Monday September 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the classroom.

The fall session of soccer started up this afternoon, so I was there with Max. He was happy to find that not only were there only five other kids in the class, he was also the second oldest. I'm hoping both of those things will help him to be more comfortable and confident there.

He got off to a good start at any rate.

Still feeling exhausted from yesterday's activities. I should sleep.


"Has anyone seen Mr. Williams?" the principal asked from the doorway to the classroom.

"What, like, today?" Brock said as he tapped a cigarette out of his newly unwrapped package.

"Yes, today, Mr. Kennedy," the principal replied. "And I'm not even going to ask how a 12 year old got those - just put them away, please."

"Your mom gave them to me last night."

"That is more than enough, Mr. Kennedy." The principal glared at him for a few moments before turning his attention to the remainder of the students in the room. "So. Mr. Williams? Today? Anyone?"

"Pretty sure he quit," Shannon said without looking up from her phone.

"Excuse me?"

"Yesterday," Annie added with the most enthusiastic smile the principal had seen in his school in years.


"Probably finally realized he could make more money on a street corner downtown than in this dump," Wade said before returning to his artwork on the ceiling. The principal made a point to not look too closely at what it was he was depicting up there.

"Children, this is not ap-"

"Just like your mom," Brock cut in, earning a round of applause from the students and another glare from the principal.

"I won't be calling in a substitute this time," the principal told them once relative silence returned. Then he continued before the cheers could get too loud, "I'll be bringing in the local Drill Sergeant instead."


morganna said...

She drips poison as she speaks
Every word contaminates the classroom
Terrified children tremble
The substitute's power knows no bounds.

Hat tip to my daughter for the metaphor in the 1st line.

Greg said...

@Morganna: That first line with the repeated "p" and "s" sounds so close together works so well! I think I've read it about six times and haven't stopped appreciating it. You continue in your usual elegant style, reaching a neat crescendo at the third line and then delivering the punch line flat. It's really excellent work! (Unlike your substitute teacher by the sounds of it...)

@Marc: Wow that's quite a class you've got there, and I like that all the characters in there are quite distinct while retaining an overall level of hostility that you only really see in... well, children. Using Brock at the start and finish works really nicely, plus the cigarettes and the principal's inability to control him... nice. Now, I wonder what would happen if Miss Snippet came in to substitute for them?

The classroom
A week had passed and the weather grew more autumnal, so that as the class walked out to the bosk on the North-west side of the school brown leaves were picked up by cool breezes and swirled around their legs and torsos. Their teacher stalked ahead, scarecrow-like in her dress and movements, and the students walked more naturally but still with an element of military order to their movements. The smell of bonfires was in the air, and pale grey curls of wood-smoke hung in the air in several directions.
They passed through tall, mossy trees, feet crunching leaf-litter that had accumulated over generations. Ivy twined its dark-green leaves around living trunks and fallen logs, and squirrels and birds took fright at the approach of humans. Shadows deepened and lengthened and the air took on an added chill that raised goosebumps on exposed flesh.
Five minutes later they emerged in a large clearing, big enough to build a two-storey house with room for a garden and bowery. The teacher stopped, and waited while the students spread out in a semi-circle.
"A classroom is where you make it," she said. "For the study of Gremshul ilk'beer we need a rather larger classroom, and this one will do. In a month we will return to the study but we will study Gremshul ilzh'eyre and we will use a different classroom again."
She looked around her, and her pimply assistant appeared from behind them holding a large silver platter covered with a cloche. Two of the students frowned, wondering how he'd managed to follow them without them noticing. He walked unhurriedly to the teacher's side.
"You will remember the Rikkieb," she said, and the student lifted the cloche. The dragon-rider was sat on the silver platter cross-legged, his attention of something tiny held in his hands. "The Gremshul ilk'beer is not something to be summoned lightly, so we almost always ask the Rikkieb to summon it for us."
"Why do they do that?" asked a student at the end of the semi-circle, her hand half-raised as though uncertain of the proper etiquette.
"They have their own reasons for summoning," said the teacher. "They may refuse, though I am only aware of two such recorded occasions."
"How do we force them then?"
"We don't." The air in the clearing seemed to drop another two degrees with the frost in the teacher's voice. "We ask, and we respect the answer."
There was silence. Finally the Rikkieb put whatever was interesting it in its pocket and stood up.
"Rikkieb," said the teacher pleasantly, "will you summon the Gremshul ilk'beer please?"

Marc said...

Morganna - a hearty 'well done' to your daughter then! And one for you as well, for continuing it so capably :)

Greg - I would be most curious to see how Miss Snippet handled this class. I suspect she would find a way to get them in order...

Ooh, you've taken your class outdoors! Really liked those opening details and descriptions of yours, especially the bits about the leaves.

And the dialogue continues to be top notch with these characters. Nicely done!