“We are all a little broken. But last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.”
Wil turned in the crowded hall, but saw no one who might have spoken. She wasn’t even sure she’d heard her name at all, and felt she reacted merely at the hope of being named. Frowning and adjusting her backpack, she continued on to her locker. Just past the stairwell, however, something or someone pulled on her backpack. She had just enough time to squeak a surprised, “Eep!” before disappearing into the art room.
“What the -” Wil began, turning, then stopped at the sight of Reagan’s highly-amused face. Wil let out a breath and changed her surprised expression for one of incredulity. “Reagan?”
Her friend and carpool neighbor laughed, though in a more subdued manner than usual. “Sorry, Wil. Had to grab you since Hope said you didn’t get your note.”
Wil’s mouth dropped open, which only made Reagan snort. “I…” Reagan began, a twinkle in her eye and an impish smirk starting at the corners of her mouth, “I heard you had a busy morning.”
“How did you-” Wil asked, but a third bout of laughter cut her off.
In fact, Reagan covered her mouth and leaned on an art table for support. Several times, she seemed recovered, then resumed after looking at Wil’s ever-deepening scowl. Finally, Reagan managed to stop. “Wil,” she explained, “The whole school knows about Flasher Hurn.”
Wil’s eyebrows shot up. “Flasher?” She received an affirmative nod. “Flasher Hurn?” Another nod. “Wow.”
“Yeah. He’s not getting rid of that one for a while.”
“Wow,” Wil said again. She couldn’t help it. Poor Carl.
Reagan smiled, then pulled a pretend-disappointed face. “I just can’t believe none of you got a pic or anything!”
“You know we can’t have a -” Wil stopped, and her hand moved to her pocket. The phone she’d grabbed from that other guy was still there! They’d all forgotten about it in the excitement of Carl’s performance and the resultant fallout. Mrs. Bird had called everyone’s parents, made Carl apologize, and finally agreed to call the paramedics. Wil had just barely been released. They’d said her burns were practically superficial, bandaged the affected area of her arm, and sent her off to lunch.
At which point Reagan had nabbed her. Wil looked at her captor.
“That’s what I want to know. Why’d you grab me?”
The twisted smile Wil saw so often returned. “Oh, that. We’re having a meeting. Top Secret.” Reagan put a finger to her lips. “At the Top Secret blue table everyone can see if they want to, in the Top Secret lunchroom everyone eats in, at the Top Secret time of five minutes ago o’clock.”
Wil took a minute to process her friend’s rambling sentence. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Reagan grabbed Wil’s bandage-free arm. “So, let’s go.”
Continued from Eighty-Five.
“Hey! Wait up!” Pal gasped out the request, to no avail. The boy had already turned the edge beyond his view; had already taken all sight and sound of his movement with his retreating form. Pal leaned over his knees in crouched, deep-breathing pain from the chase. His heavy gasps echoed inside his helmet.
He’d need to keep going, he knew. He only had a few tics before -too late. Before his ground-pointed eyes, everything shifted and morphed. If his headgear had not been equipped with anti-vertigo software, Pal would have retched at the twisting, swarming, mixing colors and land forms. He had no idea how the boy he was pursuing, by all appearances unencumbered by gear, could continue on through these conditions. How the boy could move so quickly. How the boy even existed, really.
Pal looked up from the sky beneath his feet, noted the re-orientation of his surroundings, and promptly crashed to the surface above him. “Eurgh,” he groaned, feeling the sluggishness and some of the bruising while his suit’s systems kicked in. He rose as it mended; scouted around.
Before the last shift he had been skidding around contoured shapes that rose from sand-like material. The ambient light had been annoyingly bright, yet also a pleasant shade of pink. Now, Pal noted, he seemed to be in a city. This city was unlike any he’d been in before, but not unlike images he’d studied at elementary training. “These are buildings,” his memory could hear an artificial instructor noting. “Homo sapiens sapiens inhabited and busied itself within these structures.”
Keeping his feet moving, Pal tilted his head back. The buildings reached beyond his sight. What a miserable, backwards way to exist. He supposed all species must start somewhere, but could never understand why his ancestors’ timeline progressed from perfection to disaster. Why had they sought what was worse?
He heard a sound and snapped to attention. A face with large, crescent eyes peered at him just ahead. The boy.
