I apologize. This episode was supposed to go up yesterday. Apologies.
Anyway, it’s here today. Enjoy the read.
The First episode of MMAS series.
I ARM-WRESTLE WITH MY ENGLISH TEACHER
It’s Monday afternoon and I’m going with my family (excluding mom and dad) to Bull’s Park. It’s our favorite place to hang out, eat junk and get some nice cold drinks and meet friends. We go there all the time. It’s called Park but it’s not really a park at all. It’s just called that. The owner is really called Bull though, but no worries, he’s a nice guy. Bull’s Park is built on a rock and that makes it look like it’s jutting over a small cliff. It’s kind of exotic.
We get there and lounge on a table. It’s all wood here and it smells fresh, just like nature. A waiter comes wearing a big red hat with horns and eyes that try to make him look like a bull but instead, he looks quite awkward. He gives us a strange look.
“Never seen us before?” says my brother, Leo.
“You guys new?” the waiter asks.
“What does it look like?” starts my blind stingy sister, Aby, “Now quit staring and get me a cream soda, I’m thirsty!”
“Easy, sis,” says Lisa, she’s been trying to be nicer to people these days but she’s still quite bossy at times.
“It’s not like we’re modeling. He wants to stare at strangers? They keep mannequins in the mall, he should go have a look!”
Ah, one more thing: our hairstyles. That’s a very sacred thing in our family. Hair. I do dreads, Lisa’s got short straight hair that fits well over her, Aby’s got considerably long hair she ties behind, Leo keeps to a buzz cut and my brother, Asher’s got this style of his own. His hair is wavy and combed to the center of the back of his head, where it collects and sticks out like an antennae. It looks like an alien helmet.
Our waiter comes back with our drinks, keeping his distance from Aby, and places them on our table. Then he disappears quickly.
Ever since we moved here I’ve tried out sixteen schools, each time standing in front of kids and introducing myself. If you do that kind of thing sixteen times you can go nuts! On one occasion I screamed in front of the whole class. That’s when we all decided to settle at St. Godwin’s.
“Hey,” Lisa points out, “Anyone recognize that guy?”
She points at a man sipping coffee at a lonely table.
“Well, he’s not my father,” says Aby. But I immediately recognize him.
“That’s Mr. Peter, my English teacher,” I say. And then I suddenly get mad. Leo notices my mood’s changed.
“What’s up tiger, did the guy bite your homework?” he says.
“Sort of,” and then I tell them what happened:
Mr. Peter gave us a creative writing assignment to write about anything we wanted as long as it was possible. A girl with specs in our class immediately shoots up her hand.
“What about aliens?”
“Layla, they’re not proven to not exist so it’s possible. Go ahead. Use your imaginations all of you.”
Ha! Saying that must make him sound great but only I was the one who found out what a dumb-ass he is! I spend an hour on my homework because I’m not so creative. My handwriting looks like I’m writing with a knife but at least I get the stupid story done.
Early this morning, he gives us time in his lesson to finish up our last touches and I’m the first person to put my book on his desk.
He gives a smile, a gold tooth glows in the sunlight, and he skims my story like a newspaper.
“Hm…” he hums to himself and then pushes his glasses on right. His smile sinks and turns into a frown and I’m like, oh no! What’s going on now?
“Alex,” he says my name in a very serious tone. “I thought I told you to write about something possible.”
Oh great! I knew I wasn’t good at this stuff. His eyes bulge like he’s about to jump on me and I’m staring back at him looking all sick and helpless.
“Since when do elephants and bulls hold up a bank and steal money?” he cuts me short.
“Prove it impossible,” I reply and he gets really mad, I can see him steaming. His eyes are boiling at me! He stands up before the class and calls for attention.
“I have a question. Is it possible for zoo animals to go and rob the bank?” he asks the class. He didn’t have to go that far! I’m still new and he’s humiliating me!
