Sloth: part 4 of 4.

The movie was coming to an end—the class could tell because the beekeepers were finished packaging the honey and the music was loud and triumphant—and Tony and Carter were anxious, yet excited to bring the photos to the principal. Tony sat slumped in his chair, face resting on his fists, feet crossed comfortably under the desk. Carter, on the other hand, couldn’t slump: he sat with both legs protruding from under his desk, and his eyes were following the clock like an owl watching its prey.

Five minutes left, thought Carter; who was watching the second-hand—jump forward, little…by…little. And the funny thing about time, is it always seems to slow down when you watch it with sharp eyes, like it can sense your watching, and won’t pick up speed until you turn away. Those five minutes until the bell would ring—minutes signaling the end of the class period, the end of Mr. Chestnut’s teaching career, and the beginning of a class where learning would be a priority—moved like glaciers in Alaska The anticipation was getting to both of the plan maestros.

The movie came to an end, but Mr. Chestnut, belly out and snoring like an old, obese grandpa, did not wake up. And, other than his belly rising up-and-down, his body was still. Tony and Carter looked around the room, then at each other, back around the room, then at each other; the whole time contemplating there next move. Their contemplation was cut short when, out from under Mr. Chestnut’s desk came a low, continuous rumble similar to the sound of a run-down lawn mower starting. Tony, Carter—the entire class, erupted with laughter. It was a fart! A gigantic fart. If it was an earthquake, it would be a 9.5 on the Richter scale; if it was a tornado, it would be an F5. It was a massive fart. And the damage was much, much worse: The students in the front row had to evacuate to the back, immediately. One didn’t make it (she puked all over her white sneakers). A student near the middle row, whose name was Alex, puked at the sight of the other puke; which started a domino effect of students puking and gagging. The students who were unbothered by the puke, developed stomach pains from vicious giggle attacks.

Meanwhile, the noise from Mr. Chestnut’s class could be heard from the other end of the hall. Which, as it so happened, was the exact spot of Principal Green’s room. He took one step out of his office, stood with arms crossed, and listened to the noise for a good minute, in hopes it would cease. It didn’t. And, as the principal, he was forced to take action. So, he began walking like a disappointed parent toward the chaotic classroom; all the while, practicing his stern voice in preparation for some discipline.

“Excuse me!” Principal Green said, in the same voice all principals use. “What is the”—he began gagging and coughing; the children kept laughing—”meaning of this? And what is that smell?” He waited for answers, but all he received was a a snoring Mr. Chestnut, and a crowd of laughter, as if he were a comedian on stage. “Mr. Chestnut! Mr.–Chestnut!

“Huh, what? Ah, Principal Green, sir.” said Mr. Chestnut, as he wiped off his brownie-stained face and quickly buttoned up his shirt. “We were just..uhm—learning about the importance of honey to our food industry. Isn’t that right, class?”

“More like, learning about the effects bad hygiene has on the body!” said Jacks, the class clown who always sat in the back, and only spoke up when it seemed time for a joke.

“Well, this is about the worst situation I have ever seen as principal of this school! Mr. Chestnut; my office—now!” His voice vibrated the room.

“Dude, this is it!” said Tony to Carter.

“There’s no way he has a job after all this.” said Carter. And the two troublemakers, along with the rest of the class, ooed and awed as their teacher walked out of the room with Mr. Green by his side.

“Kids, you are dismissed. Get yourselves ready for your next period. And,” he paused to shake his head in disgust, “I am extremely, extremely sorry about this.” Mr. Green said, as he stared deep into Mr. Chestnut’s fluffy soul.

The event in class that day was all anyone could talk about during the weekend.

Questions were firing from everywhere, and by everyone: parents, wanting to know if Mr. Chestnut would be fired for such careless behavior; students, curious about what happened, and how it happened; and Tony and Carter, wondering if their plan would work out in the end. The answers to all those questions would be given in minutes, as Mr. Chestnut’s class, sat waiting outside the locked classroom door; with no teacher in sight, on this interesting Monday afternoon.

“Look!” Carter said, pointing down the hall at two figures whose faces were not yet clear.

“Man, that’s Principal Green—and he’s with a chick!” said Tony.

