What Every Classroom Should Have

An Excerpt from The Diamond Kings of Clarence Checkeredfish

1. saltasaurus 2. amargasaur 3. bavarisaur 4. milleretta 5. edmontosaur 6. epidendrosaur 7. thalattosaur 8. albertosaur 9. nodosaur 10. bachiosaur 11. maiasaur 12. tenontosaur 13. majungasuchus 14. dromaeosaur 15. dryosaur 16. peteinosaur 17. moschops 18. triceratops 19. protoceratops 20. herrerasaur 21. riojasaur 22. kentrosaur 23. montanoceratops 24. ankylosaur 25. icthyosaur 26. tuojiangosaur 27. shuvuuia 28. muttaburrasaur 29. iguanodon 30. nanotyrannus 31. lambeosaur 32. minmi 33. gallimimus 34. barapasaur 35. anatosaur 36. baryonyx 37. apatosaur 38. tsintaosaur 39. camarasaur 40. zuniceratops 41. tyrannosaur 42. torosaur 43. bagaceratops 44. shantungosaur 45. otitanosaur 46. askeptosaur 47. lexovisaur 48. lariosaur 49. archosaur 50. hylaeosaur 51. therizinosaur 52. 2 woolly mammoths

[ACT 1. Scene 1. 53. spinosaur 54. troodon]

“An arm and a leg,” muttered Mr. Checkeredfish, thinking what he was saving with the cost of education these days, while pushing down on the hinge of the step-ladder he sometimes jokingly called his “Magic Carpet” outside a window on the brick school layout he called “Wall St.” “And it gets worse for the cream rising to the top!” he said, capping off the thought.

Yes, he thankfully counted himself among the lucky ones. He couldn’t imagine how others could do it – pay for such a thing. With his interview successful and his jobbenefits a reality – to be sure he had had to convince the authorities not so truthfully that his bad legs would be of no hindrance to do the job – he was no longer thirty games below .500. Not only was he allowed a totally free education for Clarence, he was already counting how much more he could save; since becoming poor, he had been saving up tiny bits by tiny bits for his “chip off the old block” to attend technician school later in life when he might want to become a machinist. Massachusetts had become more and more machine-driven, he reasoned – he had little doubt that machines would one day pervade the Solar System – perhaps transporting concrete to Mars or something – and he wanted him to be a success, to get out of the swamp.

He reviewed his work papers. Yesterday he had been on the “Bookmobile” roof – his “name of the game” for the school’s media center – “asphyxiating” things up there – HAHA – what he often “did” at his new job! The “Bookmobile” was his favorite “camp” hangout for the new job, whenever he needed to be “invisible”… or whenever he needed to give his thoughts over to “Ol’ Grandpa Ben,” the name he gave to the grandfather clock inside… or to “his” Gobiomorus dormitor that he kept well and nourished on behalf of the science curriculum. Today’s assignment: the “Admin.” complex for the afternoon… and for the morning – here he was at – Binibining Mayumi’s building.

Through the open windows in the classroom near the fir tree, windy air rushed in like a parade float. He signed his work papers and left them on a clipboard at the foot of the ladder. Up a couple of steps – he never quite fully flattened the ladder’s hinge so that he could work the proper angle to jockey his legs up the ladder – he viewed inside the award-winning teacher, the pretty 19 year old Binibining Mayumi, working off a little nervous energy before school started, playing handball with a superball against her classroom back wall, with the beautiful student- drawn “non-synchronous” mural of green dinosaurs and 2 woolly mammoths and a baby land mammal next to glaciers painted on it. “She’s waiting for the ice to melt,” the tiny girl had explained who had drawn the baby mammal portion, “To learn ‘swimming’ and ‘boating.’” “That’s a whale!” said a boy, thinking at the time he was perhaps paying her a neat compliment. “She’s a dolphin!” the girl retorted. “Her name’s Dolly!” “She’s both!” interceded Binibining Mayumi, interested in deflating the discussion quickly, wondering if she would need to elaborate further on a new “can of worms” she might have opened up with these biological categorizations. But her remark seemed to satisfy both students.

