by ALL OF US!
Okay, you know the rules. Add a sentence or even a paragraph to the story and let’s see where it goes. Last time, a couple of entries were out of order. I’ll try to patch in every once in a while to move things along if necessary.
I hope this works . . .
Lorena Jackson stood just below the stage with her back to the angry parents assembled in the school’s cafeteria. She used a felt tip pen on the overhead transparency to explain why Walt Whitman Elementary School had failed to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for the fourth year in a row.
“We’ve appealed the decision on several of the standards,” she said, regretting her misguided decision to be the school’s principal, to try to lift it up from its horrid reputation and ghastly neighborhood. “Given our demographics, it’s not fair to expect progress every year.”
“How about one in four?” shouted someone in the middle of the crowd. Other parents mumbled. Just because most of them worked two jobs didn’t mean they wanted to blow off their kids’ education. How dare this woman act so high and mighty?
“Now, now. Let’s have a little decorum here,” said the principal. “You wouldn’t use that behavior in front of your children.” These people were barbarians. Half of them never showed up for their parent/teacher conferences . . . let alone when there was a school performance or team-spirit event.
“Hey, Lady! Stop treating us like idiots!” yelled someone else. Didn’t the principal know how much it took for them to get to this damn meeting in the first place? The lost time at work?
“Stop acting like one,” said Alesha Freeman softly enough so that only her friend Rosa could hear.
They’d been sitting there in that hot building just like everyone else. But unlike some, they actually thought Jackson had been doing a pretty good job. She’d gotten rid of deadwood, cleaned up the drug problem– little kindergartner thugs– and had even gotten computers in some of the classrooms. Why were people trying to lynch her now?
Rosa frowned. This wasn’t how the evening was supposed to go. Jackson was supposed to give her presentation and get parents in the mood to visit their children’s classrooms to meet the teachers. It was supposed to be a real feel-good event, not a feel-like-hell one.
“Come on,” said Alesha. “Let’s get out of here before someone decides to shoot her.”
“Yeah.” Her friend nodded. “I want to meet Alejandro’s teacher. He’s real happy in her class.”
The two women edged through the pressing bodies of standing parents to the double doors. Outside, the air was crisp with the first real night of Autumn. Someone a couple of blocks away was cooking barbecue. Alesha and Rosa walked to one of the rows of portables, searching for their children’s classrooms.
Rosa found hers first. “Hey, let’s meet near the office and walk home together.”
Alesha smiled. “See you then.”
Two hours later, Rosa waited for her friend. She hugged herself, regretting she’d left her sweater on the kitchen chair when she’d rushed out of the house to get to the school in time. Rosa opened her cell phone to check the time. Alesha should’ve been there by now.
But Alesha never came.