Two Steps Back One Step Forward

Tonight ladies and gentlemen we look at a simple piece of art made of machinery known as the big push. Its design is that of a small robot walking two steps backwards into a spring and then forced to go forward by the spring and then repeat. It is based on a poor schoolboy who wanted to stay behind in elementary school and not move on but finally got his push forward. This melancholy is called Two Steps Back One Step Forward.

Sam Welts sat in the back of math class. He was twelve years old and in the fourth grade. Many stories told about why he was held back. Some people said it was because he was a bad egg but others claimed he had become so overwhelmed with school in the fourth that he broke down and lost his thinking. Those rumors or stories were false because Sam knew the truth and he only told the truth to those who would be willing to talk to him. Those people were mainly his close friends that he felt he could trust who would not rat him out. You see Sam is an intelligent boy but when he started having fun in the fourth he decided to act dumb towards the second quarter and failed. He used his intelligence to get set back for two years and Sam planned to make it three.

Sam walked down the halls with his book bag and his friends Danny and Christine came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.

"Hey Sam, are you ready for the big test for your classes?" Enquired Christine.

"Yep and I'm sure that this will be a breeze. The whole class, my teachers and my folks believe that all the crap that went on two years ago is still going on because I'm such a good actor." Replied Sam.

"Yeah but I'd be careful because I feel if you keep this up you will finally get found out." Said Danny.

Sam froze and turned around.

"Do you plan on telling them?" Asked Sam with a raised eyebrow.

"No Sam. We're just trying to tell you guys to be careful or you might get in trouble." Replied Christine in an honest voice.

"They'll never catch onto me because I am a genius. No one can out think a genius." Said Sam in a confident voice.

"Okay, good luck with your tests." Said Danny.

Sam turned to his left down a hall leaving Danny and Christine alone.

It was recess and everyone was out playing around. Sam had taken his tests and felt that he was going to for sure score a perfect for failure. He played dodge ball with his class and when Sam got hit and was out he stood off to the side to stay out of the way. He joined Danny and Christine and smiled at them.

"I'm so sure that I'm going to be held back again. Finally I'll be able to take it easy once again." Said Sam letting out a sigh of happiness.

"You know Sam that sooner or later you're going to have to move on. You can't be a kid forever nor can you live in the same grade over and over again. It's just not right." Said Danny.

"So, I like fourth grade. The teachers are nice and the students are awesome. Plus I have time to just do easy stuff. I could do middle school work if I wanted to but I don't have to because I'm the smartest at being dumb." Said Sam putting a smile on his face and chuckling.

There was a blow of whistle through speakers and everyone stopped what they were doing.

"Mr. Welts, would you kindly come to the principal's office at once for a conference that is all." Said a woman's voice.

Sam smiled for the last two times he was held back he had to go to the principal's office and get a conference on his failing. Sam turned and looked at Danny and Christine and winked at them and walked to the door of the school and opened them and closed them and once inside headed to the principal's office. Once he reached the office he knocked on the door.

"Come in." Said a woman's voice.

Sam put on a dumb look and opened the door and walked in. A woman looked at him and put on a sad face. His parents were there too. Today he would be told he would have to be held back a third time and boy was this going to be fun but he had to act like he was sad.

"Come and have a seat Sam." Said the woman.

Sam took a seat and his parents sat down.

"I'm afraid I have some bad news Mr. and Mrs. Welts." Said the woman.

"What is it?" Asked Sam's mom who began to start up tears.

"I'm afraid your son has passed the year and will be moving up to the sixth grade." Said the woman.

Sam froze with his mouth open.

"What did you say?" Enquired Sam in a serious voice.

Sam's mom stopped crying and looked Sam. His dad even looked at him. The thing was all three of them looked at him with disappointed looks.

"Sam, we know that you're not stupid. You're a genius and we know that you faked being stupid." Said the woman.

"I haven't a clue of what you're talking about madam." Replied Sam in a stupid voice.

"Oh stop that would you because it's giving the teachers and everyone else here a headache. You purposely got yourself held back and did because you liked the grade you were in. Well I have news for you Sam and it's called a big step forward and whether you like it or not you're moving on because you're to smart to be pulling this crap." Finished the woman.

Sam looked at his parents and chuckled.

"Guys she's telling nothing but lies." Said Sam in a voice of innocence.

"We're very disappointed in you Sam. We thought that you were better than this." Said Sam's father.

Sam turned and looked at the principal.

"So madam, we're will I be going?" Asked Sam in a voice of defeat.

"You'll be going to Back Break Middle School." Said the principal with a smile on her face.

"What?" Exclaimed Sam.

"Is there a problem?" Enquired the principal putting a smug look on her face.

"That's a military school. The toughest school middle school around. You have to be extremely intelligent and have good strength. How can I qualify for that school?" Finished Sam.

"I made a phone call to the school principal there and he is a good friend of mine. So I told him the story and asked him if you could go and he said he'd be glad to whip you into shape and get that brilliant mind working. He should actually be here any second to take you and your parents for a tour of the school for next year and give you time to learn one on one with the teachers you will have." Finished the principal.

There was a knock at the door and Sam's principal said to come on in. The door swung open and there stood a man dressed in a general's uniform.

"Sam meet your principal for next year. General Will Tormen." Said Sam's principal.

Sam turned and away quick from General Will and looked at his old principal.

"How did you know that I faked the two years?" asked Sam in a quick voice.

"You made an error, which was that you did the same thing again by going a quarter fine and then failing the last three. Have a good time in military school. I'm sure the next time I see you you'll be a changed person and never do that ever again." Finished the principal.

Sam turned and looked at General Will and gulped.

"Come on boy, let's go take a look at your new quarters." Said General Will and he smiled letting out a low chuckle.

The End

*The series Night Gallery is property of Rod Serling.