“What a way to learn about ice at that age!” Mr. Checkeredfish had said to Binibining Mayumi earlier in the week.

She liked to hit with the ball the 2 woolly mammoths first, then each of the dinosaurs, then finish with the little dolphin (that required “hot” aim!), perhaps giving a little order to her early morning.

Behind her in bright colored chalk on the center-front blackboard were the words: “Science Day” “Guest Speaker” “Hot Topic Torque” “Be sure to energetically ask questions and to happily participate!” To each side and above and below were swooping curves:

“Busted infinities!” Mr. Checkeredfish guessed through the open window.

“No, rainbows!” Binibining Mayumi laughed, a little startled.

“Oh!” he said. “What are they there for?” He knew her to have wildly unorthodox teaching techniques.

“For what every classroom should have!” she answered. “Hope, trust, a little faith!”

“I see,” he said, noting her classroom safe and agreeable. She was thoroughly enchanting and feminine, and a tiger of a teacher. “Of course,” he said, approvingly.

He adored her accent. He knew she had wonderfully confident, stylishly p…ol…ishe…d…engl…ish…“allnotbe”…(l)…ove…(d)…n…ar…t…i…sti…c…al…l…y…ch all…eng…e…d…“middlish”…or…a…cle…a…n’…pr…o…m dressy, despite English being new to her and secondary to her.

She laughed nervously. “Are we still going out tonight?”

“Oh, yes!” said Mr. Checkeredfish. He blew a kiss at her and said, “Have a lovely day!” He started upward again on the ladder.

“You too!”

He waved and she waved back and gave him her killer smile, as he moved further upward. Unfortunately as he had known since Day 1 the ladder was a tad short to the roof. To make it all the way up, he pushed himself off from the top and second steps “torquing” it out a way, and then blasted forward in Superman fashion. “Congratulations!” Mr. Checkeredfish remarked to himself on his own “feat” and about this he couldn’t stop his belly from laughing with thoughts of his old war buddy, the one who always saw the yellow flower among the weeds, the one who always congratulated everybody over everything they did, someone who had influenced him in so many ways, even in love.

The children started to arrive below and Mr. Checkeredfish watched little Clarence enter the school doors – as Mr. Checkeredfish always did, he moved onto another slant so as to be hidden from the children.

[Scene 2. Th’ parent-child relationship psyche…s…o…r…e…d…oes…log’c!“I W!”fo’cubere-doublin’…taket’school of tao-sandknight!ifp,thenq…be…h…av…4…’r th’ King and Queen light laugh at can…d…ia…l’…mo…o…n…d’…ac’ flickin’ in his hat chaotic brain notes, roof “needs fixin’ outside” as th’ other parent had said to Binibining Mayumi earlier in the week, jokin’ streaks of rain coming down through “that there” stone crack , slowly, “almost ’bout ready” t’ “makin’ their ways” over “them dino’s there!” Say! “Look at the striped troodon!”]

The school siren rang. He listened to the class through the open windows below.

It wasn’t long before Binibining Mayumi had them engaged in “sing-songily” reading together as a class a children’s book that he had read when he was a boy, Quel Est Votre Univers Jusqu’à Aujourd’hui? by the prolific writer Wlapqufs Tjymnrixgdbchzevko: “L-o-r-s- q-u-e d-e-s n-u-a-g-e-s p-a-s-s-e-r o-u-t-r-e, c’-e-s-t q-u-a-n-d l-e s-o-l-e-i-l r-ê-v-e-s!”

It started to drizzle, but this was normal and seasonal and the chill didn’t bother Mr. Checkeredfish.

