Jane stabbed at the monster’s eye with her trusty buck knife. The beast growled and hissed as foamy puss squirted from the now vacant eye socket. Jane drove the knife in deeper and the monster stopped struggling and fell dead. Jane put her foot against the monster’s head and used a little leverage to dislodge her knife. She wiped it clean on the beast's purple fur and holstered it on her hip. The children against the wall behind her were crying and wishing for their mothers.
“Jane? Jane? Are you paying attention,” asked Mrs. Simmons.
Jane realized she was staring out the window at the playground. She looked back toward her seventh grade classmates and they were all laughing at her. She wondered how long she’d been daydreaming before Mrs. Simmons bothered her.
“I asked you a question Jane. Who was Julius Caeser?” asked Mrs. Simmons.
“He was the first Roman Emperor. Assassinated in the Senate by his friends”, said Jane coolly.
“That’s pretty close, thank you,” said Mrs. Simmons.
Jane nodded and looked back at her classmates. They had all stopped laughing and staring; except for dumb Billy Rausch. He was a trouble maker and Jane would like to karate kick him into oblivion. He was always trying to get into the girls bathroom at break time and see the girls pee. There was something wrong with him. He was just staring at Jane now, rubbing his chest. Jane thought he might be playing with his nipple, but she just decided to look away. He was gross.
Mrs. Simmons continued her history lecture about the Romans and the
Roman Empire and Jane imagined herself as a Roman
Centurion, decked out in that cool reticulated armor and hacking away at
barbarians with her short sword. Jane knew in her bones that she’d always been
a warrior. Her imagination always took her to a place where she was the dashing
heroine. At home, in the basement, she’d put together a good collection of
survival gear and weapons. She had also asked her mother for karate lessons,
but she had to wait until after basketball season was over. He mother said
there were just too many activities going on at once. Jane thought that was
dumb. She was an only child and all her mother ever wanted to do was go
shopping. Jane couldn’t stand shopping. It was the most boring thing ever. It
was even more boring than algebra.
Jane the Centurion stood over the defeated Barbarian king. She was covered in the blood of the vanquished. The king begged for his life but Jane showed no mercy. With a quick stroke she slashed the head of the king clean from his body. The head tumbled toward Jane’s troops below and they cheered for her. Jane Caesar had a nice ring to it, thought Jane. She sort of smiled to herself and doodled in the margin of her notebook.
Other girls drew flowers or cutesy things, but Jane doodled knives and spears and the occasional monster truck. She just didn’t know why girls had to be so cutesy. Her mother was always trying to make her wear a dress or wear a bow in her hair, but she just didn’t want to. Jane’s dad pretty much let Jane to whatever she wanted. They’d go out to the woods almost every day last summer and just walk around exploring. It was great. Her mother would never go to the woods. Her dad liked to hike. He didn’t climb trees or jump out of airplanes or do any crazy things on ATV’s or anything, he just liked to walk outside in the woods. Jane would run all over while her dad hiked. She imagined herself as Robin Hood as she weaved between the trees and her father was the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. He always played along.
The bell rang for the 10:30 am break and dirty Billy Rausch launched like a rocket out of his chair and headed for the bathroom. Mrs. Simmons didn’t notice. She shut off as soon as the bell rang. She sat back her desk and took a long drink from her metal coffee container. The rest of the kids followed the weird Billy Rausch out in to the hallway. Some were going to use the bathroom, others just to get a drink at the water fountain. Jane saw the popular girl, Sarah Tanner, was leading the pack of cool girls out of the classroom and Jane wanted nothing to with them. She bet Billy Rausch was waiting to try and get a look at Sarah’s girl bits. Jane stood from her desk and went toward the windows. It was still wintery out even though spring was approaching. She sighed and wished something would happen, something awesome like an alien invasion or mole people or an earthquake. It was so boring in school.
Jane leaned closer toward the windows and looked out past the playground to the houses across the street. She wondered what kind of evil was going on in them. Was there a super villain working in on of those basements, just nearing completion of his mega-death ray? Would she be able to save everyone in time?
“What are you looking at?” asked Carrie. Carrie was Jane’s best friend. She was a bit girly but she didn’t laugh at Jane or make her feel dumb. Last year when they had to write their, ‘What I Want for Christmas Themes’, the other girl’s laughed at Jane when she asked her dad for a sword for Christmas. But Carrie didn’t laugh. Later she said it was cool that Jane wanted a sword.
“Nothing really. Just looking out at the houses across the playground,” said Jane.
“I think Billy took his thing out and waved it at Sarah in the hallway,” said Carrie.
“There’s something wrong with him,” said Jane.
“No Duh,” said Carrie.
“Did you see it,” asked Jane.
“I did not!”
“You wanted to though didn’t you,” kidded Jane.
“Shut up! I did not want to see it,” said Carrie.
Jane nudged her shoulder against Carrie’s and giggled. Carrie giggled too and blushed. The bell for the end of break rang and all the kids shuffled back obediently into the classroom and Mrs. Simmons stood from her desk and walked out the hallway to collect any stragglers.
“Are you going to sit at the usual spot for lunch?” asked Carrie.
“Yes I am,” said Jane.
“Okay, I’ll see you then,” said Carrie as she turned and went back to her seat.
Jane nodded and went back to her desk. Billy Rausch hadn’t gotten back into his seat yet, neither had Sarah Tanner. Jane looked out toward the open classroom door and could just see Mrs. Simmons back. She appeared to be yelling. Jane could tell by the weird jiggling in Mrs. Simmons back fat. Whenever Mrs. Simmons yelled, on the playground or in assembly, she jiggled like Jell-O. Jane looked at her notebook and picked up her pen and started doodling a monster truck, with giant spinning tires, on a road made of skulls.