The Class of 1987


(page 7 of 9)


I repeated his name twice as well and he appreciated the gesture.
“What are you doing now?”
“Teaching high school.”
“Really! Teaching high school. Wow.” His voice was high as he tried to refrain from laughing, not meanly, but more to keep his from blowing apart. “Man, that’s great.”
Then I heard from behind me, “If he was my teacher I’d shove an apple up his motherfucking ass.”
I turned around to see someone with short black hair and a black beard, like a fit Bluto, standing at least six and a half feet tall, and squinting at me.
I stuttered when I recognized who it was, Joe F—, a guy who’d hated me for the minimal acclaim I got from my constant attempts at wit and smart cracks. My jokes went over well with most, but Joe knew a cheap joke when he heard one. Feebly, as though he’d just pushed me into a locker, I held out my hand. He looked at it like it was a dead fish. His arms were crossed over an expansive leather coat whose blackness matched his beard and eyes.
The women at the bench were watching, silent now. In my peripheral I saw many people moving about inside, decent, law-abiding people. He looked over my shoulder and smiled.
“Ah, shit, man,” Dean squealed, and proceeded to sincerely lose it. “You had him, man. You had him!”
The two shook hands and whooped it up as I slowly fit the pieces together. The women smiled, lit cigarettes, one of them warning, “Guys, teacher…” and pretending to hide the smokes.
“I see nothing!” I said in my best Sergeant Shultz, a reference to the old TV show Hogan’s Heroes which was picked up by no one. Joe came near as Dean sat, apparently from necessity, on the bench among his harem.
“Dude, you’re a teacher?” Joe asked, his tone turning heads.
I said, “I guess they’ll let anyone do it.”
“Yeah, didn’t you, like, drop out?”
“Not a problem,” I said to universal amusement. “The teaching profession’ll take anyone, as long as you can hold a piece of chalk.”
Back in their good graces, I then gingerly asked Joe what he’d been up to. “Prison time,” he said, with a hardened pride, and loud enough so everyone could hear. “Brief prison time before working construction.” Then we heard about him entering a toxic marriage wherein he’d inhaled enough toxic stimulants to down a cow. Hell, a herd of cows, and the Jolly Green Giant to boot. He reached in his pocket, looked furtively around the grounds. “Smoke, anyone?” he whispered.
Dean, a former pot head of epic proportions, explained that his arthritis and diabetes meds rendered weed a non-doable. Joe held up his hands, said, “Just kidding,” and everybody laughed.
Then Joe clenched his teeth. “The fucker!” he said, and all heads followed his squinting eyes to the goings-on inside. “How dare he show his face here!”
“Harrison,” Dean said, breaking out laughing. “Shit. Are we busted?”
Share: 
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Reddit
Pin It
Embed

About Eric Day


Follow
1 1
Eric Day teaches and writes in Phoenix, Arizona, and lives with the best family under the sun. He's currently at work on his fifth interesting mistake, a collection of nonfiction pieces about his upbringing in Oregon, called Raised by Trees.
0 comments
Discussion
There are no comments yet...

Poem of the Week

Dumb as a Box

Story of the Week

Bottom of the Ninth

Most Popular

Dispatches from Atlantis #14

Poem of the Week

Dumb as a Box

Story of the Week

Bottom of the Ninth

Most Popular

The Shape of a Spanish Guitar