map Storage Locker 212

by Lynn Grant

Published in Issue No. 185 ~ October, 2012

Photo by Elijah Porter


-Martine, will you send an e-mail to Sammy’s teacher for me.

-No, I will not.

-You have to, my hand still hurts.

-You have yourself to blame.

-Come on. My little jelly belly.


Dear Ms. Delacroix:

I was pretty upset to get the note you sent home taped to Sammy French’s backpack. It is hard to believe that Sammy is “coughing in children’s hair,” but I will take your word for it. I asked him what it was all about and he said, “I don’t cough. I play in the sand with a spoon.” So, as I cannot figure out what “coughing in children’s hair” means and Sammy himself doesn’t know, I guess I have to assume that it was a mistake on your part.

I will be happy to forget the whole thing.


Monty Sabatine (nee French)

-What does nee mean?

-Means you used to be French.

-I was never French.

-The name French.

-I know. I was just playing with you.

-Yeah, right.

-Martine, read this note and tell me if you think Mrs. Delacroix is nuts or what.

-Jesus, Mom.

-No really, she sent another note, this time pinned to his shirt. Here, look.

Dear Ms. Sabatine:

Three girls in Sammy’s class have complained on eight different occasions that Sammy comes up to them—twice in the cafeteria, five times on the playground, and once in classroom—moves up close to their heads, and proceeds to cough. This unfortunate behavior results in startling the girls in question and disrupting their peace of mind. I would appreciate it if you would tell Sammy that this behavior will not be tolerated and the next time it is reported he will be sent to the principal.

Your attention to this is requisite.


Anne Delacroix

-Requisite means important, like you got to pay attention to this.

-I knew that.

-I bet you didn’t.

-I heard that, Martine. Type an e-mail for me.

-God, Mom. Let it go. Just tell Sammy he can’t be weird anymore.

Dear Ms. Delacroix:

When I asked Sammy to explain how three girls say the same thing about the coughing in the hair, he told me that he likes the smell of shampoo and when he sniffs, sometimes the hair tickles his nose. He is not coughing, he is sneezing. His sneezes merely sound like coughs. I have told him not to do this anymore.

I hope this clears things up.

Monty Sabatine (formerly French)

-Martine! Come in here.


-I need another e-mail.

Dear Ms. Delacroix:

I think these girls simply want attention. Now that they think you are on their side, they are making a big deal of my son, Sammy’s, fondness for the smell of shampoo. He is six and sometimes six-year-olds have these kinds of particularities. I am sure you would know this if you had children yourself (it’s too bad as I heard you have been trying for awhile).

Please get off his back.

P.S. the Principal told my daughter, Martine, that he felt it was an overreaction.


Monty Sabatine-French

-God damn-it. Martine! Send another e-mail to this bitch.

-Mom, you can’t do this again. I like my school. I want to stay.

-Write this down or I swear I will march into that school and shout it right to her little pinched-up face.

-Please, don’t do this. Just tell Sammy to stop it. Sammy, Sammy!

-Leave your brother alone.

-But it is weird to smell girls’ hair. If he was older they’d lock him up.

Dear Ms. Delacroix:

You are so wrong. My son is not “troubled” and does not need a shrink. How dare you. I went to the principal yesterday, and he agreed with me that Sammy can’t be forced to see the counselor against my wishes. I wanted to speak with you but the principal said he would talk to you himself, as I was not exactly calm.

Back off or I will be forced to do something you will not like.

-You can’t say that. They’ll say it is a threat. They’ll call Children’s Services.

-Sign my name now. I’ll smack your cheek, you disrespectful little shit!



Monty Sabatine

Dear Mrs. Jonas:

I am writing this to say good-bye and thank you very much for being one of the best teachers on the whole earth. Alas, sometimes my mother gets out of control and that is why we have to change schools again. I thought I could stay with my neighbor, Terry, but she says she is sorry, she can’t take both Sammy and me. Anyway, I am an expert packer and we put our stuff in the same storage unit as last time—same number even, 212!

I love the way you read A Tale of Two Cities with so much liveliness in your voice. You said it was your daughter’s favorite and I think it is mine too! Maybe I can write to you from time to time.

Yours in gratefulness,

Martine Tarantino

account_box More About

Lynn Wiley Grant writes fiction, essays, and book reviews. Lynn has worked as a developmental editor and taught classes in fiction. In addition to an MA in English Literature, she received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College. She is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild, PEN American Center, and she volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with King County Superior Court in Seattle.