The Spotlight

Kellen Spencer, age 9
The Spotlight Kellen Spencer is a 3rd grader at Canterbury School in Greensboro, NC. He loves to play sports and to read. He also likes to solve technical problems, which sometimes can help him in writing. His story's lesson is to believe in yourself.

“The cable rose and the elephant started to fly! The audience cheered with “OOhs and Ahhs.”
I couldn’t understand what the actors were saying next, but suddenly I felt a tickle up my wires, a feeling that always excited me because I don’t usually get my chance to shine. Sometimes I get sad about how much the other colored spotlights get to shine.”

Chapter One

The Play

The firefighter clowns poured water on each other instead of the fire. An old lady wearing a huge wig of grey hair ran away from the fire, yelling. 

“Help me!”

 Meanwhile, a little, wrinkly elephant started flapping his ears while a chubby boy ran up and hooked a cable onto the fake elephant. The cable rose and the elephant started to fly! The audience cheered with “OOhs and Ahhs.”

I couldn’t understand what the actors were saying next, but suddenly I felt a tickle up my wires, a feeling that always excited me because I don’t usually get my chance to shine. Sometimes I get sad about how much the other colored spotlights get to shine.  

I felt it coming, and I shined like a spotlight should shine right on Dumbo! But then, it happened again. The other spotlights were shining way more than me. I felt another tickle and I shut off immediately. That’s what happens when I get super sad. The whole crowd gasped. No one could see Dumbo. Now no one would say it was a great play, only that it was just OK. 


Chapter Two

Invisible

After the play, I stretched and I pulled so hard that my wires unstuck. Walking through the school campus and across the road always helped me feel less sad. Plus there was something I wanted to check on at the Dollar Tree. I climbed to the curtain and slid down to the stage. I sat there for a while because I was so tired. 

After a while, I got up and walked behind the curtain. I  grabbed the invisible spray that the grown-up actors sometimes used to sneak around during the play. I sprayed it on myself. It felt like the spray paint they put on me when they were making me. Poof! I was invisible to all things except myself. 

I went out from the back of the stage and headed towards the road to get to the Dollar Tree. I sometimes sneak the mini lamps out of the store to compare their brightness with mine. I keep getting dimmer and dimmer and I wanted to see how long I have left. This was the only thing that felt bad about walking around after plays, but I have to do it to see how much longer I have in my life. 

I used my back-up battery, turned on my light and shined my light at a rusty, old stop sign. Then I turned on the mini lamp, which also had a battery, to see which one was shining more. Mine was obviously dimmer. I turned off the mini lamp and chucked it at a tree. It bounced back to me. I put it in a hollowed-out tree where I put all the mini lamps that I’ve ever gotten, which was a lot. It was getting late so I headed to Berry Hall, where the stage was. I climbed up to where I pulled my wires out, stuck myself back in and fell asleep. 

Chapter 3

A New Life

I was jolted awake with a big flash, then a huge charge of electricity. This time there were grown-ups rehearsing. They were also doing Dumbo, just like the kids were. Their costumes looked a bit better than the kids and the scene where Dumbo flies was perfect. 

Once again it was my turn to shine. I felt so strong and ready to go that I turned on my light a half a second early. The man who controls the spotlights tilted his head and made a funny face. Oops! I thought. But then I noticed that he didn’t really care so I felt relieved.

One of the actors used the invisible spray and hooked up Dumbo, who started to fly. My light got brighter. All of the other colored spotlights looked back at me as if to say, “Just because you’re shining brightly doesn’t mean you are cool!” 

I started flickering. I’ve gotten dimmer, but I’ve never actually flickered before. I couldn’t stop the horrifying seizure of light. Everybody looked down and covered their eyes. Even Dumbo, who was in the middle of flying, covered himself with his big cardboard ears.  

Suddenly, the man shut me off and the stage went dark. Because the windows were open and the sun was shining, you could still see a few people on the stage. Everybody was astonished when the director yelled, “Cut cut cut!” He was the one who always stopped them from rehearsing if something went wrong. 

I barely get to shine and, for one moment, I was really shining. Now I am pretty sure that they are not going to use me ever again. 

“We will repair that spotlight on Friday before the play,” said the maintenance guy. 

Wait, I thought. Does that mean that they’re not going to throw me out? I was so relieved I couldn’t describe it. It was like getting a Visa gift card at the Dollar Tree with infinity dollars on it!    


Chapter 4

Green Eggs and Ham

I missed the Dumbo play because I was busy being repaired. In the meantime, they replaced me with a new white light. I didn’t feel very good having to miss the adult Dumbo play, but I was still very, very happy that I was going to be brand new when I came back. 

I was out for about two days. I was a little worried that the new white light would replace me permanently. 

But then I thought, “Why would I ever be permanently replaced by the white light if they are repairing me?” Right after that thought swept out of my brain as if someone had a broom, I heard the maintenance man say, “We’re going to put our new white light in the spot where this light was.”

I felt so angry to hear this. I wanted to turn on my light and flicker and give them another seizure!

“We need a blue spotlight for our next play,” he said. “Green Eggs and Ham.”

The other maintenance man looked at him as though he had a good plan. “Since I put a new battery in this one,” he said, “I will go ahead and add a blue sheet in front of its bulb so we have a blue spotlight.”

Huh?? I thought. I was amazed. I was going to be up where the colored spotlights were. Then I had a terrible thought. What if they still make fun of me? What if they say things like, “You just became a colored light because you are terrible at being a white light! At least that another white light is decent.”

The next morning, I was no longer lying on the big table with all my insides pulled out of me. I was hanging from my wires next to all of the colored lights. They didn’t seem to be warmed up enough to wake up yet, but soon they would probably be up. Bad thoughts and good thoughts crashed into my head, fighting and jumping on each other. But, like I when I got fixed, the good thoughts repaired everything that had been broken. 

“What? Huh? Why are you here who are you? Why is there a blue light here?” 

I looked over and all the other spotlights looked amazed that there was a new color. They were peering so hard at me to see who it was. After a while, they realized it was me. It was like they couldn’t speak at all. They all looked at me right in the humongous blue eye.

At that moment, bad thoughts weren’t just destroying things in my head…they were also destroying all the good thoughts. It was like a war going on, but the good thoughts were easily losing. Because they were good thoughts, they couldn’t actually hurt the bad thoughts, even if they wanted to. Only fix them. But there was only one good thought left in my head, which wasn’t even that good. Maybe they will leave me alone. Then I will not be teased, but ignored instead

Then I heard the pink spotlight — the one on the other side of the row — say “Congratulations!”

The little thought that they would leave me alone became a huge giant. It started fixing bad thoughts into “Phew!” thoughts.

The play started. The two characters argued over the green eggs and ham. One of them pushed the other into trying the green eggs and ham, but he was disgusted by them. After a while, when they had gone in the rain, on the train, under the tunnel, also with a goat and a fox and a mouse and everything else…while they swam in the water…I shined as hard as I could to make the water sparkle and light up as much as possible. Everyone in the audience was dazzled by how brilliant the water looked. 

The green light purposely shined right on the eggs to make them look green. Then, the character who said he would never eat green eggs and ham ate them. The curtain closed with loud applause. 

I felt perfect, with feelings of pride and courage and strength jolting through me.

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