Penguin Sex and The End of the Fucking World

It was the kind of day that makes you contemplate the flavor of lead.

I wake up before the sun. It won’t be up till spring.

I found a machine that dispenses Babushka Subway tokens. I read on the escalator ride down. An old fairytale called “The Little Prince and The Baba Yaga”. It ends in cannibalism. Who knew that boy had it in him?

I make it to the bottom just in time for rush hour. It is a thirty-minute ride to my work; a kindergarten for aristocratic children. I get the spot just inside the door and listen to the “A Night at the Roxbury” soundtrack.

The doors open at my station onto the usual.

The cast of March of the Penguins on an orgy break. A black and white kaleidoscope-in-a-blender with only the sound of pores, opening and closing. Penguins sweat more this close to hell. I hide behind a Babushka as she battles her way through the thick mess of fin-pinned web-footed birds wobbling around between us and the escalator.

I fall asleep on the ride to the surface.

By the time I reach air, the penguin sweat has dried. I put on my hat and light a cigarette.

Well timed, the cigarette marks the spot where I buy a water. The woman behind the counter calls me ‘good boy’ when I have exact change. It makes me feel good.

The Babushka who guards the door to the school growls at me when I enter. She has six gold teeth embedded in the sheet rock of her face. I smile. I take off my shoes. She leaves. When I get through the second set of doors, I notice something roll by at my feet.

It is the head of the science teacher.

It screams.

I jump back. I look down the hallway. The familiar faces of other teachers dash back and forth in true 90’s-cartoon fashion, hollering in Russian. Someone cries something I think means “we’re fucked.”

There is sweat and tears and limbs flying. I dodge left, and right. I duck and weave. I cannot avoid the chaos.

One of the teachers who speaks pretty good English grabs me by the shoulders. Her left eye bulges. Her right hangs by a velvet thread, smearing blood across her cheek.

“WHAT WILL WE TELL THEM!” She cries, a tear falling from the dangling eye.

“Tell who?” I ask.

“His parents…oh god…” she passes out on the floor in front of me. I step over her and slip into a side room. A student is sitting at a small table.

“Hey P,” I say, “Why’s everyone gone crazy?”

He holds up his thumb to me, bleary-eyed.

“I got a paper cut,” he says, the weight of the world on his shoulders.

 

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