The Schoolhouse 

Chapter 2

All of the teachers were chosen because of their unique abilities and high level of appreciation for the principle. But this in no way meant they were all the same. Each of the twelve have their own personality. For instance Ed Pendergast the math teacher had a very dry sense of humor. He was tall thin and wore sweaters year round. Even in the dead of summer he would loosely tie the sleeves around his collar and allow it to hang on his back like a cape. Rebecca Wines was a youthful teacher fresh out of college and bubbling with enthusiasm. The science teacher Linda Zimmerman acquired to be a scientist out of college. She was a promising student and all of her professors expected she would go on to do great things. To everyone’s surprise she decided to take a semester off to find herself. When she returned Linda changed her major and decided to become a teacher. The social studies teacher Karl Kramer was always interested in people. He preferred frequenting the bars over the libraries. Though he would moderately drink he wasn’t overly fond of alcohol. What drew him to the bars is the people. He enjoyed observing and conversing with people in this environment. He found them to be more relaxed. Their social barriers opened. The English teacher Charles Henderson never used foul language. It wasn’t only when around students he watched his speech but even in the teacher’s lounge. Even in the privacy of his own home. For example once while repairing a door in his house that didn’t close properly he painfully injured his hand with a large splinter. For a full fifteen minutes any one passing by could hear colorful language being shouted from the house. Words perhaps they didn’t even know existed but not a single expletive. With so many words in the English language to choose from Charles didn’t see the need to swear. Susan Ramoux had married a Frenchman and moved to France out of college. After years of living abroad and soaking up culture her husband’s job brought them back to the states. She wanted to share all of her rich experiences with others so she became a French teacher. The philosophy teacher Kevin Young always had a love of knowledge. It only seemed natural to him that he should become a teacher. Not because he felt overly compelled to contribute something to society but rather because it was a profession that would allow him to indulge in his pleasure while at the same time making a living. Steve Hernandez had a Spanish background though he lived in the states all his life. He learned Spanish from his grandparents who were  Argentinian. Steve looked and spoke like a white American. His ancestors lived in Germany before they migrated to Argentina after World War II. When Steve spoke Spanish his accent was perfect. Steve Hernandez became the Spanish teacher. For Patrick Johnson the ethics teacher there were no gray areas. He saw things in black and white. When asked his opinion on something he never beat around the bush. What drew him to the principle was its simplicity. It fit in with the way he already viewed the world. Catherine Peters became the chemistry teacher though she wasn’t particularly passionate about chemistry. The art teacher Barbara Childs always pushed for freedom of expression. Her life goal was to find a new form of expression that would have a favorable impact on the world. The home economics teacher Jessica Lewallen was a practical person. On the surface she appeared to be as delicate as a vase. But in actuality she was as tough as nails. William Parkson the principal was a very humble man. He liked for the teachers to call him Bill instead of Mr. Parkson. He would even hide the name plate on his desk because he felt it intimidated visitors. He had an open door policy partly because he wanted the faculty to see him as a friend rather than as a boss. The other reason was because there was a conspicuous name plate with his title chiseled in brass displayed on his door. When the door was open the brass plate was hidden. He tried to keep the door open whenever possible.

