Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DAYDREAM (12/08/16)
- TITLE: Let Class Begin
By Francy Judge
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Rory could hear Mr. Franklin naming the countries in the Midwest, but as he began repeating the difficult to pronounce names, a train roars by the school, drowning out his words. Rory leaps onto the train. He can’t explain how he left through the window or how he can hold onto the roof of a train moving eighty miles an hour, but the wind is exhilarating. His wavy hair that normally hangs over his ears now blows straight out parallel to the horizon. The wind hums and fills his ears, blocking out all other sounds. Trees bend away from the train’s presence.
A shape appears a few train cars ahead, moving toward him. A man.
“Mr. Franklin? What are you doing here?”
“Ahh…it worked. I’m testing out the new teacher program, Daydreamware.”
“Duck!” Rory shouts.
“Watch out for the bridge!”
Mr. Franklin crouches just before the train speeds under an overpass. “Phew…that was close. You sure do have action packed daydreams. I thought your mind was headed to dreamland.” He rises to his knees and dusts debris off his arms. “I am here to teach you in your daydreams. Our school has been chosen to test this new technology. Since students spend most of their time in school drifting in and out of dreamland, we the teachers are taking the lessons directly to your minds to the thoughts that hold your attention.”
He turns on the board, displaying a map and continues pointing to the countries: “Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates…”
Rory wonders if it’s possible to daydream in his daydream. But he doesn’t. He repeats the countries and points to their location on the map.
Katelyn holds the railing. Her fingers ache against the cold metal, but she doesn’t let go. She leans her shoulders over the bars and listens to the seagulls splashing in and out of the water. But instead of squawking, she hears her classmates laughing at her.
“Jump! You’ll sink to the bottom like a refrigerator.”
She’s not surprised; she’s heard their jokes before, but her heart is tired of aching. “I could do this. No one would care.” Katelyn loosens her grip on the railing and closes her eyes as tears escape.
“Don’t Katelyn. This is not the answer.”
Mr. Franklin is standing next to her. “How did you? I mean…I thought I was daydreaming.”
“You are. I’m here to teach you, but first you have to learn to live, before you’ll care about geography.”
"It was just a thought…I’m not really jumping.”
“That’s true. Just know that the pain you feel now will pass. Some kids don’t realize or don’t care how sharp their words are, but you have value. God created you with a purpose and a plan. I believe you will do great things.”
Katelyn lifts her hands off the railing and smiles. “I know. I’ll be the famous person at the ten year reunion someday.”
“Good. Now can you name the sixteen countries in the Middle East?”
Katelyn groans, but names every one.
Tyler charges toward the goal, weaving the soccer ball around the defense in the last minute of the game. He kicks it in the corner, out of the goalie’s reach. “Yeah! Who’s the best?”
“ Couldn’t this dream wait until after class? I’m too old for soccer. Okay. You kick the ball toward the country I name on the board and will get a point for correct answers.”
Before the bell rings, Mr. Franklin collects the geography quizzes from twenty confused students. “No, you are not dreaming now. If you paid attention in science class, you would know about this new technology.”
As Mr. Franklin grades each paper, he feels his eyes get heavy. He tosses the fishing line over the edge of the rowboat and lifts up a hat. Principal Schaffer sits across from him.
“Thanks. You found my hat. So how did class go today?”
Fine until now.
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