Pissed! Pissed, I tell ya! Fighting mad! Fuck with me would they? Just because I’m little ... and wear glasses; can’t see my finger a foot away from my nose without ‘em. Little, weak, blind, stuttering genius. Girls won’t talk to me, or when they do, it’s to set me up for a fall. Gods! I get so mad.
I sniveled and snuffed away the blood and wiped the tears with the back of my hand ... and that set them all to laughing ... again. I wish I had a gun ... and knew how to shoot ... and could see well enough to aim. Fuck! Who am I kidding? I looked down at my shirt just as the school nurse stepped around the hall corner.
“Here, you hooligans! Get!”
She looked me over, “Come with me, David.”
I stumbled along behind her.
“Nurse Atkins, one moment, if you please,” said Principal Edwards
She didn’t please but she’d been Nurse long enough to recognize a command ... no matter how politely phrased. Damn all officers! “Yes sir.” It was all she could do to not salute ... old habits die hard.
I cringed. The last time I got beat up, I was suspended for three days. Mom was so pissed.
Mr. Edwards crooked a thumb at the oak door with the frosted plate glass window that proclaimed to the world that herein resides the Boss of this school ... and don’t you forget it.
So I stood in his office, dripping blood and snot all over his polished marble floor while he instructed his secretary, Miss Havisham that one David Austin was suspended ... for five school days ... for fighting.
“Type that up, Havisham. Four copies. One in the records, one mailed to his parents and one to David to hand deliver to his father ... and one to the police.”
He turned to me, “What, sir, do you have to say to that?”
I said nothing. The last time I protested my one day suspension he tacked on two more days ... but I did sneeze, several times. The pain was enormous.
“OW!” I grabbed my now freely flowing nose and groaned. Nurse Atkins positioned herself between Mr. Edwards and myself and began daubing at the offending proboscis.
“You did that on purpose!” Edwards shouted.
I looked up. Snot and bright red blood peppered his face, shirt, vest and suit coat. Talk about blowing ones brains out. De-s-gust-ing! One particularly offensive glob was slowly sliding down his Annapolis Alumnus tie.
He was inordinately proud of that tie. To him, that Tie Signified that ALL WAS RIGHT IN THE WORLD, and served to Remind that World that said Wearer had, Indeed, PROTECTED The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA from Enemies Foreign (but not domestic) and had Fulfilled his Oath and Done his Duty as Requested and Required by the President of These United States of America. Yessir ... he was proud of that tie.
Miss Havisham had to type up four more copies. Yeah, Sprayed her too.
“I’m sorry ... I’m sorry ... I’m sorry.” That’s what I meant to say ... what I said was, “Ib dorry Ib dorry Ib dorry.” And to cap it off, “Fug dat hurds.” I tried to bat Nurse Atkins’ hand away and slapped myself in the nose ... now it was Blood, Snot and Tears and a lot of OW-OW-OW emanating from just below the bleeding orifice.
Nurse Atkins took me to her office ... before Mr. Edwards could get nasty ... she stuffed cotton twists up both nostrils and called my home. “Mr. Austin is in Court,” said the secretary. “Mrs. Austin is down with the migraine. I don’t drive. He’ll have to walk.”
“I can wak ... id’s oney du bocks,” I mumbled.
Two blocks ... how much trouble can a short skinny freshman get up to in two blocks?
Depends on the freshman.
“Okay,” Nurse Atkins said, “Straight home. Promise?”
Since it hurt to talk, I nodded. Big mistake. Nodding made me dizzy and that made me nauseous. This was back before concussions were a big deal ... so the symptoms were there but nobody paid much attention ... unless you died. Dying was a big deal.
Out the double doors ... five concrete steps with a railing down the middle and a slightly sloping north trending concrete sidewalk to Cass street. Look both ways and step off the curb. Cross Cass and walk in front of the very modern Jail ... things are fuzzy now. Maybe I should stop in the Court house and see Pop ... or maybe not. I don’t remember the steps being that steep. I dodged the cars and stepped on the grass.
Oops ... piece of paper ... bend over, pick it up. The grass is soft.
“Isn’t that your kid?”
“Lying in the grass.”