The school system was set up in such a way that each teacher would teach only one subject to the children from kindergarten to graduation day. The teachers were to adjust the difficulty level of the class as the children progressed into the higher grades. The school didn’t accept transfer students. Which meant all the eventual graduates would have had the same teachers for 13 years straight. This being the first year all the teachers prepared only the kindergarten lesson plans. To the novice it may appear that the teachers have an easy year ahead of them with only one class per day and that with kindergarten children. On the contrary this was to be the most difficult year because the teachers needed to lay the groundwork for the years ahead. They couldn’t just go through the motions of teaching then pass the child over to the next grade where he or she would be someone else’s problem. Each teacher knew that they would be held responsible for the intelligence level of the eventual graduate. The graduate was their work from the foundation up. This put a great deal of pressure on the teachers to be diligent in each classroom because a mistake by one teacher could easily infect other classrooms. Some of the teachers worried that they would not be up to the challenges imposed upon them. However they were reassured that as long as they stick closely to the core principle they would have no problem. Each teacher had their own leather bound copy of the principle. They were to use it as a guide in making their lesson plans in the coming years. On the first day of school everyone was anxious. However as soon as the children shuffled on to the school grounds and began playing the teacher’s were put at ease. Some of the children were so small it was hard to believe they were old enough to begin school. But they had in fact all been examined through the school’s orientation program. The schoolmaster had personally introduced himself to each child. Using the principle he clearly explained what was required of them.  For example that they were not allowed to touch the fire alarm. It was not their place. Only an adult could pull the red emergency lever sounding the alarm if he or she deemed it necessary.The children understood. They were ready. As the clock struck 8:00 am the schoolhouse bell began to ring. The children were organized into two single file lines along side the schoolhouse by alphabetical order according to their last names. The next bell meant the children were to enter the building. The first day went perfectly. The teacher’s followed their lesson plans which were in perfect agreement with the principle. As a general rule children normally have a short attention span but for some reason the children hung on every word and soaked in the information like sponges. This was a pleasant surprise to all of the teachers but no one was as affected by this detail as much as Mr. Young. As the children’s tiny eyes focused on his every movement and clung to his every word Kevin Young began to feel something he had never experienced before. He had always taken in knowledge for his own pleasure. For the first time in his life he found pleasure in seeing others take in knowledge. He had witnessed others taking in knowledge before but it had no effect on him. “Perhaps it’s because they are children,” he pondered. “They are so impressionable. They’re like a blank slate. Whatever I tell them becomes their reality.”  After the children had filed out of his classroom, Mr. Young collapsed into his chair and grinned. He had never experienced such joy. After many minutes of basking in his new found joy his grin suddenly faded and his brow wrinkled. He quickly shook his head dismissing the thought that had invaded his mind. However for the rest of the day the idea kept returning and when it did he would slightly lift one of his eyebrows. Finally near the end of the day he lifted one of his eyebrows than frantically shuffled through his desk until he found his leather bound copy of the principle. He opened it and began reading. After a moment he closed the book and sat silently lost in thought. Instead of returning the book to its place in his desk he placed it into his briefcase. From that day forward Kevin Young took the book home with him every night, brought it back and placed it into his desk every morning.

