“I don’t want any of you to procrastinate on this next essay and reading,” drawled Mr.Handson, as his aged hands passed back papers.
Zach looked discontentedly at the ‘D-’ on his essay, a few comments lazily scribbled in the margins.
“I didn’t have time to read through all of your papers, so I graded you on just the first page.”
Mr.Handson enjoyed having the reputation of a tough teacher. And he had to be tough--- After all, he could teach both math and literature despite knowing neither. In fact, Handson was an academic anti-talent, an aged paper-pusher and a glorified printer of online worksheets. He knew neither math nor literature, but gave enough homework to his students to ensure that, by the end of the year, they would. He had been on pension for a while now, just about to kick the retirement bucket. The school board quietly wanted to fire him, but knew they could not.
Kylie raised her hand, “Are you collecting our notes on the third chapter of Wuthering Heights?”
“… No, you can keep those.” Mr. Handson leaned onto his desk.
Zach ground his teeth… those had stolen a good hour of his time.
“I’m having a Literature Party…” he drawled, “The Litertature Department is putting one together. It’s after school, but I know you’ll have fun---”
The bell rang, and the class noisily shuffled out in rebellion. They could not yell at him, but they could slam doors. Zach inched out after hurling his books into his dilapidated backpack, pushing his glasses back up over the bridge of his nose and pulling up his baggy pants. Some days he needed to feel like a gangster to face teachers who were no better than crooks.
He was no sooner out the door than he heard a loud, piercing cry.