The Teacher’s Pet By Harry Jonathan Chong High school is a shitty place to be.

Nobody wants to be there—most of all the teachers. But Mr. Feynman tried to make the best of his history class, and he stood in front of his students with an enthusiasm not normally found in educational institutes. He waved his arms and spoke in booming voice, trying to get the boys and girls to get interested. Of course, none of them were. They had more important things on their minds, at least in their opinion, and they couldn’t be bothered to learn about how Hitler invaded Poland and all that “B.S.” “This is important stuff,” said Mr. Feynman, trying to convince them otherwise. “If we do not learn from our history, we are bound to repeat it.” A student in the back shouted, “Huh! Says you!” “Who said that?” Larry, the guy with the broad shoulders and curly hair, raised his hand in the air in a derisive manner. It waved around floppily. “Yoo hoo!” “Larry Conn, and what is your problem?” “Jus’ stating the facts. Fact is we don’t need any this. You think this’ll ever come in handy in the real world? Come on. Be real with us, teach.” “…Alright, maybe you don’t need history to survive in this world, but it would do you good to show some reverence for those who died so you could live in this free country.” “All those war vets is dead. You think their ghosts need reverence?” “Larry, I’m sorry. I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Just step outta the hallway. Let us finish here, huh?” “Fine. This is stupid, anyway. Dumb class.” Larry got up, went outside, and slammed the door. He leaned up against some lockers and put his hands in his pockets. Mr. Feynman could see him through the window. “Boy,” said Mr. Feynman under his breath, “kids these days.” Then he continued on. While the other students were quite bored about the lesson, they at least didn’t interrupt. Some time went by and Larry was still in the hallway. You’d think a punk like that would leave without permission, but he really had nowhere else to go. Home? Too far by foot. The cafeteria? That was closed. The library? No way. Wouldn’t be caught dead in there. At this point Mr. Feynman was finished his lesson, and he was sat behind his desk while students read their books. As he marked some papers, he saw a commotion through the glass window of the door in the corner of his eye. He got up and went into the hallway. Larry was screaming at a girl. The girl, Mr. Feynman recognized, was Nicole. Mr. Feynman cleared his throat and was about to speak up when Larry hit Nicole across the face. Real hard too. Not like a held back thing. It was a full on punch for a man. Nicole fell to the floor. Mr. Feynman ran to her aid. He picked her up and looked at her nose—it was thankfully not broken. Just bleeding. “What the hell are you doing?” said Mr. Feynman to Larry. Larry put his hands back, trying to feign innocence. “Was an accident,” he said. “She was running through the hall and I tried to give her a high five. Totally missed.” “Are you shitting me?! Did you not notice me standing here? I saw the whole damn thing!”

“Alright, what’re you going to do to me? Send me to the principal’s office?” Mr. Feynman hesitated. The principal, Mr. Conn, was Larry’s father. Mr. Conn was a biased man, and would do anything to protect his family—even if they were wrong. Nobody liked Mr. Conn, or Larry for that matter, but they couldn’t say much against them. This was a small town and there wasn’t much employment. Getting fired would spell certain financial doom. Nicole whimpered and held her nose. Mr. Feynman angrily pointed his finger at Larry. “Okay, Larry,” he said, “I’ll let you off with a warning. But don’t let me see this again.” The bell rang. All the kids rushed into the hallway. Larry backed away and disappeared into the crowd. Mr. Feynman put his hand on Nicole’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” he said softly. “I’m sorry for what happened.” “Get away, creepo,” Nicole said with a shove. Then she ran down the stairwell and went into the girl’s bathroom at the corner. Mr. Feynman followed her in. Nicole was splashing water on her face, to get off the blood from her bleeding nose. “I just wanted to talk,” said Mr. Feynman. “About…” Nicole cut him off. “I know it’s you! You’re the creepo who’s been leaving me those love notes! Lizzy saw you slip a note into my locker!” “Lizzy? Which Lizzy?” “Lizzy—the one with the blonde hair.” “Yeah, she’s just lying to you, okay. She’s lying. She’s a fucking liar!” “She never lies! She’s devout Catholic!” As Nicole tried to leave, Mr. Feynman stepped in her way. “Wait, wait, wait,” he said in a calm tone. “I’m sorry. I just don’t like being accused of things. I didn’t mean to raise my voice. Look, Nicole. Believe me. There is nothing going on. I just want you to be safe. You’re my student.” He took a shallow breath. The stench of urine was overwhelming. “And if your boyfriend is hitting you regularly, well, I’d like to do something about that.” “Larry don’t hit me too often,” said Nicole. “Just when he’s in a bad mood. It’s nothing for you to think about.” “I don’t know.” “Just let me get to my next class.” Nicole went past Mr. Feynman to leave the bathroom—then she remembered her next class was with Mr. Feynman. “SHIT,” she said. The night came and Mr. Feynman was at home in his old armchair. There was a book in his hands, and it was on the topic of monsters. Monsters fascinated him on two parts: One, they were scary. Two, they were very misunderstood. This, somehow, was something Mr. Feynman could relate to. A knock came at the door. Mr. Feynman got up and went to answer it. There was his friend—his only friend, a science teacher—Mr. Micallef. “Hey,” said Mr. Micallef. “It’s Friday. Thought you might wanna hang out. I brought beer.” “Where?” said Mr. Feynman. “Okay, I didn’t bring any beer. But we can go get some if you want.” “You know I’m in AA, right?”