Pal sprinted without thought toward his quarry. The boy rushed from hiding and pulled ahead, as he had since Pal first materialized and saw him. Both ran down the middle of the space between the tall, tall structures to either side. The ground felt soft, appeared white. Pal could see his footfalls leaving imprints in the material, though the boy’s odd tread did not. The dark shapes to either side seemed to melt away from them as they passed; no, they were melting away. Pal glanced right and left as he ran, witnessing the anomaly.
He wondered, yet again, what this destination really was. Clearly, it was not merely a physical location. No location they’d researched had behaved as this place did, like a living optical illusion.
Pal was nearly at the end of his exploratory tic and would dissolve back to central soon. He was determined to gather more information before that happened. Since the location itself proved intangible for collection purposes when he’d tried, Pal sought to catch the one constant he had encountered: the boy.
His suit worked overtime to compensate for energy and nitrogen loss. At his current rate, he would exhaust both and need to rest as he had before. Surely, this time, he could draw near enough to catch the boy. Surely, he could get answers to return with.
The surroundings darkened. A sound similar to a loud clap came from ahead, from the boy. To Pal’s complete surprise, the sky in front of them both molded into a dark sphere upon the dark of the sky. Totally black at first; an outline of winking light grew to shine from the base and sides of the sphere.
As they drew nearer, Pal felt himself drawn to the new anomaly. It was not unlike the projection arm of a spacecraft. He almost panicked but training calmed his initial reactions. “Always act decisively within your means,” another memory of an artificial instructor intoned. Pal ran on.
His wrist beeped a warning: a moment till dissolvement.
He strove to move more quickly, but his speed was no longer his own. The boy and he were being pulled inexorably toward the eclipsed horizon. The buildings melted faster. Pal’s treads in the groundstuff deepened and blurred. His visuals clouded somewhat at the edges as he tried to keep the boy in sight.
Another beep sounded, then another. It was time.
Just as Pal’s body began to piece to data for dissolving, he saw the most unusual illusion of them all: an inverted flip of boy, buildings, sphere, and sky. Where once he knew the dark outlines of running youth and landscape; Pal saw the whitespace image of a gaping, grinning face. A face that swallowed the boy. A face that looked at him.
Written in response to D. Wallace Peach‘s extremely popular prompt. She just might get all 300 daily responses posted before she decides that April would be a good time for a vacation…
Welcome to the 18th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest!
Wondering what we’re about? You’re not alone; read my terrible poetry how-to. We seek to tear apart all that is good and rhyming about contests and poetry, and to decide whether those two roads actually went anywhere in a yellow wood.
Here are the specific rules for this week:
You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 22) to submit a poem.
If you are shy, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, then I will be able to tell you whether I received it.
If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.
Happy Saturday, everybody! A day late, but never a dollar short is our winner for this week:
I suspect there’s a great deal more
going on under that table over there
than meets the eye.
They not simply eating ice cream and blueberry pie.
I bet they’re playing hanky-panky with their knees.
I’ve a good mind to go over and whip the table cloth
to expose their chicanery for all to sees
if you please.
I think it only fair to surmise –
and I wouldn’t be at all surprised –
if before long they were both under the table smooching away,
for every dog has its day.
Next thing he’ll be feeding her custard
with his own spoon. Shucks.
What’s going on under that table over there is yuk.
I hate going out to restaurants.
My wife is such a flirt.
Congratulations, Bruce! You are the most terrible poet of the week!
As returning readers know, I hate contests where a winner is picked and the judge says that everybody was a winner; blah, blah, blah. I try my darnedest not to do that to everyone, but you all make it near-impossible with your level of poetic skill. (You do know this is a terrible poetry contest, right?)
I snickered at the made-up words, the near-rhymes, the rambling (terrible) subjects, and the poetic elements. In the end; I believe I admired the overall flow (we’ll call it that) of Bruce’s poem, combined with his zinger at the end. Most poets this week followed the recommended guidelines of terribleness; on top of all that, Bruce, your ‘meter’ and your story ‘flow’ earned you the prize. Well done.
Thank you to everyone who participated this week. You are the reason this takes me hours of preparation and anguish to decide. And, here you all are:
by Bladud Fleas
Get up from under the table, dude!
Said the guy whose shoes I was buying
I haven’t got them on, right now, he said
Though I think he was lying. See
I was too quick to agree on the price
he’d selected and once on my knees
he rejected but I, quick as a flash,
produced the cash and removing his
shoes, stuck a rolled up note between his toes
and the deal was completed and he was defeated,
as were his shoes, no pun intended,
for a fair price and money well spended.
