From: (nikolai kingsley)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: construction of english
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 20:04:50 +1100
Organization: anarchartists/FDP
Lines: 87
Message-ID: <>
X-Newsreader: Anawave Gravity v2.00.753

for Marg McKenzie

"Now, you're all here because you have expressed an interest in getting 
to know the English language." Obviously, I was still experimenting with 
introductory speeches, but it was better than just waltzing in and 
writing my name on the whiteboard. Besides, this lot looked like they 
needed calming down. You have to have been in the teaching game for quite 
a while before you stop getting rattled by the new year's intake, but...

There were an even dozen of them, as far as I could tell; the one over in 
the far corner kept phasing in and out of reality, leaving segments of 
thick, knobbed tentacles and eyes on stalks fading into the air like 
sections of inner-tube. The parts I could see were a fairly uniform puke 
green colour, though, so I could be reasonably certain as to which 
dissociated bits floating about belonged to it. I'd seen their kind 
before, but the invention they showed in their manifestations never 
ceased to intrigue me.

I glanced about the room from one scaled, fanged monstrosity to the next, 
looking for the inevitable one troublemaker in the bunch. It was a toss-
up between mister puke-green tentacles over there in the corner and one 
that had shown up in the form of a bloating corpse nailed to a tree by 
its feet, head down. The tree had appeared half-way through the wall; if 
there was any damage, I'd make it stay behind after class and repair it. 
I decided to wait until either of them showed a more overt hostility 
before taking any action.

"Okay, let's make a start. In essence, English is made up of eight 
different kinds of words." I wrote on the whiteboard as I detailed them. 
"They are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, 
prepositions and ...interjections." As I wrote the last one up, a gob of 
yellow mucus the size of a telephone book flew over my shoulder and hit 
the whiteboard right where I was about to put the marker. It made the 
kind of sound you'd expect four kilos of Elder God snot to make as it hit 
a whiteboard, reminiscent, I imagined of Spike Milligan's "a sock full of 
custard, and no effect".

I didn't bother turning around to see who'd thrown it. Mister puke-green 
tentacles could have opened a hole in space across the room and tossed it 
from there, making it look like it had thrown by someone else. In fact, 
any of them could have done it. I paused, watched the slime make its way 
down to the ledge at the bottom of the white-board where the markers and 
the duster lay. I turned around, not making eye contact with any of them, 
opened my briefcase and took out the Scimitar of Barzai, which I stuck 
into the table about an inch over from the hole where I'd done this last 
year. When I let go of the handle, it hummed like a ruler that had been 
twanged against the edge of a table, clearly audible above the faint 
gurgles, squeaks and groans that the students tended to make as a matter 
of course.

"I know it would be extremely bad form, but I won't hesitate to banish 
anyone who isn't prepared to behave with a bit of decorum," I said 
quietly. "We're all grown-ups; if you don't want to be here, then I'm not 
stopping you."

This time, I saw it coming. Through one of those tricks of hyper-
dimensional perspective, it appeared as if it was at least a hundred 
metres away, yet still within the confines of the classroom. A wavering 
black rent in space had opened up and another glob of phlegm was heading 
for me, this one aimed right at my head. Without taking my eyes off it I 
reached down, pulled the dagger out of the table and held it up at arm's 
length. The missile seemed to evaporate just as it reached a point about 
a hand's span from the end of the dagger, and there was a faint, dull 
thudding sound, like church bells underwater.

Just then, one of the others - a fairly mundane-looking specimen in the 
form of a twisted column of raw, bleeding flesh with dinner-plate-sized 
cat's eyes studded around at random in its side - gave a deafening 
screech, burst into flame and then simultaneously expanded and faded 
away. I checked the roll and noted that according to one of the other 
lecturers, it did that regularly and it would be back in a few minutes. I 
had to wonder, however, if it had chosen that moment to do it as some 
form of distraction. Whatever.

I tossed the Scimitar of Barzai in the air; it spun a couple of times and 
embedded itself neatly in the table, point-first. "Interjections," I 
continued, wiping away the trail of green slime with the duster and 
writing the word up on the board.

The sluggard carrot sleeps his day in bed,
the crippled pea that cannot stand
 - John Bidlake