The chatty “Bad Boy.”
I know I talk a lot about being tortured by Tyla and her buddies when I was younger, and I will admit that maybe I was left with some emotional scarring from those particular instances. But I just want to tell you a little story that will let you know that I am not the only one who remembers those times. I am not the only one who remembers the abuse. Someone else remembers it, and bragged about it to a classmate of mine in the oddest of places at a later point in my life. That person was Tyla.
It was my junior year of high school and my days of Tyla were thankfully long gone. I had a ton of friends and life had really turned around for me. I was really, truly happy. Except for the occasional rumors concerning my boyfriend at the time kissing other girls. But I eventually even grew out of him too.
It was the beginning of the school year and I had to take Social Studies with Mr. Goldsmith. Not the most riveting class of my high school career. On the first day of class he had us sit in alphabetical order, which was a real bummer for me because that put me on the other side of the room from my friends. But what it did do was put a really “bad boy” sitting right in front of me. *Sigh* He’s an upperclassmen. What is he doing in this class? His name was Brad and his favorite thing to do in class was turn around and talk to me. Yay. He would talk about all kinds of stuff I wasn’t interested in all the while leaning on my desk with his elbows. Not to mention I wasn’t exactly excited about him talking to me because the girls he ran with could totally beat my ass, and that was the last thing I needed. Every single day he would talk to me, and every single day we would get into trouble for it. I just couldn’t understand why I had to be his new BFF.
Social Studies weren’t exactly what you would call my best subject in school. Actually I’m not really sure I had a best subject. But every time Mr. Goldsmith would hand out maps of the world or even of the United States I would cheat. Badly. You see, I would take the practice maps he sent home with us and put them under the test maps and if you looked really close you could see the names of the countries and states through the paper. This is also how I got through French. That, and a little help from a friend of mine, who would sit behind me and tap me on the back with his pencil. One tap means the answer is A. Two means B, and so on. I got caught in French and talked my way out of it by batting my eyes innocently and insisting that I had no idea how that paper got under my test. But in Social Studies you could pretty much light the room on fire and Mr. Goldsmith wouldn’t notice a thing. Mr. Goldsmith was more interested in how deeply he could insert his index finger into his nostrils. Yech. Like he was mining for gold up there. It made for a very gross and boring hour of my young life.
One day I went into Social Studies as usual and my chatty friend was missing. Gone. The next day he wasn’t there either. Well now I was just getting worried about him. Where could he be? It went on like this for about two weeks and believe it or not I actually missed him. That’s when I realized he was the bright light of my Social Studies class. Social Studies pretty much sucked without him.
Suddenly, three weeks later, Brad came strolling back into class. First thing he did was sit down in his chair and plop his elbows on my desk.
“Guess where I’ve been?” he said with a huge smile on his face.
“Really?” I asked. I had never known anyone who had been to rehab before.
“Yep. Do you know a girl named Tyla Suchabitch?”
“I do…” I said, as the PTSD started setting in. Pounding heart? Check. Sweaty hands? Check. Urge to run like hell? Check. On no, not Tyla.
“She was in rehab with me and was looking through my yearbook and spotted you.”
“Oh, yeah?” I muttered, feigning interest. But now I was just worried that my past was about to come back and haunt me. That my new chatty friend would tell everyone about my old life and people would laugh. I had worked too hard to get away from all that.
“Yeah, she bragged to me about how she and her friends used to make fun of you and used to make you cry all the time.” I didn’t say anything back this time. I just stared at his elbows. “But don’t worry, I told her you were our school’s mascot and that everyone loved you here.”
“You did?” I said, looking at him in a completely different light.
“Yeah, she wasn’t very happy to hear the news.”
“For what? I didn’t lie to her,” And then he turned back around in his seat before I could fully kiss his ass. That day Brad and I became friends. He had taken all those years that had haunted me and put them to rest. I had gotten my revenge. I was happy and she wasn’t. I had no idea that someone I barely knew could make me feel so special.
From there on out Brad and I were a team. Team Chaos. Poor Mr. Goldsmith didn’t know what hit him. Brad would help me cheat on all my tests by moving to either the left or the right so I could peek at his answers over his shoulder. Or he would bend over all together and pretend he dropped something on the floor so I would get a full view of the maps. He may have been a “bad boy,” but he was a great student, and my GPA owed him. In exchange for his academic help, Brad counted on me to be his lackey. I was a school angel. I would NEVER do anything bad. Or so people thought. Brad knew this and took full advantage of my halo. Mr. Goldsmith would make us watch a ton of movies and watch slide shows all the time because let’s face it; I think he hated actually having to teach us anything.
