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Puppy for Sale - 2. Lows and Highs

Dreams are funny things. It's amazing how you can go from one place to another instantly and yet the act seems natural. Then of course there are those dreams where something is happening in the real world which seems to affect what's happening inside your dream. Well, this was happening to me right before I work up this morning. You see, in my dream, some doctor was sand papering my knee for some reason, but I awoke to what was really the Janitor outside my door buffing the floor with one of those machines.

Freaky!

My strangest dreams usually happened right after coming down from a manic period. For anyone that suffers from Bipolar will know that during the manic phase you can be awake for days, after which you crash. Luckily I was going through a balanced period right now and my symptoms were manageable thanks to the drugs I took each morning.

Bipolar, you got that right? Wish I did!

I laid there trying to settle myself from what was a rather weird dream, just listening to the gentle hum of the machine going up and down the corridor outside. I glanced over at my clock seeing it was a little after seven. I still had around twenty minutes before I was due to get up and shower so I flicked my TV on to see what could entertain me for those precious minutes while wrapped up in my warm bed. Darting through half a dozen channels, I settled on The Simpsons.

I needed a laugh before class!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

"Puppy?" Cindy called from outside my small bathroom.

"Be out in a minute!" I replied, staring into the mirror trying to style my hair. Like so often, I would put too much wax on and have to rinse it again before having another go. If not I would just end up with clumps of hair all over the place and it lookek...well crap really. "Ok, I'm done, are you ready?" I said, right as I opened the door.

"You look nice, going somewhere?"

"Ha, you're funny, and yes I am, it's called hell."

"It'll soon be over, c'mon, lets go."

I followed Cindy out of my door and closed it before we both headed down the corridor to the classroom which sat at the western end of the building. Sure enough when we arrived Elaine Bates was sitting at her desk looking her usual miserable self.

"Well, are you going in?" Cindy asked, as I stood sheepishly outside the glass door.

"Do you think we should knock...I mean I think we should knock, you know how she likes us to knock!"

"You're scared of her...I mean still scared of her?"

"Uh, like yeah!"

Cindy roller her eyes at me and barged passed opening the door to the classroom, walking in.

"Good morning Mrs Bates, lovely day isn't it?" She said in an enthusiastic voice, the real tone full of sarcasm not missed on me.

"Miss Batton, you need to knock before entering my classroom, where are your manners young lady."

"See, I told you," I hissed, getting up close to her.

"I'm sorry, would you like us to go outside, close the door and knock?"

I sniggerd lightly "What? No, no...Just find your table and sit down... and remember that I require you to knock next time."

Cindy smiled at her sickly and found a table to sit at. I scooted up alongside and found a seat next to her.

"You know, you really push it with her, one day she is gonna find out you are being cheeky and..."

"Jensen Stibbings, why is it whenever you are in my class I have to remind you that you only talk when you are spoken to?"

"Uh, sorry Mrs Bates, it won't happen again."

"Yes, I distinctly remember you saying that the last time. Keep it down boy; two students have yet to arrive."

I put my head down and kept quiet hearing Cindy snigger and snort next to me. The two kids old bag Bates referred to were Billy and Leah Jones. Billy was eleven and Leah was twelve. Both Cindy and I didn't know what their story was since they never spoke to anyone. All we knew was they were brother and sister and had arrived about two months ago, other than that, they were a mystery.

"Where is your book?" Cindy whispered, her eyes peering down at the missing mass between my hands which should be my exercise book.

"What? Oh shiiiit!" I hissed quietly, wondering if today was going to be the day I die. "Why didn't you remind me?"

"You'll just have to tell her, but do it soon, it'll look better if class hasn't started yet."

I swallowed hard and looked up at Norman bates, for some reason noticing she looked madder than ever. Maybe it was my imagination because of the monumental fuck up I had made. I'm telling you that forgetting your book? Well let's just say, hell, I may have just as well written a whole book in biro, I would have been better off!

