(This is a rewrite of the previous post.)
“Da da daaaaaaaaaaa. Barnabas has entered,” said Clyde Jalkanen as he nodded towards the door. Several people turned to see Principal Destrampe standing inside the teacher’s lounge doorway. “She be looking for some poor soul,” Clyde continued.
“Oh Clyde, shut up already. You can be so rude,” said Mrs. Lehto. “She’s not that bad. She’s actually one of the best principals you will ever have.”
“Well, she scares the hell out of me. Look at her. The dour face, the grey haired pulled into a bun. And the clothes. Does she have anything other than black or grey?”
“Oh Jesus Clyde, shutup. You are a gossipy old woman.”
Someone asked, “Who’s she looking for?”
“Oh, oh, Maki, it looks like she wants you.” Clyde pointed a crooked index finger in the direction of Kirsti Maki.
As Kirsti walked down the hallway of Tapiola Elementary towards Principal Destrampe’s office, her mind raced. What could she possibly want? I’m having a bad enough day as it is what with Tony Erickson vomiting during the math quiz this morning. He could have at least turned his head and hit the floor, but no, he had to vomit all over his desk and in the process get some splatter in Susie Diaz’s hair. As she stepped into the office, Kirsti caught Destrampe dabbing her eyes. The principal turned and motioned for Kirsti to sit at the round conference table.
“Mrs. Maki, Kirsti, I’m sorry to interrupt your lunch break, but this couldn’t wait. Before I get into it, this has nothing to do with you. Well it does, but you haven’t done anything wrong.” The principal slid aside the African violet that occupied the center of the table. “I called you in because I need to talk to you about Illini Isaacson.”
“Oh?” Kirsti pictured the unpopular, slightly pudgy third grader that sat in the third row fourth seat. “She’s out today. Is everything ok?”
Destrampe reached and grasped Kirsti’s right hand. Tears swelled. “No, not at all. She um….she passed away this morning.”
Kirsti inhaled. The shock hit her like a bucket of ice water after a hot sauna. “What? What do you mean? What happened?”
“Car accident.” She released Kirsti’s hand. “Now there are some details that we will have to deal with.”
“Yes.” Destrampe ran her hand across the table top. “Apprently, Illini could have, would have made it except that her parents refused a blood transfusion.”
“What? They refused?”
Principal Destrampe nodded, “Religious reasons.”
Kirsti stomped into the teacher’s lounge. Clyde Jalkanen started to say something funny and stopped when he saw the expression on her face. She walked into the women’s room, slammed shut the stall door, and flushed to drown out the vulgarity that slipped past her pinched lips.