At 10:36 that morning I was enduring another one of Mr. Jennings extremely boring lectures on the socioeconomic impacts of new technology on indigenous cultures. Schools in VT didn’t have the luxury of air conditioning, and the early May heat wave was having its way with me. I was more or less drifting off into space in a heat induced coma, dreaming of the sweet sounds of the bell ‘O’ freedom at 2:19 this afternoon. As I was gazing at those unknown spaces, I happened to see the schools principal walk up to our classroom’s door and stop.
I remember thinking that it was odd to see Mr. D at the door, he usually wouldn’t be bothered to come snatch a kid out of class for deviant behavior, whoever was in trouble must’ve really screwed up big-time to get a personal escort from the big cheese himself. I’d had the pleasure of sitting on the receiving end of his enormous desk before, and believe me, that was intimidating enough.
We called him Mr. D mostly because nobody could pronounce Dziubek right, it was a Polish name or something, but nobody ever would have dared to pick on Mr. D about that. You see, Mr. D was a big dude, and not just because we were kids, he was a Big dude. He was every bit of 6’ 5” tall, and I’m guessing that he probably tipped the scales at well over 250lbs, and he wore a kick-ass handlebar moustache.
To add to the overall threatening appearance of the school principal, Mr. D wore these suits with really blocky shoulders and narrow waistlines, making him look even bigger than he was, kind of like a super-villain out of a Batman comic book. He also wore cowboy boots, adding another two inches of height to his already towering frame. The piece de resistance was his glasses; Mr. D wore these glasses with big square lenses and brushed chrome frames, which in itself wasn’t very intimidating; the fact that they were darkly tinted so that you couldn’t see his eyes, not to mention the fact that he never took them off…, that was intimidating, very intimidating.
If you’d had the pleasure of your presence being requested at the principal's office, it wasn’t just a quick in and out with a slap on the hand and a stern, “don’t do it again.” Oh no, you got the full POW treatment from Mr. D. You’d walk into the office, only to be greeted with a grunt from Mr. D’s ancient secretary, Ms. Hoover, 800 years old and never been married, now there’s a shock! When you try to picture Ms. Hoover, just think Old Crone, it works for me. Ms. Hoover’s wrinkles had wrinkles.
After the grunted greeting, Ms. Hoover would point with her hairy, wart infested chin towards the most uncomfortable chair ever devised by man which sat right beside Mr. D’s office door, his door was always closed. I don’t know where he found this chair, and I’m not sure if it was even legal to use in a school, unless the state school board had loosened its stance on cruel and unusual punishment, and the use of torture device’s in school.
“The Chair,” as it was affectionately known was absolutely horrible, it was made entirely out of wood, but not just any wood, it was made from the hardest wood known to man and it was rough hewn, which meant it still had plenty of splinters to share with bad little boy's and girl's butts. Maybe it was stolen from a giant’s castle, or Mr. D’s house as it was just too tall for a kid to sit in. Kids would have to back up to it and place the heels of their hands on the seat, all the while risking a splinter or two, and then hoist themselves up. It didn’t stop there though, whoever had spawned this creation also made the front of the seat higher than the back, and the seatback itself leaned forward, so as you were sitting there folded in the middle, it felt as if this cruel chair were trying to eat you.
Mr. D knew if you were in the chair too, because he would always give you time to think about your crimes while sitting in this chair. The standard wait time was usually around ten minutes, but if your misdeed was of an extra grievous nature, you could expect to spend up to fifteen or twenty minutes being devoured by “the chair.”
When he thought you had stewed for long enough he would buzz Ms. Hoover’s desk to let her know that he was ready for your sentencing to begin. At the sound of the buzzer, Ms. Hoover would slowly look over at the accused and smile, which was her way of letting you know that Mr. D was ready. At this point you would hobble bent over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame to the Mr. D’s door and knock. After ten seconds or so you would hear one word uttered from within.
“Come,” the voice would say, sounding like it had just gargled a handful of razor blades.
That was the other thing about Mr. D, his voice only had one volume, but it was a deep, low rumble of a voice, sort of like a grizzly bear who had just been woken from a nap, it wasn’t a voice you really wanted to be mad at you.
So now this scary mountain of a man was at our classroom door, about to grab some unsuspecting schlub out of their seat and drag them from the painful droning of Mr. Jennings lecture, which in itself wouldn’t be all that bad, but sitting across the desk from Mr. D, that was bad.
With a gentleness I didn’t think he could effect, Mr. D gently rapped on the door. Looking mildly annoyed, Mr. Jennings ceased his ramblings, but when he saw who was at the door, he immediately went to answer it. After a brief conference with their backs to the classroom, they turned in unison and together they both stared directly at me with worried looks on both their faces.
“Oh Shit,” slithered out from between my clenched teeth.
Make sure to check in next Wednesday for the latest in Max's journey! I really do value your opinions, so please tell me what you think. If you like what you're reading tell all your friends.
Cheers Mates, I raise my glass to you all!
Cheers Mates, I raise my glass to you all!