"Uh..erm, Mrs Bates?" I got out then cleard my dry throat.

"What is it Stibbings, can't you sit still for five seconds?" she bellowed, her face contorting revealing a blanket of wrinkles.

"Well, you see, I...well it's just_"

"Yes boy, spit it out I don't have all day!"

"He's forgot his book, can he go pick it up, I think he wants to say?"

"Hush your voice Cindy Batton!" Bates screeched, rising to her feet.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Cindy roll her eyes, and I prayed to god Bates didn't see. The old hag started to walk round from her table towards me in a very slow and deliberate way. It started to set my anxiety off and I began to slightly tremble. Deciding to put my energy in to not thinking maddening thoughts I put my head down in a cowardly way and closed my eyes.

I could hear her getting closer and my bad thoughts intensified. Please stay normal, please stay normal, I chanted in my mind. I felt her stop, and then sensed her leaning into me until sure enough I could smell that familiar coffee breath mixed with decaying teeth.

"Outside!" she hissed, as if trying to hold in her rage. Without looking at her I slid my chair out and got up, keeping my head facing the floor. Just as I began walking to the door a familiar voice rang out.

"Puppy, stay where you are, I'm not having this."

It was Cindy!

"You keep quiet girl, and how dare you overrule me in my classroom."

"You nasty old bag...that's what you are, look what you're doing to him, I will be telling the home director when I see him, you have no right to treat him like this, he only forgot his_"

"QUIET!" Elaine Bates screamed, making me jump, petrification surging through my veins. I think even Cindy knew she had gone too far this time when she did indeed, stay silent. But my favourite girl had one more ace up her sleeve.

"Mrs Bates, I may be only fifteen but I know one thing, and that is bullying is strictly forbidden at Greenstone and I am going to assume that goes for all cases of bullying, child or not. I will be encouraging Puppy to_"

"His name is Jensen in this class!" bates squealed.

"I will be encouraging PUPPY to report you and I will fully back him up. This class is over, c'mon Puppy, let's go."

Cindy grabbed my arm and started to lead me out of the class. I was in too much shock to say anything and just allowed her to take me.

I could hear the dull tones of Elaine's voice screaming at us to come back, but for me it was too late, that dreaded feeling was now consuming me.

I was starting to acutely notice that horrible worthlessness feeling that told me things were going to start feeling worse. Coloured dots of light flashed in my peripheral vision like a fireworks display and then the ringing in my ears started. The battle had begun, I was about to go all-out war with the beast of all mental afflictions.

The panic attack!

Cindy led me towards our room and noticed my posture. "Breathe Puppy, almost there, breathe!"

I stayed silent fearing talking would give me a heart attack. My pulse was now racing faster and faster. I felt like there was no air in the room. My face was flush, my chest so tight. I'd been here before, I'd been here so many times, but this time it was different right, no it wasn't, this time was the same, no... no, it was different from the last time this happened, this time I was going to...oh my god, this time I was going to die.

"Cindy I can't breathe, you gotta help me!"

Cindy squeezed my hand "Yes you can, it's just like before Puppy, keep breathing, there is air and plenty of it."

"No it's not the same this time, I really can't breathe."

"Plenty of air Puppy, deep breaths, there is plenty of air," she chanted, reassuring me. We got to my door and she opened it before barging past me and throwing open the window.

"Lie down, close your eyes and remember what you have been taught."

"I can't Cindy, I'm gonna die, I know I am, my heart's going to give out!"

"In, two...three... four, and hold...two...three...four, and out...two...three... four."

I tried to follow her lead, my body willing me on to hyperventilate but slowly I felt like I was winning the war. Cindy brought her fingers to my neck and held them there for a moment.

"There, it's coming down already and you're still alive. Strong heart beat Puppy, strong heart beat" she said quietly, reassuring.

"Can you stay with me for a while?"

"Puppy, I aint going anywhere, I'll expect we'll have visitors soon anyway."

