A teacher and old bones - Editor

by David E. Hughes

When I arrived in Gold Mesa in September of 1874, its one-room schoolhouse was equipped with thirteen desks, a blackboard, and a human skeleton.

"Oh, what a wonderful teaching aide!" I said to Mayor Stratton, who had picked me up a quarter hour before at the stage station. "Why didn't you tell me about the skeleton in our correspondence?"

A frown formed behind the mayor's thick handlebar mustache. "Because it shouldn't be used as a teaching aide. Someone put it there without my permission. You must not display it, Miss Riley."

The skeleton was suspended by a series of wires from a wooden pole that looked like a coat rack. The bones jiggled and danced as Mayor Stratton picked up the pole. The cadaver and the short, stout mayor looked as if they were performing a strange danse macabre before he shoved the skeleton into a closet in the back of the room. "That's where it shall stay," he said.

"But that would be such a waste! I could make the children of Gold Mesa experts in human anatomy, perhaps inspire some to become physicians."

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