Sunday, November 18, 2012

Defenders Episode 1: Guardian Chapter 10

Later that night, the cloaked person enters an abandoned warehouse.  They approach the man inside, walking unsteadily.  The fight with Brandon has taken a toll on them.  The man looks at the person.  “So how did your visit go?” he asks casually.  The cloaked person sways a bit before collapsing to the ground like a fallen tree.  The man looks at the unconscious person with apathy.  “Hmm, I see,” he says plainly before biting into the apple he’s holding.  Sliding a hand in his pant pocket, he takes out a cell phone.  The man flips the phone open and dials a number. 

“Yeah?” a man’s voice answered.

“I have a job for you,” said the man with the deep voice.

Another day nearly comes to a close at Theodore Roosevelt High School.  The students are in their final class period.  Among the students, it is said that the last class is always the longest especially when it’s just before the weekend.  The statement is also true amongst the teachers whose unfortunate weekends will be comprised of grading papers.  Dan is one of those students who can’t wait for the bell to ring signaling the joyous end of the school week.  Sadly, the bell can’t come fast enough.  History is his and Brandon’s last class.  The most boring of classes strategically placed at the end of the day to toy with his agonizing wait for two days of freedom.  Dan has been watching the clock with a jaded expression since class started.  Though the class is half over, the last twenty minutes seem to stretch into two hours.  The clock’s taunting face stares back at Dan as it ticks away at a snail’s pace.  He might as well have been watching paint dry.  The class’ teacher isn’t making things any better.  The middle aged man in the plain brown suit went over the lesson in a dreary monotone voice.  His voice had no pitch or octaves.  The man’s facade was just as dreary and expressionless.

“Mr. Snider?” said the teacher.

Dan didn’t respond right away.  Everything else was tuned out from his mind except for the repetitious ticking of the clock that doesn’t seem to move.

“Psst, dude.  Steinberg’s calling you,” Brandon whispered to Dan, snapping him out of his trance.

Dan, becoming conscious of his surroundings, looks around the class room noticing the twenty pairs of eyes upon him.

“Mr. Snider, welcome back.  Please don’t leave my class to go to daydreaming again.  It’s awfully rude,” said Mr. Steinberg.  He is still dreary and impassive even when making a joke.  “Now let’s see if you were paying as much attention to the lesson on the French Revolution as you were to the school clock.”

“Pfft, some clock.  Is that thing even working?” said Dan.

“I’ll answer your question if you can answer mine.  At the height of the French Revolution, what monarch was executed by the guillotine on January 21 1793 for treason, nine months before his wife Marie Antoinette?” Mr. Steinberg asked.

Dan thought about the question.  By the expression on his face, it is clear that he has not been paying attention to the lesson.  Looking at the class’ eyes staring at him was making Dan nervous.  Mr. Steinberg’s pokerfaced gaze was doing little to help.  He looks over at Brandon, pleading with his eyes for help.  Brandon shrugs his shoulders, signaling his inability to help him.  Dan was stuck.  His friend couldn’t help him and his inexpressive teacher is waiting for his answer.  Figuring that he had nothing to lose except his dignity, he decided to say whatever came to mind.  “Uhh, I dunno, Mark Twain?” Dan said.

“Your mental retention is astounding to think that the author of ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ had any part of the French Revolution which took place nearly a century prior to his writing of Tom Sawyer.  In other words Mr. Snider, like Louis XVI, who was the monarch in question, you are dead wrong,” Mr. Steinberg said.  The other students, except Brandon, snicker at their teacher’s stoic sense of humor.  “There are a couple things you will learn in my class, Mr. Snider.  First, knowledge is only measured by one’s attentive capacity.  To put it simply, pay attention you might learn something.”

Mr. Steinberg’s advice rings true but Dan regards it with next to zero enthusiasm.  “Thanks for the advice, Stein-y.  I’ll consider it.  So what’s the other thing I’m supposed to be learning while in ‘Snoresville’?” he said apathetically.  No sooner than he finished asking his question did the bell ring, signaling the end of school.  Dan was especially surprised.

“Another thing you’ll learn is that that clock is over twenty minutes slow which is surprising considering that you’re wearing a watch,” said Mr. Steinberg.  Dan looks at his watch and then looks back at Mr. Steinberg with a sheepish grin.  “Okay, everyone there will be a test next week on the French Revolution and as always I’m not obligated to tell you which day that’ll be so be prepared.  Some more so than others; you know who you are.  Enjoy your weekend,” Mr. Steinberg said, addressing the class.

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