“I wish I’d never agreed to return to Earth with you.” Garn the Magnificent grumbled.
“Well, you were struck by a fit of volunteerism,” his Earth friend Sandy reminded him.
“Someone must have put something in my gros-nak stew. Why are we volunteering to be teachers again?”
Sandy glared at him pointedly. “Because someone got us thrown out of the food bank when we tried to volunteer there.”
“I still don’t know why that supervisor got upset over a few little substitutions.” Anyone with a brain knew that candy and cookies were superior to fruits and vegetables. “She had no sense of fun.”
“She didn’t want the clients to develop full-blown diabetes.” Sandy reminded him as she handed him a wee guitar and a funny mouth organ that she called a harmonica.
“Anyway, this will be a lot more fun!” Sandy stood back and looked him over. “Could you possibly try to look a little less… green?”
“Right.” Garn sighed and willed his coloring to something more earth-standard – and boring. “I forget that most of your world doesn’t know about extra-terrestrials.”
“Yes, and I promised Smith we wouldn’t cause any trouble,” she said, referring to the Director of the Washington DC branch of the Bureau of Inter-Planetary Travel.
“Yet another human with no sense of humor,” he sighed. “Well – let’s get this rather ill-advised show on the road.” According to his chrono-meter, they were scheduled to impart knowledge to two five-year-old twin children in less than two Earth minutes.
Sandy pressed a button on her phone to join something called a ‘Zoom room’ and after a few moments, a very disheveled woman came into view.
“Oh finally!” She exclaimed over a rather disturbing racket in the background. “I’m so glad the school found volunteers stupid-, er, kind enough to teach Joey and Amelia!”
“Of course, Madam,” Garn began hesitantly. “Er, what is that interesting noise we hear?”
“Those are your students,” the woman informed them as two small human children came tearing into view. At least he assumed they were as he had never known that humans could shriek quite that loudly.
The small human with long blonde hair skidded to a stop in front of the camera. “Hey, who’s that?”
“You’re such a stupid head Joey,” the other one with bright red braids in its hair said in a superior tone. “They’re from the school.”
“I hate school!” The blond said with a pout. “It’s stupid.”
“Well, OK!” The woman began to back out of view. “I’ll let you get started!” She turned to the small humans. “Be good. Mommy’s going to go and have a big glass of her juice now.”
There was a long silence as the small humans stared suspiciously out of the screen at them.
“OK! Let’s start with a song!” Sandy nudged Garn. “Play something,” she muttered out of the corner of her mouth.
“Why?” Garn muttered back. “It’s not as if I’m familiar with Earth instruments.”
“Do you want to sing?”
Garn did not, so he began to strum randomly along the strings of the small Earth guitar. It was not completely unlike a Cambian Zither, so after a few chords he established a rhythm and Sandy began to belt out some song about ‘ABC’s’
“We already know that song!” The one with the red braids told them, interrupting Sandy.
“Great! Then you can sing along,” Sandy chirped back. Garn resumed playing, and with the small human’s half-hearted accompaniment they finished the song.
“OK – that was fun!” Sandy said just a trifle less cheerfully. “So, your school says you were learning numbers.” Sandy held up a piece of brightly colored paper. “What is 3 plus 2?”
“This is borrr-ing!” The small blond one said, plopping down on the floor with a scowl.
Sandy sent a pleading look to Garn, as if to say, ‘do something.’ So, he did.
“Cool!” The blond one surged to its- his- feet and pressed his nose to the screen. “How did you make your face do that?”
Sandy gasped as she stared at Garn’s now purple and pink polka-dotted face. “It’s a filter – just a camera filter!” She added, her voice sounding just a trifle desperate.
“And if you answer the lady’s question, I’ll show you more,” Garn added.
And that’s how Garn and Sandy became the most popular home-school teachers at Our Lady of Sorrows elementary school.