The cheese slipped off his cracker

Singularly his behaviours were oddities, quirks or idiosyncrasies. A comprehensive examination of his deportment would only occur with the benefit of hindsight, the post-analytics of talk-show psychologists, a police investigation and the deaths of twenty-one students: all gunned down in a biology classroom in Happyville, USA.

Vincent Sblobinsky was, by all accounts, a quiet man. No one would ever have suspected him capable of committing such a horrendous act. His neighbours were accustomed to seeing him playing with his children in the front yard. The lawn was always neatly trimmed, pretty flowers adorned several flower beds surrounding the house and the home's waste bins only appeared, in an orderly fashion by the curb, on garbage day. By all outward appearances it epitomized the perfect American family home. No one gave a second thought to the absence of his wife and children from the Sblobinsky home. Everyone believed Mrs. Sblobinsky had taken the children to Wisconsin with her to attend school there while she cared for a terminally ill parent. It was a plausible story; a carefully crafted one that Vincent had created to spare him the embarrassment of a wife's infidelity and her abandonment. Vincent would never share the contents of a note authored by his wife and left on his pillow. "You'll never see your children again" was all it said. This would later be referred to by the eggheads as a primary trigger.

No one, except the paperboy, noticed that Vincent cancelled daily delivery of the local newspaper. "I don't want to read any more bad news" it would later be revealed were the only words he offered the paperboy. There was ample food in the home however it was left untouched, a fact that would only be deduced by police when they opened the refrigerator door and discovered a gallon of curdled milk two months expired and furry sliced luncheon meat. The police report would also note that several empty liquor bottles occupied one corner of the Sblobinsky kitchen as there was no more room in the pantry for them, and that there was a mirror on the kitchen table with traces of white powder and a razor blade on it.

It would not be until later, much later, in an attempt to understand the tragedy, that a slip from reality would even be considered. No one had noticed the change in his pupillary dilation. No one had noticed the slight tick which could easily have been mistaken for a muscle spasm. No one had noticed that he rubbed his left thumb and forefinger together with increasingly more vigor and frequency. And only Vincent, slipping further into a psychosis, noticed the dark sedan parked down the street, heard the clicking noises on his telephone and noticed the eyes on a neighbour's lawn gnome following him as he walked by. Vincent had lost touch with reality; the cheese had slipped off his cracker.

Vincent pulled his Prius into the visitors parking at the front of the school at 8:55 that Monday morning and entered the school through the front door. "I'm only going to be here a few minutes," he said to the security guard who nodded. Vincent made his way through the halls, briefcase in hand, and entered Room 232, Biology. Most students were already in the classroom when Vincent Sblobinsky, Mister Sblobinsky as he was known to his students, took a seat at the front of the class. Vincent's last seemingly innocuous act would be scribbling the cryptic message "I don't like Mondays" on a piece of paper on his desk. When the morning bell rang, he opened up his briefcase, removed a TEC-9, slapped in a 32-round clip and began dispatching HIS twenty-one children. No one would take them from him... no one!

In the days that followed the tragedy, no one bothered to question why the school teacher had a concealed weapon in the classroom. It was commonplace after all and a matter of policy; a practice which was sanctioned by legislators and implemented after President Shitferbrains decreed that armed teachers in classrooms adept at using firearms was a good idea. Vincent was quite adept, and the deaths of twenty-one were a testament to his skill. Twenty-two deaths, actually, if you included his own, however his final shot required very little skill: a simple matter of placing the muzzle on his temple and squeezing the trigger.

* * * * *

Three days following the Happyville massacre, President Shitferbrains addressed the nation. "We have to do more to protect our children," he asserted. "We have to protect them from these cowards. I have spoken with many experts on this, they're good friends of mine, I know them well, and we have to take affirmative steps to protect our children. Steps that may not be popular with everyone." President Shitferbrains paused, looked to his left, then continued. "That's why I'm recommending we draft provisional legislation to allow children to carry concealed weapons in schools. Children who are adept and skilled in the use of firearms. Perhaps children who have ambitions of becoming marines or police officers."

Submitted by Barry Umenema, 01 March 2018