I could hear her angry obscenities. The hole she had created, by punching out the cafeteria window, made for great acoustics.
“Thank God you are here.” The Vice Principal said, opening the door. “Another one of your kids is freaking out.” I tried not to roll my eyes.
Students crowded around Lollie, who was propped up against the wall in a lake of herself. They had slipped in it, causing the floor to look like a bloody nose wiped on a sleeve.
I walked quickly to her. Blood pumped from her arm in a rhythm matched only by her mania. Wrapping her wound, I doled out directions to the crowd in what my own children call “yelling in a quiet voice.”
“Call 911. Move back. Get back to class.”
With her good arm, Lollie reached out and slapped me hard across the face.
“You fucking bitch!” She screamed. Although I did not feel she had adequate basis for that judgement, I continued to apply pressure and began a soothing chant of nothing. After a moment, she quieted and let go of my hair, leaving most of the captured strands in tact. She tired, now, as her energy drained slowly from her cuts. She was practiced at that.
Just before they shut the ambulance doors, I heard her whisper, “Sorry, Ms Bach.”
Not nearly as much as I was.
“I’ll see you after school with your homework.” I said, already beginning the lie that said getting back on even ground would be simple.
On the way back to class I stopped to cry a little in the teacher’s restroom. Then I headed back to teach the algorithm for slope to kids who needed much less of it.(less)
Coquettes in baby barrettes
Crowd around me in multiples of three
Laughing cheekily, with high cheekbones
Slurring carelessly, stumbling aimlessly
Cigarettes and silhouettes
Form rings of smoke and dark shadows
(more) Around my body
Around my soul (less)
Allison regained consciousness under the concerned gaze of at least thirteen people. She was soaking wet and didn't remember how she became that way. As the concern melted into relief, she realized the water was salty- ocean water. The only one to help her stand was an unfamiliar woman.(more)
She stood in time to see the last bit of rigging sink below the surface of the placid sea. A gurgling sound was all that was left to remind anyone of a boat. Jeremiah was on the boat. Things began to come back to her. Their two-year anniversary was yesterday.
She fell back to the sand and wished the water was kerosene.(less)
In second grade there was a roving gang of girls known as the “Kiss Club”. They spent recesses tracking down and kissing every boy who fell into their ghoulish clutches. There was a bothersome double standard that existed at school – if boys chased girls we were benched, but(more) the KC had free reign to terrorize without fear of a Monitor’s reprisal.
Soccer games were reduced to paranoid scattering. Important archeological digs were abandoned at a moment’s notice. They were relentless and all we had were our wits and our speed.
One by one my friends succumbed to the tactics of this she-gang. Bo got hit at the drinking fountain, Little Ryan got ambushed outside the bathroom. Adrian, the poor sucker, had climbed a tree when the bell rang – they waited until he came down and he was enveloped in a cloud of disgusting sucking and smacking noises.
Once this crew got finished with you, you were invisible. Some of the boys figured this out and gave up early, just to be done with it. I could not embrace this methodology – it was imperative that I defy the tyranny of 7 year old lips with every fiber of my being.
When Kyle got pulled down (tripped by Brenda, an ox-framed girl) it looked like a herd of jackals devouring his screaming corpse. He was the only one besides me left, a fact we had previously bonded on, and now he was just another victim.
As the sole target, they swarmed after me. After endless running I paused at a picnic table. Gina snuck up behind me. “I got him!” she yelled and as the others encircled I tried a desperate gambit. “Time out!” They actually paused for a moment and I have never run so fast since.
A small golden figure was lying half buried in wood chips under the red slide at Buffalo Park. Kevin spotted it first, bounding onto the playground at lunch, and he snatched it up, making to pocket it before anyone else noticed, but Ellis was right behind him. "That's mine,"(more) she said. "Give it back." (less)