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"Recess Prophecy" by Ella Schwalb

Los Angeles grew so much of its cement during wartime, growing aerospace on the land. During lunchtime, when a helicopter flies overhead, there is always a gathering gasp that passes through the kindergarteners’ collective chests as the noise gets closer, louder, and the air shakes above the tables. Those closest to the edge spill out from under the roof, and everyone else follows behind, some standing on benches and leaning out to get a look at what’s passing. Nobody is worried about the conversation they left behind (they can’t hear it anymore anyway), and only one girl doesn’t notice or doesn’t care about the helicopter, probably because she is eating chicken in the shape of dinosaurs.

Of course Laurel is far out by herself already when the commotion starts. She always takes her lunch walking, pacing, stomping all over the woodchips. As the helicopter bears down she steps up onto a tree stump and her whole tiny body is electrified by the growing noise. She raises her arms--one hand grabbing a baggie half-full of blueberries--and tilts her neck back far. She shakes her fists and yells cheers for the helicopter, welcoming a divine being responsible for bringing a bountiful harvest, a victory at war, the sun itself.



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