Friday, March 1, 2013

FFF: Teacher

March is Mystery Theme Month! See if you can figure out what the five Friday Flash Fictions stories have in common! This week...

Word Count: 600

Lena Kranz had just settled in for her first daiquiri when the young man approached her—probably a former student. He only looked about six or eight years younger than her, barely old enough to enter a bar.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hello,” said Lena.

“Did you, by any chance, teach history?” he asked.

“I did,” said Lena. “I still do, in fact.”

“I’m Fred Burgess,” said the young man, smiling.

Lena smiled back and nodded.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” said the young man.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t,” said Lena. “What year did I have you?”

“Well, I graduated in ‘07,” said Fred, “so you probably had me in 05-06.”

Lena nodded again.

“You still don’t remember,” said Fred.

“I’m sorry,” said Lena.

“It’s okay,” said Fred. “You might remember my brother though.”

“What was his name?” asked Lena.

“James,” he said.

“James Burgess,” said Lena. “I don’t really remember him either. Was he older or younger?”

“He was a couple years older than me,” said Fred. “He got into trouble a lot.”

Lena smiled and nodded. She could not place this young man at all, and while she felt a little bad about that, she mostly just wanted him to politely move on. It had been a very long week, and all she wanted was to spend a few hours drinking cocktails and not being around any of her students.

“You still don’t remember, do you?” asked Fred.

“Fred,” said Lena, “you seem like a very nice young man, and I wish I could, but I just can’t place you. I’m really sorry.”

“It’s okay,” said Fred. “You probably remember the Dale Earnhardt shirt I wore all the time. God, I must have worn that twice a week.”

Lena smiled and nodded.

“Damn, you don’t remember that either,” said Fred

“I’m really sorry,” said Lena.

“Well, that’s okay,” said Fred, visibly shaken by the lack of recognition.

Lena sighed. It looked like this fellow wasn’t going to go away without some prompting. “Look,” she said, “I see hundreds of students every year; they can’t all make an impression. You said yourself that you weren’t very memorable, but that doesn’t mean that you weren’t a good student or that you aren’t a good person. So, how about you just tell me whatever it is you came over here to tell me?”

“Right,” said Fred. “Well, I just wanted to say that a lot of my teachers didn’t have a whole lot of faith in me, and thought I was going to turn into some loser after I graduated, on account of the drugs and all. But I remember you took me aside once and said ‘Fred, you can’t let other people live your life for you. You can be anything— you just have to go out and be it.’ Anyway, I really took that to heart. Now I’m cleaned up, and I own an auto-detailing shop, and it’s all because of you.”

Lena teared up a little in spite of herself. But a lingering doubt niggled at her.

“You know, I feel like I should remember that,” she said. “I’m curious: who do you think I am?”

Fred snorted at the question. “You’re Mrs. Davison. You teach 10th grade history at Bellmont.”

“That’s exactly right,” said Lena, “except it’s ‘Miss’, not ‘Mrs.’; it’s ‘Kranz’, not ‘Davison’; and I teach at Parkview.”

“Oh,” said Fred, stunned. “So, you’re not married?” he added, wagging his eyebrows.

“This has been a lot of fun,” said Lena, “but go away.”

The young man left, and she returned to her drink.

Edited by Carolyn "Hey Man, What's The Plan?" Abram.

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