One day we had to watch a slide show. I don’t know exactly what the machine is called because I can’t find it online. Probably because it’s really outdated by now. If you’re under 30, you will have no idea what I’m talking about. But the rest of you are with me. It’s a slide projector with a tape player. The tape played the music and narration, and made the “Bong” sound to cue the teacher to move to the next slide. So the tape coincides with what you’re watching. But on this particular day, it didn’t.
“Put this into the projector when Mr. Goldsmith isn’t looking.” Brad told me as he handed me a tape.
“Sex Pistols? No way! You do it!”
“I can’t, he watches me all the time. He’ll never suspect you. Just put it in and take the other tape out.”
“Then drop the tape on his desk later.”
“Stacy, listen to me. You can do this. You have to do this. It’s for your own good.” He told me, as he looked me straight in the eyes. I’m so going to get caught. But where Brad and I sat was right next to the movie projector and cassette/slide player. So here was the plan:
1) Get the new tape in and the old tape out fast enough not to be noticed.
2) Sneak the school’s tape back onto Mr. Goldsmith’s desk.
3) Whatever you do, DO NOT LAUGH when the Sex Pistols come on. Dead giveaway.
“Okay. Let’s do this thing,” I told him. He looked at me like a proud father who had just seen his son take his first poopie.
Mr. Goldsmith had to turn his back on the class to turn off the lights. This was my window. I ejected the tape on the Plains Indians, and slid in the Sex Pistols. But the lights were off and Mr. Goldsmith was walking back to his usual seat, and I hadn’t closed the cassette player yet. Shit! It’s till open. Brad saw this and threw his pencil across the room towards Mr. Goldsmith.
“Oh my God! That just totally flew out of my hand. Mr. Goldsmith, would you grab that for me?” As Mr. Goldsmith bent over to pick up Brad’s aerodynamic pencil I coughed loudly and closed the cassette player at the same time. I am so not doing this again! Mr. Goldsmith took his seat and I swear I could see Brad’s smile all the way from the back of his head. He was beaming! Mr. Goldsmith pressed play on the slide projector and the first slide of the Indians popped up. Then he pressed play on the cassette player and there it was clear as day. “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN, THE FASCIST REGIME!” Mr. Goldsmith jumped so high I was sure this was going to give him a heart attack. He just stared at the cassette player for a minute trying to process what exactly was going on. “THEY MADE YOU A MORON, POTENTIAL H-BOMB!” The not laughing part wasn’t a problem because everyone else was laughing in class so it gave us the go ahead. Mr. Goldsmith was pretty pissed but what was he going to do? There were no witnesses and even if there were no one said anything. He did confiscate the Sex Pistols tape though. Ahh, the casualties of war. Sometimes you have to be willing to make sacrifices for a good practical joke. As far as getting the History Of The Plains Indians tape back on his desk it was going to be impossible as he was sitting there for the rest of the class giving us all dirty looks. When the bell rang at the end of class everyone was all over the place and that’s when I put the History Of The Plains Indians cassette back into the cassette player where I had gotten it. Poor Mr. Goldsmith.
Brad and I left him alone for a while, but it wasn’t long before Mr. Goldsmith chose a movie over teaching. The movie projector was on a table to my immediate right and Mr. Goldsmith was in his usual chair on the other side of it. This time he had his finger shoved so far up his nose I thought he was going to poke his brain. Bored, I took my right index finger and held it against the back reel of the movie projector for a couple of seconds and then let go. Every time I did this the movie would jump a couple of seconds ahead. Finally, in my entire semester in Mr. Goldsmith’s class I had learned something. I did it a couple more times and Mr. Goldsmith would just look at the projector and bang it once or twice because we all know the best way to fix something is to hit it.
After the class officially ended I never had the pleasure of having Brad in another class because of his upperclassmen status, but we still said hi to each other in the hallways always keeping our little secrets. I will never forget what he did for me. He could have told Tyla anything he wanted. He could have told her I was a loser just to make her feel better and to ensure he would have a friend for the time he was in rehab. But he didn’t. He made sure to tell her everything she didn’t want to hear. Things I couldn’t tell her myself. I don’t know where she is now and I don’t really care. The only times I think of her now is when I need her for a story. But it might be nice to know which prison she’s in now. Maybe we could be pen pals.
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