were sent to the cafeteria where we did school work.
“I wish we could be at the party,” Ralph said.
I looked up. “I don’t like ice cream.”
I continued working.