by Julia Benally
The sweltering Arizona sun lit up the cream-colored blinds. In one corner, the red light of a clock glowed 7:59 A.M. Already, the heat was creeping into the semi darkness of the room. Suddenly, a single stream of sunlight pierced through a crack in the blinds and shined on one eye of a six-year-old girl. With an irritated frown, she rolled over. That stream of sun seemed to follow. She covered her head to keep it away, but the blanket heated up until it felt like an oven.
Dead tired, the girl threw the blanket off and sat up. Her raven, bushy hair stuck out in all directions and poked her coal-black eyes. Everything around her seemed brown as the desert she lived in. The dry carpet gave the plain, white walls a brownish hue. The wood of her bed seemed even browner. The bookshelf in the corner even held brown books. Going to her brown drawers, she pulled out a bright pink shirt full of sparkles. It came with a pink checkered skirt. These were a breath of fresh air. Slipping them on, she commenced in tackling her wild locks.
Sometime around 8:15, her hair had some semblance of order. That was when her mother walked in.
“Carrina,” she barked, “what are you wearing? Where’s your uniform?”
Carrina sank into her bed as she felt a fit coming on. “I don’t want it,” she groaned. “It’s ugly.”
her mother bustled out.
Her lower lip trembling in disgust and fear of a spank, Carrina removed her pretty clothes and struggled into that thing called a uniform. Now she was just as dull as her room. The radiance that the pink brought out of her light brown skin was now thirsty looking. With a sigh, she went slowly about looking for her shoes. It wasn’t like she was in any rush. If she could be late all month, she could certainly be late today.
late! Hurry up!”
“I can’t find my shoes,” Carrina replied triumphantly.
“You just can’t find your shoes because you’re afraid of that girl at school.” Her mother strode into the room and heartlessly pulled Carrina’s white shoes out from under the bed.
“You’ll just have to learn to stand up to her.”
Carrina frowned. “Can I stay home today?”
Remember, you’re making a book today?”
“Will it have a leather cover and that gold stuff on the sides?” Carrina asked excitedly.
“Don’t expect too much. You’re only six,” Carrina’s mother informed her tartly. “Give me your foot.” Shoving the shoes on Carrina’s feet, the wily woman took her hand and rushed out the door. “You are going to be so late,” her mother grumbled. “Why do you wake up so late? Set your alarm! I haven’t even got my earrings on.” With that, the over dressed woman quickly swung Carrina in the front seat of the white ford. She hit the gas with her leopard high heels and zoomed towards Carrina’s school.
for the umpteenth time that month.
“I’ll get in trouble,” Carrina mumbled helplessly, knowing it was no use in talking to her mother. The woman was a fiery spark that zoomed all over the place without catching a breath. Carrina thought that sometimes her mother forgot she existed. She would literally run people over if there wasn’t a law.
Practically screeching to a halt in front of the school, Carrina’s mother leaned over her and pushed the door open. At the same time she pecked Carrina on the cheek then shoved her out. Before Carrina knew it, her mother had sped away. With a deep breath, Carrina walked slowly to her class, hoping a dog might decide to eat her, but there were no dogs today.
She was a sad, tardy, little girl when she meandered into class. But as she entered, she noticed there was something not quite right with the room. The posters on the walls looked different, and the kids were all wrong. Goodness, even the teacher was in the wrong room. Did everybody get lost?
The strange teacher looked at her with a smirk and asked, “What is it?”
Carrina just stared at her. Everybody stared back.
“Are you new?” the teacher questioned, sounding rather sarcastic.
substitute, and the kids, too. They were substitute kids. Or she was in some alternate universe.
Absolute and complete embarrassment filled Carrina’s frame to the tips of her black hair. She had come into the wrong room and everybody saw her! Without a word, she turned around and walked out. Another hallway down and she entered the correct room.
“You see?” Mrs. Grant announced to the classroom. “I told you she would be here.” And with that, the students roared with laughter.
to be in the middle of the room so everyone could laugh and point. They all wore the same uniform, making them only look like good little children, but no uniform could hide their horrid expressions or suppress the fact that half of them were bullies. It just tricked everyone.
Jimmy, who sat next to her, said, “Mrs. Grant said that you would be late so she marked you here anyway.”
Carrina beamed. She had totally lucked out! Plus she was in the right room, everything was good. No one need know of the escapade in the other hall.
“When are we making the books today?” Carrina asked Jimmy.
“After lunch,” he responded excitedly, his blond hair bobbing on his round head.
Carrina breathed in anticipation as her mind-set firmly on the magnificent masterpiece that was to come. She had seen so many big books with great leather covers and golden words. She had held many as big as her, smelled their musty pages and read the beautiful words written across the pages. Of course she didn’t know half of what she was reading, but it didn’t matter. She was going to make a complicated book that no one could understand!
All through class she only thought of the book. The teacher passed out paper, but Carrina didn’t even see it. The clock ticked away, each second closer to her book.
Suddenly the teacher tapped her on the shoulder.
