Me: Nice copier, good copier. [strokes top of copier]
Thpth, thpth, thpth. Beep beep.
I collected my pages and eased out of the workroom and down the hall. Fr. Pax marches in behind me with an arm-full of documents.
I pause to glance into the study-hall to see if anyone is, indeed, studying. From behind me I hear—
Beep BEEP BEEP! [sound of crinkling paper]
Fr. Pax: Irritans damnosum!*
I walked briskly to my classroom.
Small Freshman: Miss Red, Miss Red!
Me: [bracing for trouble] Yes, ma’am?
S.F. : Because of your lesson and that magazine I got a first in history and in geography! [hugs me, races off]
Me: [Blinking and trying to sort out just what happened] Um, congratulations?
Fr. Romanus and Mrs. Declension should get far, far more credit than I do.
Fr. Romanus strolls past with four colors of copier paper in hand, heading for the big copier. He’s making flyers for the pre-Shrove Tuesday fund-raiser breakfast.
I had to go to the office to leave make-up work for one of my students who was struck by the Dreaded Lurgy – upper respiratory version. From the teachers’ work room I hear,
“You… What?!? How dare you?”
Sister Scholastica emerges, puts one finger over her lips, and we tip-toe away.
Small Sixth-grader: That’s not long enough.
Taller Associate: How about gynecomastia?
Small Sixth: Ooh. [counts on fingers] Six syllables. Perfect!
Later that morning, I found Mrs. Oxford, the sixth-grade English teacher, sighing at the coffee maker and adding a dollop of creamer to the Coffee That Shall Not Be Slighted. “Never again.”
Mrs. Oxford: Never again will I allow the students to make their own spelling tests for each other.
I don’t mention that she said that two years ago.
Brother Vector lost the toss to organize the upper-division teachers’ luncheon. Almost every month, a third of the teachers and staff make lunch for everyone. This being a religious school that tries to focus on the higher things of life and the spirit, there is never a trace of competition or bragging about these occasions. Never. Really. Pinkie Swear.
Br. Vector: So, we’ve had soups, a sandwich day, and Thanks-be-Its-Not-Turkey. Our options are Mardis Gras, Valentines, and yes, the anatomically correct heart-shaped Jello mold is off limits again this year, or something else. Someone suggested Fasching and Carnival.
Everyone looks at me. I try to look innocent. The biology teacher droops with disappointment.
Mrs. Verbum: Taco bar. It’s not Lent, not on Wednesday or Friday, and we will be spared a King Cake.
Señora Creer: I can provide decorations.
No one voices any objections.
Sr. Scholastica: Valentines Day desserts, however, are recommended.
Br. Vector: So noted. [writes] I will have a sign-up sheet next week. Otherwise we will have ten packages of tortillas, three jars of salsa, and fifteen desserts.
Now everyone tries to look innocent.
*This is the semi-official name of a species of gnat.