The teacher who didn’t know anything taught high school math. Whenever a student asked him a question about another subject, he said “I don’t know” and he didn’t. He taught high school math because the answers were in the teachers edition.
He didn’t know the names of the other teachers, the name of the school he taught at, and certainly not the names of any of his students. He called the other teachers “Sir” or “Madam,” the school was “work,” and the students “boys and girls;” collectively, or “young man/lady” individually.
He only ate microwave food because microwave food comes with clear instructions on the package.
When he gets home, he eats his microwaved meal in front of the tv. He watches a channel that doesn’t quite come in.
He sleeps under his mattress, on top of his blankets, while dressed in a coat and shoes.
He named his plant “fluffy” and his cat “slimy. His cat has to eat microwaved food too.
He doesn’t know how to flush his toilet, but his cat, in a rare feline venture into cleanliness, figured it out and flushes it for the man.
When he grades papers, he uses two hand drawings of a chicken and an alligator. Nobody understands what either means.
Whenever he leaves a building he leaves through the fire exit. Somewhere in his dim mind he has associated alarms with the building he just left saying “farewell” to him.
He brushes his hair with a toothbrush, and his teeth with a hairbrush.
He does his dishes in the bathtub, and uses the spray attachment on the sink to bathe.
However, he does play the guitar, but the guitar does not have strings.
The marine’s favorite weapon is a mark 19 chain-fed 40mm high explosive grenade launcher.
He prefers Ansac cognac to hennesey, but doesn’t drink the vsop of either. The cognac is excellent with chocolate. He doesn’t nibble the chocolate and have a couple fingers of the cognac, he eats half the bag and drinks half a bottle, from the bottle.
The marine also likes campari, but not as much since they stopped coloring it with crushed beetles.
The marine has an office with paperwork, a computer, a phone, a fax, other marines, and pictures of his nieces.
The marine likes the Mingus album where he plays piano instead of bass, the “Oh my jesus” album.
The marine has read the bible more than once, and the U.S. constitution more times than he can remember.
At night, he sits in his living room, with the windows open, even in winter. His third-floor apartment is always overheated.
If you were to walk by his building, on the other side of the street, and look up and catch a glimpse of him, perhaps you would see him grooving to Mingus, or “tradition” from Fiddler on the roof, or pacing back and forth reading Billy Collins poems, or talking animatedly on the phone with a bottle of cognac in his hand. Your first thought would not be that he is a marine.
The lover feared becoming unpredictable. He set their bedrooms aflame with candles, sought out exotic fruit to share with her, wrote poems, sonnets, letters, and screenplays to her.
He went to the store with the tinted windows and bought things in tubes flavored like pina coladas, raspberry, and “wild grape.”
When winter came, he made two snowmen on her lawn, they were hand in hand.
In the spring he gathered armfuls of flowers and tree blossoms, both their bedrooms shone with fresh color.
In the summer he packed elaborate picnics and they ate at the park, the beach, in the field with the crickets and small jumping insects, in the woods under the embrace of the tall trees.
One summer’s night he gathered many fireflies, half a dozen jars. He hung them from the magnolia tree in her garden, the one where they liked to sit and talk on warmer nights. When she saw them, she became distraught. She covered her face in her hands, cried, and drove off in her car.
He sat there long hours, watching the fireflies zip back and forth in their jars. Like electrons. Like straight-jacketed patients off padded walls.
Half-naked in the woods by the falls.