Darkside of the Sun: Tough crowd, shining faces playschool

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

“Now children,” said the man in the brown felt hat with a bird sitting on top of it and a bird sitting on top of that bird, “I will tell you a story. Would you like that?”

“Yes, yes!” screamed the children. “For our Wi-Fi is out and we are bored!”

“Okay, then. Once upon a very dark time in the Land of…”

“Wait, is there a bird in this story?” asked little William.

“Well, no,” said the man in the brown hat with a bird sitting on it and a bird sitting atop that bird. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” said the little boy.

“Well, once upon a time,” the Story Man in the bird-intensive headgear began again, “in a land that was constantly dark —“

“Is there a point to this story?” asked little Elsie, who was cute, but also impatient.

“How could people get their Vitamin D in such a place?” asked little William, who burned to know everything, and who, even though he was already four-and-a-half, was only about halfway there.

“Children!” warned Mrs. Popowski, whom the children called Mrs. Pop, all except for Bobby, who added an “o.”

“Wait, I need to go No. 1,” said little Jimmy, who had a very small bladder.

The man sighed and told Jimmy, “You may be excused.”

“Too late,” said Jimmy, as everyone edged a little farther away from him.

“Listen children, maybe it’s not such a great day for a story…”

“But the Wi-Fi is out, and we know not what to do!” said little Johnny. Everyone else said, “Yeah!!” except for little William, who always knew what to do when the Wi-Fi went out.

“Okay then, you’ll have to be very quiet and LISTEN this time, as the teacher emphasized forty or so times before I started, but apparently not often enough. Now… Once upon a time in a land far, far away, where it was always dark…”

“Your story’s primary precondition doesn’t even make sense —” started little William.

William…!” said Mrs. Springfield, like that: in italics, with a vaguely threatening ellipsis and then a peeved exclamation point.

“But,” butted William, “there is no place on the surface of the Earth where it’s ALWAYS —”

“Would you people kindly just SHUT the %&^# UP!” snapped the man in the stupid hat. He pointed at William. “Look, Junior, who is wearing the stupid hat here, you or me?”

“You are,” William admitted.

“Fine then. Now, once upon a time —”

“I need to go again,” Jimmy said. Then, quickly, “Never mind.”

“— in a land far, far away—”

“Was it ALWAYS dark?” asked little Jennifer, who really wanted to know.

“— where it was ALWAYS dark and where, because of that, there were NO BIRDS —” the funny man continued, glaring warningly at William.

“Don’t blame me,” said William, “It’s your stupid story.”

The Story Man sighed and went on with his tale of darkness, cursing only seventeen times more (William counted, so he could do an accurate write-up for the Playskool Tribune). By the time he said “The End,” the Story Man was ready to retire from the storytelling circuit and he told the children that, but no one cared, for lo, Wi-Fi was back on. And besides, now it was Snack Time!

Prepare, o you sainted pre-school teachers, who still have two or three more weeks of marginal sanity left you!

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