Sunday Story–Sowing and Reaping

Revenge is best served with a side-salad of Schadenfreude

I have been doing some “housekeeping”, on the computer, that is, searching for files, and sorting them. I came across this tale from my high school days. Wish it were true, but more likely it’s wishful thinking from an over-active imagination.

However, as is the case with so many authors’ works, the following is based on real events, but the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Sowing and Reaping

She perched on the kerb waiting. The minutes stretched, ticking into what seemed to her, an eternity. Cars whizzed past. With each car that emerged around the corner, the hope—her mum’s car. That battered blue FJ Holden, had suffered many knocks in its fifteen years of life. Like me, same age and having suffered hard knocks, she thought. But cars with anonymous drivers passed by and so did her hope…until she just sat…waiting…expectations drained…waiting.

A mixture of gloom and uneasiness had shadowed her all day. Ever since the first period, home class, when Dee, yes, that’s right, Dee, her arch enemy, had sidled up to her and hissed, ‘He’s mine, Lillie. He’s mine. He never liked you. He likes me.’

Dee slithered into her seat; pink lips pursed in a smile. She flicked her brown mane, and then glancing at Lillie, she smirked and then rubbed her hands together. ‘Mine!’ she mimed. ‘All mine.’

Lillie imagined Dee at that moment morphing from the budding model she was, into a female form of Gollum, bent on possessing the ring offered by her latest conquest—Danny. Why else was Dee gloating?

Lillie’s heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach. A drop of rain plopped on the pavement and sizzled. Lillie sighed. She’d seen him—Danny—that morning. Lofty, blonde hair tousled, framing his high cheek-bones, strong jaw and his face all tanned. But Danny hadn’t seen her. He never saw her.

On the way back from chapel, Danny had been walking behind her and she’d worried about her uniform. Was her dress hitched up in her regulation stockings? Autumn and the school demanded girls wear the winter uniform with the awful scratchy woollen skirt. The month of May in Australia, that day, hot and all steamed up, clouds billowing with purple bellies, threatening a storm, but not before all the students at College were fried having to wear their blazers as well as their uniforms woven in wool. The principal threatened suspension if they shed any part of their school attire.

Plop! Another drop. A rumble of thunder.

During the day, her usual foes added to her discomfort. She was already hot, sweaty, and itchy, and then they had to weigh in. On the way to English class, Dee and her clutch of fiends attacked from behind. They threw verbal abuse; the usual “stones” of “loser”, “dog” and “no one wants you, Lil”.

Lillie fixed her eyes ahead even as the heat rose to her cheeks. She trod up the stairs to Dee chanting, ‘Poor Lil, poor Lil, what a dill.’

As Lillie turned the corner of the stairs, she glanced down. Danny leaned against the rail. Dee slid up to him and pointed. ‘Hey look! She’s got a hole in her stocking. Poor Lil, poor Lil. Too poor to buy new stockings, Lil.’

Dee laughed and her gang joined in.

Lillie turned and continued plodding up the stairs.

‘Charge!’ Dee yelled.

At her command, Lillie quickened her pace. She knew what was coming. The thudding, the cries and the horde as her foes surged upon her. They crowded in and jostled her. Big beefy Twisty jammed her into the lockers and then bumbled down the corridor.

As Lillie straightened herself, Dee strode up to her and poked her. ‘He’s mine, understand?’ She then waved her hand in front of her nose. ‘Phew! You stink! B.O.!’

Danny lingered an arm’s length from Dee, and as she minced into English class, she blew him a kiss. Lillie’s stomach churned, and with her gaze riveted to the floor, she followed Dee into class. Her scalp prickled with the sense that the eyes of every class member had set upon her. Her orthodontic braces took on astronomical proportions and her pig-tails drooped like greasy strips of seaweed.

Then Scripture class. Just her luck! Lillie picked Dee’s name out of the Encouragement Box. So she had to find a verse from the Bible to encourage Dee. Dee? What sort of blessing could Lillie bestow on her worst enemy? The girl who had everything—popularity, beauty and a boyfriend.

Lillie opened up her Bible and picked out the first verse that caught her attention. She wrote down the verse from Galatians 6:7: “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” She plopped the note for Dee back into the box. From what she could tell, Dee seemed happy with her note, if not mildly miffed by the message.

After school, as she sat on the kerb waiting, Lillie reflected on the verse she received. Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” She nodded and mused, That’d be right, Dee had me. Still, it does say I’m blessed.

