Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dec. 27

Kurt glid over to the closed door in the back, shut next to a postboard full of notices promoting piano lessons and babysitters available. He blinked, then rapped on the door. “Jade? We’re going.” No answer. He knocked again. 

I stood back with Rick and Barry on either side of me in the middle of the store. All of us, front clerk included, watched as Kurt took the handle and jiggled it preemptively. It moved to the right, freely. Not locked. Pale florescent light poured out of the corner of the bathroom as Kurt slowly peered past door and inside. He stood there for a while, neck cut off by the angle of the door, and eventually came out and looked at us with a new pale colour flushed across his face. 

He came to us, squinting and sweaty, and blinked a few times.

“We need to call an ambulance.”

Dec. 10

“That’s three!” shouted Noah from across the muddy field. Lem shuffled as he held his pants up and joined his comrades, defeated. At Noah’s time at kick, he quickly hit a home run with his bare foot, crossed the bases, scored a run. Being the only player on his team, he stepped up to kick again, scored another home run. Tommy McCloud buried his face in his cap and Lem watched in a sort of humiliation that probably would haunt him long into adulthood. Noah ran up the score to blowout status, point after point until the eight-year-olds cried defeat and ran back to the schoolhouse, heads slung in defeat. The sun set that day as Noah stood alone, victorious, arm slung up in triumph.

He proceeded to flunk the entire grade three curriculum. 

Noah said that after proving to himself that not only was he a genius, but a gifted athlete as well, he lost interest in school. One day, when Mr. Carleton Senior came to pick up Noah, he found an empty desk.

“Plump Ms. Pepper,” he said, picking up on the inexplicable name that had become synonymous with the thin woman, “Where is Noah?”

“That boy left right in the middle of math today,” said Ms. Pepper. “Said he felt his talents were being stifled.”

“Noah said that? Noah doesn’t have talents.” 

“That’s not the worst part,” said Ms. Pepper. “I found this in his desk.”

Plump Ms. Pepper pulled out a canvas. On it was a crude illustration of Noah, flying through the clouds, propelled by a rainbow, accompanied by smiling doves and the caption “BELIEVE IN YOURSELF”.

Mr. Carleton Senior stuck out his tongue and shuddered.

Noah decided to show me this painting. He made me wait at the dinner table as he climbed up the ladder to the attic and brought the painting down. Now, there’s “believing in yourself” and then there’s schmaltzy garbage. I mean, he had flung sparkles on it and everything.

Kurt was already downstairs by the time Noah finished telling the story (again) about Lem and his father and kickball, so I excused myself to go talk to him.

Dec. 7

I should preface this. Noah tells a lot of stories. So I guess I don’t really have any have anything to back this up with. 

Noah leaned on his knees on the pitcher’s mound. The five eight-year-olds huddled, all smiles and confidence. By this point a crowd had begun to gather. The grade ones and twos looked at him with what could only be described as reverence (a couple moaned with what could only be described as hunger). One five-year-old’s squawky voice could be heard on the wind as he placed the lanky pitcher, “hey, it’s that guy!”. Noah waved. Plump Ms. Pepper peered over as she struck another match and raised it to her cigarette.

Tommy McCloud, hat turned sideways, stepped up to kick first. He licked his lips and kicked the dirt in invitation. Noah knew he had little issue being dubbed “the fastest” when racing the 1’s, but Tommy would be a problem. Tommy was one of those kids who could turn it on, feet like a roadrunner when in the moment, and Noah was ran more like a gazelle. His sprint was more a quick series of graceful hops. Noah had to strike him out.

The thong of rubber on foot sent the ball flying far overhead Noah as he craned his neck to watch it’s shadow pass over him.

“Ha ha ha! Reach, beanpole!” said McCloud, sticking out his tongue as he crossed second. 

Noah took off, sandals flipping at his heels as he chased the red ball, now rolling into deep right field. With the deftness of Michael Jordan (if he played kickball), he lurched forward as he kicked the ball up in the air, leaped to catch it and threw it from the air at a darting Tommy McCloud.

Two steps from home plate, the red cannonball thocked Tommy in the head and sent him spinning through the air before he landed on his face in the dirt. The crowd of infants erupted in joy at their schoolmate’s possible death. 

Tommy sat up in the dirt and burst out in tears.

“Ms. Pepper! Noah hit me with the ball!”

Plump Ms. Pepper ignored the child as she stared perplexed at some kind of stain she was attempting to scratch off her painted nails.

“That’s one out!” shouted Noah, somewhat too viciously. The 8-year-olds froze in fear.

Dec. 2

Kurt works at the gas station around the corner and can’t stand it. Like he says when he sits down next to me, “work sucks, man.” I nod understandingly though I haven’t worked a day in my life. Kurt’s offered jobs all the time he doesn’t want, and his resume makes him out to be a real go-getter, a jack-of-all-trades, an eager beaver, phrases that if mentioned to him would earn you an unimpressed stare. Though we’re unrelated you might be surprised at what we have in common (except for his detached broody thing, which doesn’t really mesh with the “on edge constantly” qualities I promote). Before Kurt dropped out of school, he was a school therapist’s DREAM. He spent most of high school not going to high school, but when he went he would conjugate proper nouns like nobody’s business and solve for X on command. You could see the desire to reform in every teacher’s eyes. I swear I heard them mumbling over and over “this-is-why-I-got-into-teaching”. They’d approach him, punch him in the arm, nod knowingly at his disinterest and subtlety try to work in mention of after-school programs he might be interested in.