The schoolhouse promoted a comfortable yet efficient routine for every student and faculty member. One day about halfway through the school year Mr. Pendergast, Ms. Wines, Ms. Zimmerman, and Mr. Kramer were relaxing in the teacher’s lounge when Mr. Young walked in. He was carrying a leather bound book. It was identical to the book containing the principle but instead of black the book Mr. Young carried was bound in red leather. “What’s that Kevin?” asked Mr. Pendergast staring at the book. Mr. Young glanced absentmindedly at the book he was carrying. “What’s that Ed? Oh yes. The principle. I’ll get to that in a minute but first I want to pick your brain about something.” His interest aroused Mr. Pendergast straightened the sleeve of his sweater and raised his eyebrows attentively to Kevin Young. Mr. Young sat down. “Ed, how would you feel if one day you found out that everything you knew about the world in which you live was a lie?” Mr Pendergast wrinkled his brow. “For example,” continued Mr. Young. “Take those sweaters you’re so fond of. I imagine when you put on that sweater this morning you did so because you knew you would be chilly without it. But who says you have to wear a sweater to stay warm? Why can’t you decide to not wear a sweater and yet still stay warm? Or maybe you wear sweaters because you like the way you look in them. Nothing wrong with that. But on the sweltering hot days who says you can’t wear a sweater and yet still feel comfortable?” Mr. Pendergast peered at Mr. Young in a manner that indicated he harbored doubts about Mr. Young’s sanity. “I don’t quite follow you Kevin. Are you feeling alright? What have you been reading lately?” Mr. Pendergast inadvertently glanced at the red book. As if noticing the book for the first time Kevin Young opens the book and begins reading a random passage. “Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way,” said Mr. Young. It was obvious he was talking to himself but the comment was made aloud. “You teach Math right? I’ll try and put this in terms you’re familiar with.” By now the conversation had drawn the attention of the other teachers and they drew closer to listen in.”The schoolmaster’s principle is straight forward and concrete. It’s as concrete as twice two equals four. But people  are not as simple or concrete as twice two equals four. To accurately describe humankind I would say twice two equals x. X is an unknown variable.” Mr. Pendergast eyes widened. “But x is four.” “It doesn’t have to be,” responded Mr. Young. “It also doesn’t have to be so simple. Y plus two equals equals X is just as good as twice two makes four. But in the variable x isn’t necessarily four. X could be four but that depends on y being 2. Who says y has to be two. In a variable y is a mystery waiting to be discovered. Y could be anything you or I decide that it is temporarily until the problem is worked out.” “So you’re saying Y could be three?” asked Ms. Wines. “In which case x wouldn’t equal four. It would equal five.” “Exactly,” replied Kevin Young. “Or you could start with x. You could decide that x is 5 or six or 56. Whatever you want.” Mr. Kramer stood up. “How is that possible? Y plus 2 equals a static number. The fact that Y is a mystery doesn’t change that.” “No,” interrupted Ms. Zimmerman. “But until the problem is worked out no one can successfully challenge your claim that x equals five or six or 56.” “That’s the beauty of variables,” added Mr. Young. “They take time to figure out. And until the problem is completely worked out no one can challenge your claim.” Mr. Young slowly looked around at each of his colleagues. “No one. Not even the schoolmaster.” Just as Mr. Young’s insinuation began to make an impression on the faces of his listeners, Patrick Johnson the Ethics teacher walks in. An awkward silence fills the room. “My ears are ringing. Were you talking about me?” joked Mr. Johnson. “No,” laughed Mr. Young. “Ed was helping me work out a math problem.” Kevin Young slips the red bound book into Mr. Pendergast’s brief case. “Well I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve yet to prepare tomorrow’s lesson plan.” The teachers eventually dispersed and for the rest of the day no one brought up the idea of an alternate principle. 

A few weeks later Mrs. Lewallen notices Mr. Young out by the creek during recess. He is kneeling down and talking to Andy one of the children in her home economics class. Something about the sight strikes her as unusual. There was no rule against teachers conversing with students during recess but it just wasn’t done. Recess was seen as their time. 

Are you a fan of Don Quijote? You may enjoy this new book. When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting

 

The Schoolhouse 

Written by

 WILLIAM CHASTERSON 

Chapter 1

In the beginning the schoolmaster formulated a principle. For years he tested the principle until he was satisfied of its soundness. After the testing period the schoolmaster wrote down the principle in a book and read it aloud. The principle was perfect. The schoolmaster was filled with joy every time he read and meditated on the beauty and perfection of the principle. He was happy. He lacked nothing but he wanted others to feel the way he felt. He wanted others to benefit from the principle and appreciate it as much as he did. “How can I introduce my principle into the world?” thought the schoolmaster. “I know. I will shape young minds. I will make sure they understand the sacred secret from a young age.” The schoolmaster decided this was the best method to ensure they lived happy lives.

The first step would be to find the right location. He scouted out various tracts of land but when he tested their quality using his principle none were good enough. Finally the schoolmaster came upon a tract of land in an isolated area. He had a good feeling about this area. He tested the land using his principle and discovered his initial belief was correct. The land passed all of the necessary conditions the principle imposed upon it. “I have found it,” reflected the schoolmaster. “This is the location where the schoolhouse will be constructed.” The schoolmaster buys the land and marks off the limits of his property.

