"Roller Coaster"~ (chapter twelve)

Twelve

June emptied her days into July, which flowed inexorably toward August in what seemed to be the longest summer he could recall. At least those adorable misfits he cared for at the children’s home were keeping him focused on the ‘nows’ of life, keeping him from empty- headed musings of what might have been, reminding him that there were others who had been dealt a far less friendly hand in life’s big game. After the ‘Great Milk Conspiracy of 1971’ he began to think that maybe they deserved it…
Summertime was always interesting at the children’s home. During the rest of the year the kids at least had school to engage their hostilities and aggressive outbursts… in the summertime they had only each other and the resident staff for diversion when parents didn’t show for promised visits and birthday celebrations or when the therapy cut too close to the bone. Sometimes their tensions festered and swelled like a ripening cyst, full of primal rage, seething and roiling beneath the calm controlled facade that was presented whenever anyone of authority was attentive. As acts of anger or revenge against each other were met with restrictions of privileges or less creative, corporal forms of punishment while acts against the staff were documented, analyzed and treated, the more insidious offenders played that game and channeled their actions accordingly. By midsummer the cyst was ready for excision. Unfortunately it ruptured instead.
The mastermind of the conspiracy was never discovered. No volunteer ever stepped forward to claim credit and of course no one was willing to violate the code by implicating anyone else involved. One thing was certain though, it was a group effort, a grand scheme that would, with one swift stroke, strike a definitive blow against the hated establishment and liberate the oppressed, misunderstood and unjustly disciplined children presently held against their will in Wesley Cottage. It was a complicated strategy that relied upon split-second timing and coordination among groups and subgroups of usually independent agents unaccustomed to cooperative efforts and undertakings. Naturally, it was doomed to fail… and it did… spectacularly!
The plan was to be a coordinated assault upon the adults responsible for the care of the group. Someone was to slip something into the evening meal, something dangerous, something deadly. The plotters had wanted a swift acting and incapacitating agent that would render the adults unable to defend themselves if not to kill them outright. After this agent had its desired effect, the other conspirators would pounce upon those still able to offer resistance and render them unconscious or worse by clubbing them with pool cues, bricks, rocks, and any other instruments their fevered minds and eager hands could grab. The plan seemed flawless to its designers, but vengeance has a way of clouding reason.
Access to the meal was assured as the children always helped with the preparation of the meal after its arrival from the central kitchen. Access to any number of toxic agents was assured as the children also had opportunities to grab things while helping with chores around the grounds of the children’s home. Access to the assault weapons was easily obtained from the grounds around the cottage and from the recreation room within the cottage.
Their first and most tragic flaw lay in their choice of poison. Perhaps it was the giant red skull and crossbones on the label that caught their eye, or the horror stories told in the dark of the dire consequences of its ingestion, but one of its glaringly obvious qualities was overlooked… its smell! In their usual manner of always taking the easy way of things they had chosen paint thinner as their deadly agent and put it into the milk for supper. Now, the milk wasn’t always the freshest, but there was no mistaking that it just wasn’t right! Even the worst, most outdated milk supplied by that Scrooge of a superintendent had never come close to this.
Their second major flaw was in not trusting all of the residents with the outline of the scheme… and it bit them in the ass!
“Why does the miwlk smellw wike dis?” asked Keith in his stuttering, Elmer Fudd-like voice. “It never smellwed dis bad befowr.” Keith hadn’t been included because he had been judged unable to remain silent about the plot and this led to the total unraveling of the entire scheme. With the poison detected the only recourse was an all-out direct assault with the weapons secreted behind the dining room doors. They fell all over themselves in the mad dash to reach those items and as the scene grew more chaotic by the moment it also became much like a bad silent film comedy reel exploding in slow motion. Kids flying across the floor in a frantic effort to just make this plan work, pushing, shoving, and then the real fun… they began fighting with each other over the weapons intended to strike down their oppressors. It would have been funny had it not been so tragic. The hours spent in secret conferences, the days spent planning their great escape, all gone in a typical flash of mass self destruction. At least the psychologists at the home would have something new to discuss with their tortured little charges… and they spent the rest of the summer and most of the fall doing just that.

"Roller Coaster"~ (chapter twelve)

WonderlandGlass

Mansfield, United States

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