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A Phony Day
By Colleen Messina

1     Shelley stared at the pages of statistics homework through a fringe of overgrown bangs that fell across her face. Her report was due next week, and she hadn't started it yet. She pushed back her sheath of dark hair and wondered what to do next. She had cleaned her room and had even organized her dresser drawers. Neither of these frenzied activities led to a speck of inspiration for her report. Shelley held a high standard for her schoolwork and was concerned about this project.
2     "Shelley, telephone!" her mom called from downstairs. Shelley jumped up, relieved that she had a good reason to ignore math. She almost stumbled over their sleeping ginger cat in the hall. Shelley stepped carefully over Whisker (who lost most of his whiskers in a catfight.) His side rose and fell in fluffy waves, and his fuzzy fur stuck to the rug like orange Velcro. Then Shelley galloped down the hall like a thirsty camel that had seen an oasis.
3     "Got it," Shelley called as she picked up the phone. Gail was on the line. Gail had frizzy, red hair that matched her frazzled personality. Shelley, on the other hand, had a halcyon temperament. Shelley secretly wondered if all those curls affected Gail's brain. Gail bubbled on about boys and then dropped a bomb that changed Shelley's day.
4     "My family gave me some good birthday tidings this morning-I'm getting a cell phone TODAY," she said. Gail's melodious voice was triumphant. The only smooth thing about Gail was her euphonious voice. Shelley felt a whole gamut of emotions about Gail's birthday surprise. She felt jealous because she wanted a cell phone too, but she also felt excited because the entire cell phone situation gave her an idea for her report.
5     "I've got to go! Bye, Gail," Shelley said. She was usually garrulous, but she wanted to start her project right away. She couldn't bear to hear Gail's drivel about cell phone minutiae. She knew it was petty, but she couldn't bear to hear Gail's chatter for one more second.

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