Principal Green and the mystery woman were soon standing in front of the intrigued students. “Boys…girls, this is Miss. Forest. She will be taking over for Mr. Chestnut until we find a solution to his behavior.” he paused to gauge the students: they all seemed excited. “Miss. Forest,” he continued, “they’re all yours.”

“Okay, everyone; let’s find your seats.” she said, as she unlocked the door to let them in. Her hands were shaky, and her voice seemed nervous. She was a young girl, early twenties, the class presumed. Her skin was pale and covered with freckles; and her hair was bright orange. She wore clothes that didn’t quite match her looks: white sweater with green polka dots, a green skirt, and black heels.

Tony and Carter couldn’t believe their eyes: not only did the plan work—but their new teacher looked young and cool! “This is awesome man!” said Tony.

“I know! And she’s kinda hot…right?” Carter was hoping Tony would agree.

“Uhm, yea!” said Tony. And they both smiled and gave each other their famous fist pump.

“Okay, so here’s like, the deal.” began Miss Forest. Her voice was soft and high-pitched. “I really don’t care to be here. I needed a job until I get money to start acting.”—Tony and Carter were stunned—”So like, let’s just get this over with as painless as possible, Okay?” The class nodded their heads in confused agreement. “So, any-way, Mr. Chestnut left me movies to get you kids through the year. We’ll start with this one, it’s called ‘How to Mend a Garden.’ Just watch it—and don’t bother me.” The new teacher played the movie, and began texting before the first scene even began.

“Man! Are you kidding me?” Tony whispered to his best friend. “This is insane.”

“Yea, talk about the ultimate backfire.” What do we do now? asked Carter. The boys shook their heads in disappointment. “Well,” continued Carter, “I guess it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

“Yes, let’s do it!” said Tony. And the boys smiled, knowing this next plan would be a piece of cake.

The Sloth: Part 2 of 4

The class bell rang, and the students of Newville High rushed through the halls like early-pass holders at an amusement park. Carter and Tony slugged behind their anxious classmates, who were in a rush to get a good seat in the cafeteria. “I don’t see what all the rush is about.” Tony said to Carter. “We’re all gonna sit in the same spots anyway. Nothing ever changes.”

“Yea,” said Carter, “and you know the food ain’t something to fuss about.” They both chuckled, and Tony made his body shiver just thinking about the cafeteria food. On Thursday’s, the day it currently was, the cafeteria served a heaping pile of mashed potatoes—which looked like a momma bird chewed it and spit it out for her young—there was turkey that tasted like paper (they only knew it tasted like paper, because the cafeteria served paper on Monday), and bagged gravy the lunch monitors likely stole from the dumpster behind the school. So yes, Carter and Tony saw no real reason to rush to the cafeteria.

The two friends received their toxic-waste lunch, and were headed toward their regular spot to sit and poke at their food. It was rare for them to actually eat their school lunches. On most occasions, they would toss it and stick to the snacks they brought from home: a bag of chips, a pack of fruit snacks, and two brownies, where the usual snacks they’d consume. Their regular lunch spot was in the back of the cafeteria. So, to get there without any food casualties (just imagine the sort of riot one would start if they spilled mashed potatoes and gravy on an unexpected student), they had to zigzag around the room like a mouse looking for cheese in a maze. First, they passed the brains of the school: they sat at a table front-and-center to the entire room—even at lunch they made sure to sit up front, just in case there was a spontaneous assembly. To the left of them, were the jocks: the kids nobody liked, but most wanted to be like. Opposite of them were the party girls, who at the moment, couldn’t believe Melony would ditch them to eat lunch with Trevor, the class clown. How could she! The three tables in the middle of the room were reserved for the loners, the gamers, and the skaters. Then, there were the two tables way, way back. One was where Jimmy had conversations—of high intellect—with himself; and the other was where Carter and Tony ate their lunch. Since the first day of ninth grade they had chosen the back table, and they’ve been sitting there ever since.

“Alright, Carter. What’s the plan?” Tony spoke with a mouthful of brownie, and the gaps in his teeth seemed to be storing some for later.

“Okay, so here it is…” Carter paused, eyes staring at his pile of glob the school calls a “healthy lunch.”

“Well, what is it?”

“Um…sorry. I guess I don’t have one yet.”

