Jason Lawrence Bell
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03-09-19 Elsie Duck


‘Please tell us a story, please, please,’ begged the young girls to their teacher. Mrs. Borges taught first grade at Park Elementary School and was considered one of the best teachers Park School had to offer. She responded, ‘okay a story it is. Everyone take your positions on the carpet and I will start a story.’ The class of all girls scurried to their places and sat eagerly waiting for Mrs. Borges to begin. Just as she was ready to speak the first words, she heard a knock on the classroom door. It was a soft knock that was barely heard, but Mrs. Borges stood up and opened the door.

There stood a little girl about 6 years old with big eyes and a shy smile and with a note in her hand. The note read, ‘this is Elsie and she will be joining your class for a few weeks until her permanent placement is found.’ Mrs. Borges thought this strange, she had never been assigned a temporary student. She smiled at Elsie and welcomed her to the room. She told Elsie that they were about to have story time and asked her to find a place on the carpet and sit down with the others. Elsie looked around the room and offered up ‘I have a story, a really good story.’ Everyone looked surprised and Mrs. Borges asked the class ‘would you like to hear Elsie’s story’ Everyone nodded their heads, yes. So, Elsie walked to the chair in the front and sat down.

‘My daddy is Donald Duck and he is an actor who plays in cartoons. Have you seen Donald Duck?’ The students became excited and all said yes. Mrs. Borges didn’t know what to think, Donald Duck? She decided to let Elsie continue. ‘I don’t look like my daddy because I was adopted. My daddy is really funny. He does funny things all the time. Every day he tells me a new joke. Do you want to hear today’s joke?’ The class yelled yes. Elsie offered up ‘how does the Duck get to the other side of the road?’ The class thought and thought but no answer. ‘He calls an Uber’ blurted Elsie. The class went wild with laughter. It was like the funniest thing they ever heard and rolled on the carpet. Mrs. Borges was taken back. Was that really that funny? Funny to first graders she guessed. Elsie seemed finished and walked to a place on the carpet and sat down. Instantly, she became popular with the other girls.

The next day when story time came the class begged Mrs. Borges to let Elsie tell her new story. Seeing no harm Elsie was allowed the chair in the front. Elsie began, ‘my mommy is Darleen Duck. She is so nice. She makes all my clothes and cooks my favorite food and is the best mother in the world. Sometimes I think her eyes don’t see too good. She may need glasses. But every day we laugh at daddy’s joke. Do you want to hear today’s joke?’ The room yelled approval. ‘Okay, how many ducks does it take to screw in a light bulb?’ The class guessed, but none of them were correct. Elsie proudly stated, ‘it takes no ducks, they call Uber’. The classmates laughed and rolled on the carpet. They thought it was hilarious. Mrs. Borges rolled her eyes. She would never understand first grade humor. Elsie was finished and sat down with other girls as their hero.

So, the next day Mrs. Borges expected Elsie to have a story and she did. Elsie sat in the chair and started. ‘I have an uncle his name is Daffy Duck. Have you seen him on TV?’ The class excitedly yelled ‘Oh, Yes.’ ‘My uncle Daffy is sometimes a goofy funny guy, and sometimes he’s not very nice. My daddy and mommy let him babysit me sometimes. I think my mommy needs glasses. Do you want to hear today’s joke?’ And the class beamed with anticipation. Elsie stated, ‘how does a duck fly?’ The classes offered answers but none were correct. Elsie shouted, ‘they call Uber to take them to the airport’. The class was out of control with laughter. Mrs. Borges started laughing at the silliness of the jokes. Elsie’s stories were becoming a routine.

The next day at story time Elsie was expected to take the chair. Elsie asked ‘can I tell the story from here’? Elsie was sitting with a couple girls on the carpet. Mrs. Borges again saw no harm and agreed. Elsie was holding the hands of the two little girls as she started her story. ‘Remember I have an Uncle Daffy, well last night Uncle Daffy was babysitting me. I told my mommy and daddy I didn’t want to be babysat, but they had a party to go to. I think my mommy needs glasses. My Uncle Daffy is sometimes nice and gives me ice cream. Sometimes he is not nice. Sometimes he touches me, sometimes he hurts me.’ Mrs. Borges became alert and noticed the two little girls were sobbing as they held Else’s hand.

Mrs. Borges took the two girls to side of the room and spoke softly to them. She stood up and directed the class back to their desks and told them to sit quietly until she returned. She gently took the two girls by their hands and walked them out of the room. After what seemed like a very long time Mrs. Borges returned to the room.

She looked around and asked ‘where’s Elsie?’ Everyone looked around and Elsie was gone. Mrs. Borges didn’t want to leave the room again and used the phone to contact the office. The class could hear Mrs. Borges’s side of the conversation. ‘Now I have a student missing. The new girl, Elsie Duck. . . No Elsie Duck. She was the temporary student you sent me a few days ago. . . . What do you mean no Elsie Duck, no temporary students. . .? You are certain, no Elsie Duck?’ Mrs. Borges had to sit down. Then a student asked, ‘what about the joke of the day.’ Peace***