Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie. The theme for this month is to use the following five words in a writing: bubbles, airplane, attention, facts, solved.
Cathy has two new short story compilations coming out soon. Watch this blog for the news!
I came to attention when Mr. Foggles bounded into the room, announced it was 9 o’clock, and told us to shut up. “Class has begun,” he said in his monotone voice. He then rapped his desk with his cane as if he were a judge presiding over a courtroom. The others came to attention, as well. No one fooled around in the presence of Mr. Foggles.
Before our teacher entered the classroom, we were tossing paper airplanes we had made from pages torn from our scribblers—throwing the planes overhead, watching them soar, and catching them when they dropped. My plane, as if possessing an engine other than the strength of my clumsy hand, flew across the room and landed in the vicinity of Mr. Foggles’ desk. My attention span had been lost with the ill-fated flight when the beautiful Susie Harper began talking to me. By the time I realized Mr. Foggles had entered, it was too late. Of course, Mr. Foggles would have to arrive at precisely that moment. Everyone’s airplanes were safely stowed away—everyone’s but mine—since the others had aimed perfectly. I wondered where mine had landed and if Mr. Foggles would notice it. If he did, we’d all suffer for it, though I didn’t think anyone would tattle, not that anyone would actually know I was the culprit. The plane could have belonged to any one of us.
But Mr. Foggles seemed oblivious. Had it slipped underneath his desk where he’d never see it? Or had it landed the other side of his desk where neither of us could see it?
I glanced over at Susie to see her smiling at me. I smiled back. It’s okay, she mouthed. Susie knew I hadn’t retrieved my flying object. I nodded.
Mr. Foggles coughed and harped about the previous day’s assignment and what a rotten job everyone had done. He quoted facts and figures, scrawled on the chalkboard, and occasionally glanced at the bored faces of his students.
“Does anyone know the solution to this problem?” he bellowed. Everyone was silent. He scraped the chalk across the board, giving everyone the shivers.
“Thomas, do you?”
“Ah…no. Maybe…. Twenty-nine?” I sputtered. Why had he picked on me?
“Perhaps you should return to grade three and review the basics of mathematical equations,” he said.
I heard giggles. Everyone enjoyed it when someone other than themselves was being ridiculed. I hated math. Problems were there simply to be solved, and they were a load of crap most times.
Next thing I knew, Mr. Foggles bent down to pick up the chalk he had dropped. When he stood, I heard him bellow my name again.
“And what is this, Thomas?” His spittle flew across the room as my plane had earlier. Bubbles formed at the corners of his mouth.
He brandished my paper airplane in the air as if he was about to play with it. I half expected him to throw it at me. How in the world had he known it was mine?
“Sir….” I stumbled and then stopped, not knowing what else to say.
“Is this how a tenth grader acts?”
Susie snickered at my plight. So did a couple of others.
“Come and get it.”
Come and get it? Get what? The plane or my punishment? It was a stupid, worthless paper airplane. Was I going to be punished for something that frivolous? Besides, class hadn’t even started when we had been playing with them. I still hadn’t figured out how he knew it was mine.
I walked to the front of the room.
“Here you go,” he said and handed me the folded paper. When I reached toward it, I saw the tell-tale sign. The page I had torn from my scribbler was one with my name scrawled across the right hand side. Darn, I thought, stupid me.
“Show us how it works,” he said. “Give us a demonstration.”
A demonstration? He wanted me to throw the paper into the air?
“Come on, Thomas. We don’t have all day. Class will be over before we’ve begun.”
I adjusted the wings, crisped the centre fold with my fingers, and then tossed it. It flew up and then nose-dived to the floor.
Snickers erupted. My face turned crimson, and I felt the red, hot flush cover my too-pale skin. I even heard laughter from Susie. Funny how one second I had wooed her, the next second I was centre stage making a fool of myself and she was laughing at me.
“I guess you need more practice, Mr. Thomas Kramer.”
“Take your seat.”
“With my plane?” I stupidly asked. More laughter, even louder than the previous time. It was a dumb question, but I didn’t know what to do with the thing. I figured I’d be chastised if I took it with me, and if I left it, where was I supposed to leave it? In hindsight, I should have walked to my seat, plane in tow, without a word.
“Yes, you’ll need it to practice.”
I never was the brightest kid in the class. Nor was I great at throwing paper airplanes.
The Spot Writers—our members.
Catherine A. MacKenzie
Kathylprice.com(Website in development)