Flash Fiction Friday: Day Job

“Have you ever been in a lockdown?”

I raise my hand. It was a code yellow years ago at my first elementary school. A man with a gun was walking around the neighboring school. Police had it under control within the hour. No injuries. A domestic dispute. A disgruntled husband.

Evan from HR then explains, “When there’s a lockdown, you’ll hear lockdown, lockdown, lockdown,” as he counts on his fingers, “lockdown, lockdown, lockdown,” and once again, “lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. Nine times to make sure everyone hears and reacts, especially those in noisy environments, such as the cafeteria and the gym.”

No sound, not even one of the squeaky chairs, breaks through his pause for emphasis. We’re rapt.

He continues, “Lock the door. Now is the time to make you and the children. Invisible. Search the room for another egress, most likely windows, should the door be breached. If an active shooter is coming through your door, and you have no choice of flight, you must fight. Pick up a chair and”—here he positions himself to the side of the door, feigning holding a chair over his head—“come hard and heavy. He won’t be expecting it.”

My horror grows with each word. I am now planning to take a self-defense course. Most likely, though, I will take a lengthy nap when I return home, and try to pretend our world doesn’t now include active shooter training for substitute teachers.

And yet there’s more. Evan lets us know that the natural instinct to gather students together must be ignored should we find ourselves outside during a lockdown. “Run, scatter, make a wide range of moving targets. Run into the woods. Hide in the ditch. Hide under bushes. Hide behind houses. Run. Scatter. Hide.”

Then it gets even worse, and I want to walk out, but I know I would be the only one. I don’t need this job. What’s the likelihood, really?

Evan adamantly states, “Once you lock that door, do not touch it. You will hear things. You must remain quiet. Invisible. If you hear me tell you to open the door, don’t do it. If the principal asks you to open the door, don’t do it. If you hear a student screaming to be let in, don’t touch that door. You don’t know who might be behind that employee or student. If you touch that door, you’ve compromised yourself and all the students in that room.”

So I’m really looking forward to working with children again…with just a little pinging in my brain of such current events and unlikelihoods happening. I won’t even allow myself to think about narcan, which I consider the holy grail of fuckening.

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