Callie circled her Sunday school classroom. Her students worked, most of them quietly and independently, on their lesson papers. She stopped here and there to help with one of the more difficult questions or puzzles. The occasional giggle from the girls or elbow jabbing contest between boys marred the silence. But that was life with a group of sixth graders. Too young to be teens, too old to be kids.
The first bell, a five minute warning, sounded in the hall. Callie’s hand slipped into the pocket of her jacket. She fingered the weapon concealed there. Her eyes cut to young mister Brian who would get his just reward for last week’s horseplay in just a few minutes. What she had planned might seem drastic, but sometimes that’s all that worked with a cheeky, not quite teen aged, boy. Some lessons were best taught by the laws of cause and effect.
“Okay guys. Let’s get everything put away. We need to take some prayer requests before we leave. Anyone have something they want the class to pray about this week?”
Justin’s hand shot up. “My little brother was sick last night. Man, he spewed chunks. It was gross, he—”
Callie cleared her throat. “Thanks, Justin. We get the idea. Anyone else?”
Hailey wiggled her fingers for attention. “There’s a girl in my homeroom at school. She broke her leg.”
Chase raised his hand. “Remember my dad. He got orders back to the dessert.” Callie saw the manly attempt the boy made to control his emotions in front of the other kids. “He deploys in sixty days.”
Callie nodded and scribbled a note to herself. She’d have Benton plan a few guy activities for him and Chase while Dad was gone. Nothing could take the place of Dad, but as the lone male in a household of Mom and four younger sisters, every little bit of male influence helped Chase get through these deployments with his sanity intact . “Is that all?”
The final bell rang. Callie crossed to the closed classroom door. “Okay guys, I’ll say a prayer. You remember to pray this week too.” She opened the door and stood aside as the eight members of her class filed into the hall.
Brian walked past her and she hooked an arm around his shoulders and swung him against the wall next to the door. Hand on his chest, she leaned her weight into him as he began a half-hearted struggle for freedom. “Your goose is cooked, bud.”
He giggled. “I’m sorry, Miss Callie. I didn’t mean to catch you in the cross fire last week. Trevor had the spray bottle again…”
Callie shook her head. “I’ll deal with Trevor, but for now…” She pulled the weapon from her pocket and watched with satisfaction when Brian’s eyes grew round at the sight.
“Oh, I would. I had to go home between services last week and change into dry clothes because of you.” She lifted the gun and pulled the trigger, discharging the entire contents into the face of her captive student. Water dripped from the child’s hair and nose when she was finished.
“I give, I give,” Brian sputtered.
Callie left him dripping against the wall as she reached under her desk and retrieved the small paper bag Brian’s mother had dropped off before class started. She tossed it to the youngster. “Consider us even. There’s a dry shirt and a towel in there. Go get cleaned up and go on to church.”
Brian clutched the bag and prepared to depart.
“No more water pistols in class. Are we clear?”
Water dotted the floor as Brian shook his head. “Yes, Ma’am.” He repeated.
Callie smiled as she watched him go. Her thoughts turned to Trevor and his upcoming lesson.
***This scene was in the original "Callie" manuscript. A free lance editor that read it called it "jarring". An agent that read it called it "scary and unnecessary". I eventually cut it out, even though it broke my heart to do it. I just thought it showed us the close and easy relationship Callie has with her students. Kids she's known their entire lives. What did you think of the scene? How would you have handled it?***
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