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When I realized that school was starting again, I knew that I would have to prepare myself. I watched reality shows to prepare for the ridiculous drama and watched UFC to fight off the bullies. I blasted my music in my ears so that I could not hear around me. But, as I would soon find out, there was no sort of preparation humanly possible to armor myself against the tragic teaching of Mrs. Fault.
I went into the classroom and scanned for the teacher, but she was nowhere to be found. No one wanted the front desks and I was somewhat late, so I got to sit in the middle of the class, where the teacher, wherever she was gathering her tortuous thoughts, would have the full advantage of keeping me in the center of attention. Two minutes into the class, and I was already ready to bash my head on my desk until I knocked myself out.
Then she came in. She was not pretty, nor was she ugly, though she did have a swirled up face, like one does after they eat something sour. Mrs. Fault, I imagined, must have ate something very, very sour to have such a look. She slammed the door and stood in front of the class. The kids were quiet, patiently waiting for the destruction of our souls to begin. As I had thought, she looked at me first, and I quickly looked down and begged for mercy in my head.
Mrs. Fault slowly gawked at us as if we were useless apes in her zoo. She lifted her flabby chin and said, “Welcome to Hell.” We all then thought of setting ourselves on fire to fit the scene.
She called out the first name on the attendance sheet. A tall redneck raised his hand eagerly and said, “Hello, Mrs. Fault. How are you doing today?” Mrs. Fault rolled her eyes.
She called the next name and a kid with glasses stood and looked out at the sea of hopeless prisoners and said, “I like pizza.” We all thought it was humorous, but not Mrs. Fault. She let the attendance paper drop to the ground. We all started to sweat, for the devil was about to speak.
“Ya know, its comments like that that ruin the earth. This is an environmental class, where we will learn about the death and destruction of plants, animals, and everything else that you guys can destroy. The earth is dying, and the trees are being cut down, and the sky is falling, and the aliens are going to kill us, and why my boss is a jerk, why my hair is frizzy, and why this earth is going to turn into a giant fireball? And it’s because of each and every single one of you. It’s all your fault.” Her voice was like the same of Alvin or any of the other chipmunks. It grinded against our heads and shrilled our ears.
“I still like pizza,” the kid with glasses said quietly.
Five minutes into the classroom and we already had a kid trying to force himself to vomit so that he could leave. Mrs. Fault said to him, “Don’t even try. It’s your fault that you can’t handle the truth.” Instead of calling out our names, she looked at the kid behind the pizza lover and asked, “What’s your name?” He was tan, muscular, and wore a baseball jersey. He mumbled something. I strained my ears to listen and I found that he was speaking gibberish. His country accent was so strong that it took away his words and left him with nothing more than a slur. The rednecks understood him perfectly, but I was in a far universe, or at least wished I was. Mrs. Fault understood his language and said, “I don’t care that your cow was tipped over. It’s all your fault.” She went one by one, decimating what little pride we came in with. Ten minutes of the class had passed. One of the last kids was a very chubby kid that tried not to move because of the chair creaking beneath him.
He said to the wicked witch, “Why are you making fun of us? Not everything is our fault.”
“No, everything is your fault. You make a zero for the day.” The large kid cupped his hands and caved his face into them. He balled like a baby; a very large one. Mrs. Fault told us that he was crying because of us. It was all our fault.
The tall redneck that had eagerly raised his hand said, “It’s only our first day, so can you take it easy?” He received a referral and was never heard of again, lucky kid.
Fifteen minutes passed.
Mrs. Fault went to her evil lair or desk, and handed out papers. On the papers were questions that I had no idea what to think of. Mrs. Fault stood in front of the classroom and said, “You’ve got five minutes.” We all looked around at each other. Mrs. Fault snapped and said, “No cheating. It’s all your fault that cheating is in the world.” She went back to her desk and sat. I imagined her sitting there with a voodoo doll of each kid in the class, and whoever disobeyed would be stabbed. Two minutes later, she made us pass the papers up to the front. She quickly looked them over and said angrily, “None of you answered any of the questions.”
“That’s our fault,” the pizza lover kid said.
Mrs. Fault looked at him and said, “Why did you have to be born? Of all the other cells, why did you have to be the one to get through?”
“I’m just lucky I guess,” the pizza boy said.
“And you’re the reason that everything is dying. It’s all your fault.”
The fat kid was still crying. He asked, “Can I go to the nurse?”
“What, you want to ruin her day too?” Mrs. Fault said.
“No. So I can find her poison and drink it.” He began to sob again and Mrs. Fault shook her head without a sign of remorse. Twenty minutes had passed. This class was never going to end.
A pretty blonde girl sat in front and was dancing in her seat. She was not listening to music, so everyone figured she had either been drugged by the nurse, or she was insane. Mrs. Fault saw this and said, “What’s your problem?”
The pretty girl kept her nice smile and said kindly, “I’m happy. I’m a cheerleader.” She said as if anyone cared. We were more worried about getting out alive than her extracurricular activities.
Mrs. Fault went to her and said, “There is no such thing as happiness in this classroom. And if you want to know why, go look yourself in the mirror like you do all the time and repeat my words: All your fault.” The smile escaped the blonde girls head, but she was not sad. Instead, she seemed more confused than anything. She seemed to not understand, as if the sentence had not been said the right way for her brain to interpret.
As Mrs. Fault was making her way back to her lair, the confused blonde girl asked loudly, “What?”
Mrs. Fault froze. We all began to pray quietly. Mrs. Fault marched back to the blonde girl and said slowly, “It’s all your fault.”
The blonde girl’s eyes rolled up to ceiling and her mouth gaped open. She was obviously thinking hard on trying to understand. Mrs. Fault went to the board and wrote out: It’s all your fault. The blonde girl was starting to understand. At least someone was learning something new. Thirty minutes passed. For the rest of the class we had to repeat her infamous words and write them down one-hundred times. Finally, the bell mercifully rang. The fat kid was still crying. The floor around him was extremely wet.
As I was leaving the classroom, a janitor came in and saw the fat kid crying. He went to the teacher and asked why the poor child was crying. Mrs. Fault turned to the janitor and said, “It’s all your fault.” She walked away, leaving the janitor utterly confused. The kid that had managed to make his own language with his strong country accent came to me and said some gibberish. I smiled and said, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” The mumbling kid laughed and walked out. We only had one-hundred and seventy-four more school days to go. And it was all our fault.