Chapter - 3
Daniel walked around the clustered gatherings of other children as he made his way up to the middle school’s front doors. No one paid him any notice. He passed among the cliques like a shoeless man treads upon broken glass. He longed to be a part of a group but didn’t know how. Making friends, being interesting, conversing and bonding? These qualities were held for granted by the socially successful, seeming to effortlessly make people like them. Daniel was moved by their ability of influence and control. Daniel assumed failure, brought on by a life of public implosion. Attaining the doors, he pulled the metal latch and walked inside. He turned smartly to the left, entering the stairwell. Reaching his hand far up the banister, he pulled and leaped taking the steps two at a time. His shoulder bumped into a couple boys who were descending to the main floor.
“Damn it!” One of the boys yelled. Daniel froze on the landing, like a penitent waiting for the scourge. He was turned and pushed roughly against the stairwell. The railing bit vengefully into his side. The violence of the attack didn’t scare Daniel as much as the fact that he had no idea who this boy was.
“Watch where the fuck you’re going fag boy!” The enraged kid spat the words into Daniel’s face. The violence was explained with that one condescending word. Daniel felt better knowing the abandon of the assault was due to his own reputation proceeding him. This other boy must have known the fact that he could wield the fury of God without any chance of retaliation. “If you want to fight I will fight you at any time!” The boy said. His friend laughed, looking at his buddy with lustful reverence.
“I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to get suspended,” Daniel whimpered. He felt his body melt, muscles loosening and drooping under newly heavy bone. He become completely submissive. Yielding in wait for the aggression to end. The boy let go; sensing his prey defeated.
“If you touch me ever again, I’ll kill you,” The boy said. He and his friend left, descending the stairs and congratulating each other on their misuse of another human being. Daniel waited for his heart to slow down and breath to calm. He continued his climb up the stairs. His body scurried the hallways like a fretful rodent, trying to remain invisible, trying to meld into the walls. Daniel made it into his first class of the day. His teacher didn’t look up from his desk while hailing him.
“Daniel, do you have your homework done for today?”
“About half of it,” Daniel said. He dug in his bag for his paper.
“Half isn’t finished. That‘s not what I asked. I asked you if you had your homework done.”
“No. I didn’t have a chance to finish it last night,” Daniel found the paper a held it out to his teacher. He waved it away.
“I also didn’t ask you for any lame excuse you had for not finishing your work. Did I?”
“No,” Daniel said.
“You disrespect me and my classroom by not finishing your work. Do you know that?” The teacher asked.
“I didn’t mean to disrespect you,” Daniel said. The teacher looked frustrated and finally regarded Daniel.
“It’s not what you meant, but what you did,” the teacher said. “You disrespect me and my class. Get out.”
“Get out? Can you do that?” Daniel said. The teacher sighed.
“Get out. Apathy doesn’t have a place in my class.”
“Where will I go?”
“I don’t care,” the teacher said. “I just don’t want to look at you.” The teacher got up from his desk and moved toward Daniel. He didn’t touch Daniel but used his body to coax him backwards enough to shut the door in his face. Daniel could hear the class laughing as the door closed. At a loss, Daniel sat down in front of the classroom door for the first hour of his day. He tried to finish his homework while he sat but didn’t understand it. Eventually he gave up. He spent the rest of his time daydreaming about jamming a pistol into his teacher’s mouth and asking the fuck if he would like to try and kick him out of class now? He imagined the teacher fouling himself while gagging from the large metal barrel. He saw himself removing the gun and forcing the teacher to show him how to do the homework. “Was that so hard, you humiliating fuck?” Daniel would ask right before he pulled the trigger.