Field Trip

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

33 kids, all between the ages of 7 and 17. No problem. We could do that one in our sleep. Show ‘em the jellyfish tank. Show ‘em the scary moray eels. Show ‘em the adorable, dim-witted manatees. Wrap it up, obviously, with the sharks. Give ‘em some plastic name tags shaped like squids. Trivia contest; winner gets a t-shirt. Pack ‘em back onto the bus and ship ‘em back home.

8 chaperones. They turned out to be wild cards, they did.

For starters, they insisted on accompanying each kid to the restroom, regardless of age. Roswell, the 75 year old volunteer and graduate of the Naval Academy, demanded to know why there were 3 people, only 1 of whom was male, in a single bathroom stall in the men’s room. He waved his mop around, flecks of water landed on the brim of my cap.

During the tour, a chaperone insisted that the common sea robin was created by God to punish other fish. He refused to elaborate.

Once the kids discovered that the outing included neither a kraken nor a Blu-Ray copy of Veggie Tales, they became aggressive.

After a suppressed mutiny near the snack bar (no-one was allowed any sugar we discovered,) the group was led outside to the parking lot for what seemed to be an interlude of guided chanting, followed by a Maoist struggle session among the chaperones that left 2 moms in tears.

Nobody got a t-shirt.

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