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“Who can name the central conflict of the story?” asks Ms. Celotte. “Anyone? No? Jennifer?”

Jennifer Goggles pulls a string on her robot without looking up. “MAN VERSUS MAN,” it wheezes.

“Jennifer,” the teacher warns.

“Isn’t that the right answer?” Jennifer frowns, popping the robot’s back hatch. “I was careful with the soldering–”

“That’s not the point!”

“SYLLEPSIS,” says the robot.

“No offense, Ma’am,” says Jennifer, “but I’m only here because they wouldn’t let me register for four periods of metal shop.” Classmates mutter.

“A balanced education requires–”


Ms. Celotte fumes.

“See,” beams Jennifer, “I knew he was working.”