Look, part of the problem is that our department is the only one in this school that actually seems to function. Here at Elmboro Lakefield High, students are always either in English class or preparing for a dance. (When they’re not blowing off school to go have sex in an abandoned barn.) Maybe if they had a biology class or two, they might have a better idea of how to patch each other up or actually damage their masked assailants, but most of them are idiots, so I don’t know how much good it would do.

Anyway, since they never dissect any frogs, it’s just me talking about fate while someone falls asleep and then thrashes awake from a nightmare or sights a killer out the window. They never say anything, when they see him. Don’t think I don’t notice the guy, but if those kids aren’t going to bother paying attention, I’m not going to bother reporting him to the relevant authorities.

Maybe I’m being harsh on them, but we’ve all got problems. Five or so dead students every year really wrecks my grading curve, and then the few who live turn up the next day with no essay because they were too busy running around a mental hospital on a broken ankle and avoiding whatshisname. Their parents, who are never in town, don’t answer my emails, so parent-teacher conferences are as big a joke as life insurance in this town. Then the little fuckers bomb the state tests, and all of this is somehow my fault, which brings us back to the fact that you’re cutting my salary again.

Either properly supply the classroom or pay me enough money to do it myself, because deadbolts ain’t cheap. My days of piling desks up at the door and cowering in the corner are over; there’s a procedure now, and it requires flares, several locks, and a few hunting rifles. Plus, I have to restock the emergency supplies every few months, if there’s a hostage holdout situation, which has been known to happen. I’m not losing another gamer nerd because he wanted to go to the vending machine and get Cheetos—we do enough memorial services around this place, and I’m running out of Shakespeare tragedies to time perfectly with them.

So if I’m on the only functional department and I’m outfitting my room with a backup generator for when this week’s Special Murder Boy cuts the power, then I need to be making enough to do more than scrape the middle-class ceiling when I jump.

And that’s another thing. Mueller tried to take my jenny last week when he and his twelfth-grade honors class got cornered in the computer lab. Sent the salutatorian through the ceiling vents with an extension cord so I could use my generator purchased with my hard-earned cash to turn on those ancient PCs so they could look up some druid summoning circle that was going to save them from certain death. I told him to forget it, because if you bail people out once, you’re always going to have to do it ‘til you retire.

And by the way, they were fine. Well, most of them. We all knew Marie and Tommy weren’t long for the world since word got out that she gave him his first blowjob last week.

Speaking of which, I know I’m still on probation because that Becky girl cried to her mom after I told her not to try out for the squad because the average lifespan of cheerleaders is about fifteen minutes after they lose their virginities, but I promise: I can and will give such good advice again, so there’s not really any point in disciplining me. And statistically, I’m right.

In conclusion, as all of these fools usually start their ending paragraphs, if this letter, which I’m typing up several glasses of wine in while I wait for the paper mache sculpture I crafted from ten years’ worth of tragic headlines dries, finds you well—or just breathing, I’m not picky—please sign the enclosed check for several years backpay and adjust my current salary accordingly.

Please also find an invitation to Bob’s retirement party (which is what I’m making the sculpture for), which will be at MJ’s Bar. The afterparty will be at Prickly Tattoo, where he’s getting “I lived, bitch” on his left ass cheek. He thinks it’ll be a hit in the retirement community he’s joining in Florida. Don’t worry, they have heavy security. He somehow faked his way into the dementia ward because it’s got the most guards.

Also, for god’s sakes, why haven’t you banned Halloween dances around here? Jesus, Steve, get it together.

Yours sincerely,

Ms. Fields, 12th grade English


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