I don't own any of these characters and make no profit from this.


The Death of Tom Sawyer

A crash in the kitchen scared Aunt Polly, so bad she dropped the newspaper she had been reading and made her cry out.

"Thomas is that you?" Heading toward the kitchen, she beheld a shattered cookie jar and a fleeting image of Tom Sawyer running out the back door. A large gray cat yowled as it was stepped on in his haste to escape.

Aunt Polly groaned. Would that boy never learn? After cleaning up the shattered mess, she returned to read the much handled newspaper. Bending down to retrieve it an ad caught her eye. "Does you child pay attention to you? Do they run around all the time? Are your child's marks in school low? Then your child might have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder!"

Tom hardly ever pays attention to what I say and I can hardly get Tom to go to school, thought Aunt Polly, and I just last week had to tell him three times in the same day to take out the garbage.

Aunt Polly continued reading the ad. "Doctors have a new miracle cure all for this devastating disease! RITALIN! Ritalin will calm your child and help them focus on important matters!" There was even an illustration below the text showing on the left side(labeled Before), a boy and a girl were throwing tantrums and ripping out their hair and on the right side(labeled After), the immaculately groomed children were presenting their parents with test papers with A's on them.

Aunt Polly studied the picture carefully. In her mind, she could see Tom throwing a fit on the floor and afterward presenting her with a paper with the best marks in school. She fairly flew to her writing desk to order some of the miracle medication.

It took only a week for the medicine to arrive. Aunt Polly read the instructions carefully. "For best results, give one in the morning every day of the week." She had no trouble getting the small white tablet into Tom. She told him they were vitamins and would help him think better. Tom thought nothing of it, after all wasn't Aunt Polly always trying the newest and best medicines?

Tom felt funny that day. He thought about skipping classes in the afternoon after recesses, but couldn't quite bring himself to do it. He learned more of his lessons that day than he normally did. A vague sense of unease settled over Tom. Usually, he hardly paid attention in class, but today he couldn't seem to stop himself from staring at the chalkboard and focusing on what the teacher said.

This went on for about a week before the unease changed to disbelief. It happened on a Thursday afternoon when the teacher handed out the results of a test taken the previous day. Not once this week had Tom skipped school to go fishing or find a buried pirate treasure or invent adventures with his best friend Huckleberry Finn. Tom looked at the paper and couldn't believe his eyes. He'd scored a 98% on the test. Normally he didn't care what his test score was, but having this high grade was unlike him. It was like he'd grown a third arm.

Then he thought about Aunt Polly. She'd be really happy that he had this high score, a score that competed with what Sid got. Maybe he'd get a reward! Tom thoughts stopped suddenly, why wasn't he more excited? He should have been jumping off the walls with happiness. He wanted to jump off the walls with excitement, but instead he felt sluggish and highly focused. Tom know something was wrong with him, but he didn't know what.

Putting the test paper carefully in his book, he decided to think about what was wrong with him later.

Things might have continued this way for a very long time except the state had announced that the school with the highest test scores would be getting a very large sum of money. The day Teacher heard this his eyes lit up and a vision of a large school with orderly pupils, neatly in their rows being taught by him came into his mind.

The first person he went to see was Aunt Polly. He begged her to tell him the secret to Thomas Sawyer's redemption. He had watched Tom over the last two months change from a truant wander into one of the best pupils with the highest scores in the school. When he praised Tom so and asked Aunt Polly how this had happened, she was only too willing to tell him.

The next place Teacher went was to the Mayor. He told the Mayor all about the large reward for the highest test scores. The Mayor immediately saw the potential. Rich families would move to his town to have their children attend the best schools. More rich families meant more income for the town. Together, they encouraged all the parents of the town to buy the miracle drug. By the end of two weeks overall test scores had improved dramatically.

Teacher was feeling very pleased with himself until he saw one of the girls looking out the window. She was watching a butterfly land on a flower. He scowled. There were thousands of butterflies and hundreds of flowers, she could watch them later. Snapping his fingers, he drew her attention back to the blackboard. The incident got him to thinking, however, and he began to observe his student's behavior. Sure enough, every once in a while one of them would look out the window. This was a problem. Time spent looking out windows was time that could be spent learning. Teacher solved this problem by hiring some men to board up the lower half of the windows one weekend. He had them leave the tops of the windows unblocked to let in light by which the children could study by.

This also set him to thinking about other time wasting activities that could be better spent studying. The first to come to his mind was recess. Doing away with recess would allow another thirty minutes of study time. At first a few of the students were fidgety, these were the students whose parents didn't believe in giving their kids drugs. Teacher solved this problem by buying a supply of Ritalin himself and distributing it every morning.

By the end of the semester, all of the students had near perfect marks. The school won the large sum of money from the state. Teacher was congratulated, the mayor was pleased, the state and parents were proud. In the back of the classroom Thomas Sawyer focused on his studies and never wondered what it would be like to go fishing and find buried pirate's treasure.