Then along came a gentleman in a soldier-uniform finding his way to the school doors, hesitating, as if unsure of his destination, coughing a little in the light rain and carrying stuffed bags. He made his way in.

Sometime thereafter he heard the children below give a sudden laugh. And then another laugh! “Education! Nothing like it!” thought Mr. Checkeredfish. The children closed the windows below shutting out the rainfall. A while later the soldier man left the building with no bags this time and Mr. Checkeredfish watched him disappear into the distance.

Mr. Checkeredfish lay down next to a checkerboard that he had “borrowed” from Clarence that he kept flat on the roof, where he was in the middle of a kings game with himself. He made a jump left and jump forward, a mindless move, but he was lost on the logic of the situation. He soon turned to studying the “valleys” of the concentric circles of the doubled-up yellow-faded checkers on “his side” of the board that he called his “diamond kings,” filled with tiny water droplets splashing in and around. He liked to joke that he was psychoanalyzing their positions on the board, and sometimes maybe those diamond kings were down there looking up, psychoanalyzing him! HAHAHAHA!

He was understandably too excited to think straight. He couldn’t wait for this evening’s “spectacular.”

“Congratulations!” he said to himself again.

Yes, tonight was slated as the night of all nights!

Tonight he had a date with Binibining Mayumi! The “Wall St.” “Bookmobile” would be the hot spot of the town! He couldn’t wait to be sharing hearing Mailiejee play on stage!

He rolled over laughing with his arms stretched out in the morning rain and thought over the great luck he had had in getting himself to this point.

[Scene 3. Mr. Checkeredfish lookin’ up to the sky starts to get nutty and t’ thinkin’ maybe this “camp” is ONE BIG GAME OF PARCHEESI! HAHA! What’d it be like if the big hand of “Ol’ Grandpa Ben” came down, picked up the cube classroom below and threw it round and about, like turnin’ dice? How it landed flat, maybe the dinosaurs from the back wall would become th’ students on the floor with the homework, while little Clarence is with all the other children stuck t’ the back wall in a painting bein’ s’prised ’nd pa’plexed! HAHA!

And poor Binibining Mayumi, who knows, she’d probably be jumpin’ and divin’ through the air like swimmin’ in the sea of time tryn’ t’ grasp on to the head ’n’ tails of her 1-54 t’ get her bearin’s goin’ straight again! HOHOHOHO!]

[Scene 4. Collage universe city welcome Mr. Checkeredfish!

Center in on dinosaur syllabus syllables, a pri…o…ri…o’…t…arty…s…p…l…e…n…d…i…dtime…o’…day!…jackofheartsghost!…even …con-ten-t’…havin’…kep’…d…ia…r…y!…steal…school-horse…7- 4…inneedo’2O…c…ir…cu…it…court…s…car…b…on…a…fide…Lear!… “whatsthedream?”…psychoanalyst…star…t’…b…ar- b…ra…w/l…wreck…youcansee…on…Main…St…d’…renai…s…s…e…an…ce…o’ education. Say! Suspicious! Who’s those “mammies” there running wild round “camp” with Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, etc!

Great job, Mr. Checkeredfish! “Bull’s-eye” on number of desks shipped – but alas, chairs only figured on eight. Bes’ not t’ hold ont’ d’ bullion, Mr. Checkeredfish, keep up with th’ Jones’s, k…o…llos…d’…cl…utchm…an’…spok…enword…can’yo’…u…n…change…gran’…Einstein …go…a…l…d…pe…n…g’in…eer…i…dic…t’…’um…an’…ity…f…rank’d…i…are…afifty …oneno…w…ild…card…oo…r…ide wit’ it! “Crowded classroom!” The troodon neva’ seems tired on his feet, but the rest of ’em say, “Get him to get the right count!” On it! HAHA!]

