“But Miss Flores, I don’t get it,” Daniel shouted out even as he shot his hand into the air and waved it around, almost bouncing out of his seat towards the back of the reading circle.
“Daniel remember, no shouting out. You need to raise your hand and then wait to be called on before asking your question,” Cecila Flores calmly replied to her most enthusiastic, if not a bit stubborn, student. After five years of teaching kindergaten at the Cypress Hill Elementary School, Cecila had learned there was always one in every class, and this year it was Daniel Nicholson. Closing the book she had just finished reading aloud to the class, a magical tale of a genie who granted a street boy three wishes, Cecelia asked Daniel, “Now, what is it that you don’t understand?”
“Why didn’t he just ask for more wishes? That’s what I would have done,” Daniel said with obvious pride.
“Well, that’s a very good question, Daniel. I suppose if you ever have the chance to meet your own genie you should ask him,” Cecelia replied, hoping that would end the topic so they could move on to arts and crafts. Seeing that Daniel was mulling over the concept of meeting a genie in person, Cecelia took advantage of his silence and announced cheerily to the class, “Next week we will begin a new book called Little Spies, about a boy named Lee who solves mysteries in his neighborhood. Okay class, time for arts and crafts! Today we will be making paper jack-o-lanterns for Halloween!” Sixteen pairs of legs scampered in excitement to the arts and crafts area and quickly took their seats at their assigned tables. Switching on the classroom TV, Cecelia hit play and smiled as the talking pumpkin from Disney’sHalloween Treat appeared on the screen before passing out sheets of orange construction paper.
After another long but fulfilling day in the classroom, Cecelia was looking forward to the big Halloween bash her friend Sam was throwing. Arriving home, she had several hours to kill before she needed to start getting ready so cracking open a fresh root beer she picked up her cell phone bill and dialed customer service. Having accrued several mysterious charges, Cecelia was eager to resolve the issue and figure out what the problem might be. Thirty minutes later, she was on the verge of tears. Never, in all her 30 years had anyone made her feel so belittled and frustrated in such a short amount of time as the ‘customer service’ representative she had just hung up on. “Why some people feel like it’s a good idea to berate and speak so condescendingly to a total stranger is beyond me,” she thought angrily.
Refusing to let it ruin her night, Cecelia dialed her friend Sam to see if she could bring anything to the party. “Hey girl! Ready for your big bash tonight? Yeah, I’m toats pumped. Nah, just calling to see if you needed me to bring anything; I was thinking of making some of my caramels to bring,” Cecelia said into the receiver already feeling 100% better.
On the other end of the line Sam replied laughing, “So weird, I was just about to call you to see if you could whip up some of those delish caramels! I swear, sometimes I think you’re in my brain trying to get ahold of some of my amazing thoughts, I’m on to you, lady!”
Cecelia chatted a few more moments before hanging up and getting started on a fresh batch of caramels. While the sweet confection was cooling, she decided she had better start getting into costume. On the recommendation of a friend, Cecelia had decided on going as a Swedish fish, thanks to her addiction to the candy. Crafting the homemade costume herself, she admired her handiwork in the mirror before waddling back into her small kitchen to cut and wrap the caramels into bite sized portions.
Later, at the party, after making the rounds and chatting with a few friends from her school, Cecelia grabbed her tail and made her way to the giant salt water aquarium Sam recently installed in the living room. Hypnotized by the tranquil movements of the exotic fish inside, it took her a little while to realize that the aquarium also allowed her a secret portal of sorts into conversations on the other side of the tank. Honing in on one group and then another, Cecelia became completely absorbed in being the preverbal ‘fly on the wall’. Hours passed and she still had not moved from her station behind the fish tank, the people watching and eavesdropping was just too good.
“Does she think she’s a fish?”
“I don’t know but she’s starting to annoy me.”
“Hey! Hey weird girl! Would you move it already?”
“I don’t think she can hear you, she’s totally tuned out.”
“I can’t stand being hovered over. It’s just rude.”
“Just ignore her, Harvey. Hey, come look at the treasure chest with me again, I love that thing.”
The two clownfish turned away from the glass and the strange girl and swam to the opposite corner to investigate the curious acrylic treasure chest that mysteriously blew bubbles each time its lid popped open. Bubbles were much more fascinating than those silly human creatures any day.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: The story today had several guest contributors, whether they know it or not. First, let’s get the ‘me’ part out of the way. Today I had to call AT&T customer service. After going over my data usage despite never using it, I wanted to see if there was anything they could tell me to help me figure out what was causing the overages. You’d think I had called with the sole purpose of insulting the mother of the representative that took my call if her tone and manner was any indication. Right out of the gate she was condescending, unhelpful and to be frank- a complete kaka head. After being berated and told I was an idiot in not so many words, I had had it. Telling her where I thought she could take her terrible attitude I hung up on the biotch. I was shaking mad. Not a minute after hanging up on rudeness incarnate, AT&T called me back. Short story, they apologized, I told them what I thought of the poor service I received, and they Comped me the overage charge. All was made right, thanks to a lovely manager who sympathized and spoke to me as one adult to another.
Now on to my guest contributors! Several people provided some great ideas to a Facebook thread asking what kind of fiction they would like to see written. While I didn’t exactly write a work on each topic, I tried to incorporate each suggestion into tonight’s story. They are as follows:
From Dan: “Genie versus Master: moderator-run debate to finally determine exactly which wishes should be on or off the table and why. Obviously you’d have to research I Dream of Genie, Aladdin and the like to establish precedent. I imagine the moderator being the talking pumpkin who introduces Disney’s Halloween treat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwOGyJdvVG4“
From Lee (aka Dad): “i’m not creative, but would like to write a spy novel me being the hero of course lol”
From Sam (aka #2): “Nice try….trying to get a hold of my amazing thoughts. I’m on to you…”
From Kari: “teaching kindergarten”
From Paul: ” A Halloween story where the main character goes to a party as a fish and then, as he looks into an aquarium, is absorbed by it and spends the whole party seaing (whoops) what is going on with various friends and such – without them knowing it. Hahahahaha!”
So thanks everybody, and hope you enjoyed the story!
Love & Squirrels.