Stickler

Stickler

stickler by firstbreath1

Miss Stickler was a bitch. I don’t mean to be crude, but it’s true. The students knew it. The parents knew it. Even the janitor knew it. Stickler was the type of teacher to dish out double detention for talking out of turn. She got one girl suspended for the length of her skirt. She got another expelled for smoking a cigarette outside campus. She was a moronic, miserable, mistake of a human being and everybody in my high school despised her. Most of all, I despised her. But that doesn’t mean she deserved what she got.

Does it?

I can still remember the bright, sun-shiney day when my best friend suggested she was fucking one of the students.

The tension level was at an all time high that morning. Stickler wore her regular hooker professional – high heels, black choker ‘necklace’ and a slutty dress with a plunging neckline, revealing all the sadder sides of forty. A bad sign right from the start. Her moods could be categorized by her outfits.

Five minutes into class, one of the students, a guy named Johnny, was forced to admit that he didn’t have his red pen. Stickler asked him where it was and he said he didn’t know. That was enough to launch a tirade.

Stickler hated it when you didn’t have the red pen. Everybody wrote in red pen. How else would we sign the sign-in sheet? How would we grade our classmates’ quizzes? Red pen was required. Red pen was in the syllabus. Right at the top. Bold red letters. We were reminded about the red pen every goddamn day and she just couldn’t understand why a student as respectful as Johnny would forget the most important object necessary for her classroom: the all-encompassing red pen. How could he handle college, if he disobeys such a simple task? How could he handle Junior year? How could he forget something that should be on his person at all times? Did he forget his school book, too? Did he forget to brush his teeth that morning? Did he forget to wake up altogether?

To all of this, Johnny shrugged, and slyly replied –

“Nah. Still asleep. Wake me when you’re done here.”

There would have been oohs and ahs if not for the look of pure murder in Stickler’s crazy little eyes.

But there was something in the way she grabbed Johnny’s arm. Something in the way she whispered hurriedly into his ears. Something in the way she looked nervously at the rest of us and barked to ‘focus on the reading.’ None of the other students seemed to notice anything amiss. I guessed, at the time, that nobody even entertained the idea of something so revolting. Stickler and another student? Who would do that to themselves? Luckily (or unluckily) my buddy tapped me on the arm and raised his eyebrows – just as the teacher’s hand slid sluggishly down Johnny’s back.

We had to find out more.

We knew that Johnny’s attitude would land at least a week’s worth of detention. We knew Stickler held detention in her classroom, after school, from 2:30 to 4. We figured there would be a bunch of other kids in there with them. We also figured she wouldn’t try anything on school grounds. And so we waited out of view.

And then we waited some more.

Around 3:30, a group of kids flooded out from her classroom into the parking lot. Around 4:10, Johnny and Stickler exited the class together. Nobody else was around.

It was a real ‘gotcha’ moment. She looked downright giddy. She barely even tried to hide it. She grabbed at Johnny’s ass from behind. She poked him in the back. She looked like she might tackle him altogether before they faded out of view for a moment. All on school property.

A car door opened.

A car door closed.

And then they were off.

We saw them on the way out of the school. Johnny drove. I’ll assume she was in the passenger seat but let’s just say that her body wasn’t exactly visible. You can allow your imagination to fill in the blanks.

We followed.

The couple never seemed to notice our tail. They drove around the highways for a bit. Stickler’s bright red hair poked up in the passenger seat after about twenty minutes, and soon after that, it was too dark to see anything.

About an hour later, Johnny’s Honda Civic pulled into the parking lot of a local park.

We followed. At this point, my buddy had to park carefully. We very easily could have been spotted. There was a separate entrance obscured by trees and our ‘luck’ played out so we could see them but they couldn’t see us. We hoped.

We cut the lights and waited some more.

Johnny got out of the car first. Stickler got out and followed him around to the back. They popped the trunk and sat on the hood for a while. If they talked about something, we couldn’t hear it. In the moonlight, Johnny looked somehow younger. Stickler looked somehow older.

It didn’t take long for the conversation to get heated.

She grabbed at his belt.

He backed away.

“Come on,” she shouted, loud enough for us to hear. “I know you’re ready.”

