Tape-Measure got his knick-name when he was very little, about eight or nine. When he was that age he put a vinyl case on his belt and instead of a cell-phone, which he didn’t have, he carried a tape-measure.
He said he could see the invisible
man. No one believed a word he said.
“I can tell you exactly what is
going to happen,” he said.
“Shut up Tape-Measure,” said
Clarence. Clarence was an older boy who
said he was going to bust a light-bulb the next time there was a fire-drill.
“You bust that light bulb and you
are going to get into trouble.”
“Shut up Tape-Measure,” Clarence
said. “You don’t know nothing.”
At the next fire drill, amid the
noise and the students getting into their lines, Clarence broke the bulb on the
small lamp that sat upon Mrs. Hendrick’s desk.
Of course Mrs. Hendrick saw, and Clarence was sent to the office.
Tape-Measure was also known to
measure people. Allison, who knew for
certain she was four-foot tall, measured to an exact three-foot ten
inches. But after he pushed the button
and the measure coiled itself with a snap, Tape-Measure told her, “Not
really. You aren’t really that tall.”
Allison swore at him and the other
girls laughed. Later, in the eighth
grade, Allison got pregnant and left school.