Steele steeled his stance,
Fighting for freedom in France,
Really ready to reel Russians
In and insinuate intrigue.
Dreaded documents dredged
Up from underworld undertakings
Show sinister situations,
Blackmail baking in baddies’ brains.
He humps his home-movie
Back to bloody Britain
And advocates for absolution
Of the outstanding ordeal.
Friends faint following the film,
So he sends some signals
At an American agent
That things are taking turns.
But Bob believes his boss.
Pee-pee parties with presidents
Are too astronomically atrocious
For free freedmen to finagle.
So Steele steels his stance,
Takes tea at the typical time,
Cares about the Six Counties, and
Watches the world wither.
My friends are all camping
But alas I’m not able
Nope, I’m grounded for life
Right here under the table
A butter knife for a friend
Along with a rag
To scrape all my boogers
Into a trash bag
Yup, what once was my haven
For picking my nose
My mom did discover
So now I am hosed
“You won’t move from this spot
Except to go pee
Until all chunks are removed
Do you understand me?”
What could I say?
My answer was “Yes”
Now there’s no more snot digging
What YES I’m depressed
The moral of this tale
From under the table?
Stay away from nose picking
To avoid this sad fable
Above board? No it’s not!
Appearance sake? Fulfilled!
In actuality, putrid rot
describes a recent bill.
Put forth by those who say
Are there to represent us all.
Try to have (with them) your say
See if they take your call.
Things that make your conscience ache,
(Like this poem, for instance)
Disturb them not in the least;
For long ago they did forsake,
The way of truth and peace.
Said the bribee to the briber
‘I have no moral fibre’
‘And of course I’ll take a bung.’
‘Unless by being bought out
‘You think I might be caught out’
‘And by this sting be stung.’
‘You have no need to worry,’
Said the briber to the bribee,
‘There’s nothing untoward.’
‘I’m just a harmless gopher
‘This deal’s completely kosher’
‘And everything’s above board.’
‘But how can I believe it,’
‘The cash, when I receive it,’
‘To keep it, I am able?’
‘For sure, you are a bandit,’
‘If each time, to me, you hand it,’
‘While seated ‘neath the table?’
Oh my, oh me
I dearly have to pee.
But alas, the Labrador fell asleep on me.
So cute, so adorable, her face all wrinkled
She lets out a stinky and my nose truly krinkles.
Twenty minutes later, the air is fresh and new.
My breathing and vitals back to normal, phew!
“Dear,” I coo, wanting to get up.
“Do you want a treat, my little duck?”
Her amber eyes open and I’m up like a flash
I nearly walk on water to the toilet in my dash.
“Sorry, dear,” I call from the throne. “You’ll get a treat on the morrow–no interest on that loan.”
Sitting at the table I felt bold
so I put my hand on her knee.
The look she gave me was quite cold
sort of like I touched her with poison ivy.
I couldn’t give up so I tried again
and the result was the same.
She said, “What the fudge” are you insane?
I felt like taking on an assumed name.
Third time’s the charm, right?
So under the table I grabbed her knee once more.
She didn’t have to turn or talk for me to feel the frostbite
I said, “Why doest me dost thee ignore?”
The dog watched it all from under the table
smiling in that doggie way while chewing on a bagel.
What’s the deal
With under the table
Table that thought
The cat without a hat
Under the table
She licks chip crumbs
Crumbs with salt
She licks the floor
Looking for more
Under the table
by Violet Lentz
If there is trouble to be had
And usually, there is
Amelia’s smack dab in the middle
At that, she is a wiz.
You would think she was a cherub
To see her childhood photos
Who’d a thunk in this one here
She had a pine bough up her nose?
Or wait, you think that’s funny
How about her money-making scheme?
Selling milkshakes on the corner
That she made a shaving cream!
Or the time her Mom got a call from school
“Come quick!” said old Mizz Krantz
“Your Amy’s doing the bicycle,
And she ain’t wearin’ no underpants!”
But I’d say her defining moment
Was when she let her best friend Mabel
Take a lickin’ for stealing chewing gum-
Amelia’d plucked, from under the table.
Under the table
blood drips onto the crackpots there under
making a deal for blood-proof umbrella heirlooms
with a star chart marking the space alien’s location
Blood drips on the undercover policeman’s head.
He says, “The poker deal is dead. I want hence
grenades under an umbrella, and incense for ten cents.”
