I swatted at that same gnat for the hundredth time today. They don’t bite, at least I don’t think they bite; but they bug me; yeah, I get why they are called bugs. The sweat running down my back only adds to the wetness under my thighs. That fan isn’t doing anything for me; can’t breathe, can’t think, can’t remember why I am in this class; did I sign up for this? Reggie, Reginald B. Cromley, to be exact, sits in front of me; I can see each hair on the nape of his neck separated with sweat. Why that gnat doesn’t go bother him, I do not know. What is it that’s so special about me? My pencil starts tapping; the eraser muffles the sound somewhat. I can smell the chalk dust and hear Mr. Man mowing the lawn outside; the smell of fresh-cut grass always reminds me of watermelon; don’t ask me why. The clock on the wall has literally stopped; when will we be dismissed; when can I reach down and grab those smelly books; who knows how many hands have turned the pages; I always wonder if someone sneezed on the pages, or wiped their greasy hands, or lay their head on the very page in front of me; was their hair clean; was it brown or blonde, long or short, curly or straight, filled with hair creme or spray or dandruff? Who thinks of these things; why can’t I focus on whatever Mr. Man is trying to say; is this the same Mr. Man that was outside? I’m hungry, the only thing I ate from my tray at lunch was that cinnamon roll. You’d think anyone that could make cinnamon rolls that melt in your mouth, leave sugary chunks on your fingers and down the front of your shirt, could make a lunch that tasted better than some kind of mushy greenness, pounded meat covered with brown goo, and white squishy stuff topped with an almost yellow square of government-issued cheese. That clock still hasn’t moved; the breeze finally kicked in moving those long dingy-yellow blinds cut and curled on the edges here and there; at least the blinds are moving; that clock is boring to watch. It takes that long pole with the hook on the end to pull those blinds down at the end of the day, the windows are as tall as the ceiling; the blinds flap back and forth slapping the wood base of the window frame. Mr. Man seems hot, too. He has this white handkerchief he takes out every now and then and wipes the moisture above his lip. Do people really think handkerchiefs are sanitary? I would never carry one; germs growing on top of germs in the dark warmth of a pocket where whatever was on your hands is now transferred to the cesspool that was once a clean, ironed, and starched handkerchief. Someone knocks on the door; we can’t see who’s there, even though the upper half of the door is a window; but the glass is frosted and etched, looking like a windshield frozen overnight. Mr. Man takes a paper from this someone and we’re dismissed; just like that, it’s over. Desks scrape the floor as students reach to gather books unread, just carried, lugged back and forth from class to class then stuffed into lockers with vents that should let stinky air from gym clothes out, but never do. That gnat follows me down the hall and lands on top of the one book in my locker I’d planned on taking home; I slam my locker quick-like to trap the gnat inside; walking down the hall towards the double doors, I smile even though I now can’t read my library book tonight. I usually read later than I’m supposed to; under the blanket I sneak a flashlight to keep reading; I know this is bad for my eyes; it is hot under the covers and makes my neck stiff and sore; but what do you do when the main character is about to make the biggest mistake of her life and no one can stop it from happening. It really is hot under here; I swear I see that gnat on the page in front of me; before I know it, I’ve slammed the book shut, yes, with that gnat trapped between the pages; the flashlight falls on the floor, sending the batteries flying, they roll on the old wood floors that slant in this old house, and I can hear Mr. Man’s shoes coming down the hall. I promise I didn’t know it was that late! Look, the clock has stopped! Can you fix it for me? Thanks, you know so much about fixing things; oh no, where did those batteries come from? Did they come out of the clock? Did you get hurt Mr. Man? I’m glad. I’m so tired and sleepy, I say between yawns, school today was really hard; You, too, Mr. Man, sleep tight!