Throwback Thursday: Zombie Lunchlady

I had intended to continue H.R.R. Gorman‘s story today, but ’twill have to wait till morning. In the meantime, enjoy a three paragraph story I wrote back on October 18, 2017.

3 Paragraph Story: Zombie Lunchlady

Doris stood there, hand on hip, trying to figure out what to say. She’d already used up most of her standby phrases; things like, “Don’t forget, employees must wash their hands,” and “A smile will go a long way.” What worked for all the other ladies had not worked for this newest employee.

“Wash your hands” had led to the new hire carefully removing one hand, rinsing it, reattaching it somewhat sloppily, then attempting to repeat the process with the other one. Encouraging her to smile had sent the entire first grade screaming and running away from the queue.

Today, Doris had come to school ready for whatever came to mind. She’d thought to ask her fellow long-timers what they suggested. Looking hopelessly around the group, however, she realized they would not have any suggestions for the new girl. Rather, she had rubbed off on them already. They stood in a similar posture to hers, listlessly lolling their heads about and groaning. Doris cleared her throat anyway. Alerted, they all began shambling closer.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

So sorry for the delay in this announcement. The judge had a busy day and a headache-d night.

At long last you may know that the winner is:

Woe is everyone

by Deb Whittam

Long have the halls been silent,
The chairs empty, the locker doors thrown open.
Long have the weeds grown,
Unchecked, through the days of winter, cold and dull.
Long has the toilets been clean,
The stains and smears of adolescence finally washed away.
Peace has reigned.
As the bell sounds for the first time,
The rodents, the cleaners, the teachers,
Grimace their despair.
School’s back.
So sad.

—–

Congratulations, Deb! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Many poets’ works made me grimace today, but Deb’s stood out. She made me believe I was reading a serious poem, then artfully threw the meter off course whilst adding elements like rodents and “smears of adolescence” in there.

But the terrible poetry doesn’t stop there! Read the others, if you are able:

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Teacher, teacher,
Be aware
I just dropped my pencil
Under there
Ha!
I made the teacher
Say “Underwear”!
Principle, Principle
Don’t be blue
I know I took advantage
Of the teacher who’s new
Darn!
He sent my butt home
For my mother to chew
Mother, Mother
Don’t be mad
Only nine months to summer
Then we’ll be glad
Huh!
What’s she mean
It won’t be the worst nine months
She ever had….

—–

SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!

by Bruce Goodman

Hello Everyone! Welcome back to school!
Murray, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Paula, I hope your summer time was cool!
Wayne, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Shirley, you’re acting like a fool.
Frank, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
William, you’re full of bull.
Jeanette, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Winifred, no you can’t; it’s against the rule.
Neil, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Oh for goodness sake! I can’t wait for the Christmas break when we celebrate Yule.
EVERYONE! SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Let’s see who does the bester
In this first semester.
YOU’RE HERE TO LEARN SO SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

Is it really back to school
In that uniform so uncool
Yep
Do I have to Combe my hair
I’m not allowed to rock in my chair
Yep
Come again, I have to get up at Half past Six
Then get on the school bus with the other lunatics
Yep
Have to eat a healthy school lunch
And in the class I’m not allowed to munch
Yep
I have to learn my nine times tables
And I need to write my name on all the coat labels
Yep
I’m not allowed to pick my nose
While having to write boring prose
Yep
Not allowed to play games of my mobile phone
And if the teacher shouts I’m not allowed to moan
Yep
Must not run and play along the school corridors
And no pulling funny faces at the other choristers
Yep
When I ask a question I must raise my hand
Even when in Latin it’s impossible to understand
Yep
I have to fully button up my school shirt
Always keep the blazer on to hide all the dirt
Yep
Not supposed to throw objects at the head-boy
Be nice to your classmates and certainly don’t annoy
Yep
On no grounds can I fight or swear
Don’t attack the other kids with the set square
Yep
Need to pick my feet up so no scrapping only the floorboards
And certainly I’m not supposed to do rude doodles on the blackboards
Yep
I HATE SCHOOL……

—–

Back to school

by Ruth Scribbles

“Why oh why?”

The children cry

“Yipee Skippy!”

