Schooling

The shoes piled up in the corner of the large hardwood-floored room. This place had once been a gymnasium, and one basketball hoop remained at the far end of the cavernous space. A line of children snaked its way down the hall, with each child stopping just inside the door to be weighed and measured, then proceeding across the floor to take off their shoes, toss them in the corner, disrobe down to their skivvies, place their outer garments in large laundry bags, then out the back door to a parking lot where a bus idled. Four to a seat meant cramped quarters, but if they didn’t squeeze in, the guard pushed them in until they cleared the center aisle. When all the seats were full, the guard gave the driver an order. The doors swung closed, the diesel engine roared, and the long yellow bus lumbered on its way to be replaced with another and another, a long line that stretched down the street, waiting in turn to open its maw and consume the children from the school, an endless line of students, adding their shoes to a mountainous growing pyramid.

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