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Powerplay (ShoStoBloMo #13)

November 13, 2009

The phone rings.

Charlie winces.

Hello? Yes, this is she.

Charlie tries to tip-toe out of the room.

I’m sorry to hear that.

A hand catches Charlie’s shirtsleeve.

Actually, she’s right here with me.

Charlie struggles.

No, she didn’t say anything about that.

Without thinking, Charlie peels the fingers off her shirtsleeve.

I don’t mind speaking with him at all.

A slap at Charlie’s hand, and then the fingers tighten on her shirt.

Hello, Mr. Blard. Yes, I can hear you. I can hear Mrs. Smith as well.

Charlie unbuttons her shirt, planning to leave it behind and run.

Yes, sir. Mrs. Smith was just filling me in on….

Charlie is pushed into a chair, a finger pointing at her menacingly.

Believe me, this will not go unpuni—-

Charlie tries to speak, but one look – that look – keeps her quiet.

I agree, she’s old enough to—-

What was that? Maybe, possibly, a note of irritation? Charlie’s hopes rise.

Well, sir, with all due respect—-

Definitely a note of irritation now. Charlie dares to meet her mother’s eyes.

Certainly provocation is no excuse, however—-

Eyes batting like a chagrined puppy, Charlie takes advantage of this window.

If you would please stop interrup—-

Charlie’s head cocks to the side as she tries to hear the other end of the conversation.

I am not sure that is at all a proper punishment. No I’m not—-

Charlie stands and tentatively places her hands on her hips.

Yes, Mrs. Smith. I see Mr. Blard’s point, but remember—-

Charlie screws up her face to show her feelings about the situation.

Sir! Ma’am! My daughter is 10 years old. She is not—-

Charlie dances in a small circle as her mother’s voice is raised.

No I do NOT think that is appropriate. No I do NOT think you should—-

Back in her seat again, Charlie feels her heart race.

Listen to me. A 10 year old girl should not be subjected to—-

Maybe it’s not a good idea for your mom to scream at the principal.

That is unacceptable! I am happy to take this to the school board to see what they—-

Maybe it’s not a good idea for your mom to scream at your teacher.

To be frank, Mrs. Smith, I think Mr. Bland is coming from left field here.

Charlie’s hand covers her eyes.

Yes, sir, well I’m sorry you feel that way.

Charlie sees her mother’s jaw clench.

I think an apology from both parties is in order.

Charlie gasps. Mr. Blard apologize to her?

I don’t think there is an age requirement when it comes to respect, and—-

A smile, a nod. Charlie feels the fingers release her shirt.

At least I’m not a book burner, you Nazi cow.

Charlie’s eyes widen.

It’s from a movie. Yes. Field of Dreams. Yes that’s a REAL movie.

Charlie and her mother roll their eyes together.

There are worse movies to quote from, believe me.

A giggle.

I agree she should respect her teacher. But he should respect her, too.

A thumbs up.

I will decide what books are appropriate for my daughter, thank you.

Charlie grabs her backpack.

Well then we agree to disagree.

A pen. Paper. Charlie scratches out a note.

Well. I will have to get back to you.

The phone beeps off. Charlie holds up the paper:

“I’m sorry you made me call you a book burning Nazi cow.”

Men can’t be cows, Charlie.

A pause. Charlie looks at her mother.

Bt they can be cowed.

Charlie doesn’t know what that means.

Go get ready for dinner.

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