Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Junk Drawer

Since I have nothing to say, I thought I'd scour the flash drive for stuff I've abandoned and share it with you. That's right, I think so highly of my followers that I subject them to my trash.

Our principle is a great big fat lady who wears baggy colorful dresses. If she could hula-hoop she’d probably look a lot like Saturn. But since she’s so big and also so old, I doubt she hula-hoops. Be pretty funny if she did, though.

You don’t want an old principal. They’re like old teachers, but worse. Old teachers, like my last year’s teacher, Mrs. Baker, think can do whatever they want. Last year, Brandon Cleland got caught chewing gum in Mrs. Baker’s class and Mrs. Baker made him stick the gum on an index card. Then she pinned the index card to his t-shirt and he had to walk around with it all day. At night, he had to have his mom sign the index card and he had to bring the card back the next day with the gum still on it. Old teachers can get away with stuff like that. When I told my parents about it they acted like it was no big deal. Dad chuckled. “Still up to her old tricks, huh?” he’d said. Then he went on to tell me how easy kids had it nowadays and how when he went to school the principal had a paddle hanging right on the wall. It even had holes in it to cut down on air resistance. “She still have that old paddle?” he had asked.

Turns out she did still have the paddle. I saw it when she called me into her office. It was hanging right there on the cinder block wall next to her diploma.

“Have a seat,” Mrs. Winterbottom said. She sat behind her huge desk looking a lot like Jabba the Hutt in a dress, but Jabba wasn’t the only bad guy from Star Wars she reminded me of because for some reason Mrs. Winterbottom didn’t use her nose to breath. She breathed through her mouth and it made her sound like Darth Vader. I’d never seen anybody make breathing seem so difficult.

I sat down in a plastic chair. She had one of those gigantic cups you get at 7-11 in front of her, the kind that holds about six gallons of soda. She grabbed the cup with a meaty hand, lifted it to her mouth and sucked on the straw. When she was done she was breathing harder than before.

“Laughing in class,” Mrs. Winterbottom said, peering out over the top of her thick eyeglasses at me. “Why?”

Well I wasn’t about to tell her about what Titus said for two reasons. First, you don’t repeat Uranus jokes to the principal and second, I didn’t want to get Titus in trouble. So I just said, “Something funny happened and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Does that ever happen to you?” I asked her that because with mom and dad it helps to remind them that in many ways they’re not that different from me. Sometimes it makes them think twice about being so angry.

But it didn’t work with Mrs. Winterbottom. “No,” she said. “I never laugh.”

“But you used to, right?”

“No," she said. "Principals do not laugh.” She said it like she'd been principal her entire life, and for all I knew, she might have been.


Jonathon Arntson said...

Clever. Drew me in and I didn't want it to end.

Heather Kelly said...

If this is in your trash, what else do you have? Are you holding out on us?

I liked it.

Anita said...

I love it!

You choose funny names for your characters...or do they choose their own names? :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

Btw, don't hold on to your thoughts about Nick and Norah's, I just picked up the No Kiss List from the PL's discard shelf. I want to know your thoughts.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I'm with Anita on the names. And you had me at "You don't want an old principal." (possibly you had me at the sarcasm in the line, "I think so highly of my followers that I subject them to my trash.") And I love the gum punishment! So I like both the narrator and the P.

I'll take trash. I'm not proud.

Kelly said...

Okay, I did really like this. I think you need to revisit this manuscript.
I could totally picture Mrs. Winterbottom's meaty hands grabbing the colossal soda!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

There is no manuscript to revise. It's page 3 of 3 of a story started and left behind. I actually don't even have an idea of what it was going to be about. Take it if you want.

Laura Pauling said...

Love it. The principal's character must have been fun to write. :)

Ocean Girl said...

This is so funny I can't have enough.

For a moment I thought this was your current principle at school and prayed she doesn't read your blog.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Ocean Girl, I thought the same thing.

Anita said...

Have any of you seen the NICK & NORA movie? Loved it! Felt like a novel, for sure (which I haven't read but am glad our leader is reading).

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I saw the movie and read the book. Thought the movie was good, thought the book was better. Cliche or what?

In the book, the collaboration between writers/voices is fun. What say you, captain my captain(I don't know how to capitalize that, but probably someone here could educate me).

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Haven't seen the movie. Only on chapter five of the book. I'll let you know.

Anita said...

I'm a gonna go order this book.