"Its...its that woman, I cant seem to_"

"Shh, I don't think we'll be having class with her again, not if I can help it. look at the damage she has caused you. You have been balanced for weeks now and she undoes all that hard work. Once the home director finds out what she did to you they'll not expect you to see her anymore I'm sure of it."

"I hope so, I don't want to ever feel like that again," I remarked, still lightly panting. I had broken out into a light sweat and felt very light headed all of a sudden.

Cindy closed the door and came to sit with me on my bed. She lightly stroked my hair soothing my tortured mind as the comedown from my panic was now in free-fall. Feelings of anxiousness were now being replaced with pity and anger. Now all I wanted to do was beat the witch to death. But I had to keep a lid on it, I knew after an episode the anger always came and I didn't want to scare Cindy so I tried my best to stay calm.

"I might as well be dead Cindy, look at me...look at the state that nasty old bag can get me in. I mean she... she's an old hag and I'm like...like, I'm scared of that? What kind of a man am I gonna turn out to be?"

"A caring, thoughtful, sweet young man that everyone including your new parents are gonna love."

Cindy kissed the side of my head.

"You say that with such confidence, but I know the truth... I know that nobody is gonna want me because I'm a nutjob!"

"Puppy, this self-pity really is getting old on me, you know I don't buy it."

"Yeah well, I...I fucking hate everything," I said kicking my stainless steel bin across the room putting a large dent in it.

"Feel better?" she asked me, not looking impressed.

"Angry Cindy, fucking angry!"

"Yeah, it's a pattern I have got used to don't worry. But look, why are you angry?"

"Because that fuck_"

Before I could finish there was a knock at my door, causing Cindy and I to look at each other. We knew this was coming so Cindy got up and went to see who it was.

"Ah Cindy, is Puppy in there with you?"

It was the voice of Dennis Watson, the home Director. It was kind of unusual for him to come personally and I wondered how much bullshit old bag Bates had spilled on him.

"Yes sir he is, it is his room after all." Cindy replied. Typical her, any excuse for sarcasm. I rolled my eyes.

"Might I have a word with him please Miss Batton?"

Cindy opened the door wider so Mr Watson and I could gain sight on each other. I expected his face to be angry with me, after all when a teacher's word goes against a child's, well you can bet who normally comes out on top no matter who is in the right. But, strangely this was not the case with Mr Watson.

He was smiling.

"Puppy, are you ok? I understand there was a altercation in your class with Mrs Bates a moment ago, would you like to tell me about that?"

"He didn't do anything wrong Sir it was all_"

"Cindy, I'm sure Puppy is capable of answering my question himself," he said, cutting her off, his voice set in a firm yet understanding tone.

"Well sir, I forgot my book for class, and I asked to go get it, and that's when sh_"

"When she went mental at him Sir, I swear to you he didn't_"

"Cindy, please, let Puppy finish, you can have your say shortly, I promise."

"Sorry sir."

"Go on Puppy, please continue."

"Yeah so, I asked if I could go get my book and she came right up to my face and told me to get outside, like in a really evil voice. I'm really sorry I forgot my book, it is like the first time I have ever done that I think, but she_"

"And that's all you did Puppy, forget your book?"

"Yes, sir, scouts honour, that's all I did wrong."

"Cindy?" Mr Watson asked, turning to face her.

"It's all true, sir, he asked politely and she went crazy at him. I told him to stay where he was and said I was going to report it to you and she just screamed at me as well. I told her she was a bully and said that at Greenstone, bullying is not tolerated, but that's what she is sir, she's a bully and she made Puppy unwell."

"Unwell?"

"I had a panic attack, Sir," I cut in "it's really nothing, I hope it doesn't have to go into my file, I was hoping to keep that clean for a while."

"And your bin over there? Was that part of being unwell?"

I gave him a sheepish look and no doubt went a little red. "I'm sorry, Mr Watson, I was angry."

