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Skill Focus: Comprehension

  • Episode #3: Gym

    The Map

    E3 Map

    The Story


    Arty and Morgan burst into the hall. They are just in time to see the door into the gym pinching closed and simultaneously lunge for the door, tearing it open with force of a hurricane. As they stumble across the threshold, they find … Zolivia, and she’s been stopped short by Coach Wilson.

    Morgan and Arty glance at each other. They cannot tell him about the broken stage light—and definitely not about the missing statue. What has Zolivia said so far?

    “Where’s the fire, y’all?” Coach says in his classic Houstonian drawl as he waves them over. “Why is everybody running around? What are y’all even doing here?”

    Zolivia speaks first. “Well, Arty and I are painting a mural outside the art room—”

    “And my mom is here to pass out locker stuff,” Morgan chimes in.

    “OK …,” Coach sounds, and looks, dubious. “Painting … passing out locker stuff … Neither of those explains why you are running through my gym right now. I’ve got everything organized. Y’all could’ve messed up my piles.”

    They look around for the first time and realize the entire contents of the equipment and weight rooms is neatly spread out across the basketball court in an enormous grid. There are racks of volleyballs, footballs, and basketballs and row upon row of mats, free weights, and benches. “I’m taking inventory and switching the rooms around—”

    “Did anyone come through here?” Morgan interrupts, getting impatient. Coach Wilson’s eyebrows jump so fast they nearly knock his baseball cap off.

    Arty senses Coach’s growing suspicion and tries to steer the conversation in a more productive direction. “We didn’t mean to run in all crazy. We just got carried away looking for Morgan’s brother. Anyway, we found something interesting.”

    Arty digs the poem out of his pocket and unfolds it. “Since you teach history, maybe you can understand this old poem. It was on the stage, and it doesn’t make much sense.”

    Coach takes the poem and lays it down on his ever-present clipboard. He flips it over, then quickly back again.


    “It’s probably somebody’s homework. Y’all better get back to your mural.”

    “But Coach,” Zolivia says. She never takes no for an answer. “We found it under the horse statue. This poem is about a horse. Don’t you think that means something?”

    Coach chuckles to himself and shakes his head. “The horse statue? Do you mean the statue of the founder of Pearland??”

    Using the telepathic abilities that can only spawn from tightly bonded friendships, Arty, Morgan, and Zolivia share a silent moment of understanding. They need to get away from Coach, so they can talk. Why is he still talking? They all snap back to attention as Coach rambles on.

    “… and then he further built his fortune in the coal industry there. It was in 1892 that he made his way here to our little patch of heaven on Earth. He was the one who had pear trees planted.”

    It dawns on them. The founder of Pearland. Heirs. Industry.

    Morgan cuts Coach off, again. “Thanks, Coach! You’re the best! We won’t run anymore!”

    They take a determined pace toward the door with innocent smiles plastered on their faces. Coach Wilson is still as stoic as before, reigning over his empire of equipment with his trusty clipboard in hand. He watches their exit from the gym with only one thought on his mind: He better finish up this inventory before anybody messes up his piles.



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