A flash of lightning. A crack of thunder. Fat dollops of rain splatted on the footpath. Lillie sighed and muttered, ‘I’ll just have to risk getting laughed at. My mum’s car. What a relic! How embarrassing!’

She shrugged her bag full of books over her shoulder and sauntered to the shelter of the chapel. Rain pelted down on her and she sought refuge in an alcove hidden behind a diosma bush. There, she drew her knees up to her chin and sniffed. The rain and then the tears had melted her mascara. Her vision blurred. She drew a soggy tissue from her blazer pocket and wiped her eyes.

The downpour stopped. Fellow students emerged from shelter and straggled along the road to the carpark where their cars or parents in their shining white Commodores awaited them.

Lillie examined her calloused knees that had broken through the holes in her stockings. When would mum be able to afford new stockings? Dad and mum barely scraped together the school fees. ‘We go without for your education,’ mum says. Lillie had begun to understand how that worked in a posh school like this one. No friends, no choice but to study and get good grades.

A car screeched. Lillie looked up. She saw them. Dee and Danny. They held hands. Dee nestled into Danny’s side as he held an umbrella over her, even though the sun now shone casting an eerie golden glow over the gum trees and oval. Lillie winced.

The couple perched on the chain fence where they swung back and forth and whispered into each other’s ears. Lillie parted the diosma bush. She watched and cursed them as wrapped in each other’s arms they consumed each other’s lips.

‘Ugh! How could they? In public!’ Lillie muttered. ‘I hope the principal catches them and puts them on detention.’

Lillie heard a familiar roar. She stepped from the bush and strode towards the carpark.

The FJ Holden raced up the driveway, it’s wheels crushing the carpark’s gravel in its rush to meet Lillie. Dee and Danny remained oblivious in their passion on the chain fence.

Mum’s car cut through a large puddle. Water flew high in the air and then dumped on the couple.

Dee shrieked. They stood like two drenched rats, their legs and arms spread in their sodden clothes.

Now Dee really does look like Gollum, Lillie thought. Her nemesis’ mascara streamed down her face and made her eyes look like a panda’s and her hair was pasted on her head.

The couple glared at the FJ Holden as it screeched to a stop in front of Lillie. She smirked as she jerked open the white door of the mostly blue car and then scrambled in.

‘How was your day, dear?’ Mum asked.

‘You’re late,’ Lillie snapped.

As the FJ Holden with Lillie and her mum merged with the crowd of cars on the main road, Lillie glanced back and smiled. Revenge is best served cold…and wet.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Painting: Vine Light Before Strom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

School Daze–Teacher Training (2)

[After our summer break, school’s back today in Australia. Well, let’s qualify that statement. In South Australia, some students are back in the classroom, while the rest are learning online. So, a break from my travel missives and a journey back in time to my teaching days…]

The Trials and Tribulations of a Student Teacher

Part 2

[Note: Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.]

The Fallout

After the proverbial reading of the riot act the following lesson, my teaching limped along in an unsteady truce; actually, less resembling teaching, and more akin to animal tamer in a circus. And with each passing lesson, Luke took on the characteristics of the ringmaster. I should’ve seen then, that my high school teaching days were numbered and made a quick and painless exit, at that time…

The final week of my Practical Teaching, culminated in Luke’s mastery of revealing my failure as a teacher. On that Wednesday, my supervising teacher, poked her head in the classroom and said, ‘Alright, Miss T, you’re on your own.’

I glanced at the thirty faces looking to me for control and instruction.  I gulped. ‘Okay.’

‘Any trouble, send the trouble-makers to me,’ Mrs S said before abandoning me to my fate.

As soon as her footsteps faded down the corridor, Luke, with a glint in his eye, pushed over a desk. ‘Oops!’

Danny kicked Ben into his desk. The wood splintered with a sickening crack.

Ben leapt up. ‘Why you…!’ He raised his fists. Danny launched at Ben and thumped him. Ben grabbed Danny. The boys fell to the floor, wrestling, turning tables, kicking up chairs, grunting and struggling.

Tiny Bill whined, ‘My pen! My pen! Someone’s stolen my pen!’

All the while, Luke lounged in the far left-hand corner of the room, laughing.

I stomped and cut the air with my hand. ‘Right! Luke! Danny! Ben! Bill!’ I swished my cutting-hand to the door. ‘Off to Mrs S!’

Out the four trooped to an unimpressed Mrs S who issued them with uninspiring, but necessary in Luke’s case, grammar sheets to complete.