The parents are trippin’

“Kids are goin’ back to school!”

School daze begin again

Hallelujah! Amen!!

Wait!

What?

You need clean clothes

And play clothes TOO!

paper and pencils

And have to work at home too??

OH! NO!!!

BACK to school BLUES!!

—–

Going Back

by Joem18b

my dad was on parole
which was a rigamarole

then he goofed up
but then he fessed up

and back he went to the Big House
quiet as a mouse

i know how he felt, it was a bummer
like with me at the end of each summer

—–

The Fall

by LWBUT

The Summer joys shelv’d

like books to a library.

Autumn faces droop.

—–

Thank you to everyone for playing. Come back tomorrow for next week’s contest!!

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Deb: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #41!!

For some guidance, click a basic description here. Entrants assume all risks associated with poeming, reading, and laughing painfully.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic, topic; who’s got a topic? Ooh! I do; I do!
    It’s Back to School!
    Thank you, Timmy. Now, next time let’s remember to raise our hands.
  2. No teacher actually reads those 500-word essays, so keep the Length above 4 words and below 200. For those in the advanced math group, that’s 4<p<200, where p is poem and 4 is 4 and 200 is 200.
  3. Teacher, should we Rhyme? If you wish, this occasion.
  4. Just Make it terrible! The superintendent of all the area schools must feel compelled to visit and deliver a lecture on “Why One Never Poems Without Reason,” followed by a light refreshment of watered-down punch.
  5. Naturally, this assignment must be rated appropriate for general audiences.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (September 6) to submit a poem.

Use the form below to remain anonymous for a week.

For a more social experience and immediate fame, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Share with your friends (and enemies).

Have fun!

 

 

kids-1093758_1920.jpg

Photo credit:
Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety

At first quite nervous, Wil found a surprising level of obscurity behind the words of her story. Her audience helped as well; gasping at Carl’s stupidity, glaring at the incompetent office secretary, leaning forward when she told of reading the internet story, then bursting out in laughter at poor Carl’s panic and intentional pants-dropping.

Even Hope giggled, a sweet chirping noise that Wil suspected Hope rarely voiced.

Not everyone laughed; to her side, Stephen appeared shocked. He almost looked as though he had been the one who spilled chemicals on half his group and then exposed himself in mistake.

Reagan noticed his discomfort. “Relax, Stevie,” she drawled. She wiped at her eyes.

“Stephen,” Stephen mumbled in correction as he glanced down at his chocolate cupcake wrapper.

She laughed a snort. “No shit, Sherlock.”

“Reagan,” Hope said.

The outspoken girl turned to the much smaller, meeker one. Their eyes met before Reagan lowered hers. “Sorry, Stephen.”

Wil nearly choked. Again.

“Thanks, Reagan,” Derek said. “Hope.” He smiled. Wil realized Derek smiled to help others calm down; she wished it had that effect on her.

“So…” Art began. Most shifted to face his direction. “Why’re we meeting today?”

All eyes flitted to Derek. “Welll,” their leader answered, “Stephen and I have been talking more about our group-‘

And the name, I hope,” Reagan interjected.

“Sure,” Derek acknowledged, blinking. His confusion cleared, and he continued, “Um, so we’ve talked about why we got together as a group anyway….” His voice cracked a bit and he swallowed. His gaze shifted around the group. Reagan made a rude gesture, which startled him into a shocked expression, then a genuine smile. “Ha! Thanks, Reagan. Thing is, I think we ought to actually do something with this group.”

Stephen nodded but the others’ expressions ranged from wary to (in Wil’s case) blank.

“You mean….” his main heckler said, “…like the Girl Scouts?”

This time, even Stephen laughed.

“Actually, Reagan,” Derek said, “That’s not so far off…”

 

Continued from Eighty-Nine.
Keep reading to Ninety-One.

 

Want to start at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start.

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Nine

“Well,” Reagan greeted Wil, “It’s about time!”

Wil glanced around the blue table’s occupants in confusion but realized none of them seemed upset. In fact, several were smiling. Art laughed outright. Compared to Reagan’s laugh of earlier, his sounded from a well of authentic joy. “Relax, Wil,” he said. “No one’s mad.”