Johnny muttered something, still backing away.

“Are you serious?” she barked. “Are you a pussy?”

Johnny shouted that he had to take a piss. He disappeared into the woods of the park.

“Hurry back pussy,” she taunted. “Next time I’ll bring the diapers.”

And then Stickler was alone.

Alone in the moonlight.

Relaxing by the popped hood of her barely teenage-student-boyfriend’s Honda Civic.

I wish I could say that she looked remorseful. I wish I could say that she might have harbored doubts or second guesses about her out in the open obscenities. Instead I am saddened to report that she pulled a compact mirror out of her purse. She looked at the reflection for a second, apparently satisfied, and shut it before returning it. She opted for a pack of cigarettes next. Virginia Slims. I’ll never forget the brand. I guess the smokes weren’t enough to entertain her because she returned to Johnny’s car for a pair of headphones. She popped them in and closed her eyes for only the briefest of moments.

She neither heard or saw the animal approaching her from behind.

I’ll never be able to tell anyone exactly what attacked her. Perhaps that is part of the problem in reporting it. It all happened so fast. In one moment, Stickler is standing beside the car door, thumbing the lapel of her matching firecrotch jacket, Virginia Slim at the ready. In the next, there is a roar, accompanied by a blood curdling scream. And then she’s gone.

Like magic.

Johnny appeared at the edge of the woods.

I wanted to scream at him to get the fuck out of there. We couldn’t see the attack anymore, but we could hear it. Our teacher’s dehydrated shouts echoed through the park like a scene out of a horror movie. I rolled down the window to do it but my buddy stopped me. He pointed.

Johnny was watching it happen.

Stickler reappeared. She fell underneath the car and tried to drag herself over to him. She looked like a pile of moving bones. Her clothes wore her. Blood covered her lapels. Her skin was cut up like confetti. She screamed, begged, in the worst way imaginable, for Johhny to please just fucking help her.

Instead, he just laughed. That’s the part that made me sit back down. He laughed so loud that he didn’t fucking care if anybody heard him. Like he planned this. Like he wanted this.

The animal returned after a minute. It ripped something from her body with a separation sound that filled the quiet park evening and forced me to vomit into my buddy’s front seat. Stickler started to beg for her mother after a while. Then her father. It all ended with one last crushing noise that must have been her head against the asphalt.

The licking and lapping sounds afterwards were enough to make me vomit a second time.

After what felt like an eternity, but couldn’t have been more than an hour, Johnny got back into his car. He pulled out of the parking lot calmly. He even used a fucking turning signal. We ducked in our car… but it didn’t matter… because the headlights hit us head on.

Johnny waved at me.

He actually fucking waved at me.

We returned to the exact spot soon after he left. We didn’t get out. But Mike shined it with his brights and it was picked clean. Not a bone. Not a spot of blood.

We resigned ourselves to the possibility that we were insane.

We went home. We went to bed. We got up and went to school. We headed into Miss Stickler’s class with the full expectation of seeing her standing there in her slutty, sad, depressing Thursday’s best.

Instead, we were greeted by the principal and the police.

We were told that documents on Miss Stickler’s work computer revealed her to be a child predator. We were told that a school counselor would be ready to discuss the situation with anyone who chose to come forward. We were told it was okay to be upset. It was okay to be fearful. But she couldn’t hurt us anymore. Stickler was fired and barred from school grounds.

I wanted to raise my hand. I wanted to ask what the fuck happened to her. But my buddy grabbed my arm and spoke before me.

“Where’s Johnny?”

A few of the students looked at him funny. One of them outright asked him ‘who?’ They seemed angry. Downright disturbed. Ready to fight over only a question. It was a bizarre response. Completely inexplicable. None of the other students knew what the fuck Mike was talking about.

The principle frowned and thumbed through his notes for a second.

“Johnny… We don’t have a Johnny in this class.”

He paused. Then he placed his notes on the table.

“Right, kids?”

Principle Turner was staring right at the two of us. He took a sip of coffee, slurping and lapping up the last drops like a dog. I felt sick. His eyes never wavered from mine. I didn’t know what to do… I panicked… so I just nodded.

“Good,” Turner replied. “Very good.”

Then he licked his lips and smiled.