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The Mean Nun
Nine-year-old Mary Margaret sat quivering in her chair like a frog that had just splashed in freezing water.
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.
Sister Stanskansa’s feet thudded forebodingly against the black tile floors. Everyone froze, knowing what was coming.
Slap! slammed the meter-stick, creating a smoking volcanic dent on the surface of little Billy’s desk.
“WHAT did I tell you about breathing in my presence?” Sister Stanskansa screeched.
Little Billy sputtered in his seat
“I TOLD you Billy that if you’re going to breathe like a baboon, then sit in the detention box!”
“No, please not the detention box, Sister Stanskansa! There are spiders in there,” pleaded little Billy, wheezing into his inhaler.
Sister Stanskansa cackled.
“Yes, you can sit in there with all my precious pets. Did I tell you horrid little children that I just had my preciouses imported from Africa?”
Ice-cold water shivered down Mary Margaret’s spine. Her older sister, Hannah, had once been forced to sit in the detention box for over thirty minutes, and she hadn’t been the same since.
“Okay class. Today we’re going to learn about the history of drills. Get out your notebooks and copy down everything written in the book for the next four hours,” Sister Stanskansa grinned.
Then she frowned. “The dean notified me that I am no longer permitted to keep you from eating lunch, so we’ll move on to the wonders of snail-poo afterwards,” she sighed regretfully.
Mary Margaret let her eyes drift over to dreamy little Johnny Hillhopkins as a reprieve. Feeling her eyes on him, he glanced back at her and smiled.
What a perfect smile, sighed Mary, doodling in her notebook.
Mrs. Mary Hillhopkins
Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Hillhopkins
Suddenly, the meter-stick slammed two inches in front of Mary’s nose, and a hand whooshed over her desk. When the hand was gone, so was Mary’s paper. She glanced up, knowing she was watching her doom.
“Hmmm. ‘Mary Hillhopkins, Mrs. Mary Hillhopkins, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Hillhopkins,’” read Sister Stanskansa.
Meanwhile, Mary dissolved into her desk, trying with all her might to disappear. Oh no, she groaned miserably. She could feel Johnny’s eyes on her, and was so mortified that she didn’t even notice that her hand was bleeding from a giant paper cut. Sister Stanskansa had sliced her when she tore the paper from Mary’s hands.
“What have we here?” Sister Stanskansa reached down and stuck her finger in Mary’s cut, then licked it.
“Yum,” she giggled.
Everyone in the class gasped.
“One moment, dear Mary, let me get you some healing salts,” Sister Stanskansa whistled cheerfully as she clunked over to her medicine cabinet and snatched a box of table salt.
Mary couldn’t help but squeal as Sister Stanskansa poured the entire box of salt onto Mary’s cut and rubbed it in.
“Makes it heal faster,” Sister Stanskansa said grimly.
The entire class almost fainted.
“Johnny, why don’t you walk your wife to the nurse’s office to get a Band Aid?”
Quivering, Johnny stood up and pulled out Mary’s chair.
“Aw, how cute!” squealed Sister Stanskansa.
Mary blushed deep red. She just wanted to die.
As soon as the door slammed behind them, Mary and Johnny stood there in awkward silence.
“Um…” began Mary. “I was actually talking about a different Johnny Hillhopkins—”
“That’s too bad, ’cause I really like you, Mary Margaret. I think you’re the prettiest and sweetest girl in our class,” Johnny said shyly.
“Oh,” Mary said, blushing to the roots of her hair. “Thank you.”
And with that, Johnny took Mary’s hand, and together they walked down the hall toward the nurse’s office.