I stretched out in the grass, the lawn sloping away into an almost epically long view, the trees in a horseshoe at the far side and the city above. Kristie was asleep beside me. We had finished our finals, Third Year done, and summer was here. I breathed out lightly, almost happy, my elbow tucked perfectly in. That’s when I saw him surge out of the corner of my eye, my old high school teacher, Master Nate.
“Vicks!” He stood over me, awkwardly perving down my top. “How are you doing? What a day! What a day!” I closed my eyes and wished him away. But he was still there, his narrow eyes, big nose and lips like Ichabod Crane. “Who’s your lovely friend?”
His hand came jutting out, hairier than I remembered. “Nate Doyle. Pleased.”
He blinked hard, dark white spittle at the corner of his mouth. “What’s that, Vicks? What?”
I lurched up, banging the grass off my jeans. “I told her about you, Master Nate.”
His mouth opened and closed, a large-mouth bass gasping for water. “I would have done anything for you. Literally anything.”
“This is the guy?” Kristie zipped up her top. “Jesus fuck.”
“Vicks, no.” His eyes bulged, his chin jutted out. “Literally. Anything.”
“I should call the police.” Kristie got her phone out of her purse. “Let’s do that.”
“Lit-er-al-ly. An-y-thing.” He punctuated each syllable with a thrust of his hand.
“So what do you do? It’s just 9-1-1?”
And then he turned away and was suddenly crazily running, swerving toward the darkness of the trees.I thought about having a rifle, lining him up, breathing in, shooting, how he would fall, the little thing he was, and how that would be that.
Vicks stared after him and then at me. “That guy taught you?”
“He was the head of the department.”