Benny wanted to name the pig Pizza, which is a stupid name for a pig. Anyway, I had already decided to name it Penelope, like the movie where the pretty rich girl is cursed with a pig snout, and she thinks no one could ever love her but someone maybe does and it turns out that it doesn’t matter anyway because she learns to love herself or something. I liked her stripy tights and cool room with the swing in the middle, so I wanted to name the pig Penelope, but at breakfast, Mom said that maybe I should let Benny be in charge during Science since he wasn’t doing so good in Math and English and was still upset that I beat his best time running laps around the neighborhood during Phys. Ed. I said okay and went back to reading Tom Sawyer and eating Fruit Loops.
When we had our five minute break between History and Science, I let Benny get the lab coats and latex gloves from the hall closet while I put away our half-finished macaroni diorama of the Battle of Gettysburg. Mom—Mrs. Smith-Wilkins—took the pig out of the vegetable crisper and laid it out on our largest cutting board. Benny snapped his gloves like a movie villain and said he wanted to name the pig Pizza. I was trying to be nicer to Benny, trying to let him take charge like Mrs. Smith-Wilkins—Mom—had asked, so I put on my listening face and asked why he wanted to call the pig Pizza. And Benny, already holding the scalpel we were supposed to share, said because in a few minutes it would be in peet-zah-iz, buzzing out the zzz like an electric knife, and laughing laughing laughing as he cut into the baby pink belly of the little pig. The pig’s skin zipped away from Benny’s knife like the petals of a flower on a nature show, sped up to bloom and die in a few seconds, and I thought of what Mom—Mrs. Smith-Wilkins—said before we started. It was probably best not to name something we were going to dissect.
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