Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2015 - Page 7

specific, but someone in fifth grade—hisses like a territorial feline. Others hiss back, spit, emit low and frightening snarls, the kind cornered dogs might. Using her bandana, the garden teacher, who knows she should say something but cannot, covers her eyes.

The Principal arrives, red hair flaming as the red hair of a flustered Principal should. She rejects all prior knowledge of the plastic vastness.

It is the custodian who steps forward with his wheelbarrow, admitting guilt; the mowing of the lawn had become tedious, he was concerned of twisted ankles, too much water. It is discouraging; despite all his cleaning, he constantly combats mess. The wrappers, the spoons, the paper plates, the stream of hooded sweatshirts he picks up, the crayoned papers. He’s tired.

Like a pack of wild African everything, the children kick, spit, hiss, growl and tear at the unwelcome ground. The teachers make no progress in convincing the feral beings to get to class. The teachers huddle in a groupfor once without wordsalternately watching the unmanageable anarchy and asking each other what do we do now?

The Principal, her red hair frizzy and wet from impassioned quarrelling, announces in the used-only-for-assemblies microphone that School has begun, everyone; go to your class.

Noting the lack of the word please and her stern tenor, the children respond to the unfamiliar command.

However, once in the classrooms, all the grade-school teachers have trouble focusing their pupils. Malicious faces gaze out the window, expressions the teachers have never seen on their students. Of course, the instructors are in their respective classes and cannot compare notes on this phenomenon, but it is happening in each room. Claire Hattelbury, Second Grade, usually soft-spoken, almost meek, the helper-type, moans accusatorily like an old cat who first finds the new kitten in the house. Whitney Littlefield, First Grade, instead of feeding the hermit crabs, meanders to the door, releasing a series of barely audible barks. Mr. Lattice, the well-loved sixth grade teacher who allows with good humor to be called Mr. Lettuce, has a difficult time gaining any interest in the bald eagle nest egg-hatching video he made with his hidden camera. Instead of receiving a zestful response, his attempt to engage a discussion is met with tight jaws, grimaces, and eyes flitting toward the window. An hour before mid-morning break, every class is let out early to release the strain building inside.

The children bolt to the outdoors, letting loose a cacophony of animal roars. As the sun

Stefanie Freele | 5