“Man,” said Tony sporting a look of disbelief and waving his hands to the air in disbelief, “you mean to tell me you don’t have a plan? What were you doing during that whole movie?”

“I was just,”—he was thinking about Stacy Bordals—”just trying to learn something, I guess.”

“Yea, and I’m thinking about how delicious this food might be. Come on, man! Get real.” Tony smacked Carter’s shoulder with the back of his hand.

“Alright, alright.” said Carter. “There is this one idea I had—but it could get the Chestnuts fired!”

“Go-on. I like the sound of this.” Tony drew out his words, and began stroking his imaginary mustache to show his seriousness.

“Okay, so you know how Chesticals likes his food, right?”

“Uh, I think the whole world knows that.” said Tony.

“Well, I noticed—and we don’t have to do this, but I noticed he eats everything in his path. Like…EVERYTHING! And I was thinking, maybe, if we kept giving him food during the day, by sixth period, he’d be knocked out and sleeping like a chubby baby after his milk.”

“Dude—I love it. But how does that help us?”

“Because, if he falls asleep, we snap a picture, and—vwah-la! He’s out of a job, and we get a teacher who might actually teach.

“Man,” said Tony, “that is messed up! But you can count me in! Mr. Chestnut-crunch is outta here!” Tony threw a fake pitch in the air, Carter motioned the swing of a bat, and they both pointed to the ceiling, as if to signal a home run.

“When should we do it?” Tony asked.

“Tomorrow. Let’s do it tomorrow.”

Just as they finished their mischievous plan, the lunch bell rang, signaling the end of seventh period, and the students, bellies full with garbage, trudged along to their next class. At this time tomorrow, Carter and Tony would be heroes, and Mr. Chestnut would be in serious, serious trouble.

The Sloth: Part 1 of 4

“Psst. Hey, Tony.” Carter Wilkens said in a quiet, classroom voice. “Are you getting any of this?” Carter sat in the far-left corner of Mr. Chestnut’s ninth-grade history class. Standing at 6’3”, he was the tallest kid in his grade, and also the skinniest, by far. The top of his head could be seen from miles away, and he had a voice incapable of whispering.

“Man, shut-up. Are you trying to get us detention? You know I get one more and I can’t play this weekend.” Tony Atwell was the starting guard on Newville’s varsity basketball team: a feat no other ninth-grade student accomplished this year—not even his best friend, Carter, made the team (although, that’s because Carter was a tall bundle of skin and bones who would fall over if a light breeze tickled him). Tony was the exact opposite of Carter. Whereas Carter could be carried around by a single ant, Tony could stand his ground against most things. It would take the strength of a hurricane to knock him off balance. He was short and sturdy; with a physique well beyond his peers. And he made sure to show off his muscles—given to him by what had to be God, because he was doing nothing else to gain them—by wearing a tank top everyday. “Just,” he paused to look around the room and make sure no one was paying him any attention, ”just talk to me after class, alright?” he gave Carter a stern look to show he was serious. Tony was not one to mess around

“Yea, whatever—but I can’t take this teacher anymore, man! He doesn’t do squat, and I…”

“Excuse me, Mr. Wilkens! Is there something you’d like to share that’s more important than this video on how the early colonists planted seeds?” Mr. Chestnut, his chest puffed out and breathing heavy, waited for a response. He didn’t get one. “I didn’t think so! Now please, watch the film and try to learn something.” Mr. Chestnut was the ninth-grade history teacher; or, a-fat-tub-of-lard-who-sat-and-did-nothing-but-yell-and-eat-all-day, if you asked any of his students. He looked like his name: His skin was light brown and covered with hair like spider legs; on top his head—where hair should be—were a few strands of wet hair mushed to the right; his face was round and produced never-ending beads of sweat. His body was a run-down, bounce house, and his shirt, the size of a tent cover, hid all but a few chest hairs trying to escape the smell of two-day-old sweat. No one has ever seen the lower half of his body; which was concealed behind the desk he never left.

“I just can’t fail this class or…” Carter sighed and brought what he thought was a whisper a level softer, “or I have to repeat this class. We have to do something.”

Tony nodded in agreement, and the two friends went back to watching the worst video ever created: now you see, the seeds must be planted in moist ground or the lives of the colonists could be ruined.

“We have to do something.” Carter repeated into his notebook. And something, they would do.