Nancy's teacher stands before the classroom. "A reminder that the 3rd grade dance is coming up at the end of the month."
Nancy raises her hand. “Aren't we a little young for that?”
“Probably, but the Parents' Association is hosting it and providing a buffet table, so…”
Nancy scowls and thinks to herself, So unfair we didn't get to have a 2nd grade dance…
Nancy’s teacher calls on Sluggo. “Were there 3rd grade dances when you were young?”
“I think so.” She recalls an ‘80s elementary school gymnasium decked with streamers and banners.
“Yeah,” asks Nancy, “But did you go?”
“Uh…” Her teacher recalls her 3rd grade-age self, huddled under a blanket, playing on an NES.
Sluggo and Nancy walk home together. “Are you thinking about who you’ll go to the dance with?” asks Sluggo.
“Thinking? I know who I’m going with!”
In her mind’s eye, Nancy dances with an enormous cupcake.
At home, Aunt Fritzi, finds the dance permission slip in Nancy’s backpack.
Dancing might be a good opportunity for Nancy to get some exercise!
She pictures Nancy cutting a rug in the school gymnasium.
Meanwhile, Nancy envisions herself cruising past the buffet table on a hoverboard while her classmates cheer her on.
Nancy receives several images from Sluggo via text, viewed through her cracked phone screen: a couple ballroom dancing.
A couple proposing.
A couple walking down the aisle.
Sluggo texts, By the way, any thoughts about…anything?
Nancy responds: Yeah, I need to get my screen fixed.
Aunt Fritzi and Nancy eat together. “Did you hear the Parents’ Association is holding a dance for us?”
“Huh. I guess I didn’t know that Parents’ Associations let aunts in on their secrets.”
Aunt Fritzi sighs.
Sluggo calls Nancy. “Hey, Nancy, just wondering if you wanted to talk about the dance?”
He listens to Nancy’s response: “Sorry, Sluggo *ACHOO!*--”
“Now’s *COUGH COUGH!*--”
“not really *ACHOO ACHOO!*--”
“*COUGH ACHOO ACHOO SNEEZE!*-- a great time! *ACHOO!*”
“Oh, sorry. I’ll call back later.”
“Thanks, Sluggo,” responds Nancy, pouring black pepper directly into her nose.
At robotics practice, Nancy sits beside Esther. “I think Sluggo wants to go to the dance with me.”
“Oh. Do you not like Sluggo?”
“Sluggo’s great. I just don’t see him that way.”
Nancy imagines herself seated in a throne, with Sluggo in full butler attire serving her cookies. The elbows of his fancy tails are, of course, still patched.
“Are there any boys you like?” Esther asks.
“Sure, just not Sluggo. How about you?”
“I like boys like I like coffee.”
“You drink coffee???”
“What if we went to the dance together?” Esther asks.
“Sure.” Esther shrugs.
Later, Nancy writes in her phone: Dear diary, today Esther said we were friends.
The next day, in class. “Sluggo, I can’t go to the dance with you because I’m going with Esther…”
“But what if, instead, you went with Agnes?”
Nancy points at Agnes, who begins to cackle at the very suggestion.
“Okay, maybe not Agnes.” Agnes’s laughs ripple across the room.
“What about asking Lucy instead?”
“But I don’t know Lucy that well!”
“LUCY YOU SHOULD GO TO THE DANCE WITH SLUGGO!!!”
Contentedly, Nancy smiles as Sluggo and Lucy blush. And they say romance is dead.
From Nancy: Hey Esther, what if we wore the same thing to the dance?
From Esther: Do you think people would get confused?
Nancy imagines the two of them dressed as Canadian geese.
From Nancy: Ideally.
Title: How are you feeling about the 3rd grade dance?
Nancy: “Ready for the buffet!”
Esther: “I guess it’s cool that Nancy and I are going as friends.”
Sluggo: “Kinda sad I’m not going with Nancy.”
Lucy: “Wish Nancy hadn’t yelled across the room about me and Sluggo like that.”
Agnes: “Hey wait, this question was about the dance. Why are we all talking about Nancy?”
Nancy: “Listen, the comic isn’t called Lucy & Agnes, okay?”
Aunt Fritzi is working on her laptop when Nancy calls from the other room. “Can I wear your dress to the dance?”
