ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the September 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] librarygeek, [personal profile] alatefeline, [personal profile] rix_scaedu, and [livejournal.com profile] cflute. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] librarygeek. This poem belongs to the Berettaflies thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It follows the demifiction "Letter to a Super Hurrah" by [personal profile] alatefeline and "A Letter to a Young Fan from a Super Hurrah" by [personal profile] siliconshaman so read those first to understand the character dynamics.

"Tales Out of School"

Week 5, Day 5

Ashley had discovered something
new and interesting to do with her time.

She couldn't go to an ordinary school anymore,
unless she wore her iso-suit with its tight,
scratchy seams. SPAZMAT had brought in
an educational consultant who was such a dork
that Ashley felt tempted to tuck him behind her
to protect him from the jocks and the bullies.

Kent Authement had coaxed out her interests in
the macabre, which wasn't hard, but he'd also
discovered her taste for certain branches of
classic literature and other things deeply buried.

He even talked Ashley into enrolling
in Zydeco, a cyberschool for people who
couldn't attend ordinary classes or else
found them somehow insufficient.

To her surprise, Ashley enjoyed it, not only
because the quirky classes intrigued her but also
because the school seemed to be a grease-trap
for every geek, freak, goth, and weirdo in Easy City.

When everyone was that strange,
she just didn't stand out much.

Even though people asked Ashley about
berettaflies approximately as often as ever,
the questions were more about what their guts
looked like (which she didn't know; the dissection
hadn't been published yet) and what it was like
to see in the ultraviolet (which she couldn't explain).

So when Ashley began getting fanmail from
an odd little babygoth, it was only natural
that Ashley told Kaytee about Zydeco.

A while later, Kaytee popped up in
the chatlounge where students could
hang out between their classes.

Ashley: Hey, you made it! What
classes are you taking here?

Kaytee: Macabre Art and Making Friends.
Mom says I have to take one postal class
for every creepy class. Today we drew
a rackoon skull and and a gator.

Ashley struggled to figure out the meaning.
Oh, probably prosocial, that made sense.

Ashley: People say it's good to stay balanced.
I'm taking Easy City Cemeteries and SPOON History.
Want something cool for your art class to draw?

Kaytee: Sure, what is it?

Ashley: My science friends found
another berettafly, dead, and took photos.
They'll be in tomorrow's news but I got copies
this afternoon if folks want to draw them.

She uploaded an image.

Kaytee: AW SOME!1!

Ashley was used to being lonely,
to hiding from people who said one thing
but meant another and kept trying to edit
her reality until it didn't fit her anymore.

She wasn't used to being popular,
to people crowding around her to see
what she brought and saying how cool it was

but she thought, secretly, it was kinda neat.

* * *


Kent Authement -- He has tawny-fair skin, brown eyes, and short dark hair that is receding. He wears a mustache and beard. He wears glasses. He speaks English, Spanish, and Cajun French. Kent works as an educational consultant in Easy City, helping high school and college students to plan their coursework and adults to make plans for continuing education. He also teaches at Zydeco, an online school open to soups, gifted students, disabled people, and others for whom conventional school is inaccessible or unsuitable. The classes offered are decidedly eclectic, with students sorted into them based more on interest and ability than on age.
Qualities: Good (+2) Educational Consultant, Good (+2) Energetic, Good (+2) Fandom Is a Way of Life, Good (+2) Outgoing, Good (+2) Smart
Poor (-2) Such a Dork

* * *

Cyberschool is a popular option for disabled, gifted, or other students who find conventional schools inaccessible or insufficient. T-America adds superpowers to that list. Children who cannot attend regular schools are entitled to help from a home teacher. Adults in the same position get what is called an educational consultant instead, since adults are in charge of their own educational choices.

Zydeco -- Pronounced “zi-de-co” a kind of Cajun dance music that is a combination of traditional Cajun music, mixed with R&B, and African blues.
-- Cajun French Language Dictionary

Macabre art features grotesque and/or funerary motifs. See a gallery. While many of Zydeco's classes are generic such as Making Friends, a lot of them focus on quirky local interests such as cemeteries.

