Jane Fenwick hid the mental shake of her head behind a bemused smile. As usual, these four students were being a challenge. Of course, these were the types of challenges many teachers wished for and hoped they'd have one these types for the school year. Although Jane's weekly five-dollar habit in scratch-off lottery tickets had yielded few results and none of them the big one, she had certainly cashed in when she got four learning-happy pupils this year.
At the start of the school year, she was concerned that they might be obsessed about getting high grades. While that wasn't entirely bad, she had seen and heard of high schoolers who had burned themselves out by sweating over their grade point average. And this quartet was only in the fifth grade. Fortunately, they took genuine joy in learning for discovery's sake.
Now Jane had to deal with constant questions about everything. By the time these girls were done with middle school, they'd likely be classified as geeks by their classmates. But at least they'd have each other and would probably be comfortable in whatever careers they chose while some of their classmates were making the french-fries at a fast-food place they might visit. Then again, at least one classmate, Damon Hillenbrand, might not even be French fry material.
In this current case, the girls had quick-growing grasses in a series of plastic, self-watering terrariums. For the school science fair, they wanted to do a study as to what liquids besides water might either help or harm the plants. Along with the control grass using rain water, they had tap water, high-end bottled water, iced tea and a variety of detergents and oils that they were using to see which of those would be most detrimental.
Jane thought it was a pretty good idea but the girls had just read that at least full four weeks were usually done in this type of experiment. That meant they'd have to prepare their test solutions and add them to the terrariums tomorrow. That was a Friday and was a day off across the district as the teachers were attending a conference. But of course the girls wanted to come in.
"Mrs. Fenwick," asked Julia, her eyes anxious beneath her dark bangs, "Will there be anyone here at the school to let us in? Please?"
Jane sighed. Pete, the school custodian would be in doing his usual maintenance.
"Yes," she said. "Try to find Mr. Leonard - you may see him through the windows. And when you're done, scoot. It's supposed to be a beautiful day and we don't have many of them left as it's already mid-October."
"Thank you, Mrs. Fenwick," the four girls chorused sincerely.
"All right then," Jane replied. "Now, be sure to...oh my God! Damon!"
The girls turned to look where their teacher was looking. Like Jane, they couldn't figure out what exactly had happened.
"Damon!" Jane called again. "How did you...never mind. Just stay there. No! Don't move. And please put that bottle of glue down."
Greta, a slightly chubby blonde, let an impish grin spread across her round face.
"Maybe we should do a science experiment with Damon. Make him try to outsmart a mouse or something."
Scarlett knew it wasn't nice to laugh at other people but couldn't help joining her friends in a giggle along with the rest of the class except for Damon and Mrs. Fenwick.
"Shelby! Greta's here!"
Shelby put her book down and smiled at her little sister. Their family had moved here over the summer and she had been nervous about starting the new school, especially since she had been skipped a grade after the new district's administrators saw her standardized testing scores. She was also very petite for her age so being a shy, undersized nine year-old in the fifth grade was going to be rough.
Fortunately, she fell in with Julia, Scarlett, and Greta on the first day. After secretly hoping she'd find one friend, she had three inseparable ones.
Before getting her school backpack, she stopped and checked herself in the mirror. Mom and Dad said that neatness always counted and that suited Shelby's pleasure in orderliness anyway. She brushed at her shoulder length light blonde hair with her fingers, making it sure it wasn't tousled on the top where she had it parted on the side. From behind the lenses of her oval, wire-framed glasses, her light blue eyes held a look of satisfaction.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Monday, April 09, 2018