“Seems sort of contrarian.”
“Fun to hang out with.”
“Not really a team player.”
“A bit on the eccentric side.”
Dinner at subject’s father’s club. Subject, younger brother slip away from table. Discover box of coffee creamers in back room. Declare war. Battle rages until man (old, blazered, fez-wearing) yells, “That will be enough of that!” Subject, brother, spattered with cream, marched off to Fez’s office. Fez summons subject’s father, reprimands for failure to supervise children. Subject’s father (well-dressed, affable) makes joke. Fez laughs. Subject, brother, father, Fez re-enter dining room in jolly quartet.
Subject lets stray dog into grade school. Dog runs amok, delighting students, distressing faculty. Subject called to principal’s office. Principal (male, tall, deep-voiced) removes wooden paddle from wall. Asks subject what he thinks purpose of said instrument is. “Something to do with
cricket?” says subject. Principal levels paddle at subject, says: “Next time you’re in here, you’ll find out what it’s for.”
Subject sent to principal’s office for second offense: tripping student at recess. Subject, surprised, tells principal tripping is popular, “funny” activity. Principal assures subject tripping not funny, even on grass. However, if subject apologizes to student, paddle will remain on wall. Subject says sorry, holds laughter until out of earshot.
Subject playing guitar with fellow students in music class. “Hot Cross Buns.” Subject sneezes. Gooey projectile exits nose. Sticks to guitar. Subject continues playing, thinking no one has noticed. Music teacher (female, short-haired) screeches: “Go to my office get a Kleenex wipe off that guitar!” Students cease playing, stare at subject. Subject, embarrassed, goes into office. Feels resentful. Flicks projectile from guitar onto ceiling. Returns to class.
Science teacher (male, muscular) grabs subject by shirt, says, “I know you did it.” Is referring to school window shot with BB gun. Subject denies involvement. “Don’t lie,” says teacher. “Your buddy J. told me everything.” Subject wonders why J. would rat. Maybe because, in addition to school window, subject also shot J. Numerous times. Once, according to J., “right in the penis.”
Subject, friend (G.) upbraided by gym teacher (male, potbellied, sweatpants-wearing) for “horsing around” during kickball. “One of you is wayward, the other’s delinquent,” says gym teacher. Subject, G., highly amused, refer to each other as Wayward, Delinquent for remainder of school year.
Subject in line for sports physical at school nurse’s office. Tells rude joke. Gym teacher overhears, shoves subject against wall. Enraged, spittle flying, gym teacher says, “You’re a real horse’s ass.” Subject wonders why gym teacher so attached to horse metaphors.
Study Hall. Subject’s friend B. falls asleep at library table. Subject removes B.’s homework from folder, fills in blanks, replaces homework. Following day subject summoned to vice principal’s office. Vice principal (female, stocky, pantsuit-wearing) hands B.’s homework to subject, asks if he knows anything about it. Subject says he doesn’t. Wonders how B. could’ve possibly turned in assignment without reading answers. “Whoever filled in these blanks,” says vice principal, “is a very sick individual.” B., seated beside subject, kicks subject’s ankle.
Subject, G. in music class. Music teacher (male, bearded, diminutive) instructs students to sing “Hey Jude.” Students comply, with exception of subject, G., who sing theme song from Green Acres. Resulting discordance provokes, in opinion of subject, inordinate reaction from music teacher: red face, tremulous scream. “Get out of my classroom!” Glee subject experiences nearly indescribable.
Subject, friends smuggle alcohol into school. Subject, buzzed, belches loudly in German class. German teacher (female, permed) sends subject to vice principal’s office. On way, subject stuffs mouth with pennies (rumored to mask alcohol, defeat breathalyzers), gargles, spits in garbage can. Under intense questioning, subject tells vice principal he suffers from “stomach condition” causing uncontrollable eructation. School nurse (female, gray-haired) examines subject’s throat, eyes, nose; takes pulse, blood pressure. Inebriation suspected. Subject sentenced to In School Suspension (ISS). Leaving office, subject mutters profanity at passing teacher (male, ill-groomed). Sentence enhanced to Out of School Suspension (OSS). Subject asks visibly furious vice principal if she might be “blowing things a bit out of proportion.” Commences OSS with legitimate stomach complaint, probably result of placing unsterilized coins in mouth.
Midnight. Subject, B. rolling tires down hill next to gas station. Tires achieving impressive distance. Police cruiser approaches, flashers engaged. Subject, B. bolt. Officer (male, athletic) initiates foot chase. Subject fair distance ahead when remembers surname on back of sweatshirt. Stops running. Officer apprehends. B. surrenders. Subject immediately launches into eyewitness account of “some kids we saw rolling tires down the hill.” Officer says, “I’m investigating a report of green slime thrown at a house. What’s this about tires?” B. kicks subject’s ankle. Officer drives subject, B. up street. Stops. “Well?” says officer. “Did you slime this place?” As prison time unlikely for lobbing glob of K-Mart novelty slime onto stoop, subject, B. confess. Awkward apology, brief clean-up.
Senior year. Subject, G. camping with girls. One girl bored. Other hungover. Trip aborted. Subject, G. dropped off. Procure bottle of Jim Beam. Board bus in direction of mall. Exhibit drunken behavior. Notice bus driver utilizing communication device (to call police?). Alight in random neighborhood. Walk around. Get on next bus. Get off at mall. Enter mall. Drink Jim Beam from mixed “magic coke” bottles. Police officer (male, military bearing) detains, sniffs coke bottle, says, “Smells like cheap bourbon to me.” Subject, G. handcuffed together, paraded through mall. Transferred to suburban jail. Locked in adjoining cells. Subject argues with police officers, swearing he’s not intoxicated. “Give me a breathalyzer!” says subject. “No need,” says sergeant (pudgy, mustached). “We can smell you from here.” Subject’s father, who had wild senior year himself (DUI, fight with teacher) wants to leave subject in confinement to learn lesson. Subject’s mother disagrees, retrieves him. Subject pays fines, endures substance abuse classes. Presents paper at final class: “Morphine: The Sleepy Killer.”
Subject checking gate passes at cultural institution, upstate New York. Level of boredom: unprecedented. Hears of opening at institution’s golf course. Talks to head greenskeeper (male, goateed). Head greenskeeper willing to hire subject if gate manager releases. Subject goes to gate manager (male, geriatric), explains need for more active job. Offers to remain at gate until replacement hired. “No way,” says gate manager. “Why should I look for a replacement when I already have you?” Subject, incensed, goes to administrative office, collects paycheck, quits. Takes great satisfaction in knowing gate manager must now find immediate replacement.
Private golf club, Pennsylvania. Subject returns from lunch break. “Where have you been?” says assistant greenskeeper (male, sandwich-eating). Subject, annoyed, says, “I get a half hour, don’t I?” Four days later head greenskeeper (male, blonde, frat boyish) rolls up in cart, says to subject, “I see you were three minutes late this morning.” Subject says, “The crew didn’t go out until twenty minutes after I punched in.” Head greenskeeper says, “This is your second strike. One more and you’re out.” Following week subject suffers bowel episode en route to work, stops at convenience store for toilet. Checks watch. Late. Rather than face humiliating baseball-themed dismissal speech, calls in, resigns.
Based on above incidents, and taking subject’s family history into account (subject’s father: entrepreneur, authority-averse), standard career path, i.e. regular job, poor fit. Should consider self-employment.
Dan Morey is a freelance writer in Pennsylvania. He’s worked as a book critic, nightlife columnist, travel correspondent and outdoor journalist. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in failbetter, Hobart, decomP and McSweeney’s Quarterly, and he’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Find him at .