4.9 Ruminations

by Matt P.

The teacher was droning on about the history of the area, but Siobhan didn’t care. She could tell that Antigone didn’t either, from the volume of hasty and encoded notes the two of them were passing. And when the teacher’s back turned and she entered the bizarre teaching trance that locked her somewhat in a different universe, they began exchanging hushed whispers. As did several other pockets of students in the classroom.

“Uniquely, the Marshal of Border is also the Sheriff of Tecenoo County, and appoints the warden of the county jail with advisement from the city council.” The teacher said as if this was a particularly salient or interesting tidbit. Which, Siobhan thought, it was not.

“He has to have a brother.” Antigone said for the second time. “Or a son.” She added, new to the debate. “How old did he look to you?”

“Older twenties to…maybe young 40s.” Siobhan answered absently. She doodled a raven in quick, artistic strokes. It soared over the Constitution of Kansas in her textbook, majestic until she drew it making the avant-garde political statement of pooping.

“That’s like two decades, Bonnie.” Antigone pointed out with a pout. “Supremely unhelpful. Also, stop crapping on the State Constitution.” She said primly. “The Lecompton Constitution is a few pages earlier. Crap on Godless Missourians.”

Obediently Siobhan turned to the original constitution of Kansas, disputed and ultimately tossed out as bleeding Kansas went anti-slavery, ad began doodling on it instead. “He was kind of hard to pin down, Annie.” Siobhan said defensively. “If you had a really good idea you would have said so. And I don’t think it was someone else, not with an exact quote. I still think-” She began, but Antigone cut her off once more.

“He’s not a real psychic.” Antigone said firmly. Siobhan started to object, but her sister shushed her. “One, because psychics don’t exist and you know that because you pretended to be one at our last school-”

“Two schools ago.” Siobhan corrected.

“Whatever. Secondly it would be false advertising.” Annie continued, drawing a snort from Siobhan. “Third, and I feel like I cannot stress this enough, psychics. Aren’t. Real.” She enunciated clearly enough the teacher paused and turned with a harumph, firing off a question Siobhan didn’t even catch as a punishment to the class.

“John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry.” Antigone called out the answer. The teacher blinked owlishly. But she turned back to the board, not noticing as the class breathed a collective sigh of relief.

“The weird shit we’ve seen so far, and you’re willing to draw the line at psychics?” Siobhan challenged softly. “I had a vision in a creepy forest which may not exist.” She monitored her volume carefully. “And it came true!”

Antigone grumbled, but couldn’t disagree. “Certain hallucinogenic incidents aside-”

“A dude disappeared in our closet!” She hissed. “In our closet! Disappeared!” Siobhan paused to consider her words carefully. “In our closet!”

“Yes, I know. Repeating it just makes you sound like a crazy person.” Antigone sighed, before amending. “More of a crazy person.” She shook her head, however, as she considered. “Ok. Maybe. But if he is a real psychic, we need to report him to the Better Business Bureau, because his signs clearly make false promises about him being a fraud.”

“I’m sure they’ll get right on that” Siobhan commented tartly. “We have to go back.” This was firm, a statement and not a question.

“I was afraid you’d say that.” Antigone sighed again, but held up a hand. “But you’re right. Friday?”

Siobhan nodded, and then squeaked when the teacher called on her. She had no idea where they were. “Ah…the War of 1812?” She hazarded a guess.

“In the 1850s? I think not. Please see me after class, Miss Richards.”

Siobhan’s sigh could have shaken the foundations of the school, if not the town itself.