Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2015 - Page 8

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 has recently risen over the redwoods, the cool playground heats up 37 degrees higher than usual due to the smothering of the earth by fake grass. Noses crinkle from the rising scent, a combination of melting tires, burning hair and deceitfulness.

A few parents have lingered with the principal, still immersed in a biting conversation. The teachers join in on the argument, Why weren’t we informed? What are the health risks? Can you feel how hot this is? Shouting, threatening—one father’s booming voice above all, why don’t you just put the school in a bubble!

Ignoring the quarreling adults, two boys from sixth grade begin to roll up the artificial ground like a sleeping bag, carefully, silently. As the beastly growling lessens to a low rumble, other children join in, exposing their beloved bumpy field below. Exposing ladybugs, worms, ants, squashed dandelions. Revealing sticks, holes, a forgotten matchbox car or two, the place where they like to scratch names in the dirt.

Soon, the entire student body has gathered at the big-kids end and is collectively grunting and rolling, saving their play area from suffocation by the gigantic green swim-cap.

It is Mrs. Rutkowski, trembling with disbelief, powerlessness and indignation, who first notices the teamwork, the sweat, the joy in the youngsters’ eyes when they find underneath the monstrosity: a lost quarter, a beaded bracelet from the 100 day party, a squished cricket, two straws, a slow-moving lizard.

They are pushing, and singing a favorite nonsense song a Kindergartener started last year, I have bubbles in my hair, I have troubles in my hair, I have bubble, trouble, bubble trouble in my hair. Many get mixed up on the words which causes giggles and oh-wait-do-it-overs and louder singing from the fourth graders than anyone.

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