The cover art for The Curtains Are Blue, showing the protagonist, schoolteacher Lydia Ashford


She was assigned to the problem classrooms. All classrooms, even going into the twilight days of the Fifth Millennium were problem classrooms, but she was assigned some particular shitty cases. Cases that she took knowingly and willingly.

It’s the year 4980. In her teal attire, twenty-something-or-other slim, tall, bespectacled schoolteacher Lydia Ashford patrols her modest classroom of 90 students somewhere in the middle of an isle once known as Great Britain. She doesn’t need the glasses. They’re for show. Gotta look like an in intellectual. And Ashford knows that looks matter.

This is her second year teaching at St. Brigit’s All Boys School. A few of the boys were nice, but many of them were mean. Their school clothes torn, they all looked like ragamuffins. Everything went to pot when the dress code became lax. But in spite of everything wrong with the world and her current environment, she tries. Oh boy, howdy, she tries.

The room is not quite on lockdown. There is as much order as there can be without falling into authoritarian territory.

With her thick electronic tome—this Omnipedia, as it were—full of pages, circuits, projectors, buttons and screen clasp in one hand, she lectures while keeping pace. Her footsteps reverberate around the room.

“Right. That’s enough about World War III. We’ll move today’s lecture to the great American poet Walt Whitman…“

Her long, naturally dark green hair flows. She is cautious of how rebellious children some children had become over the generations, but right now, she is young and idealistic…

“Can you lot tell me anything about Walt Whitman?“

The class gives out a collective “uuhhhh duuuuuhh hmmm mmmm…”

“A single, solitary bit of information about Whitman? What about you, Mr. Elijah?”

Timothy Elijah, the capricious little bastard, found Ms. Ashford’s lecture to be less of an oration and more of a discourse.

“Blow it our yer arse!”

Ashford’s natural defense reflexes activated. Her heart rate rose. She resisted the urge to shake and say what she really would have said if were she not in a classroom environment. She knew that this situation would escalate. She didn’t want it to but she knew a scene was about to be made. She took a deep exhale and tried to maintain mild-mannered facade.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Bitch, I said ‘Blow it out yer arse’ ya foickin’ bitch. I ain’t know nothing about no poetry. That shite is for poofers.”

Ashford took another deep breath.

“My, what militaristic language from young Elijah! Tell me, Timmy, have you any experience in the armed forces?”

“’ell no. I ain’t in on that.”

“Well, you know what they say, ‘Don’t use military language unless you’re in the military!’ And I do believe that there is an apt candidate to join their ranks in this very room.”

She pressed a button on the wrist-mounted device on her arm. Let’s call it a “smartwatch” even though its capabilities were beyond that of a ordinary smart watch, to us, it’s a smartwatch. The button read in very tiny print “MILITIRZATION.” Two men, both of them over 2 meters tall, in jet black full body armour charged in.

“Hup hup hup hup.”

They forcibly accosted Timothy Elijah and went “Hup hup hup hup” and dragged his ass out.

Ashford then turned to the class.

“Now then… does anyone else want to join the military today? Don’t be shy! You’re all permitted to speak now.”

The boys all mumbled “uh duh no no nope nope nope No Way José uh jeez uh gosh golly gee goodness sorry Ms. Ashford.”

She projected a holographic image of Walt Whitman from her omnipedia for the boys to see:

“Right… Now, Whitman was presumed to be a homosexual. Whether that presumption is accurate or not entirely known, but what is clear is that he was definitely not straight… His poetry collection Leaves of Grass is considered to be one of the…”

TEXT © The Human Collective

All Rights Reserved



This e-reader was dev­el­oped by Nic­hol­as Ber­n­ha­rd, © 2020 - 2023 Nan­tuck­et E-Books™ LLC. Nan­tuck­et E-Books™ is bui­lt on fr­ee soft­ware, whi­ch means it re­sp­ec­ts the fr­ee­dom of the wri­ters and read­ers us­ing it. For more in­for­mat­ion, ch­eck out the soft­ware li­cen­se page, the Help page, or e-mail me at