Rest on Flight to Egypt (detail): Caravaggio, 1596-97, oil on canvas, width of detail 48 cm (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome)
.....He went missing for the whole semester. I only saw him in the hallway about twice, cuddling up to the Food Science teacher and smoking on the corner by Security. The last encounter did not go so well, him storming into my room and yelling that I told everyone where he lived. He must’ve meant the time I picked him up hitchhiking near Kaloli Drive and took him way down through the subdivision to where people squat in their jungle shacks. On the way there, I told him about Oregon and the ash from Mt. Mazama, how unique Oregon archeology really is because of it. He was half listening, sweating and agreed to come to class if I’d reward him with McDonalds coupons. He accomplished this a total of one time; disappearing, invisibly angry, already over it. Over it already. Refusing to work on his job portfolio binder because the page that said references made him so mad.
.....I can’t read, she said, reading the story about the little green shark and the Great Red Shark that is the ancestor of the people of the southern part of the island. Yesterday, she showed me her new tattoo. Her brother’s names around a heart on her wrist, self-made. Her foster mom is her aunt and she baby sits for all the little kids. She gets to see her mom on the weekends if she stays out of trouble. Nobody can disturb her when she makes a poster. The one about No Drugs with a red slash on top of a pot leaf. Her ex and current girlfriend got in a fight the other day before school in front of H Building.
.....Nobody knew what they were fighting over, she said. Security came after A. and D. had bashed each other around for what was two minutes but seemed like ten.
.....Come on, she said to the two girls, then pacing in a circle. Do you want me to take your whole class, then, the guard asked sarcastically. No, just these two and these other two instigators, she said.
.....A lit firecracker rolled from the door a few minutes later, bursting in a cloud of grey smoke. Hello, could you please send security, someone just threw a firecracker into my room. Could you check the camera in hallway of H Building, upstairs from around 1:30? Alright, everyone back to work.
.....What are you going to teach us, then, Miss? How to talk like you? How to talk about the Mainland? How to be a hippy or a hillbilly? I hate this school and I hate this class. We don’t learn shit.
.....Listen very carefully. Pick the answer that is best. Remember, listen very carefully to the following. You will have 40 minutes to complete this test. Look only at your own paper. Do your best and then wait for the next question. Listen and then choose. Your score will be determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. I will repeat a question only once. Please raise your hand to signal that a question needs to be repeated. Mary is waiting by the bank and sees her mother drive by in a car. Mary waves and then picks up her cell phone to call her mother because she and her brother have been there 20 minutes and maybe she didn’t see them as she drove past. What happened first?
Susan Kay Anderson: About the Roster Check, from Hawaii Teacher Detective, 28 October 2011