Yesterday, as I was standing in the hall observing the flow of teen traffic, I saw a staff member approaching from the right. That's a feat in itself lately, because it means I can actually turn my head enough to see parts of the hall that are not directly across from my doorway.
Staffer was heading for the closet right next to my classroom. The one with the microfiche machine and three million reams of paper and some file cabinets filled with old records. It's always locked, but I know what's in there because, well, my room is right next door, and I have connections with master key keymasters. In fact, this is the room I used to plan on using for my own personal tornado haven, before our disaster procedures were revamped, sending us all way down deep into the bowels of the earth to the boys' athletic locker room that smells like bowels.
So, as Staffer stuck her key in the lock, I stopped her. "Oh. I think there's something I should tell you before you go in there. Last Tuesday, I saw a copperhead/lizard/newt/salamander laying in my classroom doorway when I returned from Labor Day weekend. I told The Pony to grab it with a tissue and throw it away, but he said it sure did move funny. And when I turned to see what he was talking about, I saw the tail rounding the corner of my entryway. I looked down the hall, but I didn't see it anywhere. I think it went under the door and into this closet."
Staffer listened to me, wide-eyed, like there was going to be a punchline. Like maybe I was telling her about the escaped mental patient with hooks for hands who frequented lovers' lane, waiting to kill happy young couples, and I was going to say, '...and do you know what they saw hanging from the door handle? A HOOK!' while I grabbed her shoulders to startle her. Then she saw that I was serious.
"Oh. Now I'm scared. I wish you hadn't told me that."
"Well, wouldn't you rather know than be surprised? I was just trying to help."
"Um...I don't know. Now I'm nervous."
"But you'll be prepared if it jumps out at you from those stacks of paper cartons."
"I...I guess so. Thanks a lot, Mrs. Thevictorian."
Uh huh. Val is a people person. She's a giver like that. It was the least I could do to make Staffer's day a little easier.