A little girl, about seven and saddled with the name Ronalda, stood at the front of her classroom, beaming. She looked out across the tables pushed together because of the notion that children absolutely must learn to work together and the only way to do is to push together tables so the students can't comfortably see the whiteboard at the front, and the disinterested, sleepy faces seated around them.
"It's my turn now," she said to herself, almost giggling.
"Yes, go ahead dear. Tell us how you spent your summer vacation.
The little girl turned to her new teacher, with a look that bordered on fanatical adoration. The girl had a story to tell and it was a whopper.
"I went to the Cretaceous!" she blurted out in a nearly twisted half-scream.
Her teacher looked immediately concerned. The students perked up slightly, but not one of the had yet heard of that epoch.
"My mom captured an ic-icthy-osaur," said Ronalda, struggling with the pronunciation. "We have it in a tank in the basement."
She searched the faces in front of her for any sign of positive reaction and was disappointed. Her own smile began to fade.
"That's an aquatic dinosaur," she clarified.
"You have a dinosaur in your basement?" asked a kid in the front with grape jelly on his cheek.
Ronalda nodded and her smile returned.
"You did not go to the Cretaceous," said the teacher.
"Yes I did," said Ronalda looking a little confused. "My mom made me learn all about bees because that's when they evolved."
"Goodness!" exclaimed the teacher. "You're supposed to tell us about what actually happened to you over the summer. You don't have have to make up a story."
"I'm not making it up," said Ronalda, "I really did go!"
"You are lying!" said the teacher. "We do not tell lies in this classroom."
"I'm not lying!" Ronalda's face was turning very pink. "We have a time machine and I went with my mom!"
The teacher stood up so quickly she bumped her knees on the underside of her desk.
"No!" she said emphatically. "You did not go back in time! That's impossible!"
"It is possible! It is! I did it! My mom has a government contract to study life before the asteroid hit." Her jaw quivered. "I have an ichthyosaur!"
"Liar!" screamed the teacher. She bolted towards Ronalda, who started to cry. The teacher grasped Ronalda's wrist roughly and pulled her towards the door.
"I'm not lying!" sobbed Ronalda. She let her body go limp and the teacher dragged her down to the principal's office.
The remaining students looked at each other in disbelief, then with a minute or two the room was filled with loud chatter that was completely unrelated to the preceding events.
Ronalda arrived home with a crumpled note and a damaged spirit.
"What's this?" asked her mother.
"I got into trouble."
Her mother read the note then immediately laughed.
"It's not funny," said Ronalda, tearing up.
"Oh, I know honey," said her mother. She knelt down and gave her daughter a long hug. "What do you say we give your teacher a visit five years from now? It'll prove you're right."
"But that doesn't help me now!"
"No, but you'll know. Trust me, a little knowledge can give you a lot of satisfaction. When that date rolls around and she sees you as you are now, she'll be in complete shock. It'll be worth it."
Ronalda considered this for a moment.
"Okay," she said. "But you should have told me not to talk about time travel."
"Oh, they all find out in a few decades anyway. There's going to be this incident in New Mexico...well, I shouldn't tell you this, but you're involved in it, in a big way."
"Really?" asked Ronalda. Her mother marvelled at her innocence.
"Honey, you're the most famous person who ever lived." Her mother giggled.
Ronalda smiled broadly and wiped the tears from her cheeks. They both went to the travel room off the pantry and disappeared in a matter of seconds.