Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
TITLE: THE little THINGS
By Lynda Lee Schab
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I was sitting in study hall working on my dreaded English paper. Mr. Kylie (aka: "Hawkeyes") was sitting at his desk reading a book about the Civil War. Every few seconds, his beady eyes would peer over his paperback and scan the room for D.R.'s and R.B.'s (disrupters and rule breakers). Those who tested the limits by breaking the rules or disrupting the class quickly discovered that for a small, balding man, Hawkeyes was a formidable presence and took great delight in humiliating his students. It had been said that if he didn't sentence at least two students per day to detention, Hawkeyes went home and punished himself by striking his knuckles twenty times with a ruler. Others say the condition of his knuckles is due to eczema.
At any rate, I couldn't believe it when P.K. started tapping me on the shoulder with his pencil. The preacher's kid may have biblical knowledge, but he sure lacked common sense. I ignored the tap-tap-tapping for as long as I could. I waited for Hawkeyes to make his next room-scan, his black marbles moving over each desk. When he turned his attention back to the exciting Civil War novel, I slowly turned my head and was about to shoot P.K. a dirty look, when a flash of black caught my eye. I glanced down and saw a huge, black spider making his way up my arm, one hairy leg after another.
And then I screamed.
Not just a small, "eek!" but a bone-chilling, blood curdling scream. I jumped up and flailed my arms wildly, like a raging lunatic. Throughout my brief jig-dancing episode, I felt myself step on at least three sets of feet, but I didn't really care. My sporadic arm movements resulted in my English book flying across the aisle and hitting Patti Beeker smack dab in the lip. In mere seconds all heck broke loose in study hall. Screams erupted from all twenty-three students, even the guys, who screamed in a man-yell sort of way. I'm sure everyone thought there must be a killer on the loose in Mr. Kylie's classroom.
When the screams died down, I looked up to an angry Mr. Kylie, standing four feet away, his steel bullets drilling holes through my face. I desperately searched the floor for the evidence to prove my case but the spider was nowhere to be seen, most likely terrified and trembling somewhere in a dark corner, more scared than I was, if that was possible. Hawkeyes didn't need to say a word, he just pointed to the door with his dry, scabby finger and I slinked away, aware that my face was turning a bright shade of crimson.
I suppose in reliving the experience, I can be thankful for a couple of things. First, I can be thankful that Mr. Kylie was my study hall teacher. No other teacher would have sent me out of the classroom and frankly, the principal's office was fine with me compared to sitting through the rest of class knowing a spider was in the near vicinity. Second, I can be thankful for the preacher's kid, P.K., who annoyingly tapped me into awareness of the hairy black creature crawling up my arm. I shudder to think about what would have happened if the spider had made its way up to my shoulder, or worse yet, my face! And third, I can be very thankful I wasn't wearing short sleeves. Or worse, a skirt that would have undoubtedly swirled up in my panic to display my granny-style underwear.
So, when mom asks me what I'm thankful for, I now know what to say. She's right. It is important to be thankful for the little things. Oh - and for extra credit, I'll let mom know how very thankful I am that she shares my arachnaphobia. That assures me that she'll be a little more forgiving when I tell her I ended up with three days in the hole.
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