Mrs. Oliver was happy. It was her first graduating class and today was the day of the graduation ceremony. She had bitten heavily into her own savings to purchase cupcakes, juice bags, napkins, plates, streamers, and banners and had downloaded Pomp and Circumstance to her Ipod which she was amplifying through the ratty speakers the school provided.
This was not the classroom Mrs. Oliver had thought she would be working in back in college at the famous Ann Arbor University of Michigan in Michigan where she had accumulated nearly a hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt, not at all. But, as it turned out she could not simply go anywhere she wanted and get a job. She wasn’t much of a student, and the only jobs available to her were in economically downtrodden areas and were jobs no one else really wanted. She soldiered up, however, and dove in with all the vim and vigor she could muster even after daddy offered her a position at his mortuary hosting funerals.
Mrs. Oliver was not married. Her instincts served her well in that the wedding band she wore provided an excuse to fend off any advances by co-workers, but that really hadn’t worked out too well. The janitor with the missing teeth all but stalked her from day one. It was a good thing he didn’t have a car. And actually, every man in the building hit on her constantly, including the principal. Heather Oliver, if nothing else, was about as hot as a chick could be and there was no way to hide it. The other females despised her for it. She had absolutely no friends in that building she could depend on. They called her, White Bread, behind her back. Heather thought of them as Spicks and Niggers.
The plan was to pay her dues until she could escape to suburbia, hook a husband, squeeze out a few babies and watch daytime TV for the rest of her life, but she wanted to pull a few years working just to get that shit out of her system and get some cred with her Daddy. She turned down the free money from daddy for college because she knew, being an only child, his mortuary fortune fell to only her. Mom had stroked out the year before and Heather couldn’t have been happier. Mom had gone completely nuts. She had her stroke in the French Quarter after beating a police horse with her umbrella. And then the horse stomped in her brains.
Oh yeah, the family mortuary is in New Orleans. (Nahhlinnns) Go to Jackson Square, climb the statue; look right and you can’t miss it. It has been in the family for five generations and is the longest continuously owned family mortuary in New Orleans. Heather couldn’t wait to sell it.
She looked up at the clock. Five more minutes and the place would be packed with socioeconomically disadvantaged families and friends and possibly Zonderack’s grandfather’s seeing-eye dog. Keiasha’s mother, who had volunteered to come in early and help set up, never showed up and there she was strolling through the door ghetto fabulous with her Iphone and gold rope. Her father was self-employed and her mother did nails. Tyrece was next through the door and three steps in Heather could smell him already. For a second she considered taking Tyrece into the janitor closet for a bird bath, but on second thought nearly slapped herself for even considering it in the first place.
The plan had been to start the ceremonies at 8:22 sharp. At 8:37 the Vice Principal was supposed to start handing out the diplomas. At 8:53 they would serve the refreshments, all neatly arranged on a long table, and have a social hour. At 9:55 it would be Goodbye time and at 10:00 it would be dismissal. And glorious summer would start.
But, since I am writing this, you know shit ain’t going to be that easy.
At 8:29 the only visitor who had arrived was Jose’s parents and they spoke no English. Heather spoke French, of course, and couldn’t make it work with the Rodriquez’. Zonderack’s grandfather, James, arrived with his white cane and German shepherd at 8:33, and he was nearly drunk and did a poor job concealing the bottle of Jack in his pocket. Heather led him to a chair along the wall and he sat down and lit up a cigarette.
“Sir, you cannot smoke inside a school,” warned Heather as courteously as she could.
“Ahm bline yo ol Hoochie, caint chu see dat?” barked James.
Heather retreated with much dignity not. There was nothing she could do. The security guard was probably already drunk and playing craps in the boy’s room on the third floor. The Vice Principal still hadn’t arrived and Keiasha’s mother had just strutted in with her miniature chow, white fur coat, white spandex pants and white spiked heels. She got one look at James and turned on her heel. “I believe I will sit over here,” she said. Her husband arrived a minute later accompanied by the biggest black man Heather had seen outside of a Wolverine lineman back in college. Mr. Deveroux found his wife and took a seat but Gigantor stood at the classroom door and looked mean. Heather was sure he was carrying a gun—and he was.
