"The Black Orchid Slayer." The Fractal Universe byJohn Pirillo. "They're coming. And they're taking no hostages!"
"The Black Orchid Slayer"
The Fractal Universe.
Sometimes life's like a carnival. You get on a merry-go-round that always brings you exactly back to where you started. But sometimes it freezes in place and you can't get down without some nasty little critter taking a nip at your cute little toes. --- Boggle the Clown.
Then the door to the classroom slammed open and Gerald Butler walked in with a grin large enough to fly a squadron of dragons through. "Good morning, shortkins. My names Gerald Butler and I'm your friendly Black Orchid slayer, and I'm here to kick some butt!"
The kids went crazy!
I've had to deal with some pretty strange kids, who are given the politically correct category of being mentally challenged, which in the old days we would call just plain nuts. But in today's modern world even a housewife can be a domestic engineer. Again, I'm not being insensitive; I just think we're so afraid of saying the wrong thing anymore about someone that we just keep our shorts twisted in a constant knot of frustration because we have to lie to everyone, even ourselves about what we're really dealing with. Are we really helping someone who is seriously defective by tossing them into a classroom of normal kids, or are we just putting them into a whole new world of hurt as well as the kids they're now with.
I have this one kid who suddenly jumps on a fellow student and starts beating the hell out of him. I send him to the Dean of the school and next day he's back to do it again. I don't get it sometimes. How they think that getting another kid hurt is helping either the beater or the beaten?
Sometimes I want to quit teaching because of the insanity we teachers have to deal with from all the rules and regulations which more often than not tie our hands from truly helping the kids.
I have a bud, his name's Cisco, who is a paranormal psychologist. He claims that the real reason so many kids and adults are nuts is because they have multiple personalities inhabiting them...not as in I'm John one and two, but as in here's Charlie, Rosie, red and fern...all separate and distinct entities that have decided to move into our bodies and play house.
Whether you believe in psychic possession or not, it's what he believes and he seems happy or unhappy depending on who he's dealing with...sound like anyone you know?...just like the rest of us, but he has an awfully large and accumulating body of evidence to indicate that our world is being invaded by dead people.
With my recent excursions into the Fractal Universe I'm not as loathe doubting another man's discoveries, no matter how far fetched they might seem to be, anymore.
Maybe that's even why my kid that goes from smooth to killer in one brief hop is so fractured in his personality, so suddenly violent. I can't rule it out. I also can't say it publicly, because then I'd be called stupid, a moron and politically incorrect. Oh by the way, I am already, but not because I'm mean to my kids, but because I speak what's on my mind. People in power hate being spoken back to, it means someone is listening and not liking what they say.
So when Gerald barged into my classroom and announced he was there to slay the Black Orchids, I had to open my big mouth. And you know I don't need any possession to do that. I was born with a big mouth. Just ask my father and mother how much sleep they got when I was born!
"Uh. Do you have permission to be in this classroom?"
His attention went from the kids to me. I didn't like his look. I suspect the feeling was mutual.
"That gel you use for the colored highlights?" He asked innocently, totally blowing my ready to blow him away attitude into one of perplexity.
"Fermin's. Theatrical. Best on the market."
He rubbed his scalp which shone because it was bald. "I used to do the same until it rotted the roots of my hairs away. Now I just suds and dry."
The class, which to this point in time, didn't know what to make of either him or me so suddenly mild mannered, broke into laughter.
"Shut up!" We both said at the same time.
The class became as still as a mouse with the cat at its door.
I glared at Gerald a moment, and then gave my kids an apologetic look. "Get out your science books and read Chapter Eleven. Quiz tomorrow."
They groaned for about fifteen seconds, until I began to write names on the board for detention and then they scrambled to be studious, good citizens. Except for Morris, of course. He just never knew when to shut up.
"Uh, Mister K."
"Who's that dwarf?"
Gerald whipped a hand out so fast I didn't have time to block it and a lead pipe extended from it long enough to crown Morris. The pipe stopped inches from the top of his head.
Morris said. "Are you going to knight me, sir?"
Gerald whipped his pipe back into its hiding place and gave me a look of sympathy. "You teachers put up with a lot, don't you?"
"Yes. Part of the job description these days. Wipe 'em and dype 'em."
He laughed. "I like that. Wipe 'em and dype 'em."
He wiped at tears in his eyes, and then stepped across the room to join me by my desk. He lowered his voice. "These shortkins are in great danger."
"Don't I know it! Drugs, premature sex, petty theft, slack brains. You name it."
He gave me a blank look, then stepped so close I could smell his breath. I'd smelled it before. But not on this world.
"Not that kind, you idiot!"
I gave him a hurt look. "I'll have you know my IQ is not measurable."
"And I can see perfectly why, if you don't listen." He told me in an accusing voice.
I sighed. "Okay. What's your real mission?"
He took me further back so the prying ears of my students wouldn't overhear his next words.
"You know where I come from, don't you?"
"Let's just say, I can make a pretty good guess."
"Then you also know what might be following me, or what I might be following?"
"Uh...is this conversation going somewhere, I've got a class to teach."
"You mean police, don't you?"
Then my fractal alarms went off. His ears perked up too and his lead pipe shot into view again. We both turned to face the entrance to the classroom. Except it wasn't there. It was just a black void. Devoid of color or substance, as if someone had erased a part of our universe and replaced it with nothing whatsoever.
