I tore down the hill, Dennis and his cronies close behind. “Come back String-bean!â€? someone called. “Yeah! That ain’t good manner-isms!â€? someone else yelled. My heart pounded in my head, my feet flying. I decided to take the short-cut through the public park’s ball field. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Stan, one of the tough guys, on my left, and a gangly kid on my right. They were trying to cut me off! I skidded to a stop to turn, but too late. I was surrounded.
Stan pinned my arms behind my back, turning me to face Dennis. In his taunting voice, he said, “Now that’s something you don’t do, String-bean. When someone superior to you addresses you, you curtsy to them. Not nod your head, or bow, but curtsy.â€? I was mortified. Curtsy?
“That’s right String-bean,â€? Stan hissed in my ear. “When you’re a string-bean like you, you curtsy. Here, I’ll help you.â€? He walked me over to a mud puddle, and shoved me in. I attempted to sit up, but someone held me down.

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