Q: What were the instructor’s major strengths?
A: The instructor is a delightful and fit woman with a servant’s heart. She brings snacks and wears durable clothing, is prim, considerate, and responsible. This semester, the instructor has been, to so many of us, in so many ways, a blessing. The instructor was everything we dreamed our instructor would be and more. It is for this reason we, the class, would like to organize a court of kite fliers to assemble on the instructor’s front lawn. The court will fly kites of many colors and be accompanied by a brass band. Also at the assembly there will be beverages, all non-alcoholic, so that attendees may develop a credible memory of the occasion and also so that the purity of our merriment will not be enhanced unduly; furthermore, attendees will wear sneakers or sandals, to keep the event casual. No other foot attire can be permitted. Not even Birkenstocks, which, according to our instructor, resemble sandals but, in fact, are not sandals but a crude, leather-hewn mockery.
At the climax of the celebration held in our instructor’s honor, there will be the feeding of a baby goat to a crocodile, which will be monitored by a trained professional who will have on his person, at all times, a metal rod with a hook on the end, which he will be able to use, if need be, to reprimand the crocodile, and even gouge out its pink eye if, say, the croc becomes agitated, which we, the organizers of the event, possess paperwork explaining that the likelihood of an outburst such as this one is, to be sure, slim. If it does happen, however, it will be because the crocodile was provoked, possibly by a small woodland animal, perhaps a chipmunk, or, and this one is the more likely, by one of the young women currently earning a certification in the area of Foreign Language Instruction who, we all agree, frequently wears a pungent variety of fragrance that could potentially irritate the crocodile.
Just before the crocodile is being fed the infant goat, the attendees of the event will invite our instructor out onto the lawn by starting a slow clap. The clap will begin at a volume and tempo piano-adagio and crescendo all the way to fortissimo-allegrissimo, an achievement which will be facilitated by the conductor of the brass band who has experience, his C.V. says, that qualifies him to direct an ensemble of persons gathered to perform a clap of this variety. At the climax of the clapping, the croc will be allowed to become agitated and then erect, cuing our instructor who will have been, up until this point, playfully held in bondage, blindfolded, by a man in a ski-mask who is going to turn out to be, we are assured, the brother of our instructor’s husband; at any rate, it will be at this very moment, the crescendo and climax of the slow-clap, that our instructor will step out onto the lawn and register immediately, the visages of each and every attendee of this gathering, which will, again, be composed of everyone on the roster of our class (with an attendance record of 80% or higher), including other auxiliary personnel and waitstaff as well as faculty guests and one of those clowns who can tie dog-shaped balloons; then, and only then, will she encounter, at last, the demure, insensate face of the baby goat just as it, the baby goat, is lowered within jaw range of the crocodile and captured with an almighty crunch.
Our instructor will faint. Tiny diamond-shaped kites will be suspended in the air, remote. Then a modest felt-capped mallet will be used, by me, to strike the minorest key on a xylophone, and that tone, mixed with a dog’s bark and our remorse, will cue us all to freeze in our revelry, a veritable brueghel of celebrants.
There will be no photographers allowed on the premises.
About the Author
Sam Leuenberger’s fiction has appeared also in The Gravity of the Thing, Fourth & Sycamore, and is forthcoming in Glint. He lives north of Pittsburgh, PA where he has written and directed three one-act plays and (sort of) continues to teach. He cuts grass and runs a weedwhacker for Thompson Lawn Care, for whom he has worked ten seasons.