Sunday, August 10, 2014

High School Flashback

There was an unusual kid in algebra. One day a couple kids were harassing him. I told them to knock it off. Then I started sitting by that kid in class. I don’t remember his name, but I remember this:
You know those afternoons when you couldn’t keep your eyes open? When you had to lay your head on your desk? He was having one of those. Eyes drooping. Head nodding. He put his head down in the center of his algebra text. And then . . . and then . . . a string of drool emerged from his mouth like a snake. It stretched, down, down, until it made landfall on his book. I looked around. His arm encircled his head, shielding the view. The slobber began to flow. It formed a viscous puddle, pouring into the binding. For forty minutes it flowed.
Nearing the end of class his eyes opened. Half-mast at first. Then they burst open WIDE, I presume from the wetness. But he did not move. He had to plan his escape. He had to extricate his face from the the spit-lake without drawing the attention of a single student. Still feigning sleep he looked down. He brought his fingertips to investigate. It was worse than he imagined. The size of a pancake.
After a moment of planning, in a single elegant move, he raised his head, swiped his face with his jean jacket sleeve, then folded the book halves together, gently. Drool squeezed out the top and bottom. He cleaned it with a surreptitious waxing motion of his forearm. His face — reconciling terror and resolve — panned the room. Three of us had seen it, I’d say. He could see that we had. But that it could have been us, well, it could have been. And we didn’t say a word.

Written by John Willis