Alice Currie bit her lip and tried her best to keep from tapping her foot as Mrs.Blois's keen eyes scanned her coffee- stained resume. She knew her recommendations had been glowing, and her degrees numerous. But all the recommendations. Alice knew that. And Mrs. Blois was about to know. Mrs. Blois's eyes narrowed as she reached the bottom of the fifth page of the paper, and Alice's gut squeezed. A numb pang shot through her as she knew she'd get another no. Mrs. Blois looked at Alice, sizing her up. "Hmm." She rested her chin on her index finger and turned to her computer, fingers flying on the keyboard for what seemed like eternity to Alice. Sweat began to appear on her brow. Finally she turned towards Alice and asked, "Is it true a student got burned in a science experiment?" It was a short question that demanded a complicated answer.
"You want turn on your Bunsen burners, and make sure the flame doesn't reach more than 1 and a half inches." Ms. Currie sighed. She was teaching at St.Michael the Archangel Academy, where parents could pay the $20,000 tuition a billion times over and could care less about their children respecting their elders. Five minutes after the bell rang, Harper Preston swung the door open and sashayed to her desk, chomping on gum.
"Harper, this the seventh time you've been more than ten minutes late to class, and the second time you're getting a detention." Ms. Currie pointed to the box of hair nets." Go and get one."
Harper sneered at Ms. Currie and flipped her hair in the air-right through a Bunsen burner.
The students themselves testified in Ms. Currie's defense, but it was Harper's family who had more money. Ms. Currie was fired.
Ms. Blois pressed her lips together."One chance, Currie. Prove it to me."
The student's crowded around the scientist's station, chattering and whispering about what she'd do. They'd been waiting for their teacher for a few minutes, but that didn't bother them. Their thoughts, fueled by anticipation, were enough to entertain them. That, and guessing about the strange liquids Ms. Currie had on her Imagistation.
The Imagistation, a marble countertop, was covered with flasks and gradual cylinders brimming and foaming with brightly hued potions and muddy concoctions. Kids peered through their googles at the round flask filled with a clear "fluid". (They were a bit unsure.) The liquid was dotted with multiple holes, like it was poked into multiple times. Some wrinkled their noses at a cloudy, gray sludge fermenting out of another flask. It oozed -almost seemed to crawl-out and plopped onto the countertop, fizzing and hissing, and gradually solidified.
Suddenly, the double doors opened. "Hello, children!" Ms.Currie said, with her pristine lab coat flowing behind her like a robe.
"Today" she said, brandishing her plastic stirring rod like a wand and silencing the class, "we will make elephant toothpaste!"
Everyone's hands shot up in the sky like beanstalks as memories of seeing videos with elephant toothpaste sprouted in their heads. A short kid with a baseball cap named Lisa asked,"Why is it called elephant toothpaste?"
Ms.Currie beamed at him."Well, for no other reason than it looks like toothpaste that's big enough for an elephant to use."
The boy thought for a moment, and shrugged."Guess that makes sense."
Ms. Currie, somewhat sighed, somewhat muttered," Yeah. Pretty simple reason."
"Anyways, lets get started! Everyone, to your desks!" The children, already half away to their desks, scrambled.
Ms. Currie started placing her materials on her Imagistation. The students had instructions on their desks with the ingredients:
16 ounce plastic soda bottle
1/2 cup 20 -volume hydrogen peroxide liquid
1 Tablespoon of yeast
3 Tablespoons of warm water
Liquid dish washing soap
"Safety is number one priority" Rick said in a thick Russian accent. The class chuckled and put on their goggles.
"And now, fellow scientists, for our activator " she said, shaking the bottle with a twinkle in her eye. She opened up the bottle, and beamed at the acrid liquid." As you probably smelled already,this bottle has hydrogen peroxide inside. This is the fountain of life for our creation, but it could also be fatal. This is much too strong for you to apply on a burn." The children waved their hands in front of their noses as she poured the hydrogen peroxide in her flask.
Ms. Currie pulled out daffodil-colored dish soap and squirted- "Just a squirt of dish soap, not a flood," she said, wagging her finger- some in. She then dropped in some crimson food coloring." A drop of red." she whispered. The crimson blossomed into clouds, swirling with the daffodil dish soap, forming a rich orange.
"The missing piece of our puzzle, children, is the yeast. This holds the entire project together." Ms.Currie held the packet of yeast up, so all could see. She slowly poured it in a cup of warm water and tapped the bag to get all the yeast in. She let it rest for a moment. She looked at the class," Everyone, I want you to take several steps backward. Now." she demanded. Her voice was soft, but her intention loud and clear. She didn't want any of her students to be hurt, or worse. The class scrambled back a few steps "Careful, careful! Be mindful of each other!"
When her class were five feet away from the elephant toothpaste, she took the cup of now-fermented yeast, poured it in, and sprang back to the wall. The elephant toothpaste erupted into the air, almost touching the ceiling. Ms. Currie gazed at the orange flash, her creation from her cauldron, with her jaw dropped. She slowly pushed up her goggles, and strode to the flask as if it were a bomb. She looked at the foam, covering the table and dripping off it. A grin broke out on her face. Feelings of happiness and relief, but mostly triumph swelled within her.