“School Call #5″*

*The following phone call was overheard in the English department office of a suburban Midwestern high school. One can only speculate what was said on the other end of the line.

Originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, October 2013

Wednesday, September 18th.  11:20 a.m. (3rd Period).

   “Hello, Mrs. Olive.  This is Ms Schertz returning your call.”

         “Yes, Mrs. Olive, it is a beautiful day.”

         “Look, we could chat about the weather, but I’m in class right now, and you’re not a meteorologist.  Why don’t you just tell me why you called?”

         “I see.”

         “Well, I had no idea.”

         “No, Chris never . . ..”

         “I’m sorry, Mrs. Olive.  I meant to say, Christopher never mentioned to me that he didn’t find the class engaging.”

         “If true, that certainly would be of serious concern to me.”

         “No, I’m not being sarcastic.”

         “No, I’m not suggesting that Christopher is giving you a distorted view of what happens in class.”

         “I understand.”

         “Well, his first paper would probably have gotten a higher grade if it had been word processed and . . ..”

         “No, I don’t grade on neatness, but we did spend three periods in the computer lab, so I was a little shocked to see his paper was handwritten.”

         “He was present those days, Mrs. Olive.”

         “What I started to say was that the first paper wasn’t typed and that it didn’t meet the assignment.”

         “It was a descriptive paper about a favorite place.”

         “The electric chair.”

         “I said, he wrote about the electric chair.”

         “I assume he wrote about it because he’s on the debate team and they’re debating the death penalty.  He had a lot of details readily available.”

         “Look, I think the ‘D’ was a well deserved.”

         “I realize . . ..”

         “If you’d let me . . ..”

         “Mrs. Olive, stop!  You’re probably right.  I haven’t ‘engaged’ him in class.  Why don’t I go back to class and wake him up and see . . ..”

         “Yes, I said wake him up.”

         “Every day.”

         “I think he has gym first period, alternating with marching band.”

         “The first week and a half I tried walking past him as I lectured and gently tapping his shoulder.  I tried standing next to him when I gave directions.  I had Christopher see the nurse.  She said all he needed was a nap.”

         “I’ll go wake him up, and you can speak to him about it if you like.”

         “Mrs. Olive, I have to get back to class.  I will make another attempt to engage him.  You, on your part, can put him to bed earlier.”

“Mrs. Olive, if you don’t believe me, ask his friends in the class.  They wake him every day before they leave the room.  One time they forgot him in the lab . . ..”

         “Yes, I believe that was when his pants were stolen . . ..”

         “No, I don’t think it was anything kinky.  I think he’s just a sound sleeper.”

         “Mrs. Olive . . .?  Are you there?  Mrs. Olive?”






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