"This is really bad." He muttered. "I don't know if I can handle it this time."
"Handle what?" I demanded, my fractal alarms notching up to a new level of disturbing.
"The Black Orchids usually don't come on so strong."
He suddenly whipped around to look into my eyes. "You've pissed off one of their head honchos, haven't you?"
He glared at me with those accusing eyes. Eyes that could have matched Patti's if she had been mad at me for being stupid and arrogant.
He turned away, stiffening to stand guard against the now, for certain, void that was now pulsing at the entrance to the classroom.
"You better get the kids outta here fast." He told me. "I'll try and hold them off."
I was about to argue, when my alarms went up about ten notches. Even the sparkles on my hair were tingling now. Time to remove and be removed.
I sidestepped our world and tugged on the edges of all my students as I did so, and accumulated them in a Fractal Universe that was very sedate. So much so that they all fell asleep immediately once I let go of their substance.
I had held my breath, so was good. I side stepped back into my classroom and nearly had my head blown off as a blast from a machine gun ripped above it.
I dove to the floor where Gerald was also lying.
"Yeah. They pretty much use whatever is available and easy to steal."
"We better move them away from here before they hurt kids in the other class rooms." I suggested, reaching into side space to pull him with me.
He stopped me with a tap of his lead pipe on my shoulder. "I'll get this. Meet me on the peak in about ten, okay?"
He gave me a what-are-you-a-wise-guy look.
"Oh, that peak!" I sidestepped from the room just as a grenade spilled onto the floor and landed next to the chin of Gerald.
Ten minutes later my time on the peak a bloom of exploding energies erupted and Gerald spilled onto my peak top, rolled several yards across the fractal daises and moss, then came to a stop at the edge of the mile or so drop down to my fractal critter buddies below with the incredibly big teeth and mouths.
"I've got to get another job." He complained as he sat up, dangling his feet over the edge.
"I wouldn't do that." I advised.
Then he noticed all the critters below.
"Right. Almost forgot myself."
He hurriedly withdrew his feet and flipped to his feet. He walked a yard and dropped next to me.
"Talk to me." He told me.
I gave him a stare.
"All right. I'll talk to you then."
"Hey!" I almost yelled. "I heard you the first time!"
He stopped, and then grinned. "Nasty temper you have."
"Only when I'm pissed off."
I realized my paradox and sighed. "Look, it's been a tough week for me so far. I've had to dodge bullets, now a grenade and a day ago this crazy Senator with his goons who wants to help me sprout daisies."
He gave me a puzzled look. "You don't look like you have the kind of skin that would nurture daisies."
"You'd be surprised." I quipped.
He shook his head. "You're almost as stubborn and as stupid as my brother."
"What's your brother's name?"
"Gerald Butler." He told me.
I waited for him to finish his joke.
I nodded. He eyed me sidewise. "You've got sharp one, don't you?"
I tapped my head. Mother Nature did it, not me.
"You do yourself a disservice."
"If I didn't, Patti would swat me on the back of my head. Not good for happy thoughts."
He smiled. "She sounds like a great gal."
"She is. But she's sure going to be pissed once she finds out what happened to my room."
"It's not your fault."
"Explain that to the School Board Members who will demand an investigation of why there was a small war in my classroom and forty students vanished for an hour."
"Speaking of which?"
I opened up a small fractal portal and he could see the kids sleeping. "Good work."
"I care for them. Even the ones that piss me off."
He smiled, and then patted my knee. "It's as it should be. A good teacher is like a duck under water. It just rolls off his feathers."
I stood. "Easy for you to say, it's not your scalp that going gray."
"You dye your hair?"
"Not yet, but I can't feel winter coming."
He laughed and offered his hand. "I'm sorry we couldn't have met under better circumstances."
"You know they're going to try again, don't you?" I asked.
"I expect no less. But next time it'll be on my terms." He said with an undertone of threat in his voice.
I shuddered. I wouldn't want to face this man in a battle.
He caught my look.
"And you also must be careful, Mister Chesterton."
"K." He said.
"Because they are not just after you, but your entire world."
"Talk to me." I asked him.
"I will. But the time's not right yet."
"Does the Tall Man know about you?"
"No. But I know about him." Then he sidestepped my Fractal Universe.
I would have stayed to visit longer, but his loud voice had disturbed the critters and they were only yards from spilling over the top of my favorite peak. So...
Patti found me and my students in the cafeteria, each with a burger and fries in front of them and a chocolate shake. They were all still drowsy. Not one of them suspected what had happened, except for Shondel, who kept giving me these side glances. I was going to have to make it a point to have a private conversation with her, and maybe her parents too.
"How?" She asked.
She scowled at me. "Chess!"
"I don't know how. I only know why."
She shuddered when she looked into my eyes. She could see what I was thinking. I wasn't all that opaque to her anymore.
"The room's a disaster. The fire department arrived in time to stop the spread of the fire to the rest of the building, but..."
"We'll be meeting in the old portable for a few months?"
I turned to the kids. "Hey! Our new classroom is the old Grass Shack!"
They broke into cheers.
The old portable had gotten that name because the local carnival had rented it for a time and put camels in it. The smell of straw and camel dung still clung tenaciously to the floors and walls. But the kids loved it. I let them paint graffiti of circus animals and clowns and they got to forget for a time how bad the room really was, even with the air cranked up all the way.
Life's just great, isn't it?