But you have to bribe the dealer for a deal
and the dealer was dead.
The deal blew up in their faces, and
they couldn’t save face with Adam Smith
Thank you for entering! I love seeing returning torturers and new verse-obliterators, alike. Tune in tonight at 10 p.m. for the announcement of next week’s contest.
Were I a god
here, with nothing
a great compression of
till the built-up force of spaces between the nothing nothing nothing
cause slivered bits of, simply, everything.
Were I a god
there, with slivers
a sparkling shower of
till, gathered, they form a winking blinking ball of thunk thought think
condensations of, really, sentience.
Were I a god
everywhere, with sentience
a malleable mess of
till the clumps of godmade intelligences breathe stretch move
flaming forms of, actually, life.
In answer to Frank Prem’s analysis (in the end the flame)
Good morning/afternoon/evening/midnight/snacktime everyone! I am ready to very professionally talk to you about one of my favorite subjects: food.
I just spent ten luxurious minutes searching for food pictures, and now I’m hungry. There are so many pictures of food! WHY are there so many?
Duh. Food is life.
That, and it’s delicious. During one of my no-sugar diets, I sagely told a friend, “I’ve decided the problem with chocolate is that it tastes good.” I hope I come up with better quotes when I’m not dieting.
So…. why bother monitoring what we stuff in our faces? This is one of those answers that we all know, like how we ought to be getting outside more, or exercising. We know that eating well is better for our health.
Anyone with food issues like me also knows that an entire bag of Snicker’s ‘fun’ size is really appealing at depressive moments. As appetizing as a picture of odd fruits with flowers (why flowers?) is, I’m apt to choose something meatier and fattier and baddier.
Oooh yeah. People don’t believe me when I tell them I like meat and have issues in general, because I periodically diet and usually exercise. And if random good behavior keeps me looking passable, then you have my personal assurances that such a plan will work for you.
First, let’s list why eating well is such a great idea:
Hmmm… I probably should have put #3 first. I blame not eating breakfast yet.
“Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood” (Harvard Health Blog).
Oops. I’m just gonna hide this bag of …Snicker’s. *crinkle* *crinkle* Hey, look at this beautiful picture of a salad!
Right-o. We know that good food is good. Most of us know that, from our childhood years of basic nutrition education. If not -hey! I taught you something new!
The tricky part is application. Take one little tiny baby step with me here:
You don’t have to starve yourself and only eat rabbit food.
In fact, if weight loss alone is your goal, you can eat only McDonald’s and still shed pounds. McDonald’s, even the salad, is NOT healthy; just so’s you know. Processed foods tend to not be. And, you have to put up with only Mickey D’s for six months which would be hell for me.
I likes my variety, and you can too!
Rambling point: Small Step #1 is to eat less* overall. You can feed your OCD tendencies if you have them and write down how many calories if you wish. Use a website or app to estimate what your daily calorie burn is, then eat less of that each day. Eat a little less; we’re not encouraging any anorexia here.
*Eating less than what you burn leads to weight loss. Ignore this advice if you are already at a good weight. In that case, eat close to what you burn in order to maintain.
Small Step 2 is when you eat. Your body will burn calories or hang onto them differently at different times of day and different times of year. Generally, avoid eating after 8:00 p.m. and/or two hours before sleeping. Eating later not only helps the food stick around, it makes you less comfortable and more depressed.
On the same page, make sure you are stuffing your face at regular mealtimes. I also need to eat between meals, like a hobbit. I keep the calorie count low (see Step 1), but don’t starve.
Step 3 is what you eat. If you consider lettuce a food fit for hopping creatures, that’s totally cool. I especially understand if you only ever eat iceberg lettuce; that crap is just water. Get yourself the more green and leafy varieties like Romaine, wrap your protein in it, and salt and pepper the thing.
Everyone has some foods he/she likes that he/she knows are healthy. If not, buy some of your friend’s favorites and sneakily eat them in your closet. I won’t tell. At the end of such an experiment, you will have a few that you can stomach.
Use the old internet for searches like “low-calorie recipes,” “healthy snacks,” and “edible and appetizing ways to prepare kale.” -Okay, that last one was a joke.
I recommend AGAINST anal counting of minerals and vitamins and whatnot because it’s a very tricky process that is probably not entirely accurate. Fresh foods have a different value than ones that have been canned, dried, frozen, or covered in chocolate to actually make them taste good.
