The chalk looked untouched. The board was pristine. Alex stepped up. He wanted to draw. He picked up a piece. His fingers gripped the chalk. The dust filled his pores. It made him uncomfortable. He ignored the feeling. He had a drawing to make.

Straight line. Curved line. Small, short, straight lines. Shaded space. A letter, two more. A word.

The piece appeared. Its message was clear-OBEY. He'd seen it online. He liked its look. A face looked out. He was too young to recognize some. Others were obvious. The President Obama ones were his favorite. They fit the style. OBEY. They had to obey. He was the president.

Alex wanted something different. He wanted something that said LAKEWOOD ELEMENTARY. He'd drawn Ratburn. His face was stern. It was his "pop quiz now" expression mixed with his "oral report now" expression. Alex liked it. He sighed it, AX, and left the room.

Ratburn entered his classroom. He saw the drawing. He studied it. He didn't know the style, the meme. He liked it anyway. It captured him perfectly. He wondered which of his students had drawn it. He saw the signature, AX. It meant nothing to him. He wanted to know who did it.

Ratburn met with Haney. It was after school. Haney wasn't busy. He was alarmed at Ratburn's request. He hadn't asked for security footage before. That was a serious request. Usually there was theft of bullying involved. Ratburn said it was about art. Haney was surprised. But he followed Ratburn's order. He obeyed.

Ratburn watched the footage. He found out Alex's secret. He nodded to himself. He'd give the young artist satisfaction. He left the drawing up. He let his class react. He let them speculate-who did that? What does it mean? He did research. He found out about the meme. He showed his class. He showed his colleagues. He taught them a lesson. They learned. They were made better.

Alex's identity was maintained. No one knew it was him. He didn't know that Ratburn knew, that Principal Haney knew. He left his drawings around school. He only did them after hours. He only used chalk. He spread his art-Mr. Ratburn here, Principal Haney there. He developed his style. He was an official artist. He loved the secret attention. He loved his clout.


a-n-theme 80: chalk. from darkangelsnapelover's infinite theme challenge. talk to her for details.

for my collab series, "slice of life." join me on —arthur collabs community, or on dA—arthur-collabs group.