I sat on my couch watching the morning news and drinking a cup of coffee, lots of cream lots of sugar, as was my custom. I sat there in a daze, probably shocked from the night before. As the caffeine kicked in my disbelief grew more and more. How had I jumped off my bike at all, not to mention I had somehow managed to clear a speeding minivan. Then I remembered the the strange glowing and rushed to the bathroom mirror.
I debated calling in sick to work, but I didn’t relish the idea of having spent the better half of the previous day grading papers to not return them to their owners. By the way, thank god for waterproof backpacks.
I grabbed a granola bar and slung the still damp backpack over my shoulder and headed out the door. Just as a turned back to flick off the TV I caught a glimpse of the big red ball I had seen in the sky the night before then the station cut to a commercial. I stood for a minute waiting to see what they had to say but I couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Last night’s violent destruction of my mode of transportation left me with no other choice but to ride the city bus.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the fragrant smells of urine, or the panhandlers at every stop, or the constant tardiness of the bus itself, I just prefer to ride my bike. So I was forced to leave my apartment so I would be on time for the bus that would surly be late giving the bum on the corner just enough time to come ask me for a cigarette before dropping his pants and pissing on the wall behind me. And all I have at the end of the dark tunnel that is my commute to work is a classroom full of hormone infused teenagers. Nice.
My first class begins with me handing back their papers on what the civil war was about. Almost every single one of them wrote that it was about slavery. So almost everyone of them got a B, despite my burning desire to write F on every single one of the pages that had a thesis consisting of ‘The fundamental reason for the Civil War was slavery.’ Really burns my toast. I spent a whole week explaining how slavery was only a part of it.
Anyway, I like to stand at the front of the class for a few minutes after returning a test or a paper, just let the kids stew. I stand there as if I am the disappointed parent, after a minute of awkward silence only interrupted by the occasional nervous shuffling of papers I give my class the same speech I give every year about how I am disappointed by a few of the students efforts, but on the whole it was a good turn out. Which is of course a lie, but the principle has been on me recently about low student moral and grades in my class. A total bureaucrat.
I repeat the routine for my other two US History classes and then assign a ten page paper to my Comparative World History class to the audible dismay of my students. I don’t get it they signed up for the damn AP class, they knew it was supposed to be college level. I suppose its because all the other teachers treat it like any other class.
The day wraps up and I decide to walk the ten miles home. Portropolis can be a beautiful city if you take the time to look for it. I wasn’t looking and so I only saw the dirty side walk and the malicious drivers. I kept seeing the maroon minivan in the corner of my right eye but each time I turned there was nothing there.
My temperature had felt normal all day and I was glad to have put last night’s oddities behind me but when I stopped into a local coffee shop for a cup of joe I caught the rest of the news report I had missed that morning.
“Last night a large meteor broke through the earth’s atmosphere, since then it has circled the earth twice. Scientists have said that the object, refusing to label it as a meteorite, isn’t technically orbiting the earth as it is inside the earths atmosphere and thus moving of its on accord.” The man on the screen had tidy blonde hair greased back with flashing pearly whites. “The meteorite, or object, is moving too fast for anyone to get close to it, but as yet it has not caused any problems and is maintaining a healthy distance from the earth. Survival junkies known to many as ‘preppers’ have already gone into hiding. Claiming the earth to be at its end.”
I got my coffee, emptied half the bottle of cream at the counter and added a generous portion of sugar before heading back out onto the street.
I taught on the very edge of Portropolis and the ten mile walk back home took me into a primarily residential part of the city. Enough so that I was able to see the big red ball fly across the sky. It was closer today and it didn’t appear to be a ball anymore. More of an oval. The oval came to a stop about three quarters of the way across my line of sight, paused for a moment, then plummeted straight down.
The earth shook and I was knocked off my feet. A car going by jumped over on the road a good three feet before its tires came screaming back to the ground as the driver slammed on the breaks. I picked my self up off the ground and reached for my phone. This time I knew I needed to call 911. Shit, I should probably call the President himself. But my phone screen was black. No matter how many times I hit the little black button at the bottom the damn thing wouldn’t turn on.
I was standing there, mindlessly mashing the on button when the dust wave hit me and knocked me down again.