Method of Exhaustion

Method of Exhaustion

Kim Teeple


On Pi Day, Mr. Porter brings pumpkin pie. Andrew brings Ding Dongs, Marcello brings whipped cream, and the twins, Hannah and Greta, bring spice cake. Oliver Banks was supposed to bring cupcakes but he came late and he brought a gun.

The twins both have white-blond hair and they don’t like looking the same so Hannah wears her hair short and spiky and Greta has dreadlocks. Greta has a pierced nose and Hannah has a pierced eyebrow. They both have a tattoo. No one really likes the spice cake. Hannah shrugs and says whatever and Greta says fuck you guys. It’s their mom’s recipe. It’s what she makes them on their birthday.

Marcello lives in a group home so he can’t afford to bring anything homemade so he brings one can of whipped cream and, mostly, everyone makes jokes about where to put the whipped cream, like on Greta’s boobs and all over the front of her T-shirt. Greta laughs and says fuck you guys. Hannah is standing too close to Mr. Porter so he has to move. He looks uncomfortable.

We were all supposed to tell one thing we learned about Archimedes. Archimedes was this guy, who, well, I guess he had something to do with discovering Pi. I didn’t really listen and I didn’t have anything to tell, but I really liked what Andrew, who brought the Ding Dongs, told us about how Archimedes died. Archimedes didn’t know the Romans were attacking his city, and he was drawing these circles in the dust on the ground when a Roman soldier steps right on top of them. Archimedes looks up and says don’t disturb my circles, and this pissed off the soldier so he takes out his sword and kills Archimedes, and I’m thinking, man, he should have just kept his mouth shut. But maybe the guy would have killed him anyway. I could picture in my head, Archimedes drawing these circles, one on top of the other over and over again, and it seemed like such a peaceful thing to be doing so maybe that was the best way to die.


Oliver Banks shot Mr. Porter first. Mr. Porter didn’t say anything he just dropped his paper plate with the piece of pumpkin pie. I can’t eat pumpkin pie anymore. Not ever.

Then Oliver shot Marcello. Andrew tried to run and Oliver shot him in the back of his head. He was almost to the door. The twins were crying and Greta was saying fuck you fuck you fuck you and Oliver shot Greta in the chest, her T-shirt was still wet from washing off the whipped cream. Hannah screamed and fell on top of her sister. Oliver shot her and a bullet hit her elbow. I saw shards of bone along with blood fly into the air like red and white fireworks. She was still screaming.

I was under Mr. Porter’s desk where we’d put all the pie and cake and stuff. I knew Oliver could see me there, so I started drawing these circles on the floor with my finger because, I guess, I wanted to die while I was doing something peaceful. And I started to calm down, you know.

All rights reserved to Kim Teeple.

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