He walked into the classroom. Everything about it bothered him. Skulls of rodents, glass jars with slimy materials, sticks and moss, the whole place with littered with Science paraphernalia.


And, Mr. Ross. He was a specimen himself. His beard was auburn, wiry, and rough. He often held the tip of it while he thought through a student request. His voice was gravelly. And he coughed. He coughed all the time. One time, Spencer actually watched a piece of phlegm shoot out during one of his coughing fits and land on the corner of his desk.


Mr. Ross did not understand students. He was obsessed with “observing” the world around him, yet he never really looked at his students. He always said, Listen to the world around you.” But he never listened to anything his students said. He answered questions, sure. And his answers droned on and on for 20-30 minutes. It was actually a favorite past time of the students in class to ask him a question that he’d enjoy, just so they could time the answer.


Spencer’s palms sweated. He felt like there were tadpoles in his stomach and his legs felt like heavy logs. He had been working on his Science Fair project for a month now. And today it was due. All Spencer had to show for it, was an empty new notebook. He had lost notebook. Lost every trace of the work he had done.


Now, most kids make this excuse all the time. I lost it. And it’s true, Spencer did have a few missing assignments. But, generally, he was an organized kid. His mom even joked that his room was neater than hers. To be honest, Spencer actually blamed his mom and dad for losing the project. He swears one of them recycled it when they went on one of their monthly cleaning sprees.