Roger stood in front on the class, it was ten in the morning, it was Monday. From where he stood, he could see the traffic from Melrose and Fairfax out the window, over the chairs of distracted and snake pit-like students.
Students to whom he was supposed to teach English Lit, though they had no interest in English Lit. No real need for English Lit, and more than half the students couldn’t even speak English fluently enough to understand him.
But they were all going to pass.
Roger stood in front of the class and began reading aloud.
“Tiger, Tiger burning bright…”
Monica sat on Louis’s lap facing Louis as they necked, necking like a porn movie prelude to penetration; open mouth, large swallows, and volumes of saliva.
Roger kept on reading aloud, ignoring the demonstration of sloppy teen sexual indecency.
Roger always thought if you acted shocked, or protested, you were giving the little bastards exactly what they wanted. Besides, he didn’t really care.
Daniel sat in the front row, snuggly holding his notebooks tight to the desk. Today, he was wearing his basic black ensemble. All black, and in layers, but today, he had the black sweatshirt hood over his head, grim reaper style.
Today, his nail polish was dark green. Roger also noticed that today, Daniel had plucked his eyebrows. Not shaved them, but plucked them like a super model, with a perfect arch.
Roger kept reading…
Daniel was going to receive a hell of a locker bashing and hall pummeling when the other boys noticed his new “look,” Roger thought.
Daniel was 18 and finally “coming out,” which was an excuse for tribal ritual beating though, to be fair, everyone had some kind of violent tribal initiation at Fairfax High School.
Even the girls engaged in fights and used loud profanity. It was mercifully un-attractive; the beautifully half-dressed nubile teens were no temptation, no matter his mood.
Violence was the Gospel to this generation. These little bastards aspired to criminal status; their heroes were vice ridden, excessive celebrities with no skills.
And Roger kept reading aloud.
Violence was a social activity, as was sex and drugs and all the comical “edgy” crap that to Roger had become cliché.
Roger continued to read.
He was wondering why he was doing this, thinking about the money and the idiotic papers, and the threats by students, and parents. The early days of his teaching career, screaming till he was hoarse, being spit on, and being penalized for holding off a student who came at him with a baseball bat.
Roger continued to read, wondering if God had any idea what was happening in Fairfax High School.
Thinking about Blake’s insanity, or was it prophetic gifts? About mad writers becoming legends and creating what he thought was eternal prose that was being killed by this generation of fools. And why was he teaching? What was the point?
The sad thing was, he loved English Literature. All of it. It inspired him; he always thought he could be the next great writing genius, touring with his novels, movie deals, the characters he would expose, and enlighten, his novel would… do what? Stay in the computer, next to the porn, and the pictures of his mother, and his ex-girlfriend.
Roger continued to read…
He wanted to be home, he wanted to drink coffee at Starbucks in the afternoon and not worry about money, and date some cool dancer girl with no hang-ups, and not have to follow the agenda, or eat at the cafeteria, or be spoken to by everyone as if he were a slave.
And Roger continued to read…