"Shouldn't You Be in School?" (All the Wrong Questions)
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Do you smell smoke? Young apprentice Lemony Snicket is investigating a case of arson but soon finds himself enveloped in the ever-increasing mystery that haunts the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Who is setting the fires? What secrets are hidden in the Department of Education? Why are so many schoolchildren in danger? Is it all the work of the notorious villain Hangfire? How could you even ask that? What kind of education have you had?
next to them, my heart raced to think it was her even as my eyes told me that it was someone else. This day was no different. It was like all the other days during my time in Stain’d-by-the-Sea, where every person had a secret, and beneath all the secrets was a great, slippery mystery, like a creature lurking in the depths of the sea. “I’ve never seen you here,” I said to the person at the counter, “particularly during branch hours.” Dashiell Qwerty gave me a small smile and finished his cup.
I’d been saving one. The agreement I had with the Bellerophon brothers meant I recommended a book to them for every ride they gave me, instead of money, which I didn’t have. “There’s a book I really like,” I said, “that begins on a dark and stormy night,” and Squeak hit the gas and we got going. I told them all about the book. In most cases I wouldn’t have told the whole story, but I went through every detail, from the scientist who disappears mysteriously to the frighteningly intelligent boy,
Snicket. The woman who runs this place took it away along with almost everything else, as soon as I arrived at the Wade Academy. It’s all I had that could lead me to my father.” “The Bombinating Beast,” I said, and nodded grimly. We kept quiet for a minute, with only the music for company. I picked up the music box and looked at it, although it was the statue I really wanted to see. I imagined the scales carved into its slender, wooden body, and its toothy, empty grin, and the odd crinkly patch
splashed some on her face and then let it run until it began to steam. She opened a drawer of the desk and took out two white cups. She grabbed the knotted handkerchief she’d used to wake me up and then fussed with all these things in the basin of the sink and then finally handed me one steaming cup and sipped from the other one. “It’s not the best way to make coffee,” she said, “but it’s the only way I can do it here.” “I don’t drink coffee,” I reminded her. “You’re going to start,” she told
work to watch over them, but I didn’t learn anything about Hangfire’s dark scheme. I hoped I’d have better luck in the library, and on that bad morning I was reading two things I hoped would help. The first was a book on caviar, and I didn’t care who knew it. Caviar is the eggs of a fish, usually a sturgeon, black and shiny and served on small pieces of toast at parties to which you are not invited. As of that morning, at thirteen years of age, I’d never eaten any. I was not interested in eating