Sunday, July 29, 2007

Short Story: Popcorn

Popcorn

When will this day be over!! One more class, one more class…I can do this.
Samantha walked over to the open door and smiled at the parents bringing their little three-year olds to dance class.

“Hi Morgan,” she said, “you ready to do some dancing?” I don’t feel like being Miss Happy-Teacher. “Why don’t you grab a mat to put your bag on and you can help me start our dancing row.”

Ten minutes later, she was facing six little three-year old girls. Each one was dressed in pink tights and a little pink leotard. On their feet were slippery black tap-shoes. “All right, zip those hands on your waists and squeeze your feet together. You ready to do some dancing?”

“Yes,” came the yells of the little ones. Oh, my head. It’s amazing how much vocal power they have at that age.

“All right, it’s time to wake up Mr. Music. On the count of three let’s see if we can yell and wake him up. One, two, three…”

“WAKE UP MR. MUSIC.”

The little girls jumped and wiggled in their glee.

Samantha walked over to the CD-player saying, “Are you awake Mr. Music?”

A deep man’s voice replied, “Of course I am. I’ve been working here just as long as you have today? What, did you think I could take a nap in the middle of all this racket?”

Samantha jumped and turned quickly. There was no one in the room but her and the kids. She shook her head. I must be more tired today than I even realized. I’m hearing things!

She reached out toward the CD-player and hit play.

“Here we go again, playing the same old music over and over. Why don’t you spend a little money and buy something new. Don’t you know how sick I am of this CD?” The voice was low and gravelly – definitely a man’s voice.

“Who said that,” Samantha whispered.

“I did, ding bat.”

“Who are you, and where are you?”

“You just pressed play on me, dear, and told the little brats over there to wake me up.” said the speaker. Samantha just stared at the player. Cautiously she touched it. Still hard…metal…

Just then Alyssa came over and pulled on her black dance skirt. “Teacher, Mr. Music is awake, I want to do some shuffle-steps.”

Samantha shook her head to get the man’s voice out of her brain. “All right Sweetie, I’m coming.” She left the music playing and walked over to the kids. No more voice was talking. I’m imagining things – must get more sleep tonight.

The kids were actually working hard today. They did shuffle steps, and jumped in a box, and did some taps with their heels and toes. Samantha walked over to the CD-player and turned the music off. For a moment she thought she heard a man yawn, but she quickly put that thought out of her head and walked back to the kids.

“I think we better do some popcorn jumps,” said Samantha.

Big grins popped out on their chubby faces – they loved popcorn jumps.

“All right,” Samantha said, squatting down low to the floor with the kids all mimicking her action, “let’s sizzle.” They all made sizzling noises and then jumped us as high as they could (for a three year, two inches is a huge jump). “POP, POP, POP” came the shouts of the children.

Samantha blinked. She could have sworn Morgan’s white leotard had been pink when she came in. Get a grip on it, Sam. “One more time!”

“Sizzle, sizzle, POP, POP, POP”

This time, there was no mistaking it. Savanna hadn’t had white hair when she came in the room. Samantha looked around the room again – it was just them. Then, she looked at the kids…all of them, their hair and leotards looked white…. “All right,” she whispered, “um, everybody do a beautiful tap bow. Go change your shoes to ballet shoes.”

As the kids walked back to the mats, she eyed them closely. They all had on pink tights, pink leotards and slipper black tap-shoes. Savanna had black hair; just like she had always had black hair.

Samantha sighed and turned to put on her own ballet shoes. Twenty minutes, I can do this. Don’t loose it Sam…

“Miss. Samantha, I need some help tying my ballet shoes.” Samantha walked to the kids and spent the next five minutes tying ribbons and helping them make a straight row. Finally, she walked in front of them and turned to face them.

“Ok, ladies. We better stick some glue on our hands to make sure they stick tight on our waists while we do our ballet steps,” she said as she held up her imaginary bottle of glue.

The next few seconds were filled with the sounds of “shhh, sssss,” as the little ballerinas squeezed their imaginary glue on their hands.

“All right, zip them on your waists! Are they stuck on there?”

“Miss Samantha, my hands are stuck, they won’t come off my waist,” said Morgan.

“Good, Morgan.”

“No,” Morgan whispered, “they’re stuck. They won’t come off.” Her eyes began to fill with tears and her lower lip trembled.

“It’s just pretend,” said Samantha. “See, my hands can come unstuck.” With that she pulled her hands away from her waist, where they had been “glued” on. Well, she attempted to pull her hands away from her waist. They wouldn’t come off. They were stuck. Seeing Miss Samantha’s hands wouldn’t come off her waist either, Morgan began to wail.

“Shhhh, shhh, Morgan. Is everyone’s hands stuck?”

All the little girls nodded and Samantha could see five other lips begin to tremble. Don’t panic, don’t panic. That’s all I need is six hysterical children and no hands to deal with them. Do something, anything!

“Everybody sit down.”

They all flopped on to the floor. Amazing how hard that is with no hands to use.

“All right, I don’t know what’s happening, but I think it must be something special. Maybe it’s magic” What am I saying, magic? Whatever…they’ve shut up. Think, think, think…

“Maybe if we made a wish the magic would fix our hands? Do you think that would work?”

At the word magic, most of the girls had stopped crying and looked up interested.

“Like Harry Parter,” asked Alyssa?

“Yes, just like Harry Potter.” Thank you J. K. Rowling. “Do you think making a wish would work?"

Most of them nodded their heads, so she continued. “All right, at the count of three everybody wish as hard as you can. One…two…three…” They all wished then…little noses screwed up in concentration…nothing happened. Morgan began to cry again. Samantha sighed. Just then Savanna popped up and yelled, “I unglued, I unglued.” Everybody’s hands popped loose and the little girls got up and began jumping up and down and yelling in excitement.

“Good job everybody,” Samantha said. Well, she had to say something, didn’t she! She glanced at the clock. Thank goodness, it’s time to go. I can’t handle any more weird things.

“Everybody give me a beautiful curtsy and let’s go home.” Everyone bobbed a little curtsy and then ran and got their bags. That had to be the fastest day ever that they had cleared out of that room.

Alone, Samantha changed her shoes and collected her record-book and music – cautiously taking the CD out of the player. As she stepped out of the door she looked around. Everything looked normal; everything looked peaceful. She gave a little shiver, sighed, and walked away. Time to go home and take a bath.

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