Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fingernailer

Yes, it's true! From the same author who brought you The Vegetator, hot off the flying fingers of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, it's The Fingernailer. Truth is stranger than fiction, my friends. I can call you that, can't I? Grandaddy McCain hasn't copyrighted that or anything, has he? I'm no scofflaw. And I'm certainly not a maverick.

I'm a bit late in reporting this true tale of terror and intrigue. Politics has gotten in my way. The incident happened on Club Day. Mabel knows the crapolafest that is Club Day. The kids get the first Wednesday of each month to go clubbing. Not a fun kind of clubbing, like the ol' baby seal days, or even the last days of disco. No, they go to meet with others of their ilk, be it furniture builders, housewiving leaders, prayors, copy machine fixers, whale-savers, prayin' jocks, book-readers, geniuses, little politicians, actors and stagehands, or future enterprisers. OK, I stole that last one from Risky Business, but all the others are our actual clubs.

It happened just after the meeting I lose the most students to: the prayors. I have a real issue with allowing this club to meet at school, but I don't dare bring it up. I don't want to be seen as the anti-Christ teacher. My view has to do with legality, and opening ourselves up to someone who decides they want to start a club in demon-worship, in which case we probably wouldn't have a leg to stand on, since worship is worship, and if one is permitted, the other should get equal time. Anyhoo, that's neither here nor there. The saintly woman who runs this club must have had her fill, because she sent them back to class with 10 minutes left. They came in to find that the 7 non-prayors in my class had taken different seats. So the prayors sat where they wanted.

My nightmare started when one of the prayors squealed, "Ooh! There are fingernails in that desk!" 'Please, please let it not be true!' was my first thought. I hate all things FEET, and last time I checked, toenails look very much like fingernails, and fingernails remind me of FEET. Also, let me explain that my desks were inherited from Mabel's old classroom at Basementia, and they are two-piece flat-topped desks with separate chairs. I set them up so the book-holding opening is pointed away from the chairs, so I can see that they don't fill them with verboten candy wrappers, or obscene notes, or textbooks they don't want to carry to their lockers. Or fingernails. Apparently someone slipped this by me. They were not there the day before. And this was only 2nd hour. While all this flitted through my mind, another prayor was busy distracting me with small talk. I turned my attention back to the fingernail desk, and saw nothing in the hole.

"Thanks for cleaning those up." The girl looked at me funny. The boy sitting at the fingernail desk said, "Oh, I just traded my desk for one against the wall." No. No no no no no no no! "You can't just put a desk full of fingernails against the wall! Switch them back!" He did so, amiably. But he didn't want to clean out the fingernails. Not that I can blame him. The Original Fingernail Cryer jumped up. "I'll do it!" I told her to bring it up to the front of the room, and shake the fingernails into the wastebasket. She's a big, strong gal. She carried that 4-legged metal desk up front and commenced to shaking. I held the wastebasket. "Don't let any of them fall on my arm! I mean it!" I was dead serious. I was gagging. Those fingernails were huge. Paul Bunyan would have been proud.

A really good boy at the back of the room said, "Here. I'll show you how." He came up front and took the desk from the OFC. Unfortunately, one of her legs was tangled in the desk legs, and we almost had an incident to report in triplicate. But she recovered nicely. She might try log-rolling in the future. The RGB tilted that desk so all the fingernails slid down to the corner. Then he shook shook shook it. They all slid out. Except for 3. "Hey, some are stuck in there. OFC, get a tissue and scoot them out." OFC was having none of that. "I can't do that. That's nasty." Not that I could blame her.

The RGB said, "They're only fingernails." He set down the desk, took a tissue, and scooped out the last 3 fingernails. Then he took the desk back, and returned to his seat. OFC stood at my desk with her mouth hanging open. It was not a flattering look. "Can't he go wash his hands or something? Those are fingernails!" I agreed heartily in my mind. But I didn't want to seem weak in the eyes of my students, what with having just nearly vomited over some fingernails in a desk. "RGB, do you want to go wash your hands?" He looked at me like that Victrola dog,

only more puzzled. "Why? They're only fingernails." I said, "Well, at least get some GermX out of my cabinet, and clean you hands. Please." He complied.

Next came the task of fingerprinting the fingernailer. I knew it wasn't the kid sitting at that desk. His fingernails were pink and blue. Not a combination. That would be just wrong. I mean that thumb, middle, and pinky finger were blue, and index and ring finger were pink. Pastel. The other hand was just the opposite. Those giant desk-fingernails were regular fingernail color.

I went through the day's seating charts in my mind. My main suspect was the 1st hour dude. 2nd hour was the pastel guy, 3rd hour nobody sat there, 4th hour was a chick in 9th grade, 5th hour was the chick's 11th-grade brother, 6th hour was plan time, and 7th hour was a tiny sprite of a young man, the smallest student in all of 9th grade. The only other serious suspect was that 11th-grader. His hands were big enough. I asked the chick if she bit off her fingernails and put them in her desk. "No! I don't bite my fingernails!" Once again, I was distracted by a student smalltalker. Jeez! You guys don't understand how tough my job really is. I looked back at The Chick to ask if her brother bites his nails. "No. He never does," she said with her fingers in her mouth, contentedly munching away. "Hey, you said you didn't, either! And now I catch you biting your fingernails." She stopped. She gave me an exasperated grimace. "But I don't bite them OFF! I just chew on them." Thanks for the clarification.

I asked The Brother himself 5th hour. He said, "No. That's disgusting." I asked the wee tot 7th hour. "No. Why?" So I had to go through the whole story. Being sleuths-in-training, or perhaps just wanting to waste time away from the lesson, the class asked, "Who else sits there?" So we went through all the suspects, and they agreed with me. Except for one, a friend of the prime suspect, who stood up for his buddy and declared, "I don't think so. He EATS his fingernails after he bites them." Now that's loyalty. Saving his friend from false allegations, even if he DID make his friend out to be a much freakier fingernail-eater.

After the final bell, as I stood at my post in the hall, the Prime Suspect walked by. "Hey, did you bite your fingernails and leave them in your desk 1st hour?" He stopped. He looked down at me. He said one word, one word which sealed his fate. He said, "Fingernails?" Oh, buddy. That's the oldest trick in the book, repeating what was asked to stall for time to think up a really good alibi.

Signed, sealed, delivered...he's mine. "Don't ever do that again." Not a peep out of him. He went off to catch his bus. Fingernail-less.


Stewed Hamm said...

I'm going to geek out for a minute and point out that the "Victorla" dog was named Nipper. Sadly, someone had nothing better to do with their life than write up a wikipedia page for him.

Hillbilly Mom said...

OK, so I spelled 'Victrola' wrong. YOU try coughing for 5 weeks, and typing a nightly blog while you're all hopped up on sweet, sweet Histinex! I have correct my error. And like BObama, I refuse to admit that I made a mistake. I hope my excuse will suffice. I'm rubber, you're glue...

I hope nobody is posting false info on Nipper's Wiki page.