“ . . . acting like this. You need to calm down.”
I looked up from my computer to see who was talking. The principal stood at my door with a small boy standing by her side. I did a double take because the little boy looked exactly like Macaulay Culkin from “Home Alone.”
“Hello Mrs. Jones,” said the principal. “This is Edward. He’s a 6th grader and needs a place to sit for the next hour. With all the construction it’s too noisy in the office, and I wondered if it would be OK for him to work in here.”
So much for a plan period. “Sure,” I said brightly.
Edward walked over to a desk and set his books down. The principal mouthed “Thank you,” and walked out. I turned back to my unfinished report.
The room was quiet for about two minutes until I heard a high whinny voice say, “You teachers are all alike.”
I looked up. “Pardon me?”
Edward was glaring at me, breathing fire. “You all hate me.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Edward, I don’t even know you. Why would I hate you?”
“Because you’re a teacher!” he snapped. “Teachers hate me. You all want me carted off to the looney bin.”
Edward looked like a little bull huffing and puffing.
“Ohhhh . . . I don’t think so,” I said. “Is that schoolwork you have there? Why don’t you try working on some of it?”
Edward spit his words like darts. “I can’t. I’m mad.”
I tilted my head, studied him a moment, then shrugged. “OK,” and turned back to my computer. I ignored the heavy breathing for exactly 60 seconds.
“Aren’t you going to try and calm me down?”
I finished typing a sentence then turned to him. “How would I do that?”
“I don’t know! You’re the teacher. It’s your job. You’re supposed to calm me down.”
“Uh . . . ,” I looked around my room searching for an answer. “Maybe if you just sit quietly you’ll be able to calm yourself down.”
Edward’s eyes blazed. “You all just want to send me away so you can have . . . have a party! And you’re going to . . . you’re going to drink lots of whiskey. And you’ll all get . . . alcohol poisoning!”
Oh, the principal owes me on this.
I got up from my desk and walked over to Edward. “How ‘bout we look in your planner and see what homework you have written down.”
Edward slammed his books onto the empty desk next to him and opened his planner. The week was blank except for three tiny letters on tomorrow’s date. “RPD.”
“What does this mean?” I asked tapping the letters.
Edward bent his head down until his nose almost touched the planner.
“R . . . P . . . D . . .” he whispered.
He raised his head slowly and scrunched his face, concentrating. Then he slowly said, “Reading . . . project . . . due.”
“You’ve got an outside reading project due tomorrow?”
“Yes.” Edward’s face relaxed. He had solved the mystery.
“So you’ve gotten a book and read it?”
Edward bent over again and studied the letters. Suddenly he jerked his head up. His eyes were wide, panicked.
He slapped both hands to the side of his face and hissed, “I’M SCREWED!”