“Carrina,” Mrs. Grant growled, “Carrina!”
Carrina’s heart went into her mouth and she looked quickly up at her. The woman seemed to tower to the ceiling. Her dark blue dress with the tiny red flowers encompassed the whole of Carrina’s view. Goodness, Mrs. Grant’s teeth seemed to be extra yellow today as she grimaced down at her.
“Why weren’t you answering me?” Mrs. Grant demanded sharply. “And why aren’t you doing your math?”
boisterous mother in her mind’s eye with a spank in her hard hand. The spank looked kind of green and globby with yellow eyes. But spanks shouldn’t be green and globby, because they hurt so a spank should have really looked like a…
“Carrina!” Mrs. Grant snapped.
Carrina jumped as snickers chortled though the room. They silenced as soon as Mrs. Grant looked sharply up. Little Jimmy almost slammed his face into his math paper as he looked down and started working hard. His pencil whizzed messily over the math problems: 1+5= appols. Carrina always knew he was a bad speller.
“Come to the front of the classroom,” Mrs. Grant ordered her.
Carrina’s face reddened as she looked over to the lone desk. It was right in front of Crystal whose spoiled gray eyes gazed at her like a wolf ready to pounce. She sneered at Carrina and stuck her tongue out. For some reason Mrs. Grant didn’t catch that. She never caught anything important. It had to be because of that dress she was wearing.
Very slowly Carrina got up and made the green mile to the lonesome desk. She could feel Crystal’s evil presence behind her. As soon as Mrs. Grant turned her back, Crystal poked Carrina with her pencil. Carrina tried to ignore it, but Crystal kept poking her, then she started spitting paper into her hair. Carrina’s mouth tightened but Crystal might beat her up if she did anything. Suddenly Crystal started pulling the paper out of Carrina’s bushy locks.
sharpened. “How are you doing, Carrina?” She looked over Carrina’s paper with her beady eyes, searching for something wrong. She almost seemed disappointed as she straightened up. “Everyone, line up for lunch. Carrina, you line up last.”
“I’ll wait with her,” Crystal volunteered as Carrina glanced fearfully at her.
the other students.
Crystal looked at Carrina with her little weasel face. “How come you don’t fix your hair, Carrina?” she asked horridly. “You look ugly. Are you stupid? Don’t you know how to brush your hair?”
“You’re lying,” Crystal said triumphantly. “Mrs. Grant, Carrina’s a liar!”
would be children!
As Carrina got in line, Crystal cut in front of her, pushing her back with her butt.
“You have to be last,” Crystal reminded as her nose pinched.
Carrina wanted to cry, but if she did, Crystal would see and make of fun her. Everyone would make fun of her, except Jimmy. Why couldn’t she stand by Jimmy? He glanced back at her with his light blue eyes and then at Crystal who grimaced at him. He quickly looked away. Crystal would love an excuse to pound him. Jimmy was a very small boy, the smallest in the class with translucent skin and very delicate features. Crystal loved to say he had lipstick on before shoving dirt in his mouth.
As everyone walked to the cafeteria, as was Mrs. Grant’s custom, she stopped at the restrooms. Carrina suddenly realized she needed the toilet really bad. But how embarrassing to be the only one who needed to pee. And she was starving! The restrooms would only slow them down. She was at the end of the line and she might get stuck with the fish sandwich!
“Does anyone need to go?” Mrs. Grant asked.
Carrina looked around. If someone else went, she would, too. But no one had to, and she was about to burst! How inconsiderate these people were! Didn’t they know she had to pee? Crystal might follow her into the bathroom. What was she going to do?
Amidst her panicked thoughts, Mrs. Grant said, “Alright, let’s go.” And she walked off with the students following. Carrina was going to die, she knew it. She couldn’t hold it. But she couldn’t tell Mrs. Grant that she needed to pee, not when Mrs. Grant had already given her the chance. Mrs. Grant might scold her. She already had it in for her.
In the midst of this awful panic, Carrina couldn’t hold it. Her pants grew wet and warm as a horrific puddle formed beneath her feet, filling her white shoes. Carrina’s heart stopped, wishing an alien would fly over and kidnap her. But no alien came, they didn’t want to pick up a wet girl. Maybe someone else would get blamed for it. If enough people walked over the wet, someone would get blamed. That’s what happened to Taylor last time. But last time wasn’t this time. That stupid Crystal who didn’t have the decency to get run over suddenly shouted, “Ew! Carrina peed on herself!”
“YUCK!” everyone shrieked as they backed away from Carrina, forming a semicircle around her. Now she stood alone in a puddle of pee, the centerpiece of humiliation. Carrina couldn’t move or think. Her social life was officially canceled, nothing would ever be the same again. She would have to move away to escape her disgrace.
Carrina quickly did so, trying to appear calm and collected, but Crystal’s voice rang out over the lines of students heading to lunch.
“Carrina peed on herself!”
