rug

He came in and directly lay down on the floor. I didn’t see it – I was making pancakes in the cafeteria, when Amelia came running to get me, mouth open but no sound coming out, and I immediately turned off the stove. “He’s on – lying on the ground,” she stammered, eyes wild. And then I was running, because I didn’t know who ‘he’ was and I assumed that ‘ground’ meant outside the school, and that someone had fallen ill.

Then I saw him, Paco, lying on the floor, arms folded behind his head. “That’s a new rug,” I said, eyes narrowing and feeling a wave of nausea, and relief. “Amish,” he said, eyes closed behind his sunglasses.Why are you such a douchebag? I thought. Why the hell does this fall to me? Why are you on the ground? What will anyone say if anyone were to walk in the door right now, you stupid long-legged spider? What will the director do – “

Suddenly I noticed the rest of the staff behind me, watching. “He’s hungover,” said Amelia, impressed. “Get back to work,” I snapped, realizing with horror that the children were unattended. “The kids are alone if you’re all here! What the hell is wrong with you?!” I heard my voice sound harsh and hollow. That’s better than showing the panic I feel.

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