the golden mystery (part four)

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"Alright!" the man behind the desk said, slapping his desk blotter as things started to get out of control. "I'm pulling rank! I'm the principal here, and you two can skedaddle until I've explained this to Mr. O'Connor. Go help keep an eye on the students. We will join you soon."

They weren't happy, and Ms. Tumolo tried to insist that something be done about the fact that Ron had cursed at her, but he managed to get them out. He stood and gestured at the two chairs, and then he held out his hand and I shook it.

"Sorry for the rough-and-tumble introduction, Mr. O'Connor. Marshall. My name is Dan, and I have the dubious honor to be in charge of this menagerie. I do appreciate your help. As you can imagine, I'm eager to talk to anybody who has an open mind about this, since, as you can tell, that's in short supply."

"What's the big mystery about these three, the brothers and the sister?" I asked.

He smiled. "I could tell you stories all day, but here are two important ones. First, they get the same score on every test. They give the same answers to every question, and they never get an answer wrong. They don't get 100% every time, although they do very well, but if they don't know an answer, they leave it blank. They never guess. As you could tell, some people are convinced that they've been cheating somehow, and that's why we decided to put them in different rooms this time.

"It's a brand new test, of course, covering the same material. Once there was the possibility that there had been cheating, we were never going to give that test again, to anybody."

"Doesn't it seem unlikely that people would cheat in such a way that it would create the appearance of cheating?"

"Exactly. That's why I don't believe they are cheating. But some of the other teachers, even apart from Miss T., are convinced it's some sort of scam. They are adamant about it, and they wrack their brains trying to figure out how they do it."

"Knowing the answers in advance would be one explanation of how they do it, though I agree it doesn't explain why."

"True. I don't buy it, though."

"Then what do you think is going on?"

He smiled. "I'd rather not say. I don't want to prejudice your investigation."

"Fair enough."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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