Wil tried to relax, but Reagan looked the way she’d sounded: mad at her. To Reagan’s right, Hope still smiled kindly. To Hope‘s right, Derek also smiled. Wil felt something flutter inside her and glanced in the safer direction of her clutched tray of food.

“Sorry,” she mumbled. She couldn’t help it.

Art rose and headed to another table. “You’re fine.” He grabbed a yellow chair. Carrying it and setting it between his chair and Stephen’s, he turned to Reagan and mouthed, Knock it off! Reagan rolled her eyes in response and continued the serious study of consuming her sack lunch. To Wil, Art turned halfway and gestured for her to sit. She did, sliding her food carefully onto the crowded surface.

“Maybe we’ll send Hope next time,” Derek teased.

Reagan snorted.

“You already had Hope deliver the note,” Stephen stated. His lunch was finished and he was in process of eating his dessert. Bits of chocolate cake clung to his fingertips and lip. “Did that fail?”

Reagan snorted again. “Didn’t you hear?”

“No. Hear what?”

The dramatic girl fixed him with a look. “About this morning?”

Stephen glanced around the table. The rest of his friends appeared bemused, though Wil appeared very interested in her chicken-like gravy. He shook his head in the negative, the gesture making him look like a nervous owl.

“Well!” Reagan began, in a tone of conspiracy, “This morning, right after Wil discovered her note, Ol’ Dr. L. decided to change things up in class.” She took a drink from her water bottle. Swallowed. She leaned forward a bit, then sat back up. “Actually, I think Wil should tell it.”

Wil gagged on her soggy green beans. Startled, Stephen observed Wil’s coughing and then smacked her on the back. Wil managed to wave him off and regain composure. “I…” she began, “I know Hope was there.”

The shy girl gave Wil a half-smile. “I was.” Wil sighed in relief. “But,” Hope added, “Dr. L. was in front of my view when I heard the yell.” Wil’s former optimism died.

“Yell?” Stephen asked. “Who yelled? Wil yelled?”

“No,” Wil said. “Well -maybe yes.” Everyone stared at her. She blushed. She didn’t know how she’d been talked into this but saw she couldn’t back out now. “Carl Hurn yelled. His frien- Harry yelled. That girl probably did, too.” She stirred at her stale rice with a bandaged hand. “You see: she’d just gotten our supplies from the closet and set them on her desk. Carl said something like, ‘I know what to do,’ before heading over and tripping or something and crashing right into her…”

 

Continued from Eighty-Eight.
Keep reading to Ninety.

Wilhelmina Winters, Forty-Six

“I hate math!” Reagan exclaimed. Wil’s hand was delivering pork substitute to her mouth, but stopped in surprise at this announcement. The rest of the lunch table’s occupants laughed or smiled, commiserating with Reagan.

“Yeah,” Art said. “I feel you. I’d much prefer English any day.”

Reagan was stirring her instant potatoes. She looked at Art in surprise. “English?” She questioned. Her eyebrows raised and her mouth twisted distastefully. “I didn’t say that was much better.”

“I like English,” Stephen supplied quietly.

“Well, of course you do,” Reagan responded, a bit sarcastically. Wil noticed that Reagan’s tone was almost always sarcastic.

“Guys, guys,” Derek said, his hands in a calming gesture. “We can all agree that math sucks.” The others laughed, except Wil. She blinked.

“What, Wil?” Reagan asked her. They all turned to look at Wil, and she blushed.

“I… um, I like math,” Wil said quickly. She looked down, wishing her reheated frozen vegetables were interesting enough to keep her attention the way she was pretending.

“Really?” Reagan asked, in an unusually sincere tone. Wil glanced up. Reagan’s face also seemed sincere, even curious.

Wil noticed the others bore looks of interest, while Hope wore her kind and humorous smile. “Yeah,” Wil said; then, a bit more loudly, “I don’t have a problem with math.” She cleared her throat a bit. “Maybe it’s the teacher?”

“I know you have a different teacher,” Reagan stated, as if Wil’s class schedule were common knowledge. “Hope told us.” (That explained things, Wil thought.) “But, I don’t think that’s why math sucks.” They laughed again, at Reagan’s bluntness.

