Be Wary of This.
I slipped my favourite t-shirt over my head. The one that said, ‘Got coffee?’
Only minutes later at school, I broke a fingernail clawing against a cement wall. A wild-eyed, dark-haired woman–dubbed the ‘Rogue Grammarian’ on TV–ran at me with a huge red pen in hand.
I fainted–right after wishing I had worn the eraser-necklace they gave all students to protect themselves. “Seeing these will soothe her,” the profiler told us.
I woke up on a gurney and the Police gave me tiny sips of filtered water in a paper cup. Grounding myself wasn’t easy. My teeth were chattering.
Soon a female officer stood me in front of a mirror in the Ladies’ to view the evidence. My best shirt now read, ‘Gotz milk, d’ya?’ Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the boss’s office.
‘I’m sorry,” Captain Becky O’Malley said. “This is NOT the Rogue’s work.” As if for effect, or another camera angle, she then got up, took one and a half steps, and plunked herself down on the other edge of her desk. ‘She has a different MO.” She tossed back her curly auburn mane and, sporting a black business suit to die for, she added, “This is NOT the fugitive teacher my Task Force is seeking.” What followed was an engaging two-mile stare, during which time I swear someone said, ‘Cut.’
“There are OTHERS?” I was barely audible. My mouth went dry and pupils dilated. Compulsively, I twisted and wrenched the bottom of my shirt. I looked down and in my exhausted uneasy state, saw the ragged tea towel from my kitchen.
“I’ll get an officer to drive you home.” She left, clicking her heels with each step, leaving me alone. I ventured a quick surveillance around me.
That’s IT? What about the horror of seeing grammar worse than mine? The other burdens. How my selfish choice of clothes contributed to the delinquency of other young writers who played dodge ball with the alphabet? Hey … my fingernail! ANYBODY?
Yep, there it was. Even a classic tumbleweed manifested itself, doing somersaults with an easy drawl, for as far as I could see.
Two minutes later, Captain Becky returned. Her green eyes feigned gravity as she dangled keys from her fingers. “I decided to drive you home myself.”
“But I live hours away,” I sputtered.
That was no problem at all.
Somehow I managed to croak, “Okay.”
Shaking again, I ripped the side of my shirt, and then stuffed my clumsy hands in my jean pockets before I stood there in a bra.
I tried not to smile but was secretly happy no one ever advised: “Beware of your grammar.”