Rose butterflies such as the crimson rose and common rose are components of the berettaflies. They share similarities in the black-and-red body with black-red-white wings. A distinctive fieldmark of the berettaflies not shared by the roses is that berettaflies have a red spot on at the ends of their wingtails. This post about a butterfly garden shows a common rose lying dead on the path, similar to what the scientists found and Ashley shared.


Date: 2016-09-07 11:35 pm (UTC)
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
From: [personal profile] shiori_makiba

Wish they had schools like that in this world when I was going to high school. It sounds very informative and fun.

It's nice to see Ashley get to try new things, experiment, see what she wants out of life.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-09-08 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
we do...sort of, things like Kahn Academy and TedX Online as well as the Educational sector of YouTube with channels on everything from biology to theoretical physics to chemistry and sociology. Reddit is developing quite a few little pockets of joy for those who are information seekers as well... its probably not s well organized as in TAmerica, but there are some starting to crop up


Date: 2016-09-07 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

thanks Nerdist!


Re: Why?

Date: 2016-09-08 01:03 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
not the only one by far, remember that lovely chat we had a bit ago about what exactly was causing the Pythea's shedding issue?

Re: Why?

Date: 2016-09-08 01:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

soaking will help!

I still think that part of the irritation factor for her skin lies with some of those merge lines between human and herp. being junctional, which could effectively 'thin' the covering of underlying tissues over and around associated nerve endings in the skin and cause sensitivity and possibly pain when something like directional pressure or stimulation is applied...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 12:49 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Way cool! Kaytee definitely will benefit from a Cyber School like Zydeco.

I need to check some dates and maybe chat with you and siliconshaman to figure out exactly where she is enrolled and in what. I think she's been in a school setting but also gets a lot of extracurricular support...high visual and verbal and naturalistic skills, but lower emotional, interpersonal, and possibly also struggles with math /except/ when it isn't presented as 'math.' I think. What do you think?

I noticed you referred to "mom" where I had referred to "mama." Is Kaytee trying to be cooler, does she use both interchangeably, or does it change depending on format? Maybe she's switched if people are using the shorter/commoner phrase. Hmmm...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 04:33 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Zydeco music on YouTube. Note that Cajun and zydeco music are a lot like science fiction and fantasy -- some things are clearly one or the other, but there's a big fuzzy area in the middle too.

Zydeco dancing. Cajun and zydeco dance, however, are very distinct from each other. I can do Cajun dance, but zydeco puts way too much torque on my knees!

It will probably also do Kaytee some good to socialize with adults who accept her, since she's very bright. It will give her more self-confidence and internal bracing, which will carry over into her regular school situation.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 10:26 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Yay! *muppet happy flail*

It occurs to me that Kent is probably not the first nerd that Ashley's felt protective of. Sounds like the sort of thing that would happen in high school.

and Kaytee is triggering all the Big Sister instincts that Ashley has...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 04:11 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Yes, indeed. This —
«that Ashley felt tempted to tuck him behind her
to protect him from the jocks and the bullies.»
is metaphorical, yes? since there's no physical (col)location.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 06:58 pm (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
As far as I know, they don't meet physically.


Date: 2016-09-08 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Home teachers and educational consultants can work either way, meeting online or in person. Usually they do have at least one facetime meeting when they're getting to know each other. I figure that either Ashley could go out in her iso-suit, or the teacher could use the guest compartment of her hab. Of course, being a nerd, he might enjoy suiting up himself just for the novelty of it. But most of the time, they're probably interacting in cyberspace.


Date: 2016-09-08 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
It is metaphorical. He's older than her, too. She still considers herself more formidable, and is aware that he looks like anyone's meat.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-09-08 08:49 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
I'm sure she is!


Date: 2016-09-08 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Yay! *muppet happy flail* <<


>> It occurs to me that Kent is probably not the first nerd that Ashley's felt protective of. Sounds like the sort of thing that would happen in high school. <<

That makes sense.

>> and Kaytee is triggering all the Big Sister instincts that Ashley has...<<


some further detail

Date: 2016-09-08 04:16 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Dr.Whomster)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Merriam-Webster Online
zy·de·co \ˈzī-də-ˌkō\   (The three syllables rhyme with the syllables of "Idaho".)

Full Definition of zydeco
1. :  popular music of southern Louisiana that combines tunes of French origin with elements of Caribbean music and the blues and that features guitar, washboard, and accordion
audio file of pronunciation


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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