January 1980

I will not ignore the teacher in class. I will not ignore the teacher in class. I will not ignore...

Eleven year old Lisa scowled while she stepped down from the stool and observed the fifty or so lines already written on the board as punishment. There was still that same amount to go and her tiny heart sank at the thought of how unjustly she'd been treated.

"Stupid teachers..." She muttered to nobody while climbing back up to continue scrawling words with her sore fingers. Contrary to what most adults assumed, her slowness and inability to answer questions she deemed too personal were not signs of rudeness or mental retardation.

Footsteps from the corridor prompted Lisa to grow stiff with dread before a severe, gray-haired woman entered to inspect her progress.

"I see that you're just over halfway there. Hopefully, you'll have learned a lesson by the time you finish."

The woman paid no heed to Lisa's subsequent glare and quickly departed again, leaving the little girl to spend a minute imagining her teacher's head swelling up like a balloon before exploding with a satisfying bang.


"What took you so long? Every other kid went home ages ago..." George Bukowski questioned impatiently as an hour of waiting was finally paid off by his young daughter climbing into the backseat.

"I...I got into trouble. I'm sorry..."

"Darling, what did we say?"

"I don't know."

"Apologies are useless if you don't change yourself and continue to make the same mistakes."

"It wasn't a mistake." Lisa stubbornly countered in a futile attempt to make her father understand the truth, though he remained indifferent as always.

A song by The Clash started to play on the radio as she resigned herself to staring vacantly ahead and envisioning possible events that could lead to school being closed down indefinitely.

Between a raging fire, the boiler exploding and nuclear war itself, Lisa couldn't decide which was most effective, though she had a feeling that the aftermath of the last one would be far worse than what any educational film implied.