"Get stuffed!" I yelled at him, even though he just wanted to play. "I told you already, you're not playing, get stuffed!" Schoolyard handball was serious business in 1994. The next day I was taken out of class by the teacher. "I want to talk to you about how you treat others. Why did you tell Jeb to get stuffed?" This bitch had it in for me, she wasn't a good teacher. She was one of those teachers you could tell wasn't intelligent. When even a 9 year old can tell you aren't intelligent then there's something very wrong.
The tough kid of the class had told me once, that if you ever got taken outside by Mrs Butlin, that the secret was to cry a little. If you showed some remorse, she backed down and you got off lightly, or so he'd claimed. Unfortunately I just couldn't find the tears for Jeb, as much as I wanted my freedom. I stood there smirking uncontrollably, I couldn't help it, displays of authority made me nervous, nervousness led to laughing, laughing led to the teacher getting more frustrated and getting more angry, which led to more laughing. She assigned me hundreds of lines to write. It was her go to move. My father, the principal, had already told her off about how many lines she assigned to children, but she still continued.
I slunk back into the classroom pissed off and browbeaten. Jeb was sitting there proudly. I stared straight ahead at nothing, trying not to make eye contact. "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" I sat still, sullen, refusing to look over. Besides, I didn't even know what pondering meant, "get stuffed" I yelled inside my mind. "I'm pondering how I can tell my dad about anything you do and how quickly he'll come here and get you in trouble." My eyes moved over and took in his shit eating grin. I fumed.
After school I waited for my dad. You could always hear him coming from a mile off by the jangle of his keys. That was my father's unique sound, It had a tinge of prestige or importance to it, like a policeman or a prison warden. I used to play with the other kids until late sometimes after school, and often would see my father around. He never left the school before 5, and I never once walked home with him, he seemed to be ever present. I found him and told him that I had left some homework behind in my desk, so he let me inside the now locked building. I scurried up the stairs to my classroom and grabbed a book. As I was walking back out, my eye caught the blackboard - it had been cleaned, but was still coated in a thin veneer of chalk dust. I put my finger on it and swiped across, leaving a barely visible line. I continued, spelling out the letters F U C K M R S B U T L I N.
The next morning I walked in when the bell rang to a scene of much commotion. Mrs Butlin was yelling at the three or four girls who always arrived at class before the bells, they did so to appear as goody two-shoes and to suck up to the teacher. "You're the only ones in here of a morning, who else could've done it?" I sat quietly and watched it all unfold. She took them outside and grilled them. I kept quiet and didn't say a word. For 21 years. Because Fuck Mrs Butlin.