17) NEW LESSONS
Raphael got to school early and with an abundance of anticipation. He happily anticipated seeing his cousin Johnny and the friends he met last year. This time, the procedure for registration followed a slightly different protocol from previous years. A table stood in the main hallway where two teachers sat with stacks of papers in front . The line of students moved slowly until Raphael reached the table, where a teacher greeted him.
“What is your name and grade, son,” the teacher spoke.
“Raphael Hernandez,” he replied. “I’m in the 5th Grade.”
The teacher went down a list, found his name and pulled out a packet of information. He briefly reviewed the forms and handed the packet to Raphael. Under the category ‘Medical Issues’, the notation indicated Raphael exhibited a cleft palate and he seemed to be prone to outbursts and tantrums.
The teacher noticed the cleft palate due to the physical visibility and the fact his speech differed from normal. However, this boy seemed so innocent and docile. He found difficulty in believing he would act up in school; unless some crude student did something like called him ‘a hairlip’.
“This is your schedule for the year Raphael,” he affirmed, “showing the class name, the location, and the teacher. Here is also the time each class will begin.” Raphael reviewed the papers and said ‘Thank You’ as he headed to the designated location.
His first class, called Social Studies 5-A, dealt with government issues. The description said ‘this course includes an introduction to state history, using a regional approach to examine the geography and history of the United States’.
The course also review’s the state’s people, economy, resources, and geography. Students study the structure and functions of local and state governments. Besides learning state history, students learn to integrate different types and uses of maps and apply geographic skills and concepts’.
Wow, Raphael thought. This year school will be very tough.
Even though he considered himself a good student, he shuddered at how difficult the lesson plans sounded. He thought back to the day when he first went to school, in Kindergarten, and how easy and relaxed he considered classes. This year the rule would be he needed to study harder than ever before.
“Hey Dickhead,” came a shout from behind him. “I guess you got through the summer.”
Raphael turned around and caught the smiling face of his cousin