Mr. Dump sat in his creaky chair behind his unsteady desk, waiting for his class to arrive. The chair screamed with his every movement. He wondered why he even bothered sitting anymore. His chair’s constant groaning combined with his unruly students almost made Mr. Dump regret his career choice. He had tried a multitude of other jobs and quit them all. The general store, the farming co-op, Trading Union receptionist – none of them worked out. The only thing keeping him from banging his head on the desk was the fact that the students had finally finished pouring into the classroom.
“Good morning class,” he manufactured his best smile.
“Good morning, Mr. Dump!” half the classroom yelled. Why did he still do that?
Mr. Dump rubbed his temples and exhaled. “Does anyone remember the topic of today’s lecture?”
One tiny girl with a short haircut raised her hand, he nodded to her. “Inventions?”
“Yes, good job. Inventions in Ikalga.” He found the subject matter fascinating, half of his daydreaming went towards the maps back at his hut, or the parchment detailing the approximate dates of history.
“We got up to…” he checked his notes, “Masonry and Bronze Working it looks like. Does anyone want to give a refresher on that to anyone who might have been absent?” Mr. Dump’s eyes jumped straight to little Johnny in the corner. It was a miracle he was in class today.
The girl with the short haircut raised her hand again. “Yes. Amelda, go ahead.”
Amelda stood and looked to the often absent boy in the corner. “Well, we covered the fact that the former King Rayon and the original migrants brought over many te-tec-”
“Technologies,” Mr. Dump finished for her.
“They brought over many technologies,” she continued. “The calendar and writing were all were brought from Ge’elia. Thankfully, the wheel was already invented too or everyone would have had to carry all their belongings from Ge’elia to here!”
Mr. Dump fought hard not to roll his eyes. This little… brat had a good memory and it irked him to no end. Why? He didn’t know.
Amelda still continued, “Once we settled, it was a quiet time and there were little new inventions. Until archery and… mining were introduced. Mining led to masonry and bronze working. Those were all important for weapons!”
Mr. Dump spoke quickly, hoping to prevent her from prattling on. “Yes, good job, Amelda. Gold star.” Mr. Dump felt his heart rate increase. He was about to lecture, and he loved to hear himself talk.
“About a hundred years after bronze working took off, Rayon sent three groups of settlers off to develop new settlements.” He almost asked if the children knew where the settlers went but then remembered that would involve them talking. “They are now what we know as North, Central, and South Settlements. This is when we received confirmation that there were natives that lived on these lands before we came to reside here.” Mr. Dump smiled as he again resisted asking a question. “Hybrid people are a result of those natives. They were hunted shortly after and people continue to hunt hybrids and natives to this day.” Hybrids were one topic that the school didn’t love him to talk about. Although Mr. Dump didn’t care, he was a rebel. “Anyway, fast forwarding about 20-something years later, in 145, we learned the wonders of agriculture and the less-exciting trapping. Agriculture, does anyone-” Mr. Dump coughed. “I mean, agriculture allows us to eat more than berries. So, if you enjoy eating a variety of foods every day, thank whoever invented farming.” Mr. Dump cursed under his breath. What moron didn’t record the inventor’s name? He cleared his mind and manufactured another smile.
“Soon, we should be able to expand farming. For example, the Central Settlement climate is a temperate one, which means it gets both hot and cold months. Quite similar to here as a matter of fact. Ikalga and Central Settlement should see a lot of the same crops. South Settlement is a different story, though. Has anyone ever been there?” One child raised their hand. Mr. Dump continued, “South is what we call tropical. It can get pretty rainy and hot down there. So rather than the cucumbers, spinach, wheat, and corn that’s good for this climate, the south has an easier time procuring those delicious fruits like oranges and lemons.” The teacher paused. He took a deep breath to clear the salivating thought of those sweet fruits from his mind. “Those kinds of things. Try one if you ever get the chance.”
Mr. Dump held up two fingers. “Two more things class. Construction is simple. The huts you live in? That is a type of construction. We are rapidly improving our structures and should shortly see buildings taller than we ever imagined. The second thing is Covelt.” Most of the kids’ eyes lit up and the ones whose heads were down suddenly perked up. Mr. Dump rolled his eyes. This was the most boring part. Geography and weather were the real interesting topics. “Covelt is a fabric discovered in the south. To be honest, no one up north has any idea how it’s made. All we know is that it’s rare. The police have some, though. As for what it is, it is an extremely durable fabric. When the wearer changes, the fabric changes too, even with the biggest of animals. It is useful, I suppose.” Something so unknown annoyed the older man, it prevented him from predicting the trajectory of such a resource. “It’s also flameproof,” he added as an afterthought.
“What about North Settlement, Mr. D?” Amelda asked.
“Amelda, if you speak one more time out of turn, I’m throwing you out of the classroom. But yes, if you must know, North Settlement is a large question mark. I believe it had a temperate climate but the flames have it on pace for an arid climate, if the pundits are to be believed.” He glared at Amelda as if to say, “Good enough for you?”
“Enfoe! Enfoe!” A lady ran into the classroom.
Mr. Dump turned to face the interruption. “Yes?”
“You need to ring the TIC bell! One of my students passed out,” she said.
Mr. Dump took two slow steps to his TIC horn to sound for medical help. “And where is yours, Miss…?” He had forgotten her name. She was new, or was she? “You know what, I don’t care. Here.” Mr. Dump handed the horn to her and shooed her out.
Comfortably at home, Enfoe took off his trousers, keeping his tan tunic on. He dropped down into the creases of his couch and racked his brain to figure out what day it was. Enfoe asked himself if he had work tomorrow, he eventually settled on it only being the fourth day of the week, so yes, he did. For the 45th time today, he cursed under his breath. “For Rayon’s sake, what does a guy have to do to catch a break?” The teacher sighed and massaged his weary calves. He pulled them onto the couch and closed his eyes.
Enfoe’s eyes opened some time later. He jerked up. What time was it? He hated napping. His sense of time would be inaccurate until sunset hit for recalibration. He jerked once again, this time into a standing position. He had remembered that he had a date that night. Karana. Enfoe ran to his bedroom and jumped onto his bed. He pushed the sheets aside, looking for his nice date pants. They were nowhere to be found. The fact that his bed was rhino-sized didn’t help.
A few minutes later he was running out of the house with his work pants put back on. Where were they supposed to meet again? Enfoe continued running down the street, kicking up dust in his wake. The man didn’t slow until he reached the closest market to his house. He checked the sun’s progress in the sky. He should have a few hours. Enfoe walked the market until he finally spied the deep blue of Karana’s dress. Enfoe always lost the breath in his chest when he saw her for the night. She was gorgeous. She had dark brown hair, a rare trait here in Ikalga. She stood out among the black haired commoners. Her face had sharp features, her eyes sparkled despite having a mahogany hue. The shades of brown blended well to made Enfoe’s heart stop each time.
As he approached her, he couldn’t help but grin – the first non-manufactured one in recent memory. He did his best to avoid looking at her gorgeous legs that seemed to be longer than humanly possible.
Karana turned and smiled wide as he approached, her cleavage providing a view that rivaled one of her legs, “Enfoe, you made it…”