“Your word is ‘capable’,” the judge said.
Penelope’s smile faded. She had had this word earlier in the year and she knew how to spell it, but suddenly, she forgot. “Capable,” she repeated, but she could barely hear her own voice because her heart was pounding so hard in her ears. “C-A-P-A-Bull,” she said. Immediately she realized she had said part of the word instead of spelling it; her nerves had gotten the best of her. She glanced at the judge. He hit the buzzer.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “That is incorrect. Please take your seat.”
Penelope hung her head in embarrassment, walked down the steps, and took her seat in the audience. Rachel was sitting in the row behind her. She leaned forward and whispered, “You didn’t study either, did you?”
Penelope shook her head no.
“I thought that was only going to be MY strategy,” Rachel said.
When the spelling bee was over, Penelope started to walk away, but Rachel ran to catch up to her. “You did better than I did. My teacher quizzed us before the spelling bee and I didn’t get a single word right then either!”