Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chapter One: You Can't Make Me Mad

For once Cole wasn't one of the students riding Mr. Herr. He was more distracted by the back of Andrea Posey's head. The back of her head was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, well, other than the front of her head. She was heavy metal video kind of pretty, not a plus, but she knew the words to Violent Femmes songs. Cole was sure they were destined to be together. If only he could get up the nerve to talk to her.

Then Mr. Herr said those amazing words "You can't make me mad. I'm sorry but you can't. I wish you'd just quit trying so we could move on with class. I'll tell you what, let's get it out of the way. Go ahead and try to make me mad. I'll give any of you a free shot. Get it out of your system and we can get on with things. You can insult me all you want but no cursing."

Four hands shot up, one of them Cole's. Mr. Herr called on Sean. "Yeah, why are you called Mr. Herr when you're bald."

"Oh, am I bald? I hadn't noticed. I get up every morning and look in the mirror and shave and somehow never noticed I was bald. Oh how wounded I am. Nice try Sean."

Three more hands shot up, one of them Cole's. Mr. Herr called on David. "Are you gay?"

"No. And neither is my wife. Anyone else?"

Only my hand was up. I think Doug was going to ask the question David had already just asked. Cole was the only one with his hand raised, like a good kid, and when called on...

"Yeah, Mr. Herr, I was wondering why I got a C on the last test even though I copied all of Andrea's questions exactly and she got an A. Then I noticed that you always call on her when there's work to be done on the board and I'm pretty sure I've seen you checking out her butt."

"OUT!" he yelled as he turned crimson.

"WHAT?! No! You can't kick me out!"


"You said we had a free shot!"



"OUT!" Cole sat in his seat defiantly, incensed. Mr. Herr pulled out a referral slip and started pressing a pen hard to it. Cole approached his desk. "This is bullshit!"

He kept writing. Cole pulled the slip away and tore it up. He pulled out another and wrote "2nd copy, student tore up 1st."

Cole pulled it away and tore it up, hoping he could get Mr. Herr to hit him at this point, a strategy that had once paid off in metal shop.

The now livid teacher started a third slip. "3rd copy..." Cole grabbed it.

"I can keep doing this all day Mr. Kinsey."

"Me too, Mr. Herr!"

He stopped writing. "Get out."

Cole walked outside the class, holding in tears and wondered how the hell he'd win this one. He knew he was in the right but he also knew Mr. Herr held all the power. Another student came out carrying a fourth referral slip. Cole saw "4th copy..." written on it.

"Hey Juanita, let me have that slip."

"Okay, but you have to tell him you took it or I'll get in trouble."

Cole agreed, Juanita handed him the referral. He noticed for the first time that she was kind of cute and then he ran back into class, tore up the referral and yelled "Fuck yourself Herr!"

"Goddammit, that isn't gonna help me win the battle." Cole's brain screamed. It sure made the class laugh though. Cole looked at Andrea Posey. She wasn't laughing. "Shit!"

Cole ditched Herr's class for the next week while keeping a low profile in his other classes. Finally he was called out of PE to the office. He told the whole sordid tale to the Principal who nodded like a bobble head clearly not listening. Cole was expelled, which is the furthest out of class you can be kicked. Cole cursed Herr with all the hate his teenage heart could muster. "In Herr's defense, I was looking at Andrea Posey's butt too." The principal continued nodding as he signed the papers that would give him one less student to worry about.