No. 589

After Danny Campbell won his seventh grade class presidency on an ambitious campaign platform of double recess, he scheduled a meeting with the principal to enact his vision.


“No.” said Principal Branch.

“I’m the class president. You need to do what I say,” Danny explained.

Principal Branch leaned back in her chair. “I’m sorry. That’s not how class president works,” she told Danny.

“How come the grade nines get free snacks at the vending machines?” Danny asked. “Didn’t the president do that?”

“Danny, do you know what an urban legend is?” said Principal Branch.

Danny scratched his head. “I don’t think so.”

“It means a story that a lot of people tell, but it’s not true.”

“But the grade nines do get free snacks, though!” Danny argued.

“Who told you?”

“Jenny Chan. In my class.”

“And how does Jenny know?”

“Her brother’s friend told her.”

“Have you met her brother, or his friend?” Principal Branch asked.

Danny was tiring of the questions, and beginning to suspect that Principal Branch knew something that he didn’t. Still, he owed it to his classmates to try his hardest to get them what he’d promised. He tried a new tactic.

“What about an extra five minutes of recess?” he proposed.

Principal Branch sighed. “I appreciate your effort, but when you get back to class, ask Ms. Harper what a ‘figurehead’ is.”


Danny returned to his home room, unsuccessful in his attempts to gain any extra recreational time. The rest of the seventh graders soon forgot that he’d made any commitments, at all. However, his persistence served him well, and he was elected to his grade’s highest office twice more. In grade eight, he promised every student an unlimited hall pass, and in grade nine, he was swept to power on a pledge to distribute free candy from the vending machines.

He never met Jenny Chan’s brother’s friend.