When Mrs. Elmore entered the room, everyone felt a chill go up their spine. This woman was 80 years old and stone cold crazy. She didn’t even have a kid in this class, let alone the entire school, and hadn’t for like 50 years. All she had was a bunch of money her husband left her and a house full of talking parrots. Heather had never believed the house of parrot’s stories, but today Mrs. Elmore had one on her shoulder and it was talking a mile a minute. The kids loved it, and it did bring calm to the room. Heather let the bird run out of steam before marching to the front of her desk to start the ceremonies.
“Good Morning, everyone,” she began.
“Good morning, everyone,” repeated the parrot.
“I would like to welcome all of you to our graduations ceremony today for the class of 2013,” continued Heather her voice slightly tight.
“The class of 2013, BAWK!” declared the parrot.
Heather glared at that bird. “This class is especially noteworthy because, as you all know, this is my first class.”
“As you all know, as you all know,” repeated the parrot which drew a peel of laughter from the assembled personage—except for Heather, that is. She was starting to boil.
“This class worked especially hard this year. Our theme for the year was ‘I believe I can fly”, and our students really took off!”
“I believe I can fly,” sang the parrot. “I believe I can fly!”
The bird was getting applause now and Heather was ready to throttle it. And now Mrs. Elmore had fallen asleep in her chair and Keiasha’s mother was moving to the snack table, which was having a trickle effect on the audience.
“The snacks are for after the ceremony,” announced Heather as politely as he could, and the room fell deathly silent in an instant. Even the stupid fucking bird knew better than to speak. Keiasha’s mother lowered her sunglasses and leveled a death glare at Heather the likes of which very few white girls will ever sustain. She held the glare only momentarily, and then she looked at Gigantor, and then she picked up a cupcake and a juice box and returned to her chair. “Y’all can go on with your little ceremony now if you want.”
Heather was actually trembling now. She had to lean against her desk to gain enough strength to speak. “I would like to introduce our class valedictorian at this time. This young lady worked exceptionally hard throughout the school year and showed excellent citizenship and leadership skills.”
“She did all dat shit in kinnerganner? Nigga pleze.” said James, who was definitely not smoking a cigarette any longer, but had switched to a blunt.
Heather was definitely not ready for that.
“Nigga pleze,” repeated the parrot.
Now Heather was angry, and that was a problem. Spoiled, privileged white girls have no business getting angry around people who see her as exactly that. “Sir, you are disrupting this ceremony and you cannot smoke marijuana in a school classroom! I must ask you to leave, Sir!”
“Nigga pleze,” repeated the bird.
“Ahm gots me a card fo dis here marrwanna,” proclaimed James proudly.
“Nigga pleze,” repeated the bird.
Waste not want not. James polished off the bottle of whiskey before hurling it where he thought that smart-alecky bird would be. He missed and badly. Keiasha’s mother took that half-pint bottle square in the face. Blood spurted everywhere.
“Nigga pleze,” repeated the bird.
Gigantor didn’t hesitate one bit. He drew his Glock, took aim on James and fired just as Mrs. Rodriquez stood and screamed and took that bullet intended for James in her expansive right breast. And that is exactly when Heather learned there were numerous firearms in the room. Now, the best way to tell this story is in slow motion because shit happened so fucking fast that there is no way I could write it quick enough. So, use some of that theatre of the mind stuff here.
These three things happened in a split second. First, James dove from the floor and let go of the leash and the dog went for the miniature chow that had been released from Keiasha’s mother’s grip when she got hit by that bottle. Second, Mr. Deveroux had his gun out and Gigantor started stalking James who, which surprised everyone, had a gun of his own. Thirdly, Heather bolted toward the door like an Olympic sprinter and ran head-on into Gigantor knocking the gun from his hand and causing it to discharge when it hit the floor.
Of course, then James started firing blindly at the sound of the shot he heard and actually hit Gigantor in the ankle and took out the gerbil in the cage by the doors. And then the worse thing happened. Heather, after being knocked to the floor by Gigantor like a box of rocks, found the Glock right in front of her and made the stupidest move possible. She picked it up.
