Afterwards I hid backstage pretending to fuss with my props. I didn’t want to face my parents, who would tell me I had been good while their amused smiles told me otherwise. I was in pantyhose. All the parents would chat with other parents, who would all say how great it had been. I would have to congratulate Lady Macbeth and have my picture taken with Lady MacDuff — my wife — all of us squirming while the adults suggested we get together and play sometime.

I was too old to play.

I made my escape. The heavy door clicked, erasing the small-talk echoes of the auditorium. I ran down the hallway, my hose sliding on the glossy linoleum. I checked both ways before entering the Living Chemistry classroom. It was dark and silent except for the gurgle of the aquarium. No one could see. I tiptoed to the back of the room, where the rows of tiny, quiet moons gestated on the counter. The growth in my Petri dish was now a longhaired guinea pig smooshed between two clear Frisbees. I put a brown paper towel in my hand to keep from leaving fingerprints. I formed a tiny teardrop of drool, and just when it was about to drop, lifted the lid and gently spat on the fuzz of my genius.

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