[Scene 5. Poppin’ cheer! “Hello, Dolly!” teacha’ – dolphin o’ whale – she way hot, popular, flag still stood, the Earth Day, the e…q…u…estrian…be…t’…he…c…kla’a…t’…“a…s…trotrace”…u…Yogi…ba…r…a’d’anik …do…t…o…booo…p-circle…noisy…envi…r…on…m…’n…t’…his…c…o…rn…erfromfilly “delphinidae’s” clue in t’ box!

Roll call taken! All here, except 21 and 42 absent “at each others’ throats” in a backgammon game! Wata’ name t’ give wish…wa…s…hy…s…t…e…r…e…o…r…ga…ni…ze…t…h…e…“tread- on”…farmers…co…un…terculture…v…e…i…l…i…n…g…s…i…l…e…n…c…e…g…i…an …t…coalit…i…o…n…e…v…er…u…n…it…de…l…i…v…e…r…y…o…j…v…i…b…rati… o…n…cata…lo…g…i…n…b…r…a…i…l…l…e…t’…camp…es…in…os…“a…x…t’gri…nd ”…birds. The lambeosaur ’n’ the nanotyrannus to learn story-telling!]

[Scene 6. Dolly weighs in most always likes t’ get students into 2’s. Today every group gets a crayon. “Wouldn’t anyone like th’ silver?” she asks. The extra-smart amargasaur raises her hand! So does the “true don” icthyosaur! It’s a tie! Dolly chooses the amargasaur. Her partner the gallimimus is pleased! The icthyosaur gets the gold. “This is today’s sponge,” Dolly says, pulling the map up in front to reveal on the board: “2 universes collide. In one universe, everyone is a scientist; in the other, everyone is a rebel. You are given a crayon to describe the other universe.” Hmmm. The amargasaur and gallimimus study a blank papa’. Perhaps… perhaps. “Which Universe are we in?” asks the amargasaur, not sure where to start. The two-timin’ Dolly answers: “Each partnership must decide!”]

[Scene 7. Tough assignment. Boys, why not try a war instead, cross-talking army men, pair off last time rose, get them “Rules” re: may vi…sit…e…tc…s…i…li…c…o…n…v…all…e…g…or…y…message…igo…li…k…m’…th… er…r…a…p…y…tha…go…r…as…c…ou…n…ti…n’s…on…g vitam’n day “got Canada” horsefeathers. Chop out, the cerulean partner thalattosaur over t’ spinosaur! Partners with the “all-shoe” baryonyx peels orange says: “BACK!” off the ground!

The therizinosaur sure ready to call it in a “GAMMON,” sold on ga…me…s…s…m…or…gas…bo…a…rd…i…en…wa…lk…es. Sa…y…i…p…pi…e…l…ep…r…i…cha…u…n…t…s…t…e…atime…t’…a…d…v…a…nce th’ checkers correctly.

Wouldn’t you know it! Dozing off! Begins to “Moon” dream ’bout the Berkshires and the cool blue valley girls he once knew out west! H…ott…o…ur…kee…l…e…go’f…eastphilosophy- bl…oke…Clarencecheckeredfish…de…f’…en…d…i.e…nga…gePo…n…d…uty…g…e…o… W…a…v…mettheenemy! Blush partna’ the majungasuchus stick unconscious fly paper up butt to I.D. this “stay pat” rep of hers, hey Ms., seems t’ be hopeless.]

[Scene 8. Ad lib the camarasaur egged on by the lariosaur free-loadin’ car books, follows D- catalog of rules. Right smack in the middle o’ class, she springs t’ the classroom play-phone, the one to practice on, not even hooked up, with the troodon lookin’ on, laughin’, t’ place a call over t’ the lambeosaur ’n’ the nanotyrannus. “Come!” she says t’…electros…ettastonefo’…p…res’…ad…hoc…k…ey…rink…ydink…y…din…g…h…y!…“N eed ya’ here…” ASAP – – …bring with ya’… ‘sun’beau – – “…sure to be a ‘lulu’ day…” b…outt’…“Copy that!”…’n’ gives “Good-bye.” “A scientist is objective,” her partner the lexovisaur says, when she returns to her seat. “Opposite to a rebel.” “A scientist is a rebel,” she replies. Obviously universes apart.

