Mildred Pinkerton, the seventh grade teacher at St. Polycarp, began the morning of Monday, October 13th doing the same things she had done for the last twenty-eight years of her life.

She entered the faculty room, feeling rather prickly. This irritated feeling continued as she read the morning messages typed neatly by her principal, Father Felix.

Bonnie Crossover had called in sick again. That meant that the fifth grade would have to be spilt up, herding the children into other classrooms, with busy work that they never did, but that hardly mattered since it was never collected. Everyone knew that Miss Crossover was always sick on Mondays because she spent her entire weekend on one shopping binge after another, and by the time Sunday night rolled around she was plum exhausted.

The rain lashing against the window meant that there would be no recess for the children. But Miss Pinkerton wouldn't be having a lunch break anyway,

since Father Felix had called an Educational Evaluation meeting. Father Felix had asked Miss Pinkerton to chair the committee (well, really when all was said and done, he had demanded). Because of her years of experience, he had said, and her great leadership ability she would be able to obtain the state certification for St. Polycarp. This accreditation would lend to the school's creditability and also make it eligible for all sorts of grants.

It was a good thing Father Felix had chosen Miss Pinkerton because, while reading through the committee reports last night, tucked into her warm, cozy bed, Miss Pinkerton had discovered a rather disturbing inconsistency.

She continued to read the morning messages - no gym today. The gym teacher was out again with a strained muscle. He was training for an iron man competition and was proving to be utterly useless.

And then there were a series of reminders - update bulletin boards, progress reports due by Friday, no beverages at teacher's desk, no sitting at teacher's desk, no cell phones during class hours, no socializing in the halls.

Miss Pinkerton knew all the rules and she was quite fastidious about obeying them. The younger teachers did as they pleased.


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