Diorama of Death
by Brilliant Building / Published by Brilliant Building
Copyright 2016 Brilliant Building
This is a work of fiction. There is no such thing as a Diorama of Death.
Mrs. Pring died of a heart attack in front of the entire classroom. Her doctors said it was due to a lifetime of accumulated arterial plaque, but her students knew the true cause: Kevin’s Diorama of Death. Not one week earlier did Kevin do a book report on Edgar Allen Poe, but the crude, dying figure he had assembled from tissue paper and pipe cleaners placed in the center of his Adidas shoebox did not resemble any fictional character so much as it did their homeroom teacher, and the resemblance did not go un-noticed. “That looks like Mrs. Pring!” shouted Terry, the class clown. The rest of the class laughed in agreement. Mrs. Pring did not laugh. Kevin got a D.
Ms. Vargas, the trainee who shadowed Mrs. Pring and now subbing for her, did her best to help the class deal with the trauma of seeing Mrs. Pring die before their eyes, but no one had trained her for this scenario, and what’s more, the class did not seem particularly traumatized. If anything, having Mrs. Pring keel over dead was, if anything, the fulfillment of every kid’s fantasy. The only person who seemed to have any feeling at all for Mrs. Pring’s death was Kevin, who spent every day since with his head on his desk.
“I killed her… I killed her with my Diorama… of DEATH.”
“No, Kevin,” said Ms. Vargas, “A shoebox doesn’t have such powers. I’m an adult so I know about such things.” Ms. Vargas was barely an adult, and had decided to take up teaching when she had flunked out of med school.
“The shoebox is e-e-e-e-e-evil!” said a shrill, wavering voice.
Kevin cracked a smile — the first hint of sunshine to be seen since the incident.
“Go back to your desk, Terry!”
Ms. Vargas took the diorama and crumpled up the tissue-and-pipe-cleaner voodoo doll of Mrs. Pring and threw it in the trash. Kevin looked as if he were about to protest Ms. Vargas’s mutilating his art, but Ms. Vargas plowed ahead. “I’ll prove to you this is just a silly superstition.” Ms. Vargas took a small glamour portrait of herself from her wallet, and glued it to the back of a popsicle stick, and placed it in the center of the box. Then, she unfolded a paper clip and used the sharp end to bore a small hole through it, coloring the surrounding area with red marker.
“Aaaaaagggh,” Ms. Vargas clutched her throat and pretended to die in an exaggerated, theatrical way (she had been taking improv classes at night). Kevin raised an eyebrow and laughed politely, but clearly Ms. Vargas was worse at comedy than Terry, whose comedy training consisted of picking out boogers, flicking them into the air, and catching them in his mouth. Nonetheless, she took the diorama and placed it squarely at the front of her desk.
“Class, there’s been a lot of silly talk about this magical demon diorama, so I, your teacher, Ms. Vargas, personally challenge this shoebox to a contest of wills. You can see clearly that this effigy of myself is being impaled to death in a most gruesome fashion. I, Ms. Vargas, winner of several Improvlympics Improvisor of the Weeks and now your permanent homeroom teacher, intend to remain unimpaled for the foreseeable future.” Ms. Vargas took a bow. The class clapped. “I’m teaching,” thought Ms. Vargas, “this is what teaching is like.”
One week later, Ms. Vargas was jogging around the school track when she tripped on an errant brick and skewered herself onto a section of improperly barbed metal fencing.
IS THIS THE END OF THE DIORAMA OF DEATH’S REIGN OF DEATH AND EVEN MORE DEATH?
IT IS, FOR NOW…
What is the secret of Kevin's Diorama of Death? Something to do with death, no doubt.