The advice I follow myself is to lower sugars and white flours and rices, keep the calories low, and include a treat in that count. If you’re following my earlier advice to exercise, you’ll need the extra calories.
A good Step 4 is to cut out stimulants and booze. Ya know, like coffee and alcohol. I think this is a great step, but I don’t touch the stuff myself and therefore wouldn’t presume to lecture you on how to do so. There are plenty of internet and local areas to help, however. (Like, the addiction national helpline, if it’s that serious: 1-800-662-HELP .)
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but I thought the same thing when my paid friend told me she hadn’t consumed sugar since 2003. She still has valid ideas in many other categories, so I’ll probably keep seeing her.
As a final note, I don’t even have to be an expert to mention a vital consumable related to eating well: drinking well. As a human, you need water.
Water is life, more so than food even.
I live in a desert environment, and even I skimp on the “recommended amount.” That’s because I don’t like using the bathroom all day. I’ve been told that regular, consistent drinking of water should make that problem disappear.
Wherever you live, make sure you drink water. It improves skin, helps organ function, helps singers sound better, and keeps you from dying.
So, class, let’s get started today. Keep your diet tasty, consistent, and manageable. Drink your water. These simple steps will help you be better able to fight those depressive tendencies.
This has been a part of our Cure for Depression series. Tune in next time, and we’ll talk about joy.
One of my favorite stories is a chapter in Louis Sachar’s Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. A dubious character named Dr. Pickell hypnotizes a woman to help with her smoking addiction. He tells her the cigarette will turn into a worm in her mouth; then, as is his wont, adds a twisted behavior at the end of their hypnosis session.
“[Dr. Pickell] rubbed his beard and smiled. ‘Whenever your husband says the word “potato,” you will slap him across the face.’
‘When – Fred – says – ‘potato’ – I – will – slap – his – face.'”
A few paragraphs later, we learn the effects of Dr. Pickell’s meddling.
“It was an interesting thing about the word ‘potato.’ Whenever Fred said it, she slapped him. And he’d ask her why she slapped him, but she never remembered slapping him, so they’d get in a big fight, each calling the other crazy. Then they’d kiss and make up, which was nice because her breath didn’t stink.
“They never figured out it had anything to do with saying ‘potato.’…
“But deep down they both must have realized it somehow, because while they used to eat lots of potatoes, they gradually ate fewer and fewer, until they finally stopped eating them altogether.”
You would be surprised how often I think about this story in real life. Sachar is a master children’s author, crafting a deep story in a few, easily understood sentences.
Although I could go on for a bit longer about children’s authors, Louis Sachar, and pickles vs. potatoes; I bring this story up to discuss influences in our lives and whether we notice them or not.
Just think: when you walk into a store, what do you see? Someone has planned what you will see. Someone has looked at studies that say how much space a shopper needs upon entering before he may encounter something on sale. That someone knows that angled aisles are better but not as space-efficient (so they hang tags off the shelves), that we shoppers look for sales, and that we need enough space in an aisle to avoid the ‘butt-brushing effect.’
Advertising is a sneaky business, and one we often think of when considering this subject. As prevalent as purchasing bits of our mind is, however, that is not the influence that I am interested in discussing.
Instead, I want to think about less-evil, subtle influences we are ignorant of; things like choosing to act like our hero, striving to never wear red because you think it’s evil, and picking a genre of music after a coworker won’t stop listening to it.
In my life, I’ve seen examples of all of these behaviors. My brother is in medical school because one of his scout leaders was/is a successful doctor. One of my relatives will not wear red. And our family all got hooked on dubstep because my husband’s coworker played it nonstop.
For me, personally; I do not sew because my mother did not, I read and write because she did, and I abhor shopping and matching and new trends because she always tried to get me to wear (what I thought were) ugly combinations at the store. On sunny days I feel more capable and happy. If a friend makes a nice comment, I feel more confident. A jarring chord or fighting at home raises everyone’s anxiety levels.
When I think about it, the influences seem obvious. When I don’t, they don’t. Either way, I behave impulsively.
When the day is grey and ordinary, do you huddle up and wonder why everything’s dark and depressing? After hearing a favorite song from your youth, do you find yourself fondly (and ignorantly) reminiscing? Or, are you self-aware enough to buck the trends and have a happy-ever-after without any
Check out what I wrote this week. These posts may affect your day:
Wednesday, March 6: Wrote “It Takes Pains to Be Beautiful but I’m No Masochist,” a discussion of whether beauty is skin-deep and how much some people need to help that.
