4:3: “7th Period Bayonet Class”, by Samuel Minier

4:3: “7th Period Bayonet Class”, by Samuel Minier

They taught us in greyness, leaded air-raid walls needing mortar and thick sun-kill curtains. The girl desked right of me always nervously tapped hers, so quietly, along the fake wood edge til she had grooved batches of notches keeping some unknown score. Maybe mark-timing our days, or teacher’s frequent use of

soft spot, find the soft spot, spot the softness and stick it in. Thigh and chest easiest, though down the throat can be quite good, or squarely in the eye with well-aimed strokes

Touching ourselves while teacher taught, imagining the feel of the stick-and-slide in another. Fantasies til the end of spring, when they butted our desks face-to-face. All our six-inches classroom-bound in hard safety sheathing.

Always her slight head tilt first, attempted artistry, staccato paintbrush penetrating all my spaces, my ribs, my accordion trachea folds. Never sorry at turn’s end, just offered to me her face, the bruise acne of my past, learning thrusts…

In four years since, in every battle, every conquest, every time I drove one home–her face, always the most soft thing.


Samuel Minier’s publication credits include forty stories and poems in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies, including Flesh and Blood, Space & Time, CHIAROSCURO, and Deathgrip 3: It Came from the Cinema. His last appearance in Ideomancer was for the story “Nothing But Worm Meat” (August 02). He’s also received two Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and was nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2001 Rhysling Award. Please visit www.samuelminier.com for further access to Sam’s work.

As far as inspiration for the piece, it germinated out of two sources. One was a series of actual quotations from a World War I “bayonet training” session (fairly gruesome stuff). The other was an radical extrapolation of “sex education” in schools–by that, I mean the notion of actually teaching kids how to have sex. So then the two twisted together–young people whose bodies are telling them to copulate, whose minds are being programmed to destroy….



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