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Sunday, November 15, 2015
"Where were you,
man? What happened to 'tag team'?" Amadeo asked accusingly
when he caught up to Milo in the hallway after lunch.
"Sorry, man, but
you two looked so buddy buddy sitting there reading I figured I'd just be
interrupting. Was it that bad, talking to him?"
"No, not at all,
for what little he said. Speaking of which, where on earth did you hear
that voice you used when you mimicked him? He doesn't sound like that at all!"
Milo blushed and
shrugged. "Just makin' fun, you know?"
Milo. "So anyway, what did you find out? What did he
"Like I said, not
much. He doesn't seem to be the talkative sort. Could just be
sixteen, not six! What kind of..." Milo broke off his line of
thought when he noticed the expression on Amadeo's face. "Ok,
Kemosabe. So what's our next plan of action?"
Amadeo admitted. "I... we... are going to have to take things slow
with him. It's obvious that he's had a really hard time and he doesn't
exactly trust anyone."
"Know what this
reminds me of?" Milo asked animatedly, "The Little
Amadeo was familiar with
the book but was surprised that Milo was.
Milo gave a sheepish
look and said, "I read it to Mikey, sometimes. Anyway, all you have
to do is tame the fox."
"You know, for a
complete dork you're actually a pretty cool cat."
"Don't spread that
around, I have a rep to maintain."
the soft, dangerous voice of the Cobra, otherwise known as Mr. Cobrane, the
Vice Principal, and dreaded DOD. "I believe the bell rang
several minutes ago, and yet, here you are in the hallway, and if I were
to ask you to produce one, I have the feeling that neither of you will be able
to show me a hall pass. Am I correct?" His drawl always became
more pronounced when he was being sarcastic.
"Yes, sir, Mr.
Cobrane. We're sorry, we just lost track of the time and didn't hear the
bell." Amadeo answered politely.
Rossi." Cobrane purred. He turned toward Milo and said, "Mr.
Jablonski, you may go to your next class, I'll see you in detention this
afternoon at three. I believe you're familiar with the room so I
expect you to be on time, understood?" With a nod and a quick
"Yes, sir.", Milo shot Amadeo an apologetic glance and hurried
to his classroom.
Coal black eyes, which
were jarringly at odds with the man's pale skin and blonde hair, and which were
the actual reason he was called The Cobra, slewed back toward Amadeo and
raked him over from head to toe and back again. The man gave Amadeo the
willies. Amadeo was a little above average height for his age at 5'10
3/4" but Cobrane was broadly built, something over 6', always dressed
in dark suits, and somehow managed to be intimidating without even trying.
"I've been hearing
a lot about you this morning, Mr. Rossi, unfortunately none of it good.
Disrespect toward your teachers, inattention in class, a visit to
Mr. Barnes' office, and now in the hallway after warning bell without a
pass. Is there anything you'd like to discuss, Mr. Rossi? Any
problems you're having that would explain this uncharacteristic
Cobrane narrowed his
eyes and fixed Amadeo with a stern glare. "Very well, Mr. Rossi.
Your teachers... most of them... have said that you're not usually a
behavioral problem for them and they're willing to let your actions slide.
Let me remind you, however, that I am not one of your teachers, I won't
take kindly to the phrase 'Climb it, Tarzan.' being aimed at me, nor will
I tolerate the use of vulgar hand gestures. I suggest you follow Mr.
Jablonski to Room 11 this afternoon at three. I don't tolerate
tardiness, Mr. Rossi. Understood?"
Amadeo answered politely. Only now did he understand why birds and
other prey froze under the gaze of the cobra in nature.
"You may go to your
next class, now."
sir." said Amadeo, thawing sufficiently enough to move toward his
The rest of the
afternoon dragged by. Amadeo kept thinking about Angelo and wondering
what class he was in now and where he lived, and how he could go about
'taming' him if he were stuck in detention. He supposed that he
should be grateful that it was only one afternoon and not all week, or all
Three o' clock finally
came around and Amadeo did as he had been instructed and followed Milo to room
11, where Mr. Cobrane sat behind the desk, ramrod straight, shoulders
squared and looking grim.
He started to sit beside
Milo when the Cobra ordered him to sit several seats away, next to the window.
Amadeo sighed and sat down where Cobrane pointed. He
looked out the window in time to see Angelo, eyes riveted to his book,
begin to walk across the street. The boy was brought up short by the
screeching of tires and the loud honking of a horn. The driver's
shouts were muffled by the glass and distance, but Amadeo could imagine what he
Just as he'd done the
day before, Angelo waved to the driver, most likely apologized, and focused his
attentions back on his book before completing his journey across the
Amadeo's jaw clenched.
What on earth was that boy thinking, reading a book while walking instead
of watching where he was going? Did he have some sort of death
Amadeo wondered if it
was too soon to approach Angelo about this habit of his.
"You're not here to
stare out the window, Mr. Rossi. You may take out your books and work on
your homework for the remainder of your detention."
At four thirty Cobrane
gave the boys permission to leave, watching them with his black eyes as they
filed out of the classroom. Amadeo felt the gaze on the back of his
neck. It felt like an icicle. Once
outside, both boys gave great sighs of relief.
"Wow, I thought
he'd keep us there all night!" Milo griped.
"I could have dealt
with that all right, but did he have to stare at us the entire time we were
there? Now I know what a goldfish feels like." Amadeo
That night Amadeo fished
out the family's copy of The Little Prince and read it, pausing over several
'I am looking for
friends. What does that mean -- tame?'
'It is an act too
often neglected,' said the fox. 'It means to establish ties.'
'Just that,' said
the fox. 'To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just
like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you.
And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a
fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need
each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be
unique in all the world....'
A little further on the
'Please-tame me!' he
'I want to, very much,'
the little prince replied. 'But I have not much time. I have friends to
discover, and a great many things to understand.'
'One only understands
the things that one tames,' said the fox. 'Men have no more time to understand
anything. They buy things already made at the shops. But there is no shop
anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If
you want a friend, tame me.'
'What must I do, to tame
you?' asked the little prince.
'You must be very
patient,' replied the fox. 'First you will sit down at a little distance from
me-like that-in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of
my eye,' Amadeo remembered large, distrustful, brown eyes peering at him
from beneath a fringe of bangs. "...and you will say nothing. Words are
the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me,
It was just as he'd done
at lunch time, accepting the book and simply reading with the kid, rather than
continuing to try to talk to him. After all, if Angelo had been a
real fox or other wild animal, he'd hardly have tried to talk to them, would
he? And as insulting as it might be if Amadeo had said as much to Angelo,
the other boy, because of the ill treatment he'd endured, was very much
like the fox.
Amadeo paused over the
'People have forgotten
this truth,' the fox said. 'But you mustn’t forget it. You become
responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.'
He read it over and over
again. Yes, Amadeo decided, he could handle this.
Over the next few days,
Amadeo would join Angelo at his solitary table, pull out a book and begin to
read or use the time to get ahead on his homework. Angelo
would glance up and look at Amadeo from the corner of his eye, as soon as
he was assured the other boy was not planning to talk to him, he would once
again resume reading his own book.
Amadeo wasn't sure, but
he could have sworn that on the fourth day of the 'taming', a Friday, Angelo
had a small smile on his face. However, when Amadeo looked directly
at him, there was no sign of it.
Quotes from: The Little
Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Illustrator: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Cover artist: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock (U.S.) Publication date: September 1943