No-one moved. Had he not known the truth, he would have abandoned them for dead. Maybe he was just fooling himself, maybe they really were dead, just sitting there, refusing even to look at him. Most anyway. There were two or three who would occasionally glance his way, make a quick judgement as to whether he was still alive and, finding their hopes dashed, would return to their examination of modernistic wood-grain laminates. Then there was the really morbid one. Dark, sitting across the class, smiling grimly at some private joke or other. What murderous thoughts ran through that one's head was no subject for the likes of this teacher.
He leaned back, a practised gesture, designed to intimidate the students. He rested his arms on the chair's, letting his fingers rest on his stomach. He could feel the steel through the cloth, the teacher's best friend in these inner city schools was his vest, thirty-three pounds of protection from fists, knives and bullets.
Deciding the silence would never be broken, he called out to the mob. "Four." The dark one tossed something at him. He ducked. The missile continued its arc. His mind raced. Why had he asked the question, why had he insisted that they know the answer to that eternal question. What demon had possessed him to take up teaching, did mathematicians have this same problem, Did he make out his will, is there a good hospital plan with this job, or was that the form that he never got around to signing, you know, the one sitting at the bottom of a pile of papers on the corner of his kitchen counter. The counter! He didn't do the dishes that morning, what would the police think coming into a house where there were dirty dishes lying all over the place. What about Mildred. How would the little cat find a home, no-one in the city wanted a lame cat, she would be put to sleep. He didn't want that. He'd rather one of these snot-nosed kids got offed. No-one would miss them after all, they were only murderous brutes.
Why wasn't he dead yet. Had he died and not noticed. What a disappointment. After all, if one has to leave the world behind, it would be nice to go with a bang.
He opened his eyes, not wanting to miss any more of the show, to find four faces looking down at him, the death-filled faces of his tormentors. He was in hell, doomed for all eternity to suffer the cruel attacks of these heartless beasts. He screamed, collapsing to the floor.
The brunette glanced over at the dark child. "I guess he didn't like your golf imagery."
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This work is Copyright (c) Mike Fletcher 1992