The montanoceratops says, excitedly, “Let’s be in the “scientists’ universe!” His partner the kentrosaur thinks |A disorganized mess, these rebels!| Tries for an “approach attack” of the problem, imaginin’ movies like Sunday NINA’s, windy pieces of equations, hir…s…c…hfeld…is’…al’…o’…r’sk…4…d’… singin’o’their“karaoke- chores”…d…b’br…av’…call’t’ “Mitty Mouse!” in the rainstorm, Shape I! He then gets a pass for the restroom.]

[Scene 9. 2 woolly mammoths (made it in off the waitin’ list), partners-in-crime! Carryin’ on about universes and all “them” other things… bucking up, getting ready… to turn in paper airplane, delivery assignment by airmail! Flies over the spinosaur’s head and lands on Dolly’s desk. Find the cockpit, roger that!]

[Scene 10. Next activity! Today’s class presentations subject “LOST DIAMONDS!”

The ankylosaur is first to come up.

“On April 5, 1720, Captain Oliver La Buze of the flagship Victory and Captain John Taylor of the Cassandra with the crew of Captain Edward England seized diamonds from the Conde de Ericeira, ex-viceroy of Goa, on board Nostra Senhora de Cabo off the coast of Mascarius.”

The dinosaurs beg the teacher, “Pirate booty! Field trip!”

“We’ll see,” Dolly says. “Good report.”

The protoceratops is next.

“–––––– ––––––– is lost near Nuka Manu!”

“Another way of looking at treasure! Sad but heroic! Good report!”

The spinosaur is next. Comes up with note cards. “I-I-I will try to be a g-g-good acrobat,” he says, a nervous wreck, his wrists struggling to keep his place.

The shuvuuia leans and whispers to the herrerasaur, “So concerned about his marks!” The herrerasaur says, “Might as well be a part of the geek squad!” The muttaburrasaur sarcastically says, “Boys!” The milleretta says, “Where are we? In a gym?” The minmi gets out lipstick and says, “I think he’s kind of cute!” The majungasuchus says to the amargasaur sympathetically and a little worried, “Where does he go from here?” The dinosaurs listen.]

[Scene 11. The spinosaur continues, “C-C-Caps of the P-P-Pyrenees melted memories as Gauls faded to dreamy homey c-c-countryside, preparing for new plays and stories rising from the footprints of b-b-battle-hardened, and equally often, b-b-battle-worn s-s-soldiers of past generations…”] [ Scene 12. He continued, “…Antoine, Antoinette, Antony,…”] [Scene 13. He said, “H-H-Hannibal m-m-made l-l-love to D-D-Dido for the last time…”] [Scene 14. He added, “…and the long European w-w-war ended.”] [Scene 15. He continued, “P-P-Pirates were back on the Mediterranean putting up new sails.”]

[Scene 16. He said, “C-C-Contact was made with the n-n-native p-p-peoples of the American continents, and the r-r-results were a severe and devastating c-c-clash…” He paused, looking down sadly.]

[Scene 17. He continued on, “The r-r-revolution came against the British. It wasn’t the first American r-r-revolution, but it was the first to be called the American R-R-Revolution and the war was called the R-R-Revolutionary W-W-War. Like all w-w-wars, some s-s-soldiers returned home from their p-p-posts disillusioned over their weak status within the n-n-new or existing p- p-power structures.”]

[Scene 18. The spinosaur continued, “Th-Th-Then came D-D-December of 1786 in Holyoke, M-M-Massachusetts…]

[Scene 19. Wouldn’t you know it? Just as the poor lil’ spinosaur fellow gets a bit of a start for himself , the troodon begins to act out! Dolly reproaches him with a stern look of a killer shark – that takes care of that naughty inconsideration!]

