You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 1

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Insufferable Mess

The teacher walked down the corridor and unlocked the classroom. Yet another new one? Why do we keep getting these new teachers? Sage thought as the class filed in after the teacher.

The board had ‘Marcus Cicero’ scribbled on it. Are we learning about the Roman philosopher, Cicero? Now, don’t tell me it’s this new teacher’s name. He looks like a clown…

“All right, class! My name is Marcus Cicero. I’ll be teaching history this year,” the teacher said interrupting Sage’s thoughts. 

Then, the teacher began with the roll call. “Sage Brush?”

Sage dutifully responded, “Here!” Then, he started doodling as always. 

Mr. Cicero passed out the textbooks titled Gruner’s Guide to the World. Sage could tell that this was another one of those pointless textbooks: full of under-researched or archaic content and filled with random photos. 

Earlier, he had come across a textbook that famously asked, “Which popular Gupta Era text has Arjuna’s character in it? The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, or The Gita?” Sage had been confused, thinking about how to answer that. Duds! The Gita is a part of the Mahabharata, he had grumbled.

“This year in history…,” the teacher started his lecture, but Sage tuned him out. 

Over the years, Sage had wholly stopped paying attention to class. He spent most of his time lost in his thoughts. Those were highly entertaining, unlike his lackluster school. There was nothing new to learn. Everything seemed too easy or irrelevant. All that mattered was classwork, homework, grades, and college admissions in the distant future. Schools were plain boring and senseless, he had concluded.

A bang of the door snapped him out of his daydreams. 

“Sorry! I ran a bit late,” said Nero Perez, standing in the doorway. Awesome! That walking cuss machine Nero is late to school again. He’s not changed a bit from kindergarten, Sage thought nodding his head in disapproval. 

“It’s okay, as long as you know that Marcus means favored by Mars in Latin,” the teacher responded, boastfully giggling at his joke.

We have a nut job for a teacher! Sage thought as he struggled to contain his laughter. From the other side of the room, Livia started cracking up too. 

“What’s so funny?” Mr. Cicero asked.

“Nothing, it’s just that your last name Cicero means—,” Livia began. 

“Chickpea in Latin,” Sage finished.

Livia glared at him, clearly upset that he stole her thunder. The rest of the class broke into laughter. Felix fell out of his chair, clutching his stomach as he guffawed. Nero was in a similar situation as he was rolling on the floor.

Mr. Cicero’s face turned redder than a tomato. He seemed furious.

“STOP LAUGHING AND SETTLE DOWN!” he yelled and continued, “This is a fun class, but I will not tolerate any nonsense from you, kids! We’ll start reading Lesson One today, and I expect complete silence.”

Sage could already see the direction this new school year was taking. Insufferable mess! One more year of torture, he thought.

*****

“How was your first day of school?” Sarah asked Sage as soon as he hopped into her car. 

“It was great. I love school!” Sage said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. 

“Is something wrong?” Sarah asked, with a frown on her face.

“Yeah, everything! I wish I could quit school and do something useful,” Sage muttered, avoiding eye contact with his mom. 

“Stop complaining, Sage. Victory School is the best school we know,” Sarah said, shutting him down.

*****

Note: This is a collaborative effort with Rishi Sridhar.

*****

You can read the next part in this series here: Part 3

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