It was a Friday. I’m sure it was, because like a full moon in nature, a Friday afternoon in school brings the crazy out. Sorry, I’m not sure that term is politically correct. Rephrase— it brings out the mentally enthusiastic. On the Skid hanging day, it began well enough. Our science teacher returned the toothpick towers we built, to learn about the brain function of patience. These delightful designs of ingenuity sat at the top corner of our desks. They were our crowning achievement of time spent with toothpicks and white glue. I think Skid put King Kong on the top of his tower.
After Science, Mr. Scott, our Language Arts teacher, arrives to instruct our class. He was the Pied Piper of tantalizing tales. It was a successful day when we asked enough questions to keep him talking for most of the period. With the full shine of Friday upon us, a few of the mentally enthusiastic boys are messing around. One kid in particular, Skid, could be a handful. He had a couple cohorts in cahoots with him. Class disturbers usually do. They are throwing things at each other, while Mr. Scott regales the rest of us with stories of the past. Most of the class is spellbound. But Skid is flying missiles while Mr. Scotts back is turned.
Mr. Scott can see what’s going on with the eyes in the back of his head. So, although he is pacing around the classroom, entertaining the majority of the students, he begins to pink up in the cheeks. Eventually, there is a slight twitch in his eye. And then Mr. Scott gives Skid the look of flaying skin from bones.
It has no effect on the naughty fellow.
A little steam puffs out of Mr. Scott’s ears while he carries on with his story. In the middle of a sentence, a white object flashes through the air crossing in front of his nose. It breaks the sound barrier.
Our teacher freezes.
Skid sinks in his desk.
Mr. Scott turns to face the class, hulking over a students desk in the front row. He raises a fist. He brings it down, landing like a wrecking ball on top of some kids toothpick Trump tower. Splinters of wood explode upon the floor.
“Who threw that?” He booms, heading towards the troublemakers. He rampages through the line of desks like a silverback gorilla through the jungle. Toothpicks fly every which way, as his fists come down again and again. “I’ve been lenient with this class, but no more. Who threw that?” thunders Mr. Scott.
Skid sits up and shrugs, “I did.” He confesses, in a tone that says, “What are you going to do about it?”
Mr. Scott yanks Skid up by the top of his shirt, dragging him across the desk, all the way to the front of the class. Skid is a floppy puppet in the grip of Mr. Scott. It’s so quiet you could hear a feather thud to the ground. Time stands still. Our teacher, my favourite teacher, holds Skid high up against the wall by his twisted shirt.
Skid maintains his smirk through his dethroning.
“Do you think that’s funny?” roars Mr. Scott blowing Skids hair back with his voice, and spraying Skid with spittle.
Skid’s feet dangle off the ground, like the clapper on a church bell. His face falls, and suddenly he is paying very close attention.
Mr. Scott, is blazing with anger. This reddish blond haired man, with a normally pale complexion is crimson, the glasses on his face only serve to magnify multiple red veins popping inside his eyes. No one dares to raise a hand, and ask, ”Excuse me Lucifer? May I use the washroom?” Half the class has a puddle of yellow under their desks, and the other half are passed out from holding their breath. We had never experienced such PG entertainment before. The feather thuds to the ground. Time speeds up, and Skids feet hit the floor.
Mr. Scott’s hands fall to his sides, and he wipes them across the sides of his pants. It’s as though, he is wiping away the slime from squashing a bug. “Go down to the office and see Mrs. Fanchuck. I’ll be there shortly.” He orders
The entire class shuffles in their seats, pretending to look at a textbook or write. Everyone does everything they can do, to avoid making eye contact with Mr. Scott. We can’t wait to spread the news at recess time! Mr. Scott went kawabunga coo coo, on a student.
Really though, Mr. Scott didn’t normally drag kids out of their desk, and throw them up against the wall. Who knows why Mr. Scott was pushed over the edge that day? It could have been the projectile event? Mind you, slingshots, spitballs, and elastic bands were kind of routine here, with typical punishments. Sixteen lashes, and hung by the thumbs at recess time. Maybe it was the shark-eyed cold stare of Skid, challenging Mr. Scott to do something? Or maybe Mr. Scott had troubles at home, a sick family member, a bladder infection or money worries? Teachers are human too.
Mr. Scott had always been my favourite teacher. But that was the day, he found his way into my mind forever. The event happened years ago, when the strap still had slapping action, and some boys considered it a right of passage to feel the sting. I don’t think Mr. Scott ever had to answer for hanging Skid up like a church bell. It didn’t really matter to me. It brought me one step closer, to becoming the teachers’ pet.