Hello, dear readers.
I have returned from my
brief hiatus, and I come bearing gifts (one of them being this overwrought introductory paragraph). This week I have brought for you: great pestilence and famine! Also, I have a new piece of prose, if you’d prefer that. I’ll let you choose…
Ah, you’ve chosen the prose, have you? Very well.
Today’s entry is a special one for me and I’ll tell you why. One, it is a much more recent work than what I’ve shared prior; a better reflection of both myself and the things I like to write: vitriolic sarcasm presented through the eyes of a self-centered asshole. Two, it is one of the larger and more gruelingly-assembled pieces I’ve ever, er, assembled; A whopping 10-page final manuscript (which I’ve trimmed in hopes that you internet people – notorious for your short attention spans – would actually read it) signaling the end of my college career. My swan song, in a way. It’s called ‘Ms. Wilder’s Class’ and I hope ya dig it. – MOSES 2.0
Ms. Wilder’s Class
“Who have we not heard from yet…?” she asked, scanning the room. I pretended to be writing something to avoid her gaze.
“Has everyone gone, then?” she asked. I began scribbling even faster, as though the harder at work I seemed, the more invisible I’d become. I was so close. So goddamn close. What had started out as scribbling had turned into the words ‘so close’ being written over and over again. Suddenly, something – a weird feeling – made me look up and glance across the room. And there I saw him. His two fat eyes staring over at me; eyes that hid nothing and expressed even less in brain function. The type of look reserved for sloths or for someone who accidently left their brain at home, sitting atop the nightstand. And yet, it was the look of a madman.
“Uh, Ms. Wilder…” he began. No. Fatty! Don’t do it. I’m so close. I was scribbling really fast now. The words ‘so close’ repeated endlessly across my paper.
“Yes, Graham-Cracker?” she asked. No, Fatty! No! I was nearly out of space on my paper by this point. How dare he make me waste another sheet. Don’t do it, Fatty! No! If you say one word, I’ll –
“Jimmy didn’t go yet,” he finished. The class turned toward me and I sighed loudly, slumping down in my chair. Oh, Fatty. You wild man. You daredevil. You fool. I’ll have to kill you for this, you know.
“Jimmy-Pop! Why didn’t you speak up?” asked Ms. Wilder, sharply. Her gaze ripped through me like razor blades. The wounds of such were nothing, however, compared to that knife that Fat Brutus had slid into my back.
“What was your favorite part of Charlie Brown’s story?” she asked. Charles, or ‘Charlie Brown’ as our teacher annoyingly dubbed him, looked over at me expectantly. Oh, how I hated him. Charles and his terrible, terrible stories about alien pirates or dinosaurs with lasers or whatever the hell he passed off as ‘writing’ these days.
“Uhhhh… I… liked the whole thing.” I looked up at Ms. Wilder. Just buy it, would you? Please? Buy it and move on, you wench.
“Something specific, please,” she said, firing more razor blades from her eyes. Nope. She didn’t buy it at all. Oh, how horrible she was.
“Fine. Um… I liked the, uh… spelling. The spelling was decent.” This was a lie. He spelled with all the elegance of a drunken spider tap-dancing in a china cabinet. Everyone in the class was staring at me now. Oh, how I’d love to smack each and every one.
“Oh, Jesus. Alright. Um… I liked the part with the…” I couldn’t believe the words that were about come out of my mouth. “That part where the ninja’s-“
“Samurai,” he corrected.
“Samurai. The part where the samurai shot that, uh… gun with the… cat ammunition-“
“The ‘Cattling Gun?’”
“Yes… Yes, the ‘Cattling Gun.’” God help anyone who ever makes me utter the phrase ‘Cattling Gun’ again. Christ, if raping the English language were a crime, Charlie here would be on death row.
“Where the… Samurai shot the… the Cattling Gun at the robot ship-“ I looked over to him for approval because, had he interrupted me again, I’d have scooped out his eyes with an ice pick. He nodded, much to the disappointment of my ice pick, and I continued.
“…And, it exploded… disengaging the force-field or something… and freeing the… zombie slaves… or whatever.” I felt a sharp pain as I said these words. With any luck, it’d be a heart attack and it’d kill me. Then again, maybe I was already dead. I’m pretty sure Dante had described something not entirely dissimilar to this in the ninth circle.
“Thank you, Jimmy-Pop,” said Ms. Wilder. “Who’s next to read their story? Annie-Oakely, would you like to go?“ The ridiculous-looking punk-girl from across the room nodded and began to read. Her voice was lovely, like the sound of a bicycle chain getting stuck in an exhaust vent. Her prose, however, was even lovelier, making me wish that she, herself, would get stuck in an exhaust vent. Jesus. What plebeians they all were. And I, a patrician amongst them, was expected to give feedback to these sorts of things? Nothing less than hurling their work into an incinerator and then launching that incinerator into space could possibly convey my personal thoughts. But instead, I was required to give ‘positive assessment.’ Well, I could positively assess that the majority of them would be cleaning toilet bowls for the bulk of their future. Punky Brewster finished reading and the usual few hands shot up into the air.