“Well, you ain’t anonymous no more.” “Look, I have things to do. Gotta catch up.” “Ooh, fine. I guess I’ll do something else—something really fun and exciting!” “I’m not a kid, you can’t trick me.” “Couldn’t hurt to try… Okay, I’ll see you later. Maybe Saturday?” “I’ll be there.” And Mr. Feynman said goodbye to Mr. Micallef, and he resigned himself to quietness, back in his armchair. He read his book until he fell asleep. He looked peaceful, but he suddenly jerked out of his sleep. He had a nightmare where Larry was abusing Nicole. Just beating the snot outta her. “Fuck,” said Mr. Feynman. “What that asshole must be doing to her—” He sprung up at the midnight hour and went to his closet. He swung open the door and selected something to put over himself, based on the weather. A raincoat, since it was rain. He went out with boots into the mud. He went into his car and sped to Larry’s. Larry’s place was quite nice. It was a large home. A six-bedroom deal. Not quite a mansion, but not quite a house. Mr. Feynman went into his car trunk and took out a sports axe. He crept to the front door of Larry’s home and looked through the window. He knew that the principal, Mr. Conn, and his wife would not be at home. Those two usually went out on Fridays to whatever tickled their fancy. They were very social people. “Alright,” said Mr. Feynman. “Let’s do this quick and dirty. One blow to the kid’s head with the axe and run out. No looking back. The cops will never find out. They’re too dumb.” Then he smashed open the glass at the front entrance and reached his hand through to open the door. As he entered the main foyer, the lights went on. Mr. Feynman was dazzled in a bad way. He looked left and saw Larry, and then he looked right and saw Larry. He looked again. There was only one Larry. Larry paced down the stairs to Mr. Feynman. “Mr. Feynman,” he said. “What’re you doing here? Why’s the glass all broken?” “It stops now,” said Mr. Feynman. Then he swung his axe into Larry’s head—but against what he told himself, he kept doing it. Over and over again. Larry’s head looked like a smashed watermelon. “It’s done,” said Mr. Feynman with short breath. “I can go now.” And he ran away. Just like Mr. Feynman had predicted, the cops were dumb, and they were baffled at the crime. Well, they weren’t really dumb, but it was more ‘cause they had so many damn suspects. A lot of people hated Larry Conn. His girlfriend, and all the kids he bullied, which was a good chunk of the school. Mr. Feynman was on his break, having lunch alone in his vacant classroom. Mr. Micallef came by. “Man,” said Mr. Micallef, “I still can’t believe it. One of our students got murdered. And in the most gruesome manner possible. What are the odds, huh?” “He probably deserved it,” said Mr. Feynman. “Uuuh, I dunno about that. But he was kind of a jerk.” A knock came at the door. Knock! Knock! It was Nicole, and she let herself in. “I better leave,” said Mr. Micallef, and he did.

“What can I do for you?” asked Mr. Feynman. He took a swig of his coffee. “I don’t know,” said Nicole. “I’m just feeling down.” Mr. Feynman stood and closed the classroom door. He went over to Nicole and hugged her. While doing so, he rubbed her back in a less than appropriate manner. “Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s just me and you now. You don’t have to worry about Larry. He won’t touch you again.” “But I love Larry,” said Nicole. “I, I, I miss him.” Mr. Feynman let go of Nicole and stared her grimly in the eyes. “You’re a dumb teen! You don’t know what’s good for you! Larry’s dead, and there’s no bringing him back! That bratty fucker is dead! You hear me! Now it’s gonna be you and me! Nicole and Mr. Feynman!” “You did it,” said Nicole. “You killed Larry! I bet you did. You creepo! I knew it!” “You can’t prove anything.” “You killed Larry because you wanted me—you didn’t want to protect me!” “Theories, theories, all conspiracy theories.” “I’m going to get to the bottom of this.” Mr. Feynman grabbed Nicole by the wrist and squeezed her. “You can try all you want. Nobody will believe you.” Nicole pulled away and ran outside. Mr. Feynman returned to his desk and continued his lunch as if nothing had happened. He took a bite of his potted meat and A1 Steak Sauce sandwich. He rubbed his tummy with satisfaction, then threw his ball of cling wrap into the garbage. When he headed for the door to leave, it swung open on its own. Mr. Feynman nearly shat his pants. “L-L-Larry! You’re…you’re alive!” “I’m not Larry,” said the boy who looked exactly as Larry. “Then who are you?” “His twin. I go to a different school.” “And what are you going to do to me?” “Left or right.” “What?” Mr. Feynman noticed Larry’s twin had his hands behind his back. “Left or right,” said Larry’s twin. “I have a gun in one of my hands. Pick it and you go bye-bye.” Mr. Feynman closed his eyes and pointed. “Left.” Fin.

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