“I don’t think my dresses will fit you,” Aunt Fritzi calls back.
I’ll see what Esther thinks , decides Nancy. She has on Aunt Fritzi's dress and it is enormous, bunching all the way to Nancy’s forehead and obscuring her whole body except her arms, which protrude like a snowman’s stick-limbs.
Nancy cuts a piece of fabric. “Wow! Making your own outfits is so easy! I wish someone would pay me to do this!”
She holds up the fabric; it’s an indescribable, useless non-shape. “Wow! I wish someone paid me not to do this!”
Nancy’s teacher phones Aunt Fritzi. “Do you think you’d be able to chaperone the 3rd grade dance?”
Aunt Fritzi thinks. “Well, it would be nice to get out of the house.”
Fabric scraps cover every available surface as Nancy hacks at a piece of cloth. Aunt Fritzi frowns.
Agnes reads a text: From Esther: I hope Nancy and I can do a slow dance.
Agnes imagines Nancy drinking bowls of punch…
Eating mounds of candy…
And literally vibrating across the floor.
From Agnes: Haha, good luck!
Agnes sits next to Lucy. “I can’t believe you agreed to go to the dance with Sluggo!”
“Why? I like him.”
“But he’s just so…Sluggo. Like if you’re a fine grape juice, then he’s a…Sluggo--”
Sluggo, to Lucy: “You’re pretty good at dancing, right?”
“Oh, yeah, for sure.” “Uh, yeah. Me too.”
Sluggo turns his back and frantically looks up Dance 101 on his phone.
Lucy does too.
Title: Help Nancy pick an outfit for the 3rd grade dance! The page is filled with several paper doll-like outfits, upon which Nancy gazes, frowning, hands on her hips:
A yellow dress.
A red dress.
Aunt Fritzi’s giant dress from the other day.
A clown suit.
A Canadian goose costume.
“Nancy, please clean up in here!” Aunt Fritzi shouts; her words are buried under laundry.
Nancy waits at the dance, wearing yellow overalls. From Esther: Sorry I’m running late. Are you nervous?
From Nancy: No, I’m using that trick you taught me about imagining people in their underwear when you’re anxious.
Wow, Sluggo needs to buy some new underwear.
Nancy, to herself, while drinking some punch: “Sometimes I worry I’m so naturally flawless I might intimidate my friends.”
She has spilled juice on herself and her new dress.
“Gotta stay approachable.”
Lucy, to Sluggo: “Just so you know, I’m not actually very good at dance. I looked up Dance 101 videos a few days ago and tried to learn.” “You did?? Wait, me too!”
They do their dance moves and they’re both incredibly cool dances, but both wildly different styles.
“Wow, the internet has super different algorithms for us.”
Nancy’s teacher stands beside Aunt Fritzi, the punchbowl between them. “Thanks for inviting me to help chaperone.”
“Of course! Sorry if you had to leave uh…Uncle Fritzi at home for this…”
“What? No, Fritzi’s my first name, my last name is--”
Aunt Fritzi suddenly blushes and looks over at Nancy’s teacher shyly.
Nancy approaches Lucy and Sluggo, who are having a great time. “Do you know where Esther is?”
“No.” “I haven’t seen her at all.”
So this is what my teacher feels like when I tell her that I’m going to do my math homework and then turn in a baggie of gravel instead.
Figures that Esther would ask me to this dance then not show up. Some friend she is.
Esther enters, wearing a red, white, and black suit. “Sorry I’m late! I had to finish making you this!”
She unboxes a cupcake with a little rosette made of frosting atop it.
Wow! Is this what love is???
Various vignettes from the dance, seen in rounded frames: The banner, reading Third Grade Dance .
Lucy and Sluggo dance with abandon. Sluggo is lit (on punch).
Aunt Fritzi hands Nancy’s teacher her number. Both blush.
Nancy and Esther slow dance; a small kiss the color of frosting is visible on Esther’s cheek as she smiles. Can’t cry , thinks Nancy. Don’t wanna ruin my juice stains.
The dance has been viewed through Agnes’s binoculars as she sits up on a nearby hill, behind three rocks.
After a moment, she leads a small robot on treads out from behind the rocks with her. “Come on, ThrowBot. Let’s go practice pelting rocks in the school parking lot while everyone’s distracted.”