“With all the foreign aid the United States does, can we afford to put a police officer in every single
— Wayne LaPierre
MS. BLOCK: Welcome to Kindergarten, cadets! My name is Ms. Block, which is spelled [writes on overhead transparency] B-l-o-c-k, which rhymes with Glock [shows image of a Glock-17 handgun]. Meet your Protector. It weighs just a teeny bit less than two pounds, and is really easy to hide inside your backpacks. Best of all, it comes with a 17-round magazine, which means that when the baddies come for you, you’ll be able to discharge a whole bunch of bullets into them without having to stop to reload—and in just a few seconds too! Boy, will that make them think twice about being bad guys, RIGHT, CLASS?
CLASS: Right, Ms. Block!
MS. BLOCK: And of course, I too will be armed, just like all the other teachers here at Prince of Peace Elementary. You cadets will feel even safer here than at home, where your parents foolishly keep their Protectors out of your reach. Any questions? Yes, Timothy?
TIMOTHY: Uhm, do we get to play “Witches ‘n’ Wizards?”
MS. BLOCK: Timothy! Shame on you! Did you forget that witchcraft and magic are the tools of Satan?
MS. BLOCK: Listen up, cadets. I have placed loaded Glock-17s inside each of your crayon boxes. I’m going to count to three, which is all the time you will have to grab your weapon if an assailant should blast his or her way into the classroom, brandishing an AR-17. Are you ready? On my mark . . . One! Two!— Jared! I did not say “Three” yet!
JARED: Sorry, Ms. Block.
MS. BLOCK: Just for that, you must stay after school and write “I promise to follow all safety protocols exactly as ordered” on the board twenty-five times. Bonnie, do you have a question?”
BONNIE: Uhm, is it okay if I start shooting before the bad guys come into the room?
MS. BLOCK: Good question, sweetie. What do you think, Dylan?
DYLAN: Hmmm, what if it’s not a bad guy trying to get in? You know—what if the principal wants to surprise us with some cookies or something?”
ANNIE (leaping to her feet): That is so lame, Dylan, you dork! The principal is part of the school’s outerperimeter line of defense.
DYLAN: Call me a dork again, Annie, and I’ll rip off your braids and shove them down your ugly throat.
MS. BLOCK: Now, now, Dylan and Annie, have you forgotten your anti-bullying lessons? What do you say to each other?
ANNIE: I apologize, Dylan.
DYLAN: I apologize, Annie. I will never, ever call you a bad name again.
MS. BLOCK: That’s better. Besides, you should know by now that our interim principal, General Lyons (and may our last principal rest in peace), is no cookie fairy.
MS. BLOCK: And now, cadets, our temporary principal and former Brigadier General, Ozzie Lyons, wants to say a few words to you.
LYONS: Ahem. Young combatants, let me first congratulate you on the successful completion of the first stage of your para-military training. It is something you will value even more than readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic! Don’t get me wrong; them three R’s are important, but what good are they if you’re a bloody, bullet-shredded corpse, right? (He guffaws.)
Now it is my honor to dispatch you to First Grade, where you will be introduced to advanced military weaponry, including grenade launchers, M16s, Heckler and Koch submachine guns, L42A1 sniper rifles, and a whole lot more. I won’t say any more about them, knowing how much fun it is to be surprised by brand new toys. And now. . . TEN-SHUN! (All the children leap to attention.) Ms. Block will call each of you up to the front of the class to receive your honorable kindergarten discharge and your own very first box of ammo.
MS. BLOCK: Let us all sing together, cadets, to celebrate our freedom as red-blooded young Americans. General Lyons, please set up your camcorder so you can shoot this joyous moment for posting on our respective Facebook pages.
(LYONS reaches for his duffel bag—several of the children fling open their desks and reach for their crayon boxes—then, laughing, close up their desks. LYONS begins shooting the video.)
MS. BLOCK: Everyone ready? a-one, a-two, a-three . . .
We are the good guys, the bold white-Hatters—
The first responders, when bad guys slay.
We’ll take ‘em out fast—their brains will splatter;
So please don’t take our weapons away.
Fred D. White’s fiction has appeared most recently in The Brooklyner, Burningword, Mad Hat Lit, Clockwise Cat, and is forthcoming in Rathalla Review. His one-act comedy, “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life,” is available for production through Heartland Plays. He lives near Sacramento, CA.