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Saturday, August 11, 2018

A School Story...

One of my lunch duties at school involves conveying the preps and grade ones and twos down to the back oval in a semi-orderly fashion. One of the other teachers travels ahead of us to circumnavigate the oval in a golf buggy to investigate the malevolent presence of venomous snakes and rabid, undomesticated kangaroos.

Last week, while we were down on that very oval, little Aloysius inched up to me as I attempted to eat chunks of watermelon from my plastic container at the same time as I was untying a preppie’s shoelace which had fallen off his foot when he'd kicked a soccer ball.

Whenever I am asked to untie a preppie’s shoelaces, they’re always tied in multiple, unfathomable knots and sopping wet.

“Have you been trying to undo these knots with your teeth?” I always ask, suspicious about the presence of spit and possible cross-infection. They always deny it but I know the truth.

Little Aloysius coughed to get my attention. “Mrs. Poinker,” he lisped self-righteously. “Bronson is up on the hill playing with rocks and sticks!”

I glanced at him and choked down a hunk of watermelon. “Well… there’s nothing wrong with that, Aloysius. You’re allowed to play with rocks and sticks as long as you don’t throw them.”

Aloysius considered this for a moment, disappointed that Bronson wasn’t going to cop a serve from a teacher. “But Mrs. Poinker, Bronson said that I can’t play with him,” he whined.

My eyes scoured the top of the slope for Bronson. I could see the tiny six-year old crouched in the dirt, too far away for me to call out and much too far away for me to hike to, what with my watermelon and hands full of soggy, knotted shoelaces.

“Go tell Bronson to come and see me at once,” I said to Aloysius. “It’s against the rules to say people can’t play with you.”

Satisfied with this promising outcome and the thought of Bronson getting into trouble, Aloysius took off up the hill with his secondhand directive as fast as his pudgy legs could carry him.

Naturally, Bronson completely ignored the subpoena, but I caught up with him when the bell went and we were all trudging back to class.

“Bronson,” I demanded. “What’s this about you telling Aloysius he CAN’T play with you. That’s against school rules!”

Bronson’s eyes flickered like a fluorescent light powering up and I could see him calculating his careful response.

“No, Mrs. Poinker,” he drawled with the confidence only a practised Machiavelli can muster on command. “I said that Aloysius CAN play with me.”

Aloysius’ eyes lit up in gratitude. “Oooooh! I thought you said I CAN’T play with you!” he grinned, happy to hear that he’d made a mistake and that Bronson liked him after all.

I’m going to keep my eye on young Bronson.

I reckon he might become president of the United States one day.