Printed from WriteWords -


by  Panther

Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2003
Word Count: 1239
Summary: I did this just for fun. I wanted to try and write something macabre – and I liked it. I tried to write it in such a manner that it can be dissected and analysed from any angle and still leave room for speculation.

If there is one question I will never understand, it would be the nagging question of “Why?”.
Why ask such a question? It is one word with so many meanings and implications.
What should one answer? Now there is another question that gives me the creeps, “What?” . Now what does one answer to that?
Do I give a long cumbersome statement or a short succinct one? These stuff messes with my head and I do not like it. I do not like it at all. There are so few things I do like. Now here is something I can talk lots about – the few things I like.
Why that should be the case… Crap! There is that annoying word again. What can I do about this problem? Crap! There is that other word again. It haunts me. I swear it does. It wants what little sanity I still have left. It scares me witless.
Why that should be the case…

A feeble hand snatches the paper John has been scribbling on from under his pen. He frowns at the mark made by his pen in mid stroke. His annoyance fades as soon as he sees who is holding it. It is Misses Dreadford. An English teacher so old, she should be retired. No! Not retired. Rather one foot in the grave. She probably has two feet in the grave already.

He nonchalantly puts his elbow on the table, supporting his chin on his upturned palm. With sleepy eyes and one partially raised eyebrow he looks up. “What will my punishment be this time, Mrs Dreadford …”

The elderly teacher is partially caught off guard by his lack of remorse, but recovers quickly, staying true to her name. “This time? This time! It is the same occurrence every single day. I stand here teaching; trying to help you ungrateful brats learn something about your language. Your mother tongue for goodness sake. But no! Bill in the back row sits staring at Marcia. Marcia is getting redder by the minute. Jeffrey sits staring out the window with no clue whatsoever of what is going on and you of all people, who should be an example to your peers, sit scribbling meaningless sentences, one after another, while I am teaching. You will be punished. You will be sorry. You will suffer for your insolence. You…!”, She is slowly tiring herself out. Her hands starts shaking. “You…! I am tired of you. I no longer want to deal with you. Go see the principle. Go! Now!”

John lowers his raised eyebrow and lifts the other. He fluently gets out of his desk without a hint of remorse nor haste, packs his bag and strolls to the door whistling the school’s anthem. Mrs Dreadford grabs painfully at her chest, and frantically starts looking for a small pillbox in her very old handbag just as he exits.

John waves at the secretary as he walks past reception on his way to the principle’s office. “The usual grievance?”, she asks smiling. “Wouldn’t want to disappoint…”, he calls back over his shoulder as he enters the principle’s office without knocking.

The office is lavishly furnished with antique furniture. Principle Greedley is sitting behind a gigantic redwood desk with his ear to a phone. He smiles at John and beckons him to come in and have a seat. John enters the office and seats himself in an excellently upholstered chair. He nods; smiling as he sees his most recent acquisition hanging on the already covered wall. There isn’t much room left. It is time for the office to be enlarged yet again.

Principle Greedley puts down the receiver, beaming. “I see you noticed” John nods. “Yes, I did. That one has the nicest print of the bunch.” “You think so, huh? I rather fancy it as well. Picks up the carpet”. Curiously the principle asks, “Pray tell which subject you were having, lad?” Grinning, “Nothing important. Only English composition. As if you didn’t know…”

Principle Greedley laughs at the double joke. The phone rings and he picks up, frowning. “John is here with me. Please hold my calls… Who? Do put him through.”, Cupping the receiver end, “Real important call. Will only take a couple of minutes.” With that he swivels his chair away from John.

Looking around the office, John’s gaze lingers for a moment on the object hanging on the wall. He really does like the print on that cheque. Bending down he opens his suitcase and takes out yet another notepad and pen.

Written word. Curse or virtue? Painstakingly created by ancients. Millions printed in mere seconds by today’s presses.
We know were it began. But do we know where and how it will end. Will we be fated to dictate to digitising techno-magic. No one knows.
I know. I think I know. What I know should not be known by others. Might as well give a small hint!
Humanity is fated to write the annals of his dying planet. Write. That is what I said. Write. It will be digitised afterwards. But it will have its origin created by hand. Mortal hands. Hands that encompass…

Putting the phone down and swivelling back. “At it again I see, John.” Partially looking up from his scribbling. “Can’t help myself. It is in my blood.” “Sorry to keep you waiting like this, I had to take the call.” ”Who was it?” “One of my superiors. He wanted to know if I was taking good care of our school and country’s greatest asset.”

Putting his work back in his suitcase. “What did you tell him?” With a glint in his eye. “It is as productive as ever.” That comment makes John smile.

An ambulance siren is heard coming in the general direction of the school. Principle Greedley nods approvingly at him while smiling even wider, but stops abruptly as the siren passes. John shakes his head at the principles silent question. The secretary enters the office and winks at John. She brought them refreshments. A tray of assorted imported biscuits accompanied by two cups of lavender tea is put down on the coffee table. John helps himself without prompting. After finishing his biscuit of choice he flicks his fingers to rid them of crumbs.

“I have finished the second batch.” The principle gleefully rubs his hands together. “Excellent, simply excellent. You are a little goldmine you know. Winning every available essay competition throughout the states. By the way, we will cash in big time on the latest competition. Twenty thousand for our wonderful school and two thousand for you – the student. You wouldn’t mind if I kept your share…”
With a slight flick of the wrist, “Sure. Same as always.”

The bell rings for the next period. John throws his suitcase over his shoulder, smoothes out his tie and shirt and pulls up his socks.

“Before you go John…” Principle Greedley unlocks a drawer. From it he takes a bulging black envelope and hands it to John. “Your payment for previous services rendered.”

John takes it and puts it into his breast pocket. On his way to the door he turns in his steps, casually slipping his hand into his trouser pocket. “You can have the Department send over their latest unwanted employee. I will have disposed of the current one by the end of the day. Two English periods in a row, you know…”