Ed sat in class, bored. The clock ticked away the seconds. It threw them at him with disdain. Ed’s head sank deeper into his desk. His meager stare droned at Mr. Warsaw. It had been about an hour since Ed noticed the way the lines of his teachers shirt blurred together. Everything blended into a fantastic watercolor mess. Trig Identities ran into Henry VIII and none of it made any sense. His only mental effort came from imagining the taste of the chalk that Mr. Warsaw scribbled figures with. Its dusty screeches drew and mesmerized Ed. He had never really held chalk before. He had touched it, but he had never really experienced it. He had never felt it chip and powder the insides of his mouth. He had never felt it crunch between his teeth and dust down his parched throat.
The lunch bell rang and the class drained. Ed stayed though. His only concern was that chalk. It was comfortable to concentrate on.
“Ed? Do you have lunch detention?” asked Mr. Warsaw.
Ed was startled, “Uh… um… no.”
“Then please leave. I have papers to grade and I expect to not find you when I come back.” Mr. Warsaw walked out the door, towards the cafeteria.
Ed stared at the empty room, without interest. He didn’t really want to leave. He didn’t want to stay either, but it was easier to do nothing. That way, he could believe, in secret, that he was doing neither.
That felt good.
Ed stood up and walked to the front of the room, eyes fixed on the chalk. Without a thought, he reached down for it. Ed took the stub and placed it in his mouth.
It tasted terrible.
Ed didn’t mind.
It felt terrible.
Ed didn’t mind. His teeth crunched down. He could feel the dust. It flaked back into his throat. It almost gagged him.
“Cool,” Ed thought.
With the chalk still in his mouth, Ed turned and saw a stack of papers on Mr. Warsaw’s desk. It was arranged in the neat piles typical of the classroom. Ed reached over and picked up the white ceramic tea cup where Mr. Warsaw kept his pencils. He moved it to the other side of the desk.
A flash joled down Ed’s spine. It surged through his nervous system and flared at the tips of his fingers. It felt damn good. He stretched up and enjoyed the feeling. Something was different. It was intereresting. Yeah…
Ed picked up a ruler and rotated it 45 degrees. The feeling came back. It encouraged him to do more. He started to move random things back and forth, out of their designated places. Papers were strewen about. Pens were knocked around. Paper clips were scattered.
Then Ed picked up Mr. Warsaw’s cold coffee and dumped it over the desk. The black fluid splashed over papers. It drenched and destroyed all that lay in its path.
A soaked, brown mess remained on the desk. Ink blotted out over drenched papers. A’s, B’s, D’s, and F’s smudged over lines and bled into pools on the desk. All the writing looked the same. It was all ugly.
Ed opened the desk’s drawer and began to pull papers out. They flew into the air and rained about the room. Ed grabbed one page at random and scanned it. The first line read: “How to Make a Peanut Butter Sandwich. By Ed.” In a fit of rage he ripped the page to shreds. He screamed as he tore the fibers over and over and over again.
“What do you think you’re doing, Ed??” Ed turned around to see Mr. Warsaw. His teacher’s face burned in anger. “What the hell are you doing?”
Ed dropped the crumpelled mess into the garbage pail: “Just getting rid of my trash,” Ed said through a mouthfull of broken chalk. He walked toward the door. “You don’t have that right!”
“Neither do you,” Ed mumbelled and walked out the door and down the hall. “Ed! Where are you going?”
Ed continued toward the front doors. “Anywhere else! Somewhere real!”
Mrs. Washburn ran over and asked, “What just happened?”
“I don’t know,” replied Mr. Warsaw, “But God save his soul. God save us all.” The two were silent. The only audible sound was of Mr. Murphy down the hall, as he scribbled sentence diagrams on his black board.
“Monday, nothing. Tuesday, nothing. Wednesday and Thursday, nothing.”