Schools Out Forever
Teacher Bal gave a school assignment to complete before the last week of school.
Everyone got to pick their partners, and Tabias chose Sam Wu. He didn’t want her because she had the most beautiful hair or the brightest eyes. He didn’t even choose her because she always had the best lunches to trade with; he picked her because the project involved math. A lot of Math.
The project was to build a robot, and Tabias knew that Sam Wu was his best chance at making a winning robot.
The task was quite simple, in theory. They only had to make the robot push a ball across the gymnasium floor. Tabias reassured Sam Wu that he would supply all the gadgets, and all she had to do was the blueprints.
Soon, the robot was ready and dubbed Bot.
Step Mother drove them to school on the day the project was due. “Drive slower, Mom!” Tabias exclaimed from the backseat as the top-heavy robot threatened to topple over.
“Mrs. Tabias, please. I have no time to make another Bot,” Sam Wu complained.
“Beep, buzz, click,” Bot joined in the protest.
“It’s all these other crazy drivers on the road,” Step Mother retorted before sticking her head out the window and yelling something about not enough coffee. Or soggy Wheaties for breakfast.
Tabias and Sam Wu chuckled to each other but quickly turned serious when Step Mother slammed on the brakes. All arms flew out to stop Bot from falling and breaking.
The van stopped, and the kids grumbled as they exited, “thanks, mom,” “Thanks, Mrs. Tabias,” “mmmeep.”
Bot positioned himself on the sidewalk, looking up toward the school. Kids ran past him on all sides. He was the size of a dishwasher (gutted) with old toy tank tracks to move (courtesy of Sister’s pile of destruction), and his face was painted on the side of Father’s old toaster (the one with the fork permanently stuck in the bottom.)
Step Mother drove off, and Tabias, Sam Wu, and Bot began their trek to the school entrance.
Unfortunately for everyone, Tabias’ arch-enemy- Taylor and his partner Tammy Wang- walked up with their robot (that looked store purchased).
“Bucket of bolts, I see?” Taylor laughed and smacked Bot on the back.
The fork sprung free from the toaster head and caused the dial to drop to ‘Burn.’
Bot’s hands shifted into the mechanical arms and turned to flame throwers.
“Look what you did now,” Taylor laughed as he walked away. Tammy Wang stood frozen in her place as the flame throwers appeared from Bot’s arms.
Balls of fire began shooting toward the school, the fire alarm sounded, and the school was evacuated. Kids were screaming and running. Tabias looked to Sam Wu for help, her face fell, and she turned to run away.
“Bot!” Tabias hollered in his angriest voice he could muster, but it was apparent Bot wouldn’t hear him over the screaming and burning.
Teacher Bal appeared beside Tabias, stepped toward Bot, and clicked the toaster knob to- ‘Done.’ Bot dropped his arms limply, and his flame throwers pulled back into his arms as he stood in silence.
“Always make a kill switch,” Teacher Bal remarked.
“Does that mean I failed the year-end project?” Tabias inquired.
“Considering the schools on fire?”