[ACT 2. Scene 1. “Little doubt about it! The biggest blizzard in Western Massachusetts history!” Muscles the Clown explained to the children seated in front of him on the grass, as he stood in front of the Mason Square Monument in Springfield. “Even the weatherman predicted it right. Salut! He’ll never tell you how he did it!” He snickered.

Mrs. Winchester, the dark-haired librarian of medium build in a “dark-moon” dress listens from the library sidewalk, a short distance across the street from the Mason Square street “island” where Muscles is talking. She has a strangely beautiful countenance. Her deep, captivating eyes sometimes remind Shorty of a fish net. “He’s a real catch,” she jokes (perhaps to the friendly bird sitting on the fence) about Muscles, having invited him to Springfield to give a presentation to the children. So far it is a sunny Sunday, and she is pleased at the decision to have the “class” outside. She rhythmically taps on a metal can (“playing” in her head the old Cole Porter tune “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”) that is a “phone” that the young girl, Shorty’s little friend, has wired up to another can inside the library. She cooks on the sidewalk, adding herbs and stirring food pots, and testing her ingredients with a wooden spoon. Her charcoal stoves are starting to give off fragrance, the beginnings of a hot lunch for the children.

(Here one might ask is…th’…horse…Unc’…Mork…cracked?!HAHA…no- ways…ahorse!!HAHA…rollin’posse,maybe…notahorse…(mask!)disguiseforreel!!!HAHA…l’il boyatel’ilboypastryatth’churchbingo!HAHA…ran…spur- head!for…tomorrow’ll….belike…no…other…hand…back…th’crookedbookie…th’lion’sshareo ’…street…music…aleg…gr…o…a…r…spa…cious…skies…steeple…chase…ring…b…e…l- l…oud…t’…go…join…Mindy for real? For example, Jung might conjecture, dreams are more like broom-swept stardust than a tunnel down in. Mrs.Winchester tak’…on…Thalassa/Sargon!th’ol’churchpriest…inspire…l’ilboyeightw’showo’gearmechanisms !d’ya’…see…wayupthere…amazing…th’…complex…bells!!neigh’- woes…suit….Mulhall/Kirk…up…fo’(Max)99…chou’…gamble…betta’askSpock…t’checkParis computa’library…for…date!!!outofthisworld!!!!!for…howdoya’get…sound…energy…fro’…jus ’a…pushofbuttons? Craz…y…8’s…et…i…quet…t’of…ace…ofd…i…amonds signal. Freud, on the other hand, is more likely to argue fate as an outcome of work. Either way, the dice bounce about on flat ground with boundaries.)

“Yes, astonishing,” Muscles continued, then added quickly, as if feeling a sudden need to defend his statement: “See for yourself, if you doubt it! Go to your own town halls and check the records.”

Having made this point to his satisfaction, he regrouped himself and smiled. “Truly astonishing weather. It turned out however to be Springfield’s most famous day for a different reason!”

He clears his throat and begins the narration. “It’s the story of the old farmers, and it’s been told over a thousand ways. Here’s the way I know it.

“It began in the winter of 1786. The Pelham Captain, principal at the battles of Bunker Hill and Saratoga, and his loyal ally Antoine Éléphant were making their way to Springfield for a planning meeting, when they stopped for a short visit in Holyoke at the farm of Charlie Plume…” The girls in the front row on the grass waved to Shorty Gates, as if to signal, “The story’s starting!” Shorty Gates runs across the street from the hopscotch area and sits in the empty “seat” saved for her by her friends.]

 

 

Brian S. Hart

About Brian S. Hart

Brian S. Hart is a first time author with a background in physics. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from Westfield State College and is a former teacher in multi-cultural education. He is interested in mathematical structures and puzzle forms within experimental writing. Excerpts from his novel have appeared in, or have been accepted by , a number of other literary journals.
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