"Hmm, those bins are not cheap Puppy, you need to start looking after your room, I know you get angry but this must stop, I can't keep leaving things out of your records if you keep letting me down son."

"I know, I'm sorry, Sir, if Mrs Bates hadn't of_"

"We are all responsible for our own actions, Mr Stibbings, no matter who says what to us, it's how we manage those emotions, remember what your doctor told you?"

"Yes, sir, I apologise for my anger."

"Hmm, well, I was planning to come and see you this morning anyway, but this episode with Mrs Bates overshadowed that. Why don't you come up to my office when you have got yourself together, and, Cindy, I will talk to you on a one to one basis a little later."

Mr Watson smiled the same as when he arrived and left the room. Cindy closed the door and returned to sit on my bed again.

"Well that went better than I expected." She said, more to herself, looking at her feet.

"Hmm, I dunno, I think hes gonna let rip at us both when he has us alone or something."

"Nah, didn't you see, he was cool...he knows what that old hag is like. If you want my bet, I reckon he has gone marching down there right now and given her a right telling off for how she treated you."

"Hmm, Mr Watson has always been fair, I have to admit." I replied, before heaving a sigh.

"There you go then, although I'm as intrigued as you are as to what he wants you for."

"Perhaps I am getting new responsibilities; after all I am the oldest kid here."

"Aww, will you be fetching me my dinner every night do you think?"

"In your dreams, Batton!" I snorted, causing her to giggle.

"So how do you feel?"

"Better... talking to Watson took my mind of how I was feeling and the worst of it now seems to have passed."

"I'm glad, and see, you are still alive, isn't that great?" She teased.

"You don't understand Cindy, it's really terrifying."

"I know, Puppy, and you're right, I don't understand, but I do try to. I know, and feel that it must be a really frightening thing to experience."

"It is...well I better go see what Mr Watson wants. What are you going to do?"

"Well I don't suppose we are going to escape punishment for skipping Bates's class when Charlotte catches up with us, so I'm going to go back to my room and write all what happened down in case I forget something. I promise, Puppy, I am going to lay it on thick and make sure we never have to see that old bag again in the same room."

"Well you have my support on that, Cindy, and thanks back there, I never said it, but thanks for standing up to her...for me I mean, you're a brave girl."

"Hey, I look out for my friends, especially my best one," she said, giving me a wink, and with that she got up and left my room.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

After rinsing my face and straightening up my clothes I hurried down the corridor to the main staircase before galloping up them two at a time. At the top, you can either go up once more or go through some thick oak doors which take you into the staff quarters. Mr Watson's office and living quarters were right at the very eastern end of the corridor and I briskly made my way towards them, trying to spike my hair up as I walked.

I approached the door which read, Mr Dennis Watson: Home Director, and gave it a gentle tap.

"Come!" Shouted the voice I had just spoken with. I slowly opened the door.

"Hello, Sir, you wished to see me?"

"Ah yes Puppy, come in, sit down."

"Thank you sir." I did as I was asked, closing the door behind me and pulling up a chair.

"So how are you feeling now?"

"A lot better thank you."

Mr Watson nodded, looking at me with a creased forehead, concerned.

"I'm pleased to hear it. Listen Puppy, before I talk about why you are here I wanted to let you know I have spoken with Mrs Bates about her...well the way she handled the situation regarding your forgotten book. After hearing your comments about what happened today and those of Cindy I have decided to launch an investigation into her conduct as a teacher at this children's home. I cannot divulge any more information than that Puppy as you will understand, but mature enough as I know you are I can say to you that you are not the first person to complain to me about Mrs Bates's unorthodox teaching practises." Watson stared up at the ceiling, pausing, looking regretful. "And what I have heard today has caused me great concern, so I shall be dealing with it."

"Well thank you Mr Watson, It's the whole truth, I swear."

Mr Watson looked at me warmly and grinned. "You know Puppy, I have watched you grow up in this place and although I can label you many things, a liar is not one of them, so don't worry, just leave it with me."

