I sat on the second story, in an overcrowded classroom, discussing a book I clearly haven’t read. My teacher crowish and portly lectures, “By the results of the test, it’s clear not all of you are trying as hard as you can.”
She looks my way disdainfully, and begins to hand out the results. I get mine, with a big red 27 written on it. I try to parse through what I did wrong, but my failures are all large equations that I don’t understand, with -25s thrown all around the pages.
“We are now going to resume reading.”
We all open our yellow beige paperbacks, and stare at the pages full of random paragraphs and equations. The teacher starts writing on the board again, numbers, and starts computating them in ways I cannot begin to grasp, I look over to my neighbors work, and copy. Try to reverse engineer the logic from their progress, but cannot, only copy.
The teacher takes notices, and calls me out, “You will be a total failure if you don’t get this. It’s not hard to understand; the mere fact that you cannot understand it is representative of your laziness.”
I’m not lazy, I just hate this book.
“Well what excuse do you have for yourself?”
I feel trapped, the feeling of anxiety encircles me, and I’m helplessly neutered. I want anything but this; this is completely unlike school for me. I perform well, or so I thought. In search for relief it all comes together, it all clicks, I understand.
“You will never move on in life until you knuckle down on this, young man.”
“No, I’m leaving.”
“You can’t leave.”
“I already finished high school years ago, I’m leaving.”
I jumped to my feet, wasting no more time now.
I flip the table and kick my chair over, “Go fuck yourself,” and walk out into the hall. The entire classroom follows suit, and there is chaos all over the corridor. As I’m heading down to the first floor, the teacher catches me by the arm, book in hand.
“You’re coming with me.”
I jerk free, and slap the book from her hand. She angrily starts ranting at me, but I block it out and turn away. She keeps running in front of me, trying to grab my attention, but I’m done wasting my time. I get to first floor, then to the exit, when she grabs me physically by the shoulder.
I open the door to the freedom of the outside world, but cannot move past her massive hand on my shoulder. I turn and hit her in the face, and run for it. She grabs me again through the door way and I slam it on her arm. She holds tight so I slam the door in frenzy, bam bam bam, and finally I am free.
Peace washes over me, as I traverse the goldenrod sea of dead grass. There’s a fleet of parked cars, so I walk over to the nearest. It was white in color, and looked fast in engine. I hopped inside and turned it on with my key.
Reversed out, and started driving, no destination in mind really, just drive.
I get up to about sixty on the residential streets and the car handles divinely, weaving with grace and rhythm. Eventually I wind up at my home, and I make the mistake of sleeping there.
I wake up back in the classroom, and immediately start vacating myself again. This time there is more resistance. Long time friends try to stop me in the hallways, and I have to clear them aside, I run out the exit, and the teacher follows me with inhuman speed to my car. She tries to stop me from entering it, with a wicked snarl on her face.
I push her off, and enter the car; she wedges herself between me and the door. She’s too strong, I can’t close it, she begins to drag me back out. I latch on the wheel, and start the engine. I reverse out at full speed and she tumbles to the ground. Close the door, and floor it.
I think of a destination now, open the map on my phone and mark it, a store at the edge of town, no more going home.
I drive up to sixty again, and then wonder why I’m limiting myself to any kind of speed at all. I put the full weight of my foot against the accelerator, and start going fast, traffic all around me, but the faster I go, the easier it is to weave through. Nothing too complicated can happen at those speeds I guess, not enough time to process.
I enjoy the nonsense on the radio, garbled yet harmonic, as the scenery around me changes, slowly from rural to urban. Pretty soon I’m on a six lane street going one way. It’s good stuff, lots of room to go fast.
I drive hard until the road ends out to a beach, brown sandbox style stuff. I look at my phone, this where the store is apparently. I look up at the beach again for a sign of a store, but the only building around is a red and white lighthouse, it swirls like a candy cane up hundreds of feet. A monolith.
I get to the entrance when I’m met by two teenagers. A couple obviously, I know the girl component to the pair. They greet me, and immediately accompany me up the long stair case to the apparent store. They bicker, up the stairs, and try to involve me. Eventually I decide that none of it is worth this noise. I turn and start back down the stairs, and they beckon me back, saying them need me.
“Do whatever you want to, but leave me alone.”
I start the long trek back to my car, but when I reach the parking lot, a large crowd has formed. The people from my school are there to return me.
I bolt at a full sprint past them. Don’t look back, don’t look back, just forward, they can’t touch you if you just keep moving forward. I find a motorcycle parked along the street, and hop onto it, turn the key left inside and take off. I’ve never driven one before, but regardless find it immensely pleasurable.
I floor it to the country side, and decide then to find some natives. Maybe they would know what to do.
I went out and out, until the road ended, and all that was in front of me was wild prairie, farm fields and scarecrows.
I turned my headlight on and throttle forward. Night was falling. It was going to be a long journey to find people in a land of scarecrows.