Frazzled Ms. Frizzle and Her Magic Fucking School Bus

The staplers are out of staples, pens out of ink, empty markers, erasers worn thin. They stopped allocating money toward in-class resources during the pandemic, and, now even though the students might be coming back, they’ve decided it would be best to save money by fostering a more technology-focused learning environment. I could care less, but Ms. Frizzle was pissed.

“Do you have a cigarette?” she asked me.

“Yeah—but, we’ll have to go off school grounds.”

She looked out the window at the barren, browning, childless fields.

“So all the fucking kids don’t see us?”

“Not my rule,” I said, standing and leading us to my spot down the road, just inside the woods.

She lit up. She was an aggressive smoker, long, fast pulls.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

She shook her head. Then said, “You know—that fucking bus brought so much money into this school. I was supposed to take them to the bottom of the ocean today. Look—look at me, I put on this stupid god-damn dress and everything. Now they’re selling it.”

“I know,” I said. “I know.”

It was a stupid dress. It was purple. It had seashells on it.

“It’s like, we went to the center of the earth—the fucking center of the earth, man. Where’d you go on your last field trip?”

“Plymouth Rock.”

“Exactly, like, I get it’s a pandemic and we need to cut costs and blah-blah, but these kids, they come here for the bus.”

I didn’t want to rub her the wrong way, but I couldn’t help pointing out, “it is just for your class though—I mean, it’s cool, I get it. It’s just, we’ve got a lot of other teachers here and, like—I don’t even have erasers anymore.”

She scowled.

“It’s a magic-fucking-school bus,” she said with a finality that implied the context of why we were there: so I could shut up, she could vent, and we could take one more meandering step into our bus-less, eraser-less, pointless futures.

“It was magic, man,” she said, wiping away her tears with the sleeve of her utterly ridiculous, purple, seashell-covered dress.

I handed her another cigarette after she threw hers into the grass. We stood there, smoking, watching thin milky spirals slip through the blades.

**

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