"Thank you sir."

"Now, why are you here you must be thinking?"

"It had crossed my mind." I replied, squeezing the arms of my chair in anticipation.

"Well putting aside all that bad stuff earlier I have some news for you. Some news which I think you are going to like very, very much!"

I cocked my head, and leaned forward.

"Am I getting a new TV?"

"Better!" Watson replied, looking excited for me.

Copyright © 2021 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Unfortunately, there are always people like that in any profession, but it is more despicable when it is a person who works with children who don’t/can’t know how to defend themselves.  I seriously wonder if she had left another school system (with an under the table agreement ☹️) that would allow her to obtain a position elsewhere.  That’s what this sounds like to me.  Kudos to Cindy for standing up to her for Puppy and the other kids who had been victimized.

Puppy’s panic attack was no small thing.  I have had them and it truly feels like you are about to die from a heart attack or asthma attack as you cannot catch a full breath.  It can take a while to calm down, and then you are so totally exhausted from it, you can hardly move. 
 

In a side note, was this story published previously?  I seem to remember reading it quite some time ago, but never finishing it.

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15 minutes ago, Clancy59 said:

Unfortunately, there are always people like that in any profession, but it is more despicable when it is a person who works with children who don’t/can’t know how to defend themselves.  I seriously wonder if she had left another school system (with an under the table agreement ☹️) that would allow her to obtain a position elsewhere.  That’s what this sounds like to me.  Kudos to Cindy for standing up to her for Puppy and the other kids who had been victimized.

Puppy’s panic attack was no small thing.  I have had them and it truly feels like you are about to die from a heart attack or asthma attack as you cannot catch a full breath.  It can take a while to calm down, and then you are so totally exhausted from it, you can hardly move. 
 

In a side note, was this story published previously?  I seem to remember reading it quite some time ago, but never finishing it.

Hi Clancy,

I'm sorry to hear you suffer from Panic attacks, they are indeed very frightening. The passages I write about Puppy's health are taken from my own experiences, so I can completely sympathise with your episodes with anxiety.

Regarding your question about the story being here before? Yes it was. I wrote Puppy for Sale in 2015. I am really pleased to be able to bring it back to GA. It has been polished up as a novel, so I hope you enjoy this final edit of the book. 

Warm regards

James  

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I hope they fire the bitch from Hell!  She does not need to be around children - especially ones with anxiety issues!

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I taught in a classroom for 19 years before becoming a school counselor for the next 36 years.  I have walked many kids through panic attacks (including my own son when he was younger).  They are real!  I am drawn to Puppy!  He possesses an innocence about him that is accompanied with warmth and humor.  If it were up to me, I would adopt both him and Cindy!

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I am a retired Community College instructor, and I was fortunate during my teaching career in two areas; I taught a course (Land Surveying) that was popular so my classes were always well attended, and many of my students were from Korea. I asked a student one time, why were my classes so popular with Korean students and his response was gratifying, "Because, Mr. Hawkins, you speak slowly and plainly and we can understand everything you are saying." That was especially gratifying to me as I attempted to be sure that everything I said in the classroom was spoken as plainly as it was possible for me to speak. We never had difficulties like are spoken of in this chapter in the classroom, I think it was because my students paid attention and I taught a subject they could make use of after graduation,

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On 7/24/2021 at 11:02 AM, Clancy59 said:

Puppy’s panic attack was no small thing.  I have had them and it truly feels like you are about to die from a heart attack or asthma attack as you cannot catch a full breath.  It can take a while to calm down, and then you are so totally exhausted from it, you can hardly move.

I have them as well, and you describe them pretty well.  The worst one I had really did feel like having a heart attack while being smothered w. a pillow.

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Abuse of kids is so so wrong 😡!!! Puppy seems like a wonderful young man. Why would anyone want to abuse him like that. Yea, I know, there is one in every group.....

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