Yet another story about my classes. Alas, I no longer teach at that school. This is one of my favorite memories. The "Laura" in this story is the same girl from The Rules of Bio. This takes place during the next school year.

Honors Biology was getting on my nerves. There are always whiny kids in every class. Sometimes they are more annoying than normal. But I had a trick up my sleeve. I had been reading about different activities for class and I came across one involving "sewer lice" that was supposed to teach about observation. It appealed to my smart-ass side. And the honors class was perfect; I wanted to get them, and also since there was only one section I didn't have to worry about them telling their friends and ruining the surprise. *insert evil laugh here*

I waited for the right day, and then I told the girls that before we started with the lecture I had a surprise for them. My advisor from college had been in São Paolo, Brazil, and he had been studying the native life at the university there. He had brought back some interesting animals, and since he knew I was a high school teacher he thought I would want some. In the sewers in São Paolo my advisor's colleagues had found some new insects that seemed to be mutated forms of lice, only now they fed off sewage instead of humans. Also they were larger. I had some "Brazilian sewer lice" in the next room and I had saved them for the honors class. I slipped out to go get them.

In the adjoining classroom, which was empty, I gathered my "Brazilian sewer lice". I took a bottle of Sprite, opened it (it should be fresh), and poured it into a beaker. Then I took some food coloring and added it, so that the Sprite was now a nasty yellow-brown color, the color sewage might be, if any of us had actually seen sewage before. The instructions said you could use straight soda, Mt. Dew maybe, but everyone knows what color Mt. Dew is. Then I put about half a dozen raisins into the beaker. All set.

I went back into the classroom and held up the beaker. "Here they are! Watch: they swim down to eat and then they swim back up to breathe." The wrinkles in the raisins catch the bubbles from the carbonation and they float. When they reach the surface the bubbles pop and they sink again.

I carried the beaker around the classroom. None of the girls really wanted to look at the beaker very closely. I think they were grossed out by the lice. Supposedly you can suggest the existence of legs and mouths, but I didn't want to push my luck. I got back to one of the back tables. Laura asked me to put the beaker on the table in front of her. I didn't really want to, but if I refused it would be suspicious. Plus, the tables are black, so she would be looking at dark raisins against a black surface. So I did it.

Laura watched for a few seconds, then said, "Those are raisins."

Shit. "No they're not, they're Brazilian sewer lice."

"Laura, raisins don't float." Taylor was helping me, thank God.

"Oh. Wait, they're in soda. They're raisins in soda!" Laura was too damn smart for her own good and she was going to ruin the whole thing! Everyone was supposed to believe me!

"Laura, why would I put raisins in soda and call them Brazilian sewer lice?" Maybe I could convince her I would never do anything so crazy.

"Yeah, Laura, that doesn't make any sense." Claire had backed me up. The rest of her table also made similar comments. Apparently even though Laura had figured out my trick, no one believed her. Phew. Now for the best part.

I made my way back to the front of the classroom. "These animals are a wonderful discovery, for a couple of reasons. One: as they eat the sewage, they clean the water, which can then be recycled, eliminating the need for sewage treatment plants and chemicals and so forth. Two: they are entirely edible. So they are an abundant food source." I waited for one of them to dare me to eat one, or at least express disgust or disbelief. There is always one punk that dares you to eat one, say the instructions. Maybe in a school with boys. But luckily I did get some disgust. "No, really, you can eat them." I reached into the beaker and grabbed a raisin. And with a wicked grin I popped it into my mouth.

About half of the students screamed, the way they would scream had they seen a cockroach on the floor. The other half yelled. I shushed them and said, "What? Bugs are good protein. They're kind of chewy, though." Then I made eye contact with Laura. She was laughing so hard she was leaning back on Taylor for support. "I love you Miss Lester!" Well, someone appreciated it.

I went back into the other room and left the beaker there. Then we went on with class. I let them leave thinking I had eaten a bug, or at least wondering what the hell was going on. The next day I showed them how it worked. The whole point of the exercise is to show them how bad their powers of observation are, since they have mistaken raisins for living animals. If you can convince them they see legs and mouths, even better. They were underimpressed, except for Laura and her friends, who thought it was great that Laura had been right all along but no one believed her. Later that class we tricked the campus minister, and it would have gone on for a long time but Candi ruined it because she couldn't stand to have other people fooled. We almost lost it when I told Mrs. Scherer that Brazilian sewer lice tasted like raisins.