Clarion Call #4: Revolting Pupils

This week’s writing prompt is short and sweet.  Give us a few words about “revolting pupils”… however you interpret the phrase.

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Linda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!


9 thoughts on “Clarion Call #4: Revolting Pupils

  1. Revolting Pupils

    The teacher, Mrs. Pruitt, stared at her class from behind the barricade of her desk. Disgusting little monsters, every single one of them.

    The class huddled at their desks with heads bent over the worksheet.

    Mrs. Pruitt stood, joints creaking. She smoothed her floral print dress over her ample bosom, one hand folding over her reading glasses, holding it like a holy symbol against the raging tide of evil embodied in the seven-year-old students. She paced between the rows of desks, orthotic shoes squeaking on the linoleum tile. She paused, hovering over little Jimmy. One fat finger descended to his paper.

    “The flowers go here, Jimmy. Not over there. And hold your pencil correctly.”

    Jimmy corrected his grip, head bowed as he refused to look at her face. He scribbled the correct number of flowers in the answer box.

    Mrs. Pruitt finished her rounds. She stopped at the front of the room, assuming a stance like a prison warden addressing his charges.

    “Pencils down.”

    Pencils clattered to desks.

    “All eyes up front.”

    She waited, but the class kept their heads down, eyes shifting side to side. Mrs. Pruitt cleared her throat. The students trembled in their seats.

    “I know I’ve only been here two days, but I demand you show me respect. Look at me when I’m speaking to you.”

    Little Jimmy squirmed, darting a glance at her face, before ducking his face.

    “Jimmy?” She needed to say nothing more. The authority in her voice carried the command.

    “Sorry, Mrs. Pruitt.” Jimmy’s voice squeaked. “It’s just your eyes, they’re so human.”

    The class hissed agreement as twenty pairs of reptilian eyes finally daring to look at her non-scaled face and round-pupiled eyes. Twenty scaly bodies shook with revulsion at the sight.

      1. I’m enjoying the prompts. It’s more writing than I’ve managed for a while thanks to kids, job, and life in general. Thanks for posting these and encouraging us to play in your sandbox for a while.

  2. Ellie peer through the lens of the retinascope and sucked in her breath. The pupil, she knew from training, was black because its tissue absorbed all light. But this man’s pupil was muddy red.

    “Look up, please,” she said. She moved the instrument back and forth and watched as the mud drifted like building storm clouds. “Have you had any problems with your vision lately?”

    “No,” the man responded. His face was pit marked and unshaven and his hair and not seen a barber in weeks. He had come in for no other reason than his yearly exam.

    “Headaches, dizziness, blind spots?” Ellie focused the retinascope on the other eye and a deep frown creased her forehead.

    The man hesitated. “Headaches, yes, and sometimes…”

    “Sometimes what?” she asked more sharply than was professional. Something flashed across the instrument’s focus that was never in any optometry book.

    “Sometimes I feel like I’ve blacked out, like I can’t account for long stretches of time.” The man said it so quietly that under any other circumstances Ellie would have asked him to repeat himself.

    She set the retinascope aside and reached for her clip board. “Can you please verify your name and address for me?” The man glanced at the sign in sheet and nodded. Ellie thanked him and stepped outside to quietly seek out the administrator.

    “Could you call the police?” she asked.

  3. There many have been two choppers, six film crews and eighty CCTVs focused on the kettling zone, but none of them managed to capture who threw the first stone.

    Maybe it would have had no effect, had it not glanced off a riot shield, and nicked a different policeman above the eye.

    No one asked why he was not wearing his helmet and visor. No one thought to check the injury (the Deauchamp Inquiry afterwards pointed out that the policeman in question had not required stitches, nor suffered any bruising. Testimony from medical experts showed how blood flow from forehead cuts could be disproportionately copious). The sight of blood running freely was all it took to break the thread of calm and respect.

    Twelve CCTVs caught the wavering line, the breaking of linked arms and chants, the surge of police forward to no target, any target at all.

    Dusty cameras caught the first to fall and be trampled, the blurry moment cycled endlessly on news reports and memorials with red arrows and lines pointing out where Alix Severance (12) tripped, where his mates were pushed by the weight of the crowd away from helping him to his feet.

    Extra footage pointed out where Sarah (9, name redacted) had her nose broken by the thin edge of a ‘defensive’ shield wielded by a man almost twice her height, and definitely more than twice her weight.

    More commonly repeated was the image of Desmond (14, name redacted) using the handle of his ‘WE R UR FUCHA – RSPKT US’ poster to assault police. Or hold them back. The footage was spun in both directions by the media machine.

    The moral majority screamed that This Should Never Have Happened to Children, that How Dare their Parents Let them Go Somewhere So Dangerous, And Something Must be Done, until the red-eyed father of Alix calmly pointed out he’d driven his son to school that morning, and short of marching the straight-B, never-in-trouble student all the way to his classroom, there was no way he could have prevented Alix joining the other 12,956 or so school students secretly staging the walk out – had he known about it any way.

    Then that seemed to be the end of that. The media articles grew less frequent, and were shoved further and further back in the press. The new Education Pathways legislation passed, and no one took notice of the mutters from minors over how they had never voted for this, how it was their lives being streamlined down to machinery cogs, why were they being made to pay for everyone else’s economic gluttony.

    And the adults, satisfied that their futures were safe, never noticed how their childrens’ eyes had grown a little colder.

      1. Mishell- are you going to tell us if you were referring to ‘student’s or ‘eyes’? Just curious, I first thought eye but then wasn’t so sure. 🙂

  4. Both words are deliberately ambiguous. “Revolting” could mean disgusting or rebelling. Pupils could be students or parts of the eye. More fun that way.

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