24."Okay, sweetheart," Miss Farisi says to Georgie, winding her tape measure back around her hand, "you can step down." Of course, he about faints off that table, going limp, me having to help him to stand. Can't say a thing he's so bug-eyed in love with his teacher. She doesn't seem to notice or else is used to everyone half-mad for her. She hasn't even scolded him for being all ash-sooty.We are in her kitchen, sitting round a table with a red and white checkered Italian tablecloth. Billy is sitting across from Veronica just looking at her, Luke is sort of watching the both of them, and I'm standing, holding Georgie up, but mostly watching Miss Farisi. She reminds me of a doe I saw one morning in a cornfield stepping high and dainty, nuzzling dew and sunlight from those stalks. Once it saw me it looked at me with its eyes the size of ripe avocados for one long moment, and then it just floated away, legs of smoke, gone. But Miss Farisi is all of her standing there in her loose white blouse and her dungarees and little red canvas shoes and is letting us get as much of her close up as our eyes can hold."Okay, boys, can you get that chicken wire I have on the back porch?" she says. Luke and I and Georgie scramble out of there like we are doing a fire drill, smashing one another in the doorway and snatching that roll and fighting to haul it in. Billy doesn't move.Miss Farisi lifts Georgie back onto the table and starts mashing that chicken wire in all manner of directions, making a cannon of some of it to stick off the square part of it that is supposed to be the tank body part. She has the tip of her tongue bit in her teeth and tiny beads of perspiration forming above her lip. She leaves a slit in the back of the contraption so's he can climb in and out of it once it's all done.She works; we watch. She says, "Isn't it nice that Veronica came by, boys?"Sure, we all nod. Who knew they were friends?"Of course, now you're here, there won't be any more girl talk."Veronica drops her eyes.Billy's eyes go down too.Luke watches them. He looks like he feels sorry for them."Miss Farisi," Georgie says, kind of stunned, what with being so close to her. "Once we get the plaster of Paris on this...can we paint it?""I certainly would say so. Green. And we'll put a white American star on it too." She smiles at him.That sends him wobbling round the moon once or twice. I get ready to catch him if he decides to come out of orbit in my direction.Rufus, who is in the kitchen with us 'cause Miss Farisi is the only adult nice enough to let him come indoors, comes up behind her and sniffs her lavender perfume and then lays himself down, looking up at her, tail thumping the floor."Veronica," I think to say, polite, "have you got your costume yet?"She looks at me. Eyes like night sky with little stars.Luke speaks for her. "We don't have Halloween. I'm going 'cause you guys are. Sammy Woo goes because he's more American than Chinese.""Yeah, but Monsignor made the carnival for everybody,"I say."He made it Chinese Lantern Night since it already was that. We don't have to do trick-or-treating.""Who'd miss out on that?" I say.The Jensens,Billy signs like he's trying to tell me it's okay if American-Chinese persons aren't the only ones that might not go trick-or-treating.Miss Farisi looks at me with her eyebrows raised Mrs. Ogilbee-style, so I know I'm to translate and tell about the Jensens, how we don't think they do Halloween on account they probably can't afford costumes, so I do."I think those boys have more worries right now thanHalloween," she answers to that, concern in her voice. She and Veronica give a quick look at each other, and I wonder what all they've been talking about."You know the Jensens, Miss Farisi?" I ask. "I mean to talk to?""They aren't two who are much for talking," she says, her attention back on arranging Georgie in his chicken wirSmith, D. James is the author of 'It Was September When We Ran Away the First Time', published 2008 under ISBN 9781416938095 and ISBN 1416938095.