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Respect



Mr. Simmons waved his hands as if directing a symphony while his 3rd grade class recited their twos times tables in unison. He gleamed with enthusiasm with each correct spelling of ‘dugout’, ‘strike’ and other baseball themed words. Today was baseball day. During language arts, as he pressed his dry erase marker to the board, a wet sticky spit wad attached itself to the back of his bald head. Mr. Simmons turned to face his class with a stern bespectacled face.

“Which one is the class clown?” He said. He zeroed in on a pudgy kid with a black flat top, his fat face filling with red from stifled laughter.

“Carlos. Was it you?” Mr. Simmons leaned in slightly. Carlos shook his head.

“I think it was,” said Mr. Simmons, “and I think you had better have a visit with the principal.”

“You’re only accusing him because he’s Mexican, you racist.” One of the kids exclaimed. The whole class gasped.

“Jeff!” Mr. Simmons shouted, jerking his head toward a smirking freckled boy in the back row.

“To the office. Now.” He said. Jeff left his seat and exited the room. A murmur of laughter trilled through the class. Mr. Simmons turned back to the board.

“Now as I was saying, Mr. Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities-” another spit wad collided with his skull, followed by an uproar of children’s laughter. Mr. Simmons hung his head and sighed.

***

“I just get the feeling these kids don’t respect me.” Mr. Simmons said. His wife kneeled on the bed behind him, rubbing his shoulders. Her blond hair tickled his ears.

“I’m sure they do, there’s always a few bad eggs.” She reassured him.

“Well, this kid called me a racist as soon as I chastised one of the children. And I know the kid I spoke to shot a spit wad at me.”

“So why didn’t you send them both to the office?”

“I don’t know, because I didn’t see him do it and the last thing I need is to be accused of racial profiling.” Mr. Simmons replied.

“That’s true, but at the same time you have to keep order.”

“Yeah, I know.” Mr. Simmons stood up from the chair, wandered over to the closet, and let his blue dress fall to the floor. He changed into a white muscle shirt and jeans, revealing muscular arms defiled with tattooed swastikas and other images from the third Reich. Inside the closet, he unlocked a large safe and withdrew a Kalashnikov AK 47 assault rifle.

This story was written by Josh Dull, is a U.S. Air Force veteran and an aspiring fiction author with an emphasis on social issues. He has recently completed his Bachelor’s degree with Honors in the Major from the University of Central Florida. He has works forthcoming in The Drunken Odyssey and Transit Interpretation Project Biennale and has been featured in a spoken word series called There Will Be Words. When he isn't at his computer writing and revising, he enjoys finding new and eclectic venues in the nightlife of whatever city he happens to be in. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida.
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