When I woke up all I could see was the teacher looking at me in the dim light of the overhead projector.
Now, with consciousness seeping back across my synaptic bridges, the various geometric proofs scribbled on the wall are like Egyptian hieroglyphics. The rest of the students are conspiring in the shadows, half-wits scoffing at a dimly lit dimwit. There’s drool on the desk.
“What’s wrong with you?” says teacher, “maybe you need to go to the vending machines for a can of pop? Get some sugar in you?”
This cheeky witch is hip! How much does she really know?
Outside the room, the metal lockers are cold to the touch. Their crimson color is alive. The yellow light in the corridor dims, gets dimmer, flickers occasionally. The music plays faintly, inside and out.
Miss Maggie M’Gill, she lived on a hill. Her daddy got drunk and left her the will . . .
“Where are you supposed to be?”
“Hey keep your voice down. Where’s your pass?” My mind’s eye helps my fingertips search some dark denim labyrinth for credentials. I blink and the journey is over. The fat one is gone, replaced by the hum of the hallway.
So she went down, down to Tangie Town . . . people down there really like to get it on . . .
Two silvers, a copper, two blues and a red appear in my palm when I unclench my fist. The humming machine in front of me will only eat two of the six, I know—one less than me. It clinks greedily as I feed it, which makes me cringe.
Anything that enjoys the taste of a penny on the tongue is a masochist, I think.
After a while my silver is gone. With the feeding over, the coin-eater pukes up an aluminum can that is full of its own kind of excrement. The fructose is cold, uptake quick.
That Archimidean soothsayer was right.
The blues are swimming down now. They crack and then explode like depth charges, only without the eruption above the surface. The force of the explosion is just a slow creep that moves toward my extremities.
Roll on, roll on, Maggie M’Gill . . .