"May I speak with Mrs. Atterbury?"
"This is she."
"Mrs. Atterbury, this is Ms. Adams."
"Oh hello, Ms. Adams!" my mother exclaims, but inside her head she is saying, "Oh, hell, what did she do now?"
There is a slight pause on the end of the line as Ms. Adams seems to be gathering her thoughts. "Kara hasn't turned in a single paper for this grading period."
My mother's jaw drops. "Nothing?"
"No. And if we can't find the work, I don't know what we'll do. Right now she has a zero in my class."
My mother's head is spinning as she has no idea what to say or how to proceed. "Can I...can I look for them?"
"Absolutely! Do you think they are in her room?"
Mother doubts it as she works hard at keeping my room spic and span, but she promises to look. After hanging up with my teacher, she goes on a hunt and comes up empty. Beside herself, she puts Maria, Wendy, and Bill in the car and drives up to the school.
Imagine my surprise when my teacher doesn't allow me to line up for the bus. Am I being held hostage? Am I going to be locked up in the classroom? What happens in the school after the kids leave? Is this when the teachers eat the children? Am I going to be eaten because I have red hair, because I play kickball and don't wear hair bows?
Heart pounding, chest heaving I am contemplating running for my life as I am pretty sure I am faster than my teacher, when my mother and my sisters and brother walk through the door. "Praise God!" I declare, relieved my mother has come to save me.
She and my teacher begin talking and I listen intently to make sure negotiations aren't taking place. Luckily, all they want to do is go through my tote tray.
I pull it out and set it on my desk with a loud bang because, inside, is every paper for the grading period. My mother and teacher are going through the sheets, their mouths hanging open. I am asked if I know where to turn my papers in and of course I do. I am not an idiot.
Why didn't I turn them in then, they ask.
I shrug. I don't know. Just didn't.
My teacher takes my work, my mother takes my hand and we all walk out of the room. I am triumphant because I have some how beaten my teacher and I am not going to be held against my will. But...this triumph is short-lived.
As we head toward the parking lot my mother says to me, "You're grounded."
Oh, the torture! I might have been better off being eaten!