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Misfit

United States

I'm from Chicago and I go to school at the circle of hell Dante didn't discover. I adore books, and I hope my appetite for them is never satisfied. INFP-T

Message to Readers

I'm re publishing this because I want to improve this story, and maybe make it a series

Elephant Toothpaste

November 30, 2018

        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, diplomas, and coffee stains couldn't cover the incident. Alice knew that.  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 felt another rejection. 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 with her eyebrow raised, "Is it true a student got burned in a science experiment?" Alice sighed, but looked Mrs.Blois in the eyes and explained.
                                                                 ***********
     "You want to turn on your Bunsen burners, and control the flame." 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.

                                                        **************
    Mrs. Blois pressed her lips together."From what I can understand, this wasn't negligence on your part."

    Alice began to relax a bit. Someone who understood!

    "But, this could be bad publicity." Ms. Blois stated.

     Alice's smile faltered, and a knot began developing in her throat. She'd already seen this scene before in her past interviews. "No publicity is bad publicity, right?" she squeaked.

    Mrs. Blois stood up from her chair and gripped Alice's hand. " We'll have to see about that. Thank you for your time."
  
       The interview was over. Alice trudged back to her car, and drove to the next school, trying to comfort herself "At least she didn't throw me right out. S-She actually gave me a chance." But her eyesight became blurry, and her she nearly crashed into the car in front of her. She pulled over into a parking lot, slumped over the steering wheel and put her head on her fists. 

        A week later, as she was getting ready for her next job interview, Alice was startled to see an email from Mrs.Blois that simply said," You start next week. Try to impress the PTA with an experiment."
                                                    ********************
        Alice looked at the mirror in the bathroom, taking deep breaths. Anticipation bubbled inside of her, but twinges of anxiety stalked closely behind. Students-even some boys- were peeking into the  girls' bathroom and whispering to each other behind their hands once they saw her. Some took only a glance at her, and dashed of to tell their friends. A few casted lingering looks, but went on with their day.

    Alice didn't see or hear any of that. Teaching the children was what motivated her to come, if anything. But at the same time, what her students thought of her was also what their parents thought.

    The main thought that plagued her mind were the PTA, who were a bit concerned that their children's safety was being put in the hands of a "mad scientist", as the media labeled her. She worried

    Clack, clack, clack

    
The sound of high heels and talking traveled down the hallway. A group of men and women carrying binders and coffee were walking down the hallway. Men wearing starched buttoned up shirts and women wearing ironed dresses surveyed the school. A woman in front with with three inch high heels and a pantsuit chastised a student for breathing out of his mouth.
    "Buh my noze if stuffed upp" the boy said, sniffling.
    "That's still no excuse for being so loud!" the woman yelled, her voice bouncing of the walls.
    Alice winced. Poor kid!
    She decided it was best to take the woman's attention of the kid, who was trembling as she tore into him. She took a deep breath, clenched her jaw, and strode out of the girls' bathroom to the woman.
    "Hello. My name is Alice Currie, and I'm the new science teacher." Alice said, holding her hand out.
    All chatter ceased once the name Currie was said.
    The woman whipped her head towards Ms.Currie and scrutinized her. "Aren't you that new science teacher?" her name tag read Mrs.Banner
    " Yes ma'am." Alice turned her attention away from her and gave the kid a pack of Kleenex. The kid, a young boy with a baseball cap, took the Kleenex and smiled at Alice. "Thank you," he said, then he scurried off to his next class. 
    "Hey, hey, HEY!" Mrs.Banner screamed, snapping her fingers immediately in front of Alice's face. "I'M the one you should be worried about!" 
    "Sorry." Alice said, trying her best to stifle a laugh. 
    "What are you doing today?" a man in the back stepped forward. He was lanky, with smile lines around his eyes.
    "I plan to make elephant toothpaste. It's a simple, but fun experiment, and will utilize some of the skills I plan to teach my students, such as safety and catalysts." Alice said.
    "Alright. Good luck, Ms. Currie." The man smiled at her, and gestured for her to lead them to the lab.
  
    
      The student's crowded around the table, chattering about what she'd do. They'd been waiting for their teacher for a while, 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 wide office cart, was covered with flasks and gradual cylinders brimming and foaming with brightly hued potions and muddy concoctions. Kids peered through their goggles 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  were flung opened. "Hello, children!" Ms.Currie said, with her pristine lab coat flowing behind her like a robe. Adults filed in behind her, staying in the back of the room.
     "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 l as memories of elephant toothpaste sprouted in their heads. The kid, Ms.Currie instantly realized as the one with the stuffed nose, asked, "Why if it called elephant toothpaste?"
    Ms.Currie answered."Well, for no other reason than it looks like toothpaste that an elephant would use."
    The boy thought for a moment."Guess that makes sense." His voice sounded less nasally, and Ms.Currie smiled, knowing she helped.
    Ms. Currie  somewhat sighed, somewhat muttered," Yeah. Pretty simple reason."
    "Anyways, let's get started! Everyone, to the front!" The children 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 dishwashing soap
  • Food coloring
  • Small cup
  • Safety goggles
    "Safety is number one priority,"  said Ms. Currie in a  Russian accent. The class chuckled and put on their goggles.
"And now, for our activator, " she said, shaking the bottle. She opened it up 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." 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 some in."Just a squirt, not a flood," she said, wagging her finger. She then dropped in some crimson food coloring." A drop of red." she whispered. The crimson blossomed into clouds,  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 and 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 was 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.
    
    






    
    

 

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