Her shrill voice scratches at my soul like fingernails on a chalkboard.
I look down at the test sheet on my desk.
The numbers dance around on the page, mocking me.
My knuckles scream out in agony as the ruler finds its mark.
She wields her yardstick like a mighty samurai warrior, striking down all who fail to remain diligent in her pre-algebra class.
I have no idea what diligence means.
"No speaking during testing!"
She waddles closer to my desk and looms over me like an obese, violent penguin.
I am a fish about to be swallowed...
"We must be diligent now, mustn't we?"
She looks down at me and cocks her head to the side.
Is this a trap?
Do I dare speak and risk more pain?
I slowly raise my eyes to look up at her.
I try to meet her gaze but...
The giant, hairy mole on her chin grabs my attention.
I am trapped, incapable of looking away.
It is perched on her fat chin like a small, black rodent.
I am hypnotized by the mole - unable to respond.
It's almost as if the mole is staring back at me.
"I AM WAITING FOR AN ANSWER!"
I stare unblinkingly at the mole and stammer, "y-yes..."
I hear her knuckles crack as she tightens her grip on the ruler.
The mole smiles at me.
"Yes s-sister m-m-mar..."
"SPIT IT OUT!"
"SPIT. IT. OUT!"
The hairy mole on Sister Mary Katherine's chin looks down at me and winks.
As the word jumps from my mouth, time stops momentarily.
So does my heart.
Every student in the classroom swivel their heads in unison and stare at me in horror.
I realize, too late, what I've blurted out and then -
copyright © 2011 Kevin Routh