Today was my first day working at a museum; anxiety had seemed to abruptly overwhelm me. Regret was now currently my best friend. Why? Why have I chosen to get a job here? Out of all of the places in this state! I choose to work at a museum. I didn’t even like this job, anyway. I had to memorize this… Super long script. I couldn’t do things like that. You’re talking about ME. Yet of course, if you knew me personally – I’d probably tweak things like that to my liking.
I emitted a slow, and tiring sigh as my attention averted over to a group of adults, as well as their children. Just at the sight of them, I could tell that my ‘break’ time was now about over. I readied myself as the group had reluctantly approached me. I was standing by one of the wax displays; The Paleo Native American group. I gave a somewhat forced grin at the sight of them.
“Good afternoon, folks! ~” I tenderly stated.
The audience stayed silent, not even giving a nod to notify me that they were listening. I could tell that they were probably bored already. Dang it…
“Now… As you can see here, this displays represents a well-known…-“My voice trailed off as I noticed that some of the audience was actually… Leaving already! This could not do for me. Nope. I grit my teeth. If I continued to explain it like this – in a monotonous voice – the whole crowd would leave before I could even finish this part of the tour! Already… time to tweak the lines.
“Hey! You in the blue… Aheh, No, little girl… Not you… Yeah, you!” I abruptly blurted out.
A moderately short woman shifted her attention over to me. “Ah? Me?” She shyly responded.
“Yeah. That’s what I said,” I shrugged. “Do you have any clue on which Native group that this is?” I inquired with a slight smile.
“Paleo.” The woman instantly responded.
I was quite astonished with that response. No hesitation, no nothing. Wow. “That’s correct! How’d you figure that out?”
“Well, the display is labeled; ‘Paleo’.” She casually stated, giving a chuckle of pure amusement.
I blinked a few times. Woops. I scratched the back of my head awkwardly. “…Right right…” I murmured to myself. How embarrassing. Some of the people in the audience gave a soft laugh in response to my action. Heh… Heh… If I’ve drawn them in like this; I’d have to embarrass myself even more! Right?
“In other words… The Paleo group had taken place over 10,000 years ago. Fascinating, don’t you guys think?” I briefly explained.
“No.” A male voice blankly responded.
I gave a few blinks, processing what he had just stated. I gently shook my head in response to that. Heh, I actually had hope that I was going to be a pretty good tour guide! Hopefully.
“The Paleo group never settled down in an area. They only moved from place to place to place! There’s a special word for that. Can anyone tell me what it is?”
“Being athletic!” A little girl giggled in response.
I shook my head yet again. “No. The special term for that word is known as; Nomad. They were Nomads. They moved from place to place, hunting animals. Large animals! For meat!”
I hadn’t even realized that I started to ramble on about this specific group. The audience didn’t seem to mind. They were listening intently, like I was telling some fancy adventure story or such. “Bison, elk, mammoths and more animals would be valid for it, too! Well… Heh… in order to hunt these beasts, you’d have to have a ‘beast hunting’ weapon, eh? Well. They used spears. Y’know? Something that you can easily… CHUCK AT SOMEONE!”
Some of the parents flinched, and slowly put their hands over their child’s ears. “Shh… Don’t listen to her…” I heard one of the parent’s whisper. Oops.
“That’s the basic information that you need to know. ONWARDS TO THE NEXT WAX STATION!” I simply commanded. I felt like a captain of a ship. This was actually pretty fun. Whoever knew that I’d enjoy this job, heh. The next Native Group was the archaic group. This time, I refrained from asking them which Native Group that this was. Didn’t want that same mistake to occur again.
“Well. As you may already know… This is the archaic group. This… SECOND GROUP, We’re advancing here if you didn’t know; originated from 8000 B.C to 1000 B.C, they were Noma…-“
“WHAT DOES B.C MEAN!?” A girl had abruptly blurted out.
Everyone slowly turned to look at her, including me. “…Before Christ…” I murmured.
I narrowed my eyes. “…As I was saying… They were Nomads. This group hunted only small animals. Such as rabbits, reptiles, deer, birds, and more. For these small animals they used knives, scrappers, drills, and choppers.”
“Choppers?… Do you mean like… Plane choppers like that? Heh… Heh… HEH!” A teenage boy commented.
Right when I was about to answer, his mother slapped the back of his head. “BILLY!” She exclaimed.
Billy glared at his mother. “COME ON, MOM. YOU NEVER LET ME SAY ANYTHING!”
Both of the individuals had started to argue, and fuss over meaningless things. I shook my head, slowly. “They also invented farming…” I quietly murmured under my breath as I viewed them arguing. Eh. Oh well. We’re done here.
I turned away; “MOVING ALONG!” I announced. That had seemed to snap everyone’s attentions over to me. They followed right behind me, not trailing a bit. I was starting to feel a bit more confident about this.
This group was the Woodland group. I stood in front of the wax display, giving a genuine smile this time. I was starting to get the hang of this thing. “The Woodland group. Can you see things are starting to get more advanced, and complicated to deal with? Cause I sure can!” I laughed a bit at my own joke. The audience stayed silent. I let out a fake cough.
“AHEM. ANYWAY… UUH, So; this group lasted from 1000 B.C, to 1000 A.D. This time…-“
“WHAT DOES A.D MEAN!?” The same female blurted out.
I blinked a few times as I stared at her. “Anno Domini.” I simply stated.
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.”
“Look it up when you get home.” I shrugged.
I shook my head lightly, averting my attention away from her. “Now, this group used farming to their advantages. They harvested squash, corn, nuts, berries, and more like that. Keep in mind… This group… WERE NOT NOMADS!” I blurted out, smirking.
The whole group emitted a gasp in response. “Woah!” “No way!” “WHAT KIND OF SORCERY!?” Some of the individuals in the group blurted out.
“Yeah, shocking I know. They had tribes, and lived in tikis, or dome shaped huts.” I briefly stated. I turned away. Phew… Last group then I was done here.
I reluctantly had begun to saunter down the hallway, then to the last Native Group. The Mississippian group. “This last group is known as; Mississippi. It lasted from about… Eh… I’d say 700 A.D to 1600 A.D. They weren’t Nomads as well. So yea…-“ I stopped in the middle of my sentence once I noticed a familiar looking male.
I narrowed my eyes, to see if this was real. “D-Drake!? Is that you?!” I stammered, tilting my head a bit to the side.
The audience turned around to look at the male. Drake blinked a few times, giving a simper sigh. He turned around; “Just hold on… I’m coming home…” We heard him murmur under his breath as he did a strange hand gesture. He slowly began to drag his feet away.
I had to blink a few times to comprehend what had just happened. Everyone had looked utterly puzzled to this. Reluctantly I continued; “…They lived in villages as well, and hunted the same animals, and harvested too. Yet there’s something slightly different about this group – they invented tattoos, and jewelry.” I had finally concluded.
The group took a moment before giving a clap.
“YEAH! GREAT! I CAN’T WAIT TO GO HOME AND WATCH NETFLIX!” Someone blurted out.
“I WANNA GO SEE DRAKE!”
And with that note, they had simply departed. I let out a huff of relief. Good. At least things went well…
I almost dragged my feet back to the first wax model; Paleo. I leaned against it, awaiting for the next group.
This wasn’t too hard, nor pressuring. I just had to seem… Interesting, and fun.
That’s what people liked, I could already tell. I smiled a bit to myself.
This job was okay.
By: Alyssa Livingston
This story won Alyssa a short story contest at her middle school in Cummings, Georgia.