5:31am, Part 2

Tommy trudged his way up to the third floor, wondering what history class had in store for him. Mr. Milton was always full of surprises, like that Hoover/panzer tank thing. For every step, Tommy tried to think of a ludicrous statement Milton had made or some bizarre association he had subjected the class to, but he couldn’t remember them all. Tommy just shook his head semi-affectionately, as if he had known the teacher for years, when in reality it had been about a month. Teachers didn’t last very long at Middletown High. Milton practically seemed like one of the old guard.

As soon as Tommy entered the room, a cloud of confetti burst in his face.

“You’ve just been blitzkrieg’d, Mr. Thomas!,” said Mr. Milton.

Wiping the confetti off his face, Tommy muttered something and sat at his desk in the back of the room.

“Oh no, you don’t!,” Mr Milton elevated his voice. “Slackers such as yourself sit in the front of the class.” Tommy complied sluggishly. At least he got to sit next to the window whose other side was being battered by the elements. For some reason, he found that soothing.

Tommy was zoning in and out, the boredom almost eating him alive until Mr. Milton called on him by lightly scraping his cheek with a ruler.

“You’re content to stay behind the scenes, eh, Mr. Thomas?” Mr. Milton said. Tommy had to suppress the urge to punch this ragged looking sham of an educator. He actually preferred it when teachers used his last name. He fucking hated “Thomas.”

“Well? What was President Andrew Jackson known for?” asked Milton.

“His wife was called a bigamist. She might have died because of it. Oh, and he was the seventh president of the United States…”

“Those weren’t the facts I was looking for, Mr. Thomas. You’ll be staying after class.”

Tommy just shrugged. He would simply explain that there was a class following this one. Not much time for lectures from the halfwit educator class. Why would you willingly teach high school students? Milton was either sick or had some cognitive impairment. Still. Tommy tried not to judge. Everyone was struggling and had their own ailments to tend to.

Sure enough, the end of class came, and Tommy weaseled out of talking to the man. Saying there were “problems at home” helped it along. Tommy was almost depressed that it had been that easy.

The lunch bell rang, a peculiar sound, as if five whales had died at the same time, their death rattles short and to the point, but still beautiful and chorus like. Tommy shuffled his way to the lunch room on the bottom floor. Everyone was so excited that they had gotten to eat so early. Tommy went through the line and snagged some taters, pizza, and orange juice. He decided to sit at his usual table. These people were insulated from the scheming of the popular people. They were vaguely there, on the precipice of “cool.”

Tommy just wanted to eat his taters, think about the rain, and what biology class had in store for him.

5:31am, part 3


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