Chapter 5: Symbiotics

The teacher gave a sharp rap with her rod for attention. “Children, settle down now, please!”

The rambunctious class of seven- and eight-year-olds quieted as everyone found their desks and faced forward. Thirty shining eyes waiting to be taught, thirsting for knowledge, all rested on their teacher.

“Good morning, class.”

“Good morning, Miss Abydos,” the class said in unison.

“So, yesterday we left off with our science lessons. Show of hands, who did their reading assignment last night?” She noted a few honest hands stayed down, but most went up.

“Okay, let’s have a little review.” There were several groans of dread as Miss Abydos scanned the room for the first student to call on. “Leena, how many planets are there?”

“Nine,” she said with confidence.

“Good. Anna, what are the five elements?”

The girl in the second row thought very hard for a moment before answering, “Air, Fire, Earth, Water, and- um, Wood? No, Stone.”

There were a few stifled laughs and Miss Abydos shook her head, “I’m sorry, that’s not correct. Sade?”

“Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Metal,” she said, flashing a haughty look toward Anna.

“That is correct, but do keep your pride in check, Sade,” Miss Abydos said. “There is no victory in arrogance.”

“Yes, Miss Abydos,” said the chastised Sade.

A hand went up from the other side of the class.

“Question, Theresa?”

“Why is it Metal but not Stone? What’s the difference?”

“That’s an excellent question, Theresa.” Miss Abydos said. “Stone is part of Earth; it can be chiseled or marked or ground up into powder but can not be melted, molded or drawn into wire in the way metal can.”

There were some murmurs around the class but no one asked another question so Miss Abydos held up a glass vase. “Who can tell me which elements make glass?”

“Fire and Earth!”

“Very good, Cyn, but raise your hand first, please.” She put the vase back down and smiled. “Good, you’re all doing very well. Now, please open your Biology texts to Chapter 5.”

The girls let out a ripple of giggles as they opened and read the chapter heading: The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Human-Female and the Animal-Male.

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