When I was in the seventh grade, I had a young nun as a science teacher. She was fresh faced and enthusiastic. We all loved her, she was just so sweet. Her name was either Sister Mary Margaret, or Sister Ann Marie. My memory is faulty on this. Pick the one you like better.
So Sister Mary something was always finding interesting ways to teach us about science stuff. This is one topic I never cared for, but that year I really started to get into it. We made ice cream, took nature walks, made funnels out of pop bottles. It soon became my favorite time of the day, when Sister Mary whatchamacallit came into our classroom.
One day, she came striding in, carrying a large brown box. She set it down on a long wooden table that had been layered with newspaper. Her eyes glistened with anticipation. She moistened her lips, and said, “Who wants to see what I have in this box?”
We all jumped up from our seats. There was only 15 of us in the entire 7th grade, so each one of us had a birds eye view. She took a box cutter, opened it up. Whatever was inside was wrapped in clear plastic. She reached in and pulled it out. She removed the plastic, and what she revealed still causes my gag reflex to act up.
It was a dead cat.
“Oh children,” exclaimed Sister Mary whatshername, ” we will be dissecting him over the next few days.” I think someone ran out of the room and vomited. One child yelled out “Whiskers!” before fainting.
This was the closest thing to grotesque that I had ever seen in my entire life up until that point.
She picked up a scalpel and started..well, you get the idea.
Out came different organs, one by one. She was so engrossed with her task that she hadn’t noticed that most of us were trying not to cry. I was. Many of the girls were, as a matter of fact. Even a couple boys looked misty eyed. I suppose she didn’t realize that most of us had cats at home as pets. She wasn’t teaching us. Hell no. She was traumatizing us.
After she was done, she stuffed everything back inside the poor cat. She stuck him back in the box. The next period was lunch. But I couldn’t eat my tuna sandwich. That dead Tom cat would never know the joy of tuna ever again.
Enough kids must have had nightmares, because the next day the box was gone. Sister Mary Ellen(?) didn’t smile that morning. She looked deflated. She was never quite the same after the dead cat incident.
Until she brought in a box of dead frogs.