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Heat Wave

She stood in front of the white board teaching a lesson on homophones, her third and fourth graders ranged in a circle on the floor. It was mid-winter, but her body temperature was stuck in the dog days of summer.

As she spoke, she felt the heat pulse through her body, rising first in her face, then traveling at an alarming rate down her neck, along the sides of her torso and into her legs. Without missing a beat, she unwrapped the scarf from around her neck and dropped it on the floor beside her.

"And here's another set of words to watch out for," she said, unbuttoning her jacket and turning again to the board. She continued the lesson as the blood raced through her veins, beads of sweat collecting along her hairline and dripping down the middle of her back. Even her knees were hot, but removing her pants was not an option.

She continued teaching, sure that if this flash persisted, she'd melt onto the thin industrial carpet and send the students scurrying for higher ground.

Nick raised his hand. Sweet Nick, of the rosy cheeks and liquid brown eyes. The boy who lived in short sleeved t-shirts twelve months of the year.

"Yes, NicK?"

"Ah...Miss O'Keefe, do you think we could shut the window? It's kinda cold in here."

While the kindly version of herself gazed into the boy's earnest face, the menopausal maniac living inside her, rose up, eyes blazing, talons poised for attack. If you so much as touch that window, young man, I'll rip you to shreds. I'll flay your tender vitals, and feed them to the wolves. I'll let fly a scream that would scare a hoard of banshees. I'll spontaneously combust right here and singe every hair off your head.

The room was quiet, the only sound the blood rushing in her ears. She breathed deeply, tilted her head and smiled.

"I'm sorry, Nick. I'm afraid that wouldn't be a very good idea. How about you go to your locker and get your sweatshirt?"

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