Day One, 1963
The September of my seventeenth year, devastated by separation from Anna Rose and the events that had tied us together, I found myself morose, looking smack into the face of another year in the asylum we called high school, daring anything or anyone to offer me peace of mind. All these people had spent the summer diddling around their back yards smoking cigarettes. I don’t know how I made it through the first day.
Looking ahead to nine months of purgatory, which they’d probably make me read about, I stumbled into history class where I tried to make conversation with the boy next to me. A book slammed into the side of my head. Mr. Nobson stood over me, glaring. “If you talk, it will be about history, and it will be to me! Understood?”
“Sir, yes sir,” I said. “There’s no need for violence.”
That was my ticket to the Principal’s office. Mr. Nobson believed in cracking down real hard on the first day, so everyone would know he was a miserable asshole, and would respect him as such.
The Principal, Mr. Binelli, scratched his head. “Boy, that didn’t take long, did it?”
“No, sir,” I said. “I guess I was out of line when I pleaded for mercy. But look, my glasses cut my ear. That book hurt.”
“What kind of thorn have you got in your butt? Help me out.”
“I don’t know. I just hate school really bad.”
“The people? Or the institution?”
“I’ll have to call your mom. Any time someone comes in here within twenty minutes on the first day, I call home. Sometimes we can get an attitude adjustment.”
“It’ll take more than that. I think I need brain surgery,” I said. “I hate everything.”
“No you don’t. You just have to identify a few dreams to live for. I’m here to help you, if you will let me. You can get through this.”
“No, I can’t. I’m hopeless.”
“How’d you spend the summer? It’s not about a broken heart, is it?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Well, you’ll have to talk to someone. Looks like you’re driving with the brake on here.”
“Not really. I’m pretty much parked.” It was a bad start.
When Binelli released me, after history, I went to Spanish Four class, which was a mix of kids of different ages, depending on their experience and language ability. A couple of dumb senior classmates, who should have been in Spanish Two, sat in the back, where I had to sit also because all the other chairs were taken. But the back seemed like the appropriate place for me. Continue reading “Recent Novel, Chapter One”