“Oh, duh,” Art said, acting like he was smacking his forehead. “You’re in the higher math class.” He smiled, then chuckled a bit. “We need to add that to your talents, Wil. Cool.” He turned his smile to her.

Wil was surprised, then pleased. If they all really didn’t like math, and were not in the higher math class, then here was a talent she really did have. The Talented Teens were nodding and making sounds of agreement. She watched Stephen pull their secret paper from a folder, then carefully pencil “Mathematics” on the line with her name.

“Um,” Wil began. Everyone except Stephen looked at her. “Um, speaking of… um, why did you?.. I mean, how did you?” She felt flustered, and their staring did little to help calm her thoughts. She couldn’t even bring herself to say the word imaginative.

Reagan understood. “I’m in your English class, remember?” Wil looked at her, then did remember. How could she have forgotten? Reagan had composed and read a truly terrible poem about a woman waiting for a phone call that had turned out to be a salesperson.

“I told them all about that story you wrote, that Mr. P. liked so well.” Reagan stuffed a wilted bean into her mouth, chewed, swallowed, and added, “He kept saying ‘imaginative’ so many times, that’s what we wrote for your talent.”

Wil was surprised. She had forgotten about that story.

“In fact,” Reagan added, “It was kind of an inside joke for a bit with us.” She looked at Wil and gave a sarcastic half-smile. “Sorry.”

Wil wasn’t hurt. She felt relieved.

“Well, that’s settled then,” Derek said. He smiled at them all, then pulled out his sandwich and began unwrapping it. Reagan turned to Art and began discussing a book they had to read for class. Stephen showed Derek his latest sketches. Hope watched silently.

Joining in the group’s happy feeling of resolve, Wil ate the remainder of her food with a contented feeling. She listened with half an ear to the snippets of her friends’ conversations.

Glancing up, she caught a meaningful look from Hope. Remembering the events of the morning, Wil ate more quickly. She had work to do.

 

Continued from Forty-Five.
Keep reading to Forty-Seven.

Wilhelmina Winters: Forty

Wil read carefully, constantly admiring the neat printing. The paper read:

Talented Teenagers (“We need to work on the name, still,” Reagan interjected.)

Derek: Leader, Everyone’s Friend, Song Lyrics, Double-Jointed

Stephen: Penmanship, Cryptography, Cartography, Comic Artist, Observant,

Reagan: Actress, Sarcastic, Quick-Thinking, Fantastically Well-Dressed

Hope: Kind, Artistic, Quiet, Quick

Art: Intelligent, Funny, Easy-Going, Cooking

Wil: Good Writer, Imaginative

Art laughed his infectious chuckle again. “We suggested talents, and voted on them -except Reagan insisted on her last one. I still say we need to put ‘Domineering’ as one of hers.”

Wil wondered if he would poke so much fun at Reagan if he were sitting closer to her at the table. Even though she only had access to the lunchroom cutlery, Reagan looked a good aim.

“Why- ?” Wil began. She looked up from the list in embarrassment, not knowing how to finish her question.

“We all agreed to the talents Stephen wrote for you,” Reagan explained, understanding. “You get to suggest others, and then demonstrate them.” She stuffed some lunch into her mouth and gave Wil an encouraging look as she chewed.

“Actually,” Stephen spoke up in a nasally tone, “This is a work in progress. What we really want,” his eyes became dreamy and distant, “are talents that I am going to draw into a comic.” Suddenly realizing all attention was on him, he looked down again. “We’ll be like superheroes,” he told his food tray, less audibly.

Reagan rolled her eyes again. She was also talented at that, though Wil doubted it would get added to the list.

“Just think about it,” Derek told Wil. Wil gulped, which helped move what she had consumed to her stomach.

The rest of the group, satisfied with their explanations, continued to eat and talk among themselves. Wil read over the official roster and thought about what had been said.

She stared at her name, wondering how imagination counted as a talent, and whether any others would follow in Stephen’s neat print.

 

Continued from Thirty-Nine.
Keep reading to Forty-One.

 

Want to start at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start.

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty-Nine

Given the limited number of blue tables, Wil was surprised at how long she took to locate one containing the two people she knew would be sitting at it. She was about to give up, in fact, when she remembered the dimmer, less-populated overflow room of the cafeteria.