Everyone turned and looked. They pointed, they laughed, they cried out in disgust, they called her names, but no teacher lifted a finger to silence them. Tears threatened Carrina’s eyes and she started to run. Only the nurse would understand her predicament, at least so she thought. When she came in, the nurse was very tart as she asked, “What happened?”
Carrina looked down in embarrassment until a teacher getting a band-aid in the room pointed ruthlessly out, “She’s peed on herself.” Her voice was so grating and loud that Carrina was certain the aliens could hear it from outer space. Where were they, anyway?
Sighing, the nurse went to the closet and yanked out a pair of yellow corduroys and brown sandals. The travesty of it all! These were the ugliest pants ever created. For sure everyone would know she had peed on herself. These were pee pants and they were the color of pee, too. How could she face humanity? What was for lunch? Hopefully it wasn’t something good.
Thrown out on the playground with no lunch, Carrina was the subject of discussion headed by that mongrel Crystal.
comes! Look at her!” And all of Crystal’s minions pointed, making disgusted faces. They moved away from her and told everyone else to do the same.
Carrina tried to hide, but her pants were too bright and too yellow. Before her humiliation hit its peak the whistle blew. At least they were going to make books now. That was what she had come to school for anyway. It was the only reason she didn’t run off when she was sent to the nurse.
As they headed back inside, Crystal was still whispering about Carrina and everyone kept pointing. Carrina hated them! Would that they would all get run over! Only Jimmy was her friend because Jimmy had peed on himself, too, once.
“I don’t like those pants either,” he told her as soothingly as possible.
Carrina wasn’t sure how to take that. She had a partner in pee, but he wore these pants, too?! Her only comfort was that she got to sit back in her old desk.
FINALLY, it was time for the book. Mrs. Grant began handing out big wads of paper with a piece of gray-blue construction paper. They were to fold all the paper in half and put the blue one on the outside.
on her desk. “Where’s the leather? Where’s the pretty paper?”
“Were we supposed to have leather?” Jimmy wondered.
Carrina raised her hand.
“What is it, Carrina?” Mrs. Grant asked, looking very tired.
“Aren’t we supposed to have leather and gold paper and fancy writing?”
Carrina’s mouth fell open and she gazed at her desk in dismay. She had been looking forward to this crud?! This was the accumulation of her hopes and dreams, a pile of line paper covered by a gross, blue-gray cover? And the inside was going to be filled with what, her crooked letters? No print, no beautiful art work, no royalties? What kind of a book was this?
Titters filled the room as Crystal murmured, “Stupid.” Only, Mrs. Grant didn’t hear her. She never heard Crystal when she was being a witch.
At the end of the day, Mrs. Grant had a surprise.
work done. Line up… Carrina, you have to sit on the wall.”
Crystal chortled and hopped to the front of the line, cutting Jimmy off who backed away from her as if she were a disease. In a few minutes they were free to run all over the playground, but Crystal and her minions sauntered over to where Carrina was sitting sullenly against the wall.
Her minions pointed then flipped their braids and pigtails in their little fingers.
were so funny. “He was wearing those pants last time, too! Carrina is wearing boy pants!” Her minions joined in until they were chanting.
Not far away Mrs. Grant was rethinking her life and didn’t notice anything.
Carrina stared at Crystal, tears welling to her eyes, and then something snapped. She’d had enough of this brat! Before she knew it she had jumped to her feet and whacked Crystal across her pinched face. The brat staggered back in shock and pain, her little victim had risen against her? She wasn’t supposed to do that! And then Carrina tackled her down, beating on her face with all her might, tearing at Crystal’s silky locks with feverish fingers. She ripped the shrieking Crystal’s buttons clean off before Mrs. Grant yanked her away.
“Carrina,” the teacher shouted into her face, “what’s the matter with you?!”
“I hate her,” Carrina screamed.
her feet and marched them both to the principal’s office which enjoined the nurse’s office as well.
“I’m not,” Carrina announced emphatically. “She deserved it!”
“Bullying is not allowed,” Mrs. Grant scolded furiously.
Carrina didn’t answer, but straightened her back, eying Crystal who cowered under her gaze. Carrina grinned. Maybe they would kick her out of school and she would never see these jerks again! The sound of Crystal’s annoying bawls was music to Carrina’s ears.
They entered the principal’s office. There was a great hullabaloo about poor Crystal as every idiot in that office abased Carrina’s behavior.
“She’s not even sorry,” the vice principal moaned, looking at Carrina’s smug face.
“She’s suspended,” growled the principal. “Call her mother.”
Carrina just waited, knowing her mother had told her to pummel the brat several times that month. About fifteen minutes later, her mother came in like a whirlwind of fashion and fire. Carrina heard the principal talking quickly to her, but Carrina didn’t care what the principal thought. She didn’t know where Crystal was or what had happened. Maybe she died? Carrina grinned.
Soon, her mother came to her, a smirk on her face.
red nails glossy. Carrina got primly up and took her hand. “That girl won’t bother you anymore.”
Carrina smiled savagely.
[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: oh yeah. by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers.
Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015
Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015