And I Had to Write an Essay with All the Argumentative Parts in Place

I’d appreciate it if you didn’t eat my mother. I can’t imagine that she’d taste all that good, plus she’s high in carbon emissions or something. She talks a lot and it can kill people. She’s old, she’s stringy. I’ve never chewed on her. Well, maybe before I had teeth but I’d rather not remember that time in my life as it’s sure to be humiliating. Peeing on yourself, being burped — eating my mother.

Thank you, Miss Shirley, for teaching me everything I ever needed to know to fight someone I couldn’t handle in a physical altercation.

This is why little girls get schooled.

Little girls are destined to supplant the mother figure. To care for her, to take her place, and someday, when she’s ripe, to bury her in a shallow grave and watch the opossums dig her up and eat her.

I would particularly appreciate it if you didn’t eat my mother. Out of everyone in the world. Not just because it’s impolite. And not just because you have no table manners and you’re gross and huge and I don’t like you.

But particularly because I don’t like you. And so, next paragraph: you are not good enough to eat my mother and here is a list of people who are good enough.

Gandhi: because he wouldn’t eat her anyway.

Dalai Lama: because he’s cute when he laughs.

My original father: because he’s dead.

The opossums in the backyard: because they are hungry — and omnivorous.

Mrs. Hazel the neighbour.

The janitor at church.

The prime minister of Great Britain.

You are not on the list and must be turned away at the door. Goodbye.

Miss Shirley became Mrs. Finch and I guess she thought she needed to prove that she was better and older and grumpier and responsible when she went from teaching second grade to fifth. I didn’t like her half as much as when she was simple-minded and Miss Shirley. Some things aren’t better the second time around. Like brownies when you have the stomach flu. And parachuting from the roof with a bedsheet. And dying.

I heard the PTA say that at home Mrs. Finch was a sexpot and at school she was embarrassed. I heard them say kids weren’t half so nice when they were your own. I heard that every time she looked at our sixty eyes staring at her, she wanted to kill us and resume sexpotting.

I think that’s what spinster virgins do. And Puritans. Like train-spotting. You peep in someone’s window at night and scream, “Sex!”

I tried it once and fell off the trellis and didn’t see nothing.

In order to eat my mother who cooks for me, you’d have to kill her first, right, so why not eat my father who’s already dead and should be quite tender?

I know I’m not supposed to go back to reiterate a point and keep hitting it over the head and that Miss Shirley would slap my desk with her pointer for not getting it all out at once, but could I please hit you over the head? I. Hate. You.

I’m not half as stupid as you think I look.

I actually have a point to make about the difference between Miss Shirley and Mrs. Finch.

Mrs. Finch shoves little boys in the home-ec oven. Miss Shirley is only mean to correct us.

Mrs. Finch has a horn growing from the centre of her forehead and it’s filled with hate and if she doesn’t like you, she stabs you with it in your sleep. If you wake up, you’re sick forever and even chemotherapy can’t help.

Miss Shirley knew how to smile.

Mrs. Finch cut her hair real short and permed it so she could become an old lady.

Miss Shirley had no hang-ups about being young.

Mrs. Finch drowned her six kids and stepkids in the bathtub and at the trial she said she was saving them.

Miss Shirley gave us stickers.

Both lit fire to the school. One was an accident and the other was ruled an accident.

I would appreciate it if you didn’t eat my mother because you’re a louse and monkeys eat you. Miss Shirley taught us that in second-grade science. At the time, I thought louses were bugs. But then I learned from Mrs. Hazel next door that her husband was a louse and he killed a nun with his motor vehicle.

A judge ruled hanging was too good for him and I heard Mrs. Hazel talking (often) about a firing squad.

You’re just like him.

Miss Shirley was her own person.

Mrs. Finch was expired and stinky and she’d make you sick.

I would appreciate it if you didn’t eat my mother because she has me and that’s all she needs.

Yes, there was the man who was my original father, but the great thing was: he died. My mother retained being Mrs. Cumbersome, though she was in fact more of a Miss Pool, and so she never killed anyone or sent her man to a firing squad.

And that’s the point! The end, okay?

Except I’m not supposed to write “the end” and Miss Shirley would disapprove (though not as strongly as Mrs. Finch has been known to disapprove — which is exceptionally painful).

Don’t make me disapprove of you!

I do not approve of you eating my mother, you man.

I do not approve of you eating my mother, you charley horse.

I do not approve of anything to do with you, and you keep your wicked hands off my flower-girl dress forevermore or I shall scream.

My mother does not need you to keep her delightfully under your thumb.

Mrs. Finch — before she went totally ape — explained the passage of children: eat my mother now, you lose your rights to me; marry my mother and I’m yours after you eat her gone; but I don’t want your tongue on my throat, your teeth in my neck, my blood in your bowels. I am not your meringue.

I wrote a note to the priest last night detailing the size of your canine teeth as exhibit A.

I am not allowed to speak ill.

But you can read.

I do not approve of your jelly rolls, your flimsy suits, your stench, your pallor, your saucy looks. I do not approve of the pinches you test upon my mother’s rear. I do not approve of your obnoxious yells, your trophies, your bedroom slippers.

As surely as Mrs. Finch is now a lesbian in prison, I would appreciate it, overall, if you did not eat my mother at all ever and if you would kindly die in a painful manner like Mr. Hazel.

Sincerely,

Darla

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