“I will not kick platypuses into rivers when I am on excursions with my class,” Billy wrote across the chalkboard for the thirty-third time.
Sixty-seven more times to go, he thought, as he slid to the left side of the board and poised his chalky hand to begin sentence number thirty-four. He longed to scratch the chalk across the board and make that high-pitched shriek which pierced the drums and made the skin curl, but Teacher wouldn’t approve. He could feel Miss Windham’s laser eyes boring smoky holes into the back of his head as he flicked his hand across the chalkboard and scrawled the word “platypus.”
“Billy Johnson!” What is wrong with you?!” her tomato face had screamed at him after he punted the platypus into the river, just like those soccer players he’d seen on the telly.
Some of the girls broke into tears, crying for the plight of the furry creature, who plunked into the shallow waters like a canon. Others craned their necks to see if it emerged alive and well. But Miss Windham’s attention never left Billy, who stared blankly at his teacher as she ripped him a new one for putting his feet on an innocent creature. The class trip was over, she announced, and then marched the children back to the school, her plastic nails digging into Billy’s arm as she pulled him to his fate – spending an afternoon in her stuffy classroom and writing one hundred sentences while all the other children went home and played.
“I will not kick platypuses into rivers while I am on excursions with my class,” Billy wrote for the thirty-eighth time.
“I hope this is teaching you a lesson about how to treat animals, Billy,” Miss Windham called out.
Billy continued with his quest to finish sentence number thirty-nine, never taking his eyes off the chalky words as he replied, “What lesson is that, Miss Windham?”
The gulp of air she inhaled through her nose to stifle the irritation climbing up her throat could be heard by his small ears. Billy didn’t flinch or hesitate – she started sentence number forty.
“The lesson is you don’t kick animals and treat them poorly,” she huffed.
“When I am on excursions with my class,” Billy finished for her.
“Excuse me?” Miss Windham asked.
“You said I can’t treat animals poorly when I am on excursions with my class,” Billy answered nonchalantly, mid-way through sentence number forty-three. “You never said any thing about what I can do on my own time at home.”
He heard her deep dragon breath and waited for her approach to grab his arm, whip him around, and scold him again, but instead, her steps fled to the door, which she slammed loudly as she left the room.
Leaving Billy all alone to finish writing sentence number forty-four.
– Written by Miss A on June 7, 2012