LaShawnda Jackson twitched her big head, swishing those dreads, snapped her fingers, and sent shivers of anguish through the ranks of Public School 14 (PS 14) 1:00 pm Remedial Composition Class. Her teaching methods were unorthodox, and her students learned a lot more about how her three children’s daddies were crack dealers and whore chasers than they did about sophomore English. But be that as it may, they behaved in the classroom. The fat, angry teacher had been stabbed, tazed, clubbed and even shot once (the bullet grazed around her ribcage, missing vital organs due to the use of sub-standard ammunition made in Korea). Her command presence, earned with scars, scalding and scissors thrust through her bicep, was absolute. Her commitment to the teacher’s union that allowed her to cling to tenure was iron clad.
LaShawnda wasn’t certain what her father did for a living. Her mother told her that he drove a truck between Detroit and Kansas City, but he’d skee-dattled before she burst from the grand dam’s womb. She was relatively certain that she wasn’t kin to Reverend Jessie, or the Michael/LaToya/Janet clan. Or if she was they’d held out on her when it came to sharing royalties.
“I ain’t no famous Jackson, I’m here to tell y’all what to write and how to write it.” An accusing finger tipped like an arrow with a nail two inches long nearly skewered a skinny Puerto Rican named Milo Sanchez in the front row. “Did you do yo home-work, Milo?”
LaShawnda, red of tooth and claw with an oversized bosom, ass, and ego, had not dated recently and privately wondered why. So it was that when she passed in the night due to a heart attack, there was no significant other except for her mother, who watched her three children every day anyway, to claim the body and arrange the service.
While selecting popular arrangements to be played by the funeral home D. J., Cleo Jackson, LaShawnda’s mother had been approached by an odd man who wanted to buy her daughter’s body. He explained that one out of every twenty-five million or so of the recently deceased was selected by Southwest Positronics, a high tech firm located (underground) near Itasca, Texas, to be frozen until technology arrived that would allow their illness to be reversed and then they could be cured and thawed. Or thawed and then cured, however best to manage the resurrection.
Cleo looked upon this arrangement with a great deal of skepticism until the skeletal fixer peeled off five hundred dollars from a pimp roll in his pocket.
Southwest Positronics did not want to store LaShawnda Jackson’s frozen corpse for decades or even millennia, but they were under court mandate to offer equal opportunity to minority teachers. Thus LaShawnda’s large body made its way to Itasca, Texas where it underwent proprietary preparation procedures, was frozen to 0 Kelvin and locked in its own vault. She joined a number of notables including Bruce Jenner, Elvis Presley, Hulk Hogan and former Congressman and song bird, Sonny Bono.
Truth be told, a lot of time.
Jesus took the good people to heaven with him in the rapture (which did nothing to eliminate the rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, New York, London, Athens or Shanghai), then there were two nuclear wars, the inevitable zombie apocalypse, an ice age (finally defeated by global warming), another ice age, and a return of something akin to the age of dinosaurs. This time the dinosaurs were no larger than sparrows. Through all of this, LaShawnda Jackson’s body remained in its cocoon deep under Itasca Texas, in the Southwest Positronics facility, powered by a nuclear cell that kept the bodies intact.
She awoke slowly as if coming off a really bad hangover, laying on a huge leaf inside a translucent green pod of sorts. She closed her eyes tightly “Did I drop acid?” LaShawnda gave voice to her concerns. A straw was gently inserted between her lips and she drew in a sweet nectar. Slowly she opened her eyes again.
A large brown insect, even larger than she was, attended her. It wore bits and pieces of metallic equipment attached to its carapace. “You are awake! We did not know if we could save you. How do you feel?”
“I feel that I need to go back to sleep and stop smoking they Sherms wit that motherfucking angel dust.”
“Be of good cheer. We have revived you.” The insect elevated the leaf such that she slid to the floor gently, feet first, and stood up.
A wall of the pod opened up and the sun warmed her face for the first time in thirty-thousand years.
The green medical pod was one of hundreds of pods of various sizes, arrayed on gently rolling hills. An excavation had taken place and the storage facility had been exhumed. The instructions to wake the dead were portrayed in a cartoon format as was the tutorial that instructed whomever in the English language.
LaShawnda walked slowly out of the pod on her large, thick feet, and she looked around. There were no buildings, none of the vestiges of man’s conquest of the planet. (She didn’t know that she was in Itasca, Texas, home of the once popular Karen’s world-class brisket burritos and little more. There were never many vestiges of human mastery of the planet in Itasca.)
“I am sorry that we were only able to revive two of you, but lucky for us you represent Earth’s best. We desire to learn of your culture, of the history of your planet, of your civilization. We desire that you and the other, a male, mate to replenish your civilization.”
“You wan me ta fuck somebody?”
The large insect, now joined by other large insects translated her question and touched antennae.
“Yes. You were Earth’s greatest teacher. Your new mate was a statesman of great renown, a man of singular talent. Unfortunately he did not recover from his long sleep quite as well as you did. All he can say to us is, ‘I got you, babe’.”