The entire class laughs. Derek shakes his head, “Maybe they were remote controlled or something. You know technology!”
I try to defend myself, saying that it was according to a human’s vantage point that they robbed the bank and left with money, but in reality, they escaped the city zoo, scared a bunch of people in the bank, broke some lockers and ran away, leaving the bank a wreck and notes flying behind them. That was possible!
“Impossible!” shouts Mr. Peter.
“IS TO MR. PETER! WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN?”
Jesus, bless my name! Sheesh! I turn my ass around and storm out. I got a D minus for that plus detention for raising my voice to a teacher. And you know the phrase, ‘But he started it’, never works.
So after school me and my family headed to Bull’s Park and I’m staring back at this teacher who’s one hundred seventy six pounds of fresh roasted insanity!
“I’m going over to have a word with Mr. Peter,” I get out of my seat. Lisa holds me back.
“You could get into more trouble,” she warns me, giving me a sweet sister to brother look.
“We’re not in school. And Bull has his own rules, he doesn’t get interfered by cops easily.”
Leo smiles, “Show him who’s boss!”
“Leo!” Lisa snaps. But it’s too late. I’m standing in front of the guy, waiting for him to look up. He does.
“Oh, it’s you,” he greets.
I go straight to it. “What you did today in class wasn’t pretty.”
“You deserved it, son. Elephants? Bank? Who would’ve thought of that?”
Lisa shows up beside me too. “I think creative writing is supposed to be creative. Indeed, who would’ve thought of that. He deserves more than a D minus. And you owe my brother an apology for how you treated him today.”
Lisa’s got swagg when it comes to this stuff!
The teacher looks up and coughs a laugh like she was joking. “An apology? You guys must be kidding me!”
“Do I freaking look like I’m kidding?” Lisa’s tone begins to rise. “Do we look like we’re kidding?”
He stares… Thinks… And then his eyes turn to slits like he’s feeling her now.
“I don’t like-” I start but he cuts me short again.
“His assignment was junk. I could’ve made toilet paper out of it to make it useful. And I’m giving no apology! Kid has to learn it the hard way sometimes!”
He then picks up his cup for a sip but Lisa scoops it before his lips touch the edge. Okay, I think we’re about to go ghetto mode!
“I don’t take bullshit from nobody! Not from a friend, not from my parents, not from a teacher and definitely not from you!” she dumps his coffee in the trash. “Now I demanded for an apology for my brother. I want it now. Can I get it now?”
You can see Lisa’s mad. Peter’s steaming too and he stands up. His lips tremble with anger and he looks pretty ugly too.
Lisa sighs, the others are looking, Leo’s waiting for some action to explode. Asher’s waiting for the moment to intervene but he hardly does until the last moment.
“You owe me a drink,” says Peter.
Lisa mimics him but in a goofy girlish voice, “You owe me a drink. Oh please. I told you not to give me no bullshit.”
He spits at her!
“What the!” I interject. I can’t believe he just did that! That was just too far. Lisa goes red and she’s about to do anything but I act first. Without thinking, I throw a punch that meets his cheek bone. He stumbles back over the bench and I jump on him like a tiger and we crash down! His legs crash under the table and turn it over. Luckily, it doesn’t break. I grab his coat collar and drag his dizzy head up and knock it down on the floor again. Lisa and Asher pull me away from him and he gets a chance to get up.
“You stupid kid!” he yells. Lisa shoots a look back.
“My brother is not stupid!”
It’s chaos! He tries to get back at me but then Asher turns around and he bumps into him. Asher is super tall, Mr. Peter is only as tall as his waist!
“I’m not your size so step back,” says Asher. Mr. Peter steps back. You can see he’s scared now.
“I’ll get back at you, Alex!” he’s pointing at me and he seems serious for revenge. I don’t care. He spat at my sister!
“Bring it on, dog!”
He gaps in astonishment of my words.
“You heard that!” adds Aby who loves to pepper these ‘ghetto’ moments.