In milliseconds, this is what transpired in Heather’s brain. She had played a lot of Call of Duty in college. Her boyfriend at the time was a fanatic and she actually enjoyed playing with him. In fact, they broke up because she got so good he couldn’t touch her and his ego couldn’t take it. Law student. What a dick. But, Heather had developed a taste for the game and since teacher school is a breeze for anyone smarter than an idiot, she whiled away the hours as PuzzyCanKill on her PlayStation Three. She loved the Lightweight perk, and with a pistol and the Ninja perk, she was invincible. Well, nearly invincible, at least. But, anyway, that is what went through her mind when she saw that Glock before her eyes.
She hadn’t intended to shoot anyone when she rose up in combat position with that Glock at the ready. Unfortunately, she came up facing Keiasha’s mother, who by now had her pistol out and was looking to bust a cap in James’ ass herself. Keiasha’s mother fired first. It was pure instinct, but because her grill was so messed up and her vision slightly blurred she ended up putting two through the blackboard before she could adjust. All she could see was someone pointing something at her and she knew that was not good. Heather squinted her eyes and squeezed off three just like in Call of Duty. Three round bursts were always best.
Mr. Deveroux now had a bead on Heather’s head and had squeezed the trigger, but the damn safety was on and before he could get it off and re-aquire his target, there were three sharp booms as that forty caliber Glock reported. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his wife’s head explode and splatter all over the wall behind her.
Of course, as you can imagine, the classroom is completely berserk right now. Kids are screaming and running around. Parents are panicking. The parrot is flying around trying to avoid the dog, which is actually chasing the miniature chow that is fleeing for its life. People are shooting. It was a very stressful situation indeed.
The recoil of the pistol knocked Heather to the floor, which was a good thing because Mr. Deveroux had recovered and got off three rounds himself at where Heather used to be, and then his gun jammed. James’ gun was still working, however, and his shots at Heather went wide and struck Gigantor in his gorilla sized arm. Mr. Deveroux’s missed shots at Heather hit James in the foot, or at least one of them did. He didn’t have much time to think about it, though, because Heather rolled to prone and tapped him twice in the skull. Heather was on fire now. She was in pure survival mode, just like that night with the football player. What the Hell, she thought, and popped the bird in mid-air. That felt good.
However, since James was shooting at sound and Heather became his immediate target and he emptied his clip. He hit Gigantor in the head, twice, and missed Heather with the remaining three rounds. And that is when Heather Oliver shot a blind man in the forehead. And his dog. She had to shoot the dog after that. She shot the miniature chow, too. By now, everyone who wasn’t dead had fled the classroom. And that is when Heather realized she had taken one in the ass. There was a pool of blood forming beneath her and her skirt was ruined. She couldn’t remember getting shot. What the Hell?
They dug a thirty-two caliber slug out of her ass, but never discovered where it came from. But, because I am the writer of this story, I do. Jose Rodriquez shot Heather when he was trying to shoot Gigantor for shooting his mother. He wasn’t the first kindergartner to carry a gun, and would not be the last.
Heather got out the hospital a week later and took a cab to the school to retrieve her car which had been stolen and her purse which had been stolen and went from there directly to the airport and boarded a plane for Peru. She was not supposed to do this because there were possible murder charges pending against her, and trillions of dollars in law suits, and angry people wanting to torture and rape and kill her. Heather said fuck that shit and flew the coup. Daddy had arranged everything.
Right this minute she was upset because she could no longer wear a thong. The bullet hole was small, but just too ugly and refused to tan. She decided to take a swim in the ocean and rose from her beach towel and told the attendant to watch her stuff. The beach was especially beautiful this afternoon. She swam out further than usual and just drifted in the waves. And then the shark struck. He hit her mid-drift and basically bit her in half on his first pass. Heather’s upper torso was still very much alive and she treaded the water with flailing arms and screamed with all her might for all of about seven seconds.
The irony is, even though her daddy owned a funeral home he couldn’t bury her because there was nothing left. Just goes to show, time wounds all heels.