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Sitting in the too-warm classroom, I drummed my fingers on the desk. Staring out the window, my vision clouded. I didn’t really see anything aside from the far-off horizon-line of the ocean. I thought I could almost hear the surf rolling in as I focused on the boats and the way the sunlight glinted on the water and white hulls of polished vessels. Almost all of them are very elegant with ironic nicknames like The Summer of George and Laguna Matata and I’ve Got Crabs

I love laying on the beach or leaning over the pier and looking for the most inventive sarcasm scrawled on each buoyant shell. I smirked to myself as I leaned heavily on my elbow, remembering a perfect blue sky, a scrumptious ice cream cone the size of my head and the unladylike snort I’d emitted when Captain Underpants sailed by. 

I suddenly realized that eyes were on me, and that – heavy sigh – class wasn’t over. I hate being caught daydreaming like this in the middle of a lesson. It happens so often that I’m surprised I’m not disciplined more frequently.

“Okay, class, time’s up,” I said, grudgingly pulling my eyes from the window. 

I glance up at the clock and realize I’ve lost track of time. Again. The little monsters have gotten seven extra minutes to complete the essay portions of their practice tests. SAT prep is kill-or-be-killed in pretentious private schools such as these. I was probably going to hear about this latest “staycation-in-my head” once the assistant principal, Mel, got an earful from Marla, the kiss-ass overachiever in the front row. 

He insisted the kids call him Mel, but I could only think of him as my own personal Captain Ahab, stalking me through the halls, the theme from Jaws loudly careening on my mental soundtrack as I hid behind classroom doors or ducked into the restroom until he passed by.

God, I hate this job. I really wanted to be a pirate princess when I was eight. How come that never worked out?

Oh. Right. While I loved the notion of a foul-mouthed parrot sidekick, I did NOT relish the idea of the cleanup. I guess they don’t call it a “poop deck” for nothin’. 

“Is something funny, Miss Frost?” 

Shit! Was I laughing? I was laughing! Stop laughing!!

“Yes, Marla. Something amusing just occurred to me.”

God this little snot is smug. She clearly thinks she’s superior to me in every way, but she could hide it a little better. 

“Would you like to share with the rest of the class?”

Seriously with this kid?

“No, I wouldn’t. We need to get on with the rest of class.”

Why is she behaving like she’s the teacher, and I’m the student?

“Well, it’s just that we’ve wasted so much class time already while you were daydreaming. We may as well hear what it is you find more interesting than doing your job.”

My mouth is hanging open. I know it’s hanging open. Why can’t I close it?! Do you KNOW how stupid you look right now?! You were just rebuked in your own classroom by this little shit, and NOW your mouth is hanging open! SAY SOMETHING!!

But what comes out of my mouth is not the mature retort of a teacher taking control of her classroom. It isn’t laced with the learned wisdom of all the female educators who’ve come before me. No. I go low.

“You know, Marla? It’s ironic you’re such a haughty, self-centered little bitch when your father makes no attempt at hiding his philandering ways and your mother hasn’t crawled out of a Stoli bottle since your bony little ass was in overpriced diapers.”


Of course my car won’t start. I’ve just been fired, so why would the universe throw me a bone now? I should have known I didn’t have the right temperament for this kind of job. I should have known the first time Mel interviewed me and used alarming buzz phrases that made me want to poke him in the eye like “school policy” and “tow the line” and “team player.” 

But I needed money. I had a little after my uncle passed away and left me his estate, so I figured I could skate by on that until I was published. 

Yes, that was a great plan. Until the money ran out after a year and a half with nothing to show for it but 10 and a half quasi-usable chapters, two moody cats and a firmly cemented sugar addiction.

“Can I do anything to help?”

I jumped, not realizing he was right outside my window.

“Don’t you think you’ve done enough?”

“What did I do? I was there for moral support.”

“Moral support?! You didn’t say ONE WORD when that douche was berating me for dressing down that twat in my class!”

“I only speak if you request it. You didn’t request it.”


Suddenly deflated, I could feel my shoulders sag. I turned my face away, trying not to cry.

“I know you were in the thick of it in there, so you might not remember. My name is Cass. I’m not just a union rep, you know. I wear many hats. I also run a taxi service for beautiful women on the side. I can give you a lift if you like.”

“You’re seriously hitting on me now? I was just humiliated in front of my class by Carrie.” I realized I was yelling and gesturing wildly toward the building, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. “That scene in there was bloodier than the movie. There were more bodies!”

I registered the smirk on his face, and realized I was entertaining him. That only pissed me off more. 

“I’m so glad you find my complete and utter destruction amusing.”

“You weren’t destroyed. You gave as good as you got. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing when you told Mel to eat a giant bag of dicks.”

That stopped me short.

“I said that?”

“You sure did. Then you called him a pickled old knuckle-dragging butt-monkey, and you stormed out, stepping on Marla’s Louis Vuitton in the process.”

“Oh… well… I’m glad I got that out of my system then I guess.” 

I was smiling stupidly now, taken by this foolish man who found my hysteria amusing. If he was attracted to me when I was raving like a madwoman, perhaps he’d like me even more when I was feigning the behavior of the perfectly normal.

“Would you like to stop for a bite on the way home? I haven’t had lunch yet, and all that ranting has me famished.”

Cass grinned and took my hand, kissing it and giving it a squeeze.

“I’d be delighted, Miss Frost. Oh, and it’s really nice to meet you.”


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