I am down to the last few pages of another notebook. It is both exciting and sad. Much like I remember the last day of school.
I’ve been writing for a long time. But that doesn’t really mean much. Bad poetry too easily fools its author.
I remember the first piece of writing I’d ever done. It was the 1st grade. The assignment was to write a story and illustrate its highlights. I made a comic book.
The story was about an ant that had the same type of super strengths and abilities as Superman. The funny part was that it was all relative to the ant’s perspective.
He could leap a trash can with a single bound. Faster than a speeding bee. Stronger than an electric toy train. I was so proud of that story. So pleased with the drawings. All in crayon. And not those nice, neat a pretty crayola crayons, all lined up in their little yellow box, sharpener included. Those wonderful things, smelled good enough to eat. I won’t pretend that I didn’t eat one from time to time.
But my art did not come from those perfect crayons. What I had to use were those big, thick, naked and hard waxy pieces of shit that little black kids hurled at one another from across the classroom when teacher wasn’t looking.
I hated those fucking crayons. Hated those little black fuckers too, with such perfect aim beaming me in the cheek bone with startling force.
But I loved my teacher. She was young and blonde. Blue eyes. Skin pale and perfect. Her voice was nasally. And she wore mini skirts and high heeled shoes. For some reason I remember the patent leather grey ones as my favorite.
The assignment was given to us in groups. Each group was marched outside to the lunch tables. There, we were given 15 minutes to come up with a story, draw pictures for it and staple together the pages to construct a book.
The little black kids threw their broken crayons at each other till being dragged off to the principal’s office. I poured my tiny soul into my story.
I handed in my comic book to Mrs. Greenfield. There were pictures of alleyways and an ant with his cape flapping in the wind as he leaped upward and over, expertly drawn trash cans. There were highly detailed bumble bees, black and yellow striped, being out run by the little ant in a cape with dashes drawn behind him to indicate his tremendous speed. It was art and it was mine. Even my handwriting was perfect. I took the time to write in pencil first, then trace over it in crayon only after I knew that it was right. But apparently, it wasn’t right.
Mrs. Greenfield collected our efforts. She would look them over during lunch recess and return them at the end of the day.
I was pleased with my efforts. Pleased with my accomplishment. And hopeful about what praise I’d receive from the pretty white lady that was my teacher.
The final bell rang. We all lined up at the door. Some of us would be picked up by our parents waiting for us in their cars. Others would walk home. I would board a bus that would take me and the crayon chucking black kids back to our neighborhood.
But before any of that would happen, Mrs. Greenfield would hand us back our story books.
Without smile, or even smirk, teacher handed back my comic book. In thick, ugly and red felt tip marker, this twat wrote, “Super only has one ‘P’.” It seems I’d written a story about “Supper Ant”.
She will never know it, but that was the first time my heart was broken by a non-family member.
The next day, during lunch recess, I went down to the lower field. The school was built at the base of the local foothills. There was always some form of wildlife traversing our little campus. And that recess I hunted for frogs. They could almost always be found on the lower field. I found one and killed it by throwing it into the air as far as I could.
A small crowd gathered to watch the gruesome spectacle. Some to protest. Some to cheer. And then others to run and tattle.
The frog’s innards showed through his dead and open mouth. The little black kid that liked throwing things struck me hard in the face with a rock. As he laughed and yelled names at me, I picked up the dead frog and with admirable accuracy, shot the deceased amphibian directly into his loud and open black mouth.
The kid was so shocked and grossed out, he half swallowed the frog. He had to double over, hands on his knees, to try to barf up the reptile from his throat. He was able to eject the poor creature, but not before accidentally biting down and crunching into it. He ran from the field crying and stopping, from time to time, to dry heave.
I simply walked off the campus.
My home was miles and miles away. But I knew the way. I’ve always had a good sense of direction. As I walked, I tore up my little comic book. The torn up pages, I left them in the street.
My parents were worried out of their minds as they waited for me to surface. I’d made it home safely. But the next morning I had to return to school.
Back in the olden days, school spankings were permissible. I took three swats from a wooden paddle. Good thing it was the principal of the school to dispense the violence. She was another white lady and easily into her late fifties. Not nearly as attractive as young Mrs. Greenfield. I’d had skinned knees that hurt more than the punishment that the poor old dear tried to lay into me. But, still, nothing hurt more than Mrs. Greenfield’s red felt tip pen.