“Jacquie Tobacky,” selected Ms. Wilder.
“Well, dat Charactuh, duh one wit duh, uh—“ she picked at her bright-pink, press-on nails. “Duh pet store ownuh. I felt I could identuhfy wit her.”
“Uh… yes… Thank you. Who else?” Even more hands shot up this time. Sycophants. I could wave my hand around like a mongoloid, too, but my only criticism of Annie’s story was that it never should’ve existed. Ms. Wilder looked around the room, clearly wanting only the best and brightest of this group of top analysts. One by one, they gave their testimonials, each one lowering the general IQ of the room. I tried to save myself and blanked out for a few moments, attempting to drown out the concert of stupidity that was playing loudly throughout the room. The conductor halted and played an all-too-familiar note that I knew as judgment.
“Ah, last once again, eh, Jimmy-Pop? What was your favorite part?” Oh, Christ. Here I was again. New tactic this time…
“Um… well… the perspective of the narrator was inconsistent and failed to realistically exposit the empirical nature of her proposed daily quandaries.”
“Ah… well… Um… I see,” responded the old bat. “Alright. Well, I think we have time for one more story-“
“Uh, excuse me,” said a voice from the doorway. A greasy-haired boy in ripped jeans and a wife beater entered. I heard the dumb girl behind me whisper: “Do you see his sexy tattoos?” to the even dumber girl behind her. I was surrounded by troglodytes.
“Hi, um… I just transferred in,” said the tattooed lady-killer, with all the air of someone who cleans himself with his own tongue and defecates on the sidewalk.
“Well hello, then. Have a seat. We were just going over everyone’s stories,” responded the teacher.
“Yes, I saw that in the syllabus, actually. I brought one to share,” he said, sitting down in the seat in between that smelly kid and myself. Hmm… What was the smelly kid’s name, again…? I always just called him ‘Smelly Kid…’
“Oh, very well. Your name, please?” asked Ms. Wilder.
“John Putzki.” Ms. Wilder began scribbling his name into her binder and then stopped and stared ahead for a few moments, clearly deep in thought – or, well, as deep in thought as the old hag could possibly get. Depths that, I assume, made puddles look great enough to house ocean liners.
“Uh-oh,“ I heard Smelly Whatshisface whisper to the new guy. “She’s clearly trying to think of a nickname for you.”
“She gives everyone in the class an awful nickname. Mine’s ‘Tony Bologna,’” said Smelly.
“Oh, that doesn’t seem so bad,” responded the new kid.
“Well… My name is Steve…”
Ah, yes! Steve. That’s right. Steve was my favorite, actually. For, aside from his scent, which gave the impression that he had cured meats spoiling in his pants pockets, he wasn’t so bad. Definitely less of a blathering idiot than the rest of these blathering idiots. His stories, too, were entirely bearable. His last one, in fact, was not completely terrible. Steve was the cream of the crop in a field that only grew shite.
“Why don’t you go next, Johnny Appleseed,” said Ms. Wilder. The clever bitch. Mr. Appleseed took a few pieces of paper out of his coat pocket and unfolded them. It was such a scene of class that I half expected his lunch to be wrapped up in one of them. He began to read.
“The war had been rough. Those lucky few that had actually slept, awoke to the grey dawn. A bird chirped in the distance – the first sound any of them had heard in some time that didn’t send fear rattling through their aching bodies; that didn’t make them duck and cover their heads. The war was over, sure, but the uphill battle they would face, of returning to one’s old life, returning to normalcy, would be a far longer and much tougher fight than anything they had experienced down in the trenches…”
As he read, the room faded into a quiet that it had never known before. Even that dilettante in the corner looked up and paid attention. Ah, what lovely blue eyes she had. I hadn’t ever noticed, as they had never appeared in any direction other than staring directly down at her thinly-hid cell phone. Fatty’s expression, too, had somehow unglazed itself – maybe there was a lone cog turning up there, after all. Even Smelly’s foul scent seemed a little more potpourri and a little less fecal matter than usual. We were all glued to every word he spoke. Oh, and what words he spoke, indeed. I, myself, a man whose enjoyment of fellow classmates’ work generally fell somewhere in between eating my own feet and skinny dipping in a pile of mousetraps, was in awe. This story was… it was impeccable. Its pacing, characterization, everything. Perfect. And oh, how I hated it.
“Well… Um… I…” began Ms. Wilder, who was stumbling over her words as though someone had left them in a pile at the foot of the stairs. “Thank you for reading that, John. It was… very lovely. Very, very lovely.” She didn’t’ even call him by his nickname? Christ. Next, gravity will flow upward, and fish will sprout hands and learn to box. Something was going on here. The class remained silent for a moment.
“Ms. Wilder,” began Fatty. “I think John’s story is my new favorite. It’s even better than Jimmy’s.” Many of the other students nodded in agreement. So that was it, then. My empire was crumbling. The crown ripped from my head and the throne being cleaned and dusted for its new king. And what of me? Forced into living among the hay bails and the farm animals? A jester? No, I would not be kicked to the curb so easily.