Tired and tired. But here’s some free writing. The teacher showed us a picture of three children (old picture) and told us to write something with it…

“Pick out the serial killer,” said the FBI Profiling Professor, “which of these things doesn’t belong here?” Eager students examined the old photograph with the pensive, intense looks they thought suitable for a master investigator. Three children from years ago: a boy, a girl, an infant.




They examined the toys, the expressions, the close, looking for the shadow threads that connected the puzzle in grotesque lines and clinical symmetry.

Which one of these children grew up to be a killer?”




“I can’t tell,” stammered the struggling student voice, breaking under the teacher’s weighty gaze.

“That’s right, you can’t tell.”

Another time…the teacher passed out a pine cone to us students. We handed it back and forth. When all of the sudden, bugs (dormant from the winter) exploded out. After that excitement, we wrote…

Her grandmother always told her of the “pine-cone” people, born from pine cones that gestated in the earth’s womb for too long, but Shelley never believed in the tales her gnarled elder would spin. Still, she never did figure out where the giggling came from when she walked the groves of trees at dusk, as the sun winked goodnight.

And yet, another time, the teacher passed around pieces of coal…

An inquisitive child, Vern came to the conclusion that geniuses were suppressed early in his life.

His mother yelled at him when she found Vern cooking rocks in her favorite pan – never mind that he was testing the scientific theory a fourth grader promised was true – that cooking sparkling rocks produced coconuts.

His punishment was over sever when his parents found his name carved into the bathroom mirror – he only wanted to see if the geode stone he got at school was actually a diamond, and, if it was well that would buy a lot of mirrors.

But Vern was past that childish stuff. Now he had learned a truly useful fact – that enough pressure could turn a piece of coal into a diamond. Vern’s older neighbor Tim could hold a basketball, upside-down, by squeezing it in one hand. Vern figured that was enough pressure.

Getting coal…

That informative fourth grader, mentioned previously, who will remain nameless for the sake of ethics, informed Vern that Mr. Butts, the scary old man, a requisite in all proper neighborhoods, owned a coal bin. What’s more, Vern learned that a dead body lay within the coal, through whispered murmurs under a slumber party blanket.

Vern creeps towards the bin now.

Things would go smoothly if Vern had learned only about the coal bin and the fact about diamonds. Even the tidbit about the body would have only excited his curiosity. But Vern had learned one more, chilling piece of coal lore, one he took with deadly seriousness – coal turns bodies into zombies…

That last one is faintly autobiographical. To be fair, I didn’t actually try the “sparkly rock to coconut” trick…but I did test a piece of sharp crystal on my parent’s mirror…