I salvaged what was left of the class. With pens set firmly in their hands, I set them to work writing a story based on a poster I had brought in. Maria, obviously not satisfied with pasting her face with foundation, though, “accidently” spilt liquid paper all over her desk, chair and herself.

Meanwhile, Mrs S, showed her dissatisfaction of having to supervise these four stooges on what she hoped was her “free lesson”, by marking my assessment sheet for classroom management as “unsatisfactory”.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018; Updated 2022

Feature Photo: Window of Wisdom © L.M. Kling 1985

***

Still in travel-mode?

Check out my travel memoir:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Available on Amazon…

School Daze–Teacher Training

[School’s back today in Australia. With that, a break from my travel missives and a journey back in time to my teaching days…]

The Trials and Tribulations of a Student Teacher

Part 1

[Note: Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.]

To Miss Without Much Love

They struck on Thursday afternoon. This was after the Year 9 English class had lulled me into a sense of security, which was false. Students do that, I learnt. They go easy on a new teacher for a week or two. Seasoned teachers call it “the honeymoon period”; usually the first two weeks of the new school year are the “honeymoon period”. And for the novice teacher, teaching looks like it’s going to be a breeze. How wrong they are. Come Week 3 and the students, having sussed out the chinks in the new teacher’s armour, strike with a vengeance of gale-force winds. So seasoned teachers such as my dad, advised that an educator must be tough, from Day 1, and remain tough for at least Term 1. Students need to learn who’s boss.

Coming from polite society, and not much older than the students who sat before me in their crooked rows of ratty desks, I failed to get my head around what exactly it means to be tough. Besides, up until that fateful Thursday, the students had been so docile.

‘Keep an eye on Luke,’ Mrs S, my supervising teacher had warned.

I clocked the so-called menace. Way back at the far left of the class room, he reclined on his plastic chair and sniggered with the girl, Maria who sat next to him. Her skin was so caked with make-up, she looked as if her face were made of pastry. And yes, in true 1980’s style, Luke sported a mullet-hairstyle and, when not leaning back on his chair at the back of the classroom acting the joker, he strutted about like a prize rooster, surrounded by three or four “chicks”.

Luke’s minions, Mick and Danny, as if rooks in the game of class-sized chess, guarded the right end of the back row. They sat silently presiding over this vantage point, waiting.

That Thursday, we moved to Room 18 for the video of “To Sir With Love”. Ironic, really, that I should be teaching on that particular novel and film. The 1960’s values put forward in that film didn’t work for me in the 1980’s.

Darkness, and the move, permitted Luke to slink out of hiding and band with his partners in “crime’, ready for the “kill”. Luke’s harem also emerged out of obscurity, surrounding him as they watched the video. Or should I say, rather than watching, this band of nasties, wriggled, squirmed and nattered.

As the film progressed, I shifted to stand near the clutch of unrest. The group giggled and shuffled. Chairs scraped.

I glared at Luke.

He curled his lip and leered at me. ‘Wot you lookin’ at miss?’

‘Silence!’ I snapped.

‘I woz doin’ nuthink.’

His chicks tittered.

‘Hey!’ Bill, turned his scrawny body. ‘Stop that!’

‘Stop jabbing me!’ Ben raised a skinny arm. ‘Miss, Danny’s jabbing me!’

Laughing, Luke rocked on his chair and shoved Bill with his foot. Bill catapulted onto the girls in front of him. They screamed and peeled away from the scrawny boy flailing on the floor.  Good boy George leapt out of his seat. Ben turned and slapped Danny. And the girls sitting at the front cried, ‘We can’t hear!’

All the while, as waves of chaos continued to roll, Luke lurked at the back, glancing at me and gloating. Had to be him who started this fiasco, I thought.

I pointed at Luke. ‘Right! Luke! Out!’

‘Oh, but, why? Wot did I do?’

‘You started it. So, out, you go!’

‘Oh, but…’

‘Don’t argue with me! Now, go!’ I pointed at the door. ‘Go to…to the principal’s office!’

Luke shrugged. ‘I dun nuthink wrong.’ And then slunk from Room 18. His minions narrowed their eyes at me. Chief chick, Maria snarled, ‘Not fair!’

[continued next week…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Full of anticipation, hope and mischief; First Day of School—my brother looking bored already, and me with pigeon toes on purpose © M.E. Trudinger 1975

***

Still in travel-mode?

Check out my travel memoir:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Available on Amazon…