Sure enough, five expectant faces met her shy gaze when she poked around the doorway. It was enough of a shock to send her scurrying back out of the school, entirely. She was able to convince herself to stay, however; to walk fully into the room, and to sit in the last empty chair.

“So,” Derek said, “You guys all know Wil.” He smiled his kind, shy, hopeful smile around the table. Wil’s heart jumped a bit at the added attention, and especially at the smile.

She tried to look like she deserved to suddenly have people notice and befriend her, though acting was not her forte. As such, she ended up looking confused and nervous.

She knew the others seated by her -or, at least, knew their names. She had been surprised by that. Everyone at the blue table was in at least one of Wil’s classes. Derek was in two. But, so is Reagan, she thought defensively.

“We’ve been watching you, Wil,” Derek explained. This did not reassure Wil.

Art, a large teenage boy who shared her time in Mr. G.’s class, set down a roll and laughed. He had a nice laugh, the kind that came from deep inside and wasn’t too loud. “He means that in a good way,” Art said. Unlike Derek, Art’s voice sounded like it had already transitioned to a deeper tone.

“Oh.” Wil said.

Reagan rolled her eyes. “Derek,” she chastened. “You’re making us sound like stalkers.” She gave him a look, a laden fork dangerously dangling from her fingers.

“The thing is,” Reagan continued to Wil, “We are an elite group of talented teenagers. By ‘watching you,'” she imitated Derek’s voice sarcastically, “we mean that we think you should be part of the group.”

Wil’s face cleared, then clouded again. She wasn’t elite, or talented. She looked quickly at each person in assessment. Derek was kind and not bad-looking. Reagan was clearly very smart and good at acting. She knew Art was observant and intelligent. The other two members, Hope and Stephen, she didn’t know very well. She was naturally inclined to assume they had more to offer than she did.

Derek cleared his throat, attempting to keep its tone level. He leaned forward across his sack lunch, and held his hands out to gesture as he spoke. “Many of us felt left out, and like we didn’t have friends.” The others nodded as they watched him. Hope smiled slightly.

“I sat by Stephen one day, and saw that he drew really cool comics.” Derek looked at Stephen, who grinned and studied the pencil he was twirling in his right hand. “Then, I thought, ‘This is dumb. Stephen is so good at drawing. I get told I’m a good leader. I’m going to start a group of friends who are talented.'” He smiled again. He was good at smiling, too.

“We have a roster,” Hope finally spoke up. Her voice was very soft, in contrast to Reagan’s bold tones. She pulled a list from her binder and set it in front of Wil, between her plate of breaded meat and soggy vegetables. Many of the group looked around to ensure others weren’t watching. Their room was almost entirely empty.

The writing, Wil noticed first, was beautiful. She looked at Hope. “Stephen wrote it,” Hope said. “He’s good at writing and codes.” She pointed to Stephen’s name, down the list. Wil saw that it listed, “Stephen: Penmanship, Cryptography, Cartography.”

She quickly perused the rest of the page.

 

Continued from Thirty-Eight.
Keep reading to Forty.

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty-Eight

Lone drifts of snow breeze touched lightly across deserted chairs, a table, a brick wall. The detritus collected in forsaken corners for moments, then was rudely pushed on its airborne way again. This empty land had seen no life for days -not even the echo of a footstep. Pale noon sunlight filtered through the hurried mists, illuminating the space in an ethereal glow.

A wall, a windowed door away, the soft glow filtered through to dimly reflect in a pair of thoughtful eyes. Wil remembered this place like it was only yesterday, or perhaps the day before. Would she ever forget?

She moved her head to look round the room she sat within -a room that still spoke of the presence of hundreds of persons. Their shadows -or, perhaps, their essence- lingered on the abandoned plastic furniture. There was also a chair overturned here, a table pushed aside there. The litter of their lives blew slightly in the ancient air heating system.

“At least that still works,” Wil thought to herself, as she recalled the icy winds swirling beyond the glass doors. She hugged her arms around her thinning body and checked the knot of her fraying black scarf.

She glanced at the working clock hanging crookedly on the wall. Its second-hand foundered eternally at the six, pulsing helplessly; but its other hands continued on unaffected. They gestured to Wil that her wait was nearly over.

They would arrive soon.

Wil tried to distract herself in preparations, but knew it was no use. She had used up the remaining food just that morning. She carried no weapons. She had been forced to leave her pack and materials inside a small metal box just inside this labyrinthine building. If this meeting proved favorable, she would retrieve them after. If not, her information would remain safe beyond their hands.

A low, muted note sounded, startling Wil. One more automatic system was still in place, then. So much for silence and subtlety.

She rose from her slouch; pushed the blue chair underneath its matching table. Instinct had taken over: she sensed food. She would forage first, and meet her odd party after.

“It’s always better to meet uncertainty on a full stomach,” she reminded herself.

Moving to a doorway in the wall, she saw that her suspicions had been correct. There was food here. Or, at least, there were the remains of what started out as food. She peered through the yellowing sneeze guards at a few pathetic trays of the stuff. She wondered if consumption would sustain life, or bring its end more quickly.

Deciding on the former, Wil slid one of the trays out and into her hands. She turned and headed back to the tables. Others were arriving; she recognized a few.

It was time.

 

Continued from Thirty-Seven.
Keep reading to Thirty-Nine.

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty

Wil contemplatively chewed on what may have been a carrot.  She was happily absorbed in the remainder of her crossword, and ate without tasting her least favorite meal the school provided: meatloaf with mashed potatoes.

CENTRAL connected with FLOWER and left space for AB and BOTTLE. Lower down, however, SEED wasn’t working with HAND. She hadn’t heard whatever quote was listed for that clue. As such, Wil would have just skipped those few blank squares and moved on. Unfortunately, the beginning letter was important.

After reading over the paper in the locker room before Gym class before lunch, Wil had noticed that some squares had a darker outline. She guessed they formed key letters of a puzzle that would give her a message once she had them all.

She absentmindedly scooped up some instant potatoes, and tried to think as she slurped them off her spoon. “One in the hand is worth two in the what?” She said quietly.

The barely glinting sunlight outside the tinted doors shone randomly on the courtyard beyond. She watched its dance and remembered stepping around the silent area just yesterday. Wil cut off a piece of soggy meat, placed it in her mouth, chewed a bit, and swallowed.

Slowly, she repeated, “One in the hand is worth two in the …?”

“Bush,” an old woman’s voice near her finished.

Startled out of her reverie, Wil looked to the speaker. To her left hunched one of the lunch ladies who patrolled the cafeteria. The woman’s face looked just like the pre-packaged croissants they served sometimes, if one added two beady eyes and gray curls under a hair net to the top.

“Oh,” Wil stammered. “Uh, thank you.”

The creases turned upward as the older woman’s small eyes lit up slightly. “Oh, you’re welcome, dear.” Lunchlady Croissant turned thick-soled off-white sneakers around, and went back to her usual duty of glaring at irresponsible teenagers. Wil heard bits of something about kids these days and old sayings.

Remembering her task at hand, she turned back to her paper. “B-U-S-H,” She intoned as she wrote. Her key letter was B.

Excitedly, she penciled in more and more answers. The contents of her lunch tray diminished as the spaces filled with letters and Wil’s stomach filled with substance. She washed the bad taste down with milk and viewed the results happily.

Capitals boldly filled every black square, interlocking and completing chains and paths of words. The crossword was finished; at least, she was fairly certain it was.

She scanned the chart in traditional Arabic writing fashion of left to right and wrote the key letters at the bottom of the page: T, M, E, E, Y, B, R, R, L, I, A, B, Y, R, E, F, A, T, S, C, H, O, O, L.

The bell and the recognition of yet another puzzle punctured Wil’s spirits like a small cut near the base of a latex balloon. She stuffed the paper and her pencil into her binder, and gathered her lunch things together.

She carried her tray over to the washing area, where she once again saw the helpful worker. “Thanks, dear,” Lunchlady said, and Wil was more certain of a smile this time.

Smiling a rare, truly pleasant response, Wil went back to collect her things from the table.

 

Continued from Twenty-Nine.
Keep reading to Thirty-One.

 

Want to start at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start.