Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash
Trembling hands peel back the foil encasing a special brownie. She will need to face them soon, but first, something to calm her nerves. She breaks a piece of the pungent cake and puts it to her lips. It’s chalky and dry but that really doesn’t matter. She waits for it to take effect.
The door opens and she shudders at the trash talk that immediately fills the classroom. Please be away, please be away. The mantra bounces around her head and she chases it down, shoving it to the back of her mind. She eats a little more brownie and then wraps it up. Her eyes fall on the larger foil package that she has also brought today. Just in case.
She spies Phillip across the room. He locks eyes, his expression mocking.
‘Miss me, Miss?’
He’d received a three day suspension for shoving her out of his way. The second temper tantrum in a month. The week before, he’d snapped his pencil and thrown it at her. He lounges in the back row with Sally on his lap. Highly inappropriate but she won’t ask him to move. Not again. Instead she calls on Sally.
‘Find your own chair please Sally,’
Sally rolls her eyes and slinks off his knee, not before kissing him square on the mouth to the hoots of the students around them. The teacher takes a moment to visualise the calming tonic flowing through her veins. She will get through this lesson.
‘Take out your answers to last week’s quiz please.’
She set this as homework and braces herself for the complaints and excuses that always ensue. A fork hurtles from the back row and hits a boy on his ear.
“Phillip!” Her voice is shrill. The brownie can’t protect her from everything. “This is your one and only warning!”
“Chill Miss.” He responds.
“Calm down,” Sally jeers.
Before she knows what is happening, the fork flies back and hits Sally in the forehead. All bets are off and Phillip lunges over his desk, slamming the perpetrator’s head into the table.
The teacher’s blood pressure spikes instantly. “Call the office!” and she’s running to intervene. But what can she do? She’s half Phillip’s size.
Thankfully the principal and police are on standby for this class. Five head slams later and reinforcements have arrived to separate the boys. The principal has Phillip restrained and there is blood seeping from the other boy’s face.
The teacher’s hands tremble once more as she picks up Phillip’s backpack. She extends it to the principal as the sounds of sirens grow louder.
“I think you should take a look at this.” She produces a weighty foil package from his bag.
A flash of confusion on Phillip’s face is noticed only by her. The package is unwrapped and thumb-sized green buds spill from the foil as a police officer enters the classroom.