As he stood up in the power position, one-by-one his classmates became aware of him. The thick kid from off-planet towered over his peers and while they hunched over their tests, scrawling answers that easily came out of their heads, he stood over them, a pencil seemingly piercing his brain, blood drenching his sleeve, now and dripping off his middle finger. “Teacher?” he said in the small voice that big body was burdened to bear. The teacher adjusted her glasses and made a mark on her notepad. “You have two minutes,” she said and (after a sigh) she turned away.
“There is no victory for you here,” he said, making his voice sound gravelly and worn. “You have done me a dishonor in my service and I will have to relieve you of your command.” Ben broke the pencil in two and stuck one half into each of his ears. He was smart enough not to put the right one in point-first, but dumb enough to forget that the broken end was sharp too. With blood streaming down the side of his face and his scalp scraped raw, Ben stood up and asked if he could go to the boys room.
Ben crumpled. The girl turned away from him, just like the cars in the problem, turning and speeding away from each other, Harry to Mark, all leaving Ben at home and never returning because his thick brain remembered one thing and that thing was once you left home you were gone. The teacher sat back down being relieved at the girl’s response and jealous that no one called her “so pretty” and made a small notation to mark down the girl’s grade for causing a disturbance. Ben glared at his useless left hand and talked directly to his pencil.
A scent caught his attention and he turned to his left. Ben winced as the vision of beauty glowed so brightly that his heart exploded in metaphors he didn’t understand. The teacher stood (because she was short and standing when students sat made her feel powerful) and waved a hand at him, but his eyes and heart and his whole area swole with insecurity and rage. Nothing this beautiful should exist, Ben thought. With his useless left hand, still holding the useless pencil, Ben pointed at the girl seated next to him. “So pretty,” he whispered.
“Fuck off,” she replied.
Ben felt like a prisoner in his own stupidity and the teacher’s stare and her glass’s glare made him feel like one of those off-planet captives that come into port wearing titanium shackles and holding a bullet in their mouth. Ben knew it wasn’t a real pullet, only shaped like one. Ben also knew they tasted terrible. He looked up at the teacher and grimaced a smile that told her everything she already suspected. Ben was too stupid for her class and this school and too dangerous to be anywhere else. He scratched harder at his head with blood-caked nails.