Standing in the middle of his newly acquired property the schoolmaster opens the book and begins to read the principle. He closes the book and begins stroking his white beard while reflecting. The average person perhaps would jump right in and begin construction. However the schoolmaster is not the average person. He decides to first choose his faculty. This decision was in perfect harmony with the principle. The schoolmaster set up a table and two chairs in the middle of the tract of land. When the applicants arrived the schoolmaster could always tell right away if they we’re right for the schoolhouse. Some were distracted by the unusual location selected to conduct the interview. They were dismissed immediately. “If they can not appreciate the perfection of this location,” reasoned the schoolmaster. “They will not appreciate the beauty of the principle.” During the interview process he noted the applicant’s initial reaction to the principle. The schoolmaster would then spend the majority of the interview process explaining the intricacies of the principle and answering questions. At the end of each interview he shook hands with the applicant and told them he would contact them after the entire interview process was completed. The schoolmaster already knew however whether or not he had found his faculty member. The decision was absolute. It was determined by the principle. After the necessary period of time the schoolmaster contacted all of the candidates and hired twelve teachers, the school principal, and the supporting staff. Afterward he looked over his faculty and sensed his emotions being stirred. The schoolmaster couldn’t stop himself from smiling joyously.

Now that his faculty was chosen the schoolmaster decided the next step was to hire an architect. From this point on his faculty would be present to witness every step of the building process. They were there when he interviewed hundreds of architects and finally made his choice. The architects that were rejected didn’t understand the importance of the principle. They always asked for more details on what exactly the schoolmaster wanted. But after having the principle explained to him once the architect that was chosen had no follow up questions. He knew exactly what was required by the principle. The faculty observed this and agreed that he was the perfect architect for this particular project. He swiftly but thoroughly drew up the blue print. The speed in which the plans were designed was not out of haste but rather out of a sense of certainty in what was required. The plans were approved and construction began on schedule. The schoolmaster, architect and faculty  were present every day of construction. Everyone observed how in sync the blueprint was with the principle. Some days the architect would leave the blueprint at home and work directly from the book that he had borrowed from the schoolmaster. Finally the work was completed and a single story wooden schoolhouse painted white with green trim stood erect in the middle of the isolated tract of land. The faculty along with the architect and his workers slowly walked around and throughout the structure. Finally they all congregated around the schoolmaster. A spontaneous burst of applause and joyful shouting rang out across the land, the like of which had never been heard before.

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Power Line Spaghetti

Along the way to the gas station MM notices a metal post carrying electrical lines bent forward. It appears to have been struck by a car as indicated by the shape of the bent metal at the point of impact. Metaphysical Man fixes his eyes on the live power lines, which slope down towards the ground. To avoid electrocution pedestrians now need to duck down when passing. “That post could fall at any minute. Someone had better do something.” Double M’s hero instincts began to flare up. While still connected at the base the only thing that appeared to be keeping the post from collapsing were the attached wires. Metaphysical Man glances in alarm at the spool of wires attached at the hub. “Power line spaghetti.” Though Metaphysical Man is anxious to act he does nothing. A garbage man lifts the lines using a wooden beam so his partner can pass under them with the truck. Chaz takes advantage of the opportunity and the Camry speeds by the fallen post. Metaphysical Man catches a close up glimpse of the power lines. The line has been patched together in many places making it impossible to tell the original date of installation. In many places the workers didn’t even bother covering the patch with electrical tape. Double M has never seen this much exposed wire before.

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Chapter 10

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy”

“We were now three months into the project. The badgers were of tremendous help in the construction of the wall. Their experience in building strong dams was much appreciated. At first the idea of surrounding Utopia with a wall of stone was met with resistance. However after I explained to everyone that it was absolutely necessary for our protection, the mood changed. Many had even become anxious to complete the wall as soon as possible. It was around this time that an unfortunate event took place that would altar Utopia’s future forever. Now this next part of the story is a little blurry to me. I’ll do my best to relate it to you exactly as I remember it. I hope you’ll forgive me if it comes off as a bit surreal.”

Excerpt From: Chasterson, William. “Breed   The Secret Design To Maintain Racial Inequality Among The Despised Classes.” 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting

#Metaphysicalman is the #donquijote of the digital age.

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting