Hello, Blogosphere, and good morning.
Here’s my first new post, as promised! The first prompt in the book: “What can happen in a second?” Here’s my answer.
Also, any thoughts on the new theme?
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The kid shifts in his chair and reaches for his pocket. I peg him as soon as I see the phone come out.
“You, in the third row. With the prissy little hair. Put the damn phone away and look at me.”
The kid rolls his eyes.
“What, you think I’m a fraud? Buddy, I promise you, if I could get out of this goddamned wheelchair I’d beat your hide right now.”
Miss Sophia puts her hand on my shoulder. I look up at her. She shakes her head.
Her hands are freezing.
“Fine,” I say. “Have a little class, would you?” I make eye contact with the girl next to him, and she nods. Whispers something in his ear.
The phone goes away.
I nod and wheel forward, going down the aisle between the rows of desks. “You kids don’t take this stuff seriously. I should know, I didn’t either.” I point at a little girl in the back row. “I used to sit in your seat. And I’d have my head down and I’d sleep. I’d pass the tests, but it was luck mostly. But why did I care, right?”
I raise my voice. “Next week, Miss Sophia’s going to teach you how to correct, when you’re driving and all of a sudden, you hit a patch of ice. I fell asleep that day, when we learned about it.”
I turn, and wheel my way slowly back to the front. “One second, guys. One second changes everything. Three weeks after I passed the test at the DMV, I hit a patch of ice going 45 on a 30. I had about three seconds to do something. Took me one to realize what was even going on. I had one second, before it was too late to do anything. Hopefully, you guys will learn how to use that one second and correct, and save your own skins.”
I lock my eyes with the phone kid.
“I spent that one second making my peace with God. I didn’t know what else to do, so I didn’t do it.”
I pause for a while. The kids look at each other. I wait for the whispers to wane.
“I thought I’d be dead. Turns out, I got lucky. Lucky enough to never play football again, never walk into school. I can’t go on boats anymore, because if they capsized there would be nothing I could do. I got lucky, yeah. Blessed with a lifetime of adult diapers.”
One kid snorts, and I fix him with a glare. He withers.
Miss Sophia brushes my shoulder again. Her hands are still cold. I nod.
“Before I go, just remember to take something from what I said today. You don’t have to take much, but my one, single request is this: Don’t be stupid.”
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Be well and prosper,