For a brief moment Tuesday, I was public enemy number one.
Or maybe I was just the most convenient suspect. Intended scapegoat. Don't worry your pretty little heads about poor ol' Val. I dodged the rap. Didn't even need an alibi or witness. I'm rubber, everyone else is glue. Accusations bounce off me, and stick to...everyone else.
When we returned to the old salt mines Monday, the teacher workroom greeted us with a small table piled high with toner cartridges. I was impressed enough to suck in my breath in wonder. Boxes of toner cartridges are scarce as hens' teeth when the Kyocera starts fading. But here they were. Like a banquet laid out for a queen. If her royal highness felt a mite peckish for stacks of cardboard stuffed with dark powder encased in plastic. There was no time to take pictures of each other standing beside Mt. Toner with our smart phones. Every minute was accounted for that day, along with fifteen of them squeezed into overtime territory like rolls of muffin-top flesh over a denim waistband.
We worked in our rooms Tuesday. Talk about the state of education these days...nobody even had time to pop in and gossip. I'm surprised our noses didn't wear out the grindstone. I, myself, stayed in for lunch to catch up on my paperwork while watching two mandated online videos with one eye. It was during that time I received a call from the office, inquiring as to whether I was the one who OPENED EVERY CARTRIDGE BOX. Which was a problem, you see, because then nobody could tell which cartridges were fresh, and which had been bled dry yet replaced in a box for recycling or disposal purposes.
To borrow a line and title from Shaggy, "It wasn't me."
There was no further questioning. Perhaps I was the only one in the building to call when the heinous act was discovered. Perhaps something in my tone portended danger, or innocence. Perhaps it was an effort to make me sing like a canary and turn in my fellow faculty. Or MAYBE they suddenly realized that I was not exactly toner-cartridge-replacer material.
I swear, if I was the last woman on Earth, and wanted to make a copy of my own ample buttocks for personal viewing, I would never attempt to replace a toner cartridge in a Kyocera. Or any copier, for that matter. Nobody wants a five o'clock shadow on their midsection, even with nobody else left on Earth to see it. Besides, those toner cartridges require a workout more strenuous than an English Channel swim rolled up in an Iron Man triathlon rolled up in an Olympic marathon. Toner cartridges must be shaken, not babied like a tube of nitroglycerin transported through the Badlands on horseback.
Did I open eleventy-thousand boxes of toner cartridges? I hardly think so.