Also, “A Ghost of a Pinned Chance,” in response to Peregrine Arc‘s writing prompt.
Thursday, March 7: “The Cure for Depression: Get Outside,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
And, typed up a free-verse poem, “Seasonal Perspectives.”
Saturday, March 9: Announced the 17th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Under-the-Table Deals. PLEASE ENTER!
Wednesday, March 13: Today.
“Comparison kills joy. It’s like burning a Picasso because it isn’t the Mona Lisa.”
It hadn’t been such a boring class after all, Wil reminisced. She crossed one foot back over the other and tried not to share that idea with the other members of her Chemistry group. They probably weren’t in the mood. She snuck a glance to her right and left, taking in their various poses of irritation and boredom.
She wished for something to do besides wait for her turn with only a motivational poster and her classmates to stare at. She should have grabbed the note from Hope, maybe, during their hasty escape to the office. None of them had thought to do much besides run, given the damage. If only Carl weren’t such a clumsy jerk, she thought.
Almost simultaneously, she and the others glared at the door to the nurse’s office. It was a closet, really, since they lacked an official nurse or sick room. Only in today’s case of potential chemical burning had their secretary, Mrs. Bird, demonstrated concern or permission to use some of the school’s precious medical supplies. Wil hoped the first aid kit was still in date, considered who was at fault, and rescinded that hope -at least for the bandages used on Carl.
She sighed. The girl who had gotten their experiment supplies rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah. What a jackass.”
Bobby and Wil snorted, and Wil saw a slight smile on the boy’s face whose name she did not know. He’d been right next to Carl when Carl had spilled their supplies, and was therefore third in line to be seen.
“Shouldn’t we get an ambulance or something?” Bobby asked. He eyed the supplies girl, who was awkwardly cradling her arm in the office’s usual method of first aid: a wet towel.
The girl shrugged.
“I’ve never been burned at school,” Wil offered. She thought. “Did anyone bring a phone?” She knew it wasn’t likely, since anyone who owned one had to keep it in his locker or risk its removal.
The boy who’d been near Carl turned to the right and left, then down the short hall to the closed supplies door. They could still hear Carl yelping and complaining. Phrases like, “I’ve got conditioning to get to, you know…” drifted down the hall, followed by Mrs. Bird’s impatient, “If you’d hold still, this bandage would stay…”
“I’ve got one,” he affirmed. “Can you take it?” he asked the girl seated to his right.
“Ha!” she answered, screwing up her face. “Even if I wanted to, lover boy, my hands are as damaged as yours.” She held up her towel-draped hands to demonstrate; he responded in kind.
“I’ll do it,” Wil grumbled. Laughing as he angled to accentuate the appropriate side pocket, she slipped it free.
“Hurry,” Bobby urged.
Wil activated the screen. “What’s your passkey?”
“Nice,” Bobby commented.
Wil didn’t understand what was “nice” about a bunch of numbers, but put them in and pulled up a search. After only a half-minute’s read, she said, “Eurgh!”
“What?” the two hand burn victims asked. Bobby leaned over her left shoulder to see.
Just then, the supplies door opened. Wil stashed the phone in her pocket and looked up to see a mummy-like Carl Hurn exiting. He wore a glare as well, but it was not as impressive as the scowl worn by the woman just behind him.
“Mrs. Bird?” Wil ventured. “I think Carl needs to go to the hospital.”
Mrs. Bird stood all 5’2″ of her frame a little straighter. She peered around Carl. “Oh?” she sniffed. “And why do you think that, Ms. Winters?”
“Well,” Wil gulped, “I …remembered a story I …um.. that Dr. L -Dr. Lombard told us recently about a guy with chemical burns..” She tried not to look at her classmates as she blushed. They knew she was lying about her source, of course, but even Mrs. Bird wanted to hear the story.
The secretary’s expression became impatient in her morbid curiosity. “Well?”
Wil shifted. “Um, well …I re- I mean, Dr. Lombard said- that the guy’s -erm- well, that the guy had chemicals spilled in his lap like Carl did; and that, because the guy didn’t change and rinse off and go to a hospital right away, that he didn’t have any …private parts when they finally did cut off his pants…”
To which Wil and three of her classmates witnessed the fastest de-pantsing a person with bandaged hands has ever completed.