PORTLAND, OR—Reluctantly acknowledging that he would soon need to go out of his way to strike up conversations with the seventh-grader, Stoller Middle School janitor Charles DeWalt had already deduced Tuesday that he was going to have to befriend transfer student Jackson Clancy. “This is the third day in a row he’s sitting all alone at the lunch table, so you just know I’ll eventually be forced to forge a friendship with him,” said DeWalt of the 12-year-old outcast who has been spotted reading in a bathroom stall and hanging out on the school grounds by himself after dismissal. “I could really use a semester to myself, especially with what I had to go through to get [previous sad sack] Mitch Lawrence to graduate. Why can’t the lunch lady take a turn befriending the big nerds?” At press time, DeWalt approached the student, leaned on his mop, and said, “You’re looking pretty glum, son.”
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