Suddenly a man wearing a bull-hat walks in from behind the counter. He’s not a waiter. It’s Mr. Bull himself, the owner. He frowns at the scene.
“I heard fighting and threatening,” once he speaks the place goes quiet and everyone’s still. “Now in my park it’s crazily okay to fight once in a while, we’re human. But any brawl that breaks here, ends here! I want no threats.”
“That dog started it!” shouts Aby, trying to point to Mr. Peter but she’s not sure of where he’s standing because she’s blind, “He’s somewhere over there.”
“That boy started it,” Peter points at me.
“You spat at my sister!” I say.
“Enough! I decide you two can finish this with a one on one arm-wrestle,” says Bull.
“What!” I’m in shock!
“That’s so unfair,” says Lisa, “There’s no way my brother is wrestling that mad man! He’s way older.”
“Unless you want this case to go to police. Arm-wrestle tonight at eight!” says Bull.
Mr. Peter smiles and chuckles. “If I win, you’re expelled boy!”
“Says who!” says Aby.
“Terms and conditions are not restricted,” says Bulls.
“And if I win?” I ask.
“State your condition,” says Bull, like a judge.
“You don’t bother me or my family again.”
“Agreed,” the teacher sneers and laughs away and leaves. A waiter comes by to set the overturned table right.
Asher sighs. He doesn’t do that until things go very much out of hand.
And I know… I am so dead!
We get home and settle on the couch. It’s six thirty, I have an hour and a half to get ready for that arm-wrestle and I know damn right that I’m going to be expelled. There’s no way I can beat that teacher!
“Oh no you will,” says Aby, like she knows what I’m thinking.
She shrugs, “I don’t know,” she admits and slips back.
Leo comes over with his phone, “You’ve made history, Alex! Your attack on teacher is on YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and Facebook. Some kids must have done this. You’re hot!”
“Do I look hot right now? I’ve got an arm-wrestle with him and you say I’m hot?”
“A couple of girls from school are coming over to see it too.”
“To see me lose!”
“And some rich guys too. They’re betting fifty rand you beat teacher.”
“Thanks for the info but you’re not helping,” says Asher. At least someone has some sense!
“What we need is a plan. We can’t let Alex deal with this on his own,” says Aby.
“I’m still thinking but it’s hard,” says Asher, “You know Bull. He likes to settle things down his way.”
Lisa stands up, “It’s all business. The wrestle will attract people to come and they’ll order stuff too.”
“So what do we do?” asks Aby.
“Hmm…” she’s giving it a thought. Our recently very disturbed sister is now taking charge of things pretty well. “We do nothing.”
“What!” the word jumps out of my mouth the moment she says that. The rest seem interested to know why.
“Nothing,” she repeats and turns to Aby, “You’re coming with me. I’ve got a little plan that just might work.”
“I’m not sure now. Let’s go,” Lisa turns for the door and Aby gets up and follows. She can be very mysterious at times, doing things on her own.
“And the arm-wrestle?” I ask before she leaves.
“Do it. You won’t break a bone so quit worrying.” And then she leaves.
I’m left with Asher and Leo who don’t seem to come up with anything more.
Leo smiles, “We’ll escort you.”
I roll my eyes, “Gee, thanks a lot.” Thanks for nothing!
It’s cold that night but I’m already drenched in sweat as we approach Bull’s Park. Just the thought of holding Peter’s hand freaks me out. I’ve got Leo and Asher behind me as we come in.
I can see Peter already seated on a table, his eyes shooting daggers at me. You can tell he’s looked forward to this all day. A bunch of girls sit behind him, cheering. Yuck! They’re all strippers, you can tell by their attitude. He shows grit teeth and slides a hand under his chin to show he’s going to kill me! Close to the bench I’m supposed to sit on are a bunch of friends from school, a few from my class but most of them are girls in their senior year.
Leo gives me a little push. “You go man.”
Asher says nothing. He’s as blank as his sunglasses that he wears all the time. He sits at an empty table close to the one my teacher’s at. I know it’s just to make sure things don’t get messy. No one would dare mess with a giant like my brother.
“I’ve waited, boy!” shouts Mr. Peter.
“I’m here, dog!” I reply and walk to the bench. The people on my side are cheering. The strippers on his side do the same. Bull gives a wide smile as four waiters scramble around taking orders and delivering drinks. This is business! And again, I’m so dead!
“Where is this place?” asks Aby as Lisa takes her to a house.
“House of ex-principal Weto Mary,” Lisa knocks on the door.
“And why are we here?”
“Because she might know something about Mr. Peter that we must not know.”
“Are you talking about a secret?”
“But how did you? You’re incredible!”
“Listen, call Leo and tell him to get a video of the arm-wrestle.”
“Okay,” Aby grabs her phone and does what Lisa asked her to do.
“We could use the video.”
“You’ll see. Mr. Peter will surrender to everything. And we’ll get that apology.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Leave it all to me, Aby. This sister’s got it all under control.”
An elderly woman answers her knocks.
“Um… Ms. Weto,” says Lisa.
“Yes, that is me child, what brings you here at this hour?”
“Well, you see. We’ve got a little problem with a teacher. I study at St. Godwin’s,” she says.
Immediately, Ms. Weto’s face turns serious.
“I think you may know him,” Lisa adds.
Her face is still a cringe.
Bingo!, Lisa thinks.
“Mr. Peter?” asks Ms. Weto.
“Yes,” says Lisa.
“Come in. We can talk about this.”
I rest my elbow on the table and stare deep into his eyes already boasting victory. It’s okay, Alex, you won’t break a bone. But now I’m looking at him, I’ve got second thoughts about that. He looks like he’s just from a gym. He’s like he just injected steroids and took some Redbull too.
“You’re dead, boy!” he snarls and slams his elbow on the table. Gulp. Our hands clasp together. There’s so much shouting but I can’t hear a thing now. I’m lost. I’m a goner!
“Do you have any documents?” asks Lisa.
“No, but I can print them out for you,” says Ms. Weto, “You’re not thinking of pressing charges, are you? I’m sure Peter is a changed man. He didn’t do it intentionally.”
“Of course not. I like to give people second chances. I only want to spook him a bit. It seems he’s forgotten where he’s come from. It’ll be a nice reminder.”
Ms. Weto gets up and walks to her library. She welcomes Lisa and Aby to come too. Aby still can’t believe how Lisa gets the impossible done so easily. In the library, Ms. Weto folds out her laptop, turns it on and inserts a flash drive. She clicks through a few documents and then prints somethings out for Lisa.
“Thank you so mush,” she says, “You’ve saved my brother.”
“No, you have,” says Ms. Weto.
“But it couldn’t have been done without you,” says Aby.
“You’re welcome. Just don’t show that document to the public. It’s very discrete. I’m not supposed to be giving it to you but you seem to be a very responsible girl. I trust you.”
“Got it. We’ll go now, thanks again!”
They leave and head for the sidewalk outside.
“You’re amazing!” says Aby. “What’s in that document, you know I can’t read.”
“I can’t either it’s night, remember? But it’s everything she told us. All I thought was true, is true!”
“But how did you know?”
“Uncommon sense. I’ll tell you when this is over.”
“One, two, THREE!” counts Bulls and before I know it, my hand is flat on the table!
Mr. Peter stands up and points at me, yelling, “Expelled!” He’s having a really good laugh and his strippers are applauding. Yuck! My supporters all fall quiet. I step away from the table and walk away, head hung low. Leo pats my back.
“St. Godwin’s not the only school. Johann’s big, Alex.”
Asher doesn’t say a thing, he just watches Mr. Peter with pity. Bro! I’m the one getting kicked out of school here!
“You’re not expelling our brother,” says Lisa who’s just arrived. She’s holding an envelope. I wonder where she’s been.
“I can see that,” says Lisa, with style, “But like I said, you’re not expelling Alex and he’s getting his apology tonight.”
Mr. Peter laughs out loud, making fun of my sister. I wouldn’t mind attacking him again but Asher gestures me not to do anything crazy. I let Lisa do her thing.
“I have something here that you wouldn’t like people to know.”
He stops laughing and takes a serious look at her, “Like what?”
“Like Samantha,” Lisa mentions and right then, his face cringes.
His eyes bulge out of their sockets.
“Run, run, run.”
They go red.
He looks like he’s about to break!
“Please, no more,” Mr. Peter pleads.
“Aaaargh!” he screams. But he doesn’t run away. Lisa walks towards him.
“Should I tell everyone at St Godwin’s about you? This envelope has the documents that-”
“Ah-ha!” he snatches the envelope away and tears it into threads, laughing again. “No proof!”
“Actually they’re over here,” says Aby, waving the printed paper around.
Mr. Peter quickly drops back to his knees and acts all sorry again.
“Puh-lease, you’re pathetic!” says Lisa.
“Please,” he begs, “I’ll lose my job!”
“My brother?” asks Lisa.
“I won’t get him expelled, I swear to God!” his eyes look like they’re popping again.
“His apology.” Lisa’s got class when it comes to this stuff.
“Yeah, his APOLOGY!” Aby blurts out too. “Or else everyone in here’s gonna know what this document smells like!”
“I’m sorry!” he screams in fear. I don’t even need his apology. I’m happy enough to not be expelled but how did Lisa do it? “Forgive me, Alex. I’ll never embarrass you again and I’ll never mess with your family!”
“Just go away, you’re wasted,” I reply.
“Get!” says Lisa.
“And the document?” he asks, shivering pathetically.
“No one else will know about it. I’ve scanned a copy but I won’t show anyone just as long as you be a good dog, okay?”
“That’s a good dog,” Aby teases. She can be a bit mean at times but I didn’t mind. Mr. Peter then runs out of the Park as fast as he can.
“Lisa,” I start.
“Thank me later. Go to bed, you’ve got school tomorrow and you’ve had a rough day too.”
“How d’you do it?” Leo asks.
“Will tell you guys tomorrow on our way to school. We all need some rest.” She’s right. It was hectic. But man, she was awesome!
The next morning we walk happily on our way to school while Lisa explains to us her ‘uncommon sense’. She put it this way:
When Mr. Peter accepted the arm-wrestle she at once knew he was nuts. What teacher wrestles with their student? So she visited St Godwin’s Facebook wall. There’s info on all the teachers and all the schools they’ve taught. She found out Mr. Peter used to teach at Engoni High where he was involved in a horrible scandal involving the death of a student. She confirmed that while surfing for the scandal online and found his name mentioned in the list. He was immediately fired, Ms. Weto had no other choice.
What happened is that Mr. Peter was punishing Samantha after class and he was making her run on the field.
“I want to see you do six laps!” he ordered.
“I can’t run. I have asthma,” she said, struggling to jog.
“I said run!”
“But I have asthma.”
Mr. Peter didn’t listen, he forced her on. She tried but collapsed a minute later. She never got up again.
Mr. Peter looked for another school to teach after his case was filed and put away to avoid further scandal. It was done discreetly. Ms. Weto didn’t want him to fail getting another job so she kept it a secret. Not even St. Godwin’s principal knows about it. The video we took last night would only prove him to be as crazy as he used to be.
“You’re a genius,” we tell Lisa.
“Nah, just uncommon sense. I’m just glad you’re still schooling here with us,” says Lisa. Asher’s not with us though. He dropped out after joining Scorpions so it’s just us four.
“Thanks again, Lisa.”
“I’ve gotta look out for you. What’s a big sister for?”
What would I be without Lisa?