The teacher made his rounds of the classroom as the boys studied and attended to the exercise he had given them. His anger and temper to the fore, as per usual. His sometimes formally normal thinking transformed into anger, paranoia, and victim thinking. Looking for any, or just one of the boys to step out of line. Silently willing them to break his self imposed rules. Feeling quiet unwell, as a result of the nightly bottle of red wine, which many times had turned into two bottles. Looking forward to the mid morning break, for some badly needed hydration, and rest.
The alcohol helped him ignore, or in his mind deal with his failing marriage,and impending divorce. Life didn’t seem soo bad. Life didn’t seem that serious through the bottom of a wine glass. His throbbing head. Mouth as dry as could be. A sick, queasy feeling in his stomach. He was well used to such physical effects of his increasing alcohol consumption. Never welcomed, but the expected side effect of his over indulgence.
If he was not the coward that he was, he would have challenged a man of his own size and age to a physical altercation. But he was brooding for a row, and the children in his care would suffice. At the very least they would offer little opposition. Just the way he liked it. He walked around the classroom, with his hands behind his back. Peering over the shoulders of the boys as they attend to the exercise he had given them. Peering, but really looking and praying to find some boy stepping out of line. Looking for an adversary, a victim. Someone to unleash his anger on. Someone to castigate, embarrass and shame. Why not. If it would made him feel better as a man. Some small victory in life. In a life where he didn’t feel such a failure.
Much to his satisfaction, it did not take long, He knew from experience there was always one. There would always be one, among the class. The dreamer. The softly spoken. That gentle, innocent child.
He stopped behind the desk of the young blond boy. Whom he had immediately taken a strong dislike to, when he initially saw him in the class at the beginning of term. The boy he had singled out for special , non too pleasant treatment. The soft, innocent and attractive features, and a permanent slight anxiety and fear, evident his features. The perfect victim.
‘What’, he thundered, ‘is this ? ‘, as he held aloft the few lines of poetry the boy had written. His face red with anger, and delight.
‘What nonsense is this you have written, eh boy ?’
The young boy squirmed in his seat. Not wanting to be the centre of attention, as the whole class turned their attention to him.
The boy shock with fear. His face reddened. His breathing quickened. His legs shock. That sickly feeling arose in his stomach, and how he wished he was anywhere but here. In this place, at this time.
‘What are you ? Who are you ?’, the teacher said mockingly. ‘The next Keats or Shelly ?’
‘You think you can write poetry’, he roared. ‘Here ‘ he said, as he hurriedly scribbled some words on a blank sheet of paper. He handed the paper to the boy, and instructed him to stand at the top of the class and recite what was written on the paper.
The young blond haired boy, read the words at his desk, silently, and at the aggressive insistence of the teacher stood at the the front of the class, and began to read from the scribbled paper.
‘I am an idiot and a fool. Most of the times I actually drool
I have the talent of a newt
I am ugly and thick, to boot
I deserve to die, I tell no lie
I am sorry, for actually being alive
Will you forgive me, for being what I am
I am not, and can never be a proper man.
As he read out the words before him, standing in front of the class. The others boys listened, and then the laughter began. The boys laughed. The teacher laughed, as he insisted that the poem be recited over, and over. Having had enough, the young boy ran from the class. Tears streaming down his checks. But as he ran, the image, and words of his Grandfather, from beyond the grave, stood strong in his mind.
‘Do not allow people to make a fool of you. Be strong. Be kind, but take your revenge if necessary’. He ran past the school car park, and slowed down, as his tears subsided. The silent words and images of his Grandfather encouraging his strength and resolve. With the area near enough deserted, he reached into his pocket and retrieved the penknife his Grandfather had given him before he had passed away. The wooden carved handle, and the sharpened blade. Which he regularly sharpened , and kept pristine and clean. Looking about him, he slipped under the teachers white jeep. Easily recognizable. He began to cut the plastic, mastic covered tubes, and hose’s underneath the engine. Not knowing really what he was cutting. But the act of cutting and hopefully causing some damage to the car and teacher, more than satisfying. He began to snigger softly, underneath the engine. Then he began to laugh aloud. Picturing his Grandpa encouraging and praising his bravery and actions. Feeling and hearing his words and spirit.
Satisfied that he had done enough, He slid out from underneath the jeep, and moved to the edge of the car park. He watched from beneath the tree’s in the late afternoon sunshine as the arrogant teacher sat into the white jeep, started the engine and slowly drove away. He noted the trail of dripping liquid following the jeep, as it exited the school and onto the highway, and he smiled.