Like wisdom shouting through the streets, compelling scenes of nature scrolled the walls of the afterschool facility. “Attitude, Determination, and Integrity,” were just a few of the endowments addressed to the settings. With hope, the images would inspire the low income inner city children toward a Christian eternal way of life.
The bus driver, Clay, jabbed a portly Sergio and grabbed his donated lunch tray away from him. "You don't need that, Mr. Lego Haircut." His watchful little sister bolted from the gym, prattling to their teen sister, Tanya, upstairs. As Clay’s horseplay continued, Sergio and others spurned his offense.
Mr. Monet, a volunteer, was horrified as he stepped between the fifth grade lunch line and Clay. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, Clay. The meager budget can’t afford new employees so Mr. Vaughn, gave you bus driver’s the responsibility to monitor, not a license to drive members up a wall.” The fifth graders roared.
“I heard what Mr. Vaughn said at the meeting, Yank.” Clay snubbed, “like speaking positive words is gonna change their life. Most of their parents are in the slammer.”
Mr. Monet’s heart was grieved. He was like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz encountering scarecrows, tin men, lions, and wizards of all ages. Glenda, the good witch, portrayed by the Holy Spirit, would guide his heart with discernment preserving souls from the bad witch, Satan.
Mr. Monet ignored the prodding revenge surging in the line behind him, “Knock Clay out, Mr. Monet,” Steering Clay away from the group. “Clay, remember a teacher was stabbed by a teen because of bullying? Please watch your tongue. You are on treacherous ground.”
“Why do you look mad, Mr. Monet?” Leaping into the air with thunderous puffs the young boy tripped over a sawhorse leg supporting the pool table nearby.
Mr. Monet beamed. “A pilot has to see where he’s going, Isaiah. Are you ok?”
Isaiah blushed, squashing his marshmallow cheeks with his gaping button shirt. Mumbling toward an exaggerated friend, he navigated playfully into the oblivious crowd.
“Whew!” Clay shook his head witnessing Isaiah’s display. “Face it Yank, these kids are losers.”
In the computer lab.
“I’m real proud of how you are trying to get along with others,” Mr. Monet told the fifth grade, “sometimes it does take a higher power to get us through the day.”
“Can this higher power strike Clay with laryngitis?” Sergio mocked as others approved.
“I promise, you can impact Clay when God’s behind you.”
A wandering seven-year old appeared into the room flashing her square shaped teeth.
Like a magician, Miracle pitifully waved her duct-taped wrist to the class. “Ha, ha.” She squealed, yanking the phony cast from her wrist. The group howled. Sergio rolled his eyes.
“I hear somebody’s sister is gonna beat up Mr. Clay in the activity room.” Sergio slumped in his seat.
Mr. Monet ordered the class to remain as he sprinted down the hall.
“Only sissy’s wear pj’s to school.” Clay continued to banter the boy in fuzzy bottoms. “Come here, what does your shirt say? How do you keep an idiot busy?’”
The boy snickered.
“I hear you been talkin trash?” Tanya and her co-ed companions crisscrossed the checker board linoleum pressing Clay back into a wall. Tanya grabbed a pool stick, thumping it in her palm.
“I was just funning.” Clay snorted, gawking at the vein chords in Tanya’s neck.
“Insults hurt people. Kills their dreams.” Tanya tapped the framed picture near Clay’s head with the stick. “Words to live by, Sir.” Beneath the heading, “Destiny,” pavement with solid yellow lines ascended into the billowy clouds. Tanya read. ‘“It is never too late to become what you might have been.”’ Tanya sighed. “One lane leads to paradise, and the opposite leads to destruction. Our paths have crossed, Sir, but we kids are survivors, headed in the right direction no matter what you say about it.”
“Nicely put, young lady.” Mr. Vaughn entered the activity room with Mr. Monet. “Clay, I suggest you take your next bus ride to the unemployment line. And thank you, Mr. Monet, for bringing this to my attention.”
“Hey, Mr. Monet, what’s up?” Tanya appeared concerned.
Mr. Monet was ecstatic. Like a proud father he congratulated Tanya with a charitable hug. “Tanya, dear, I’ll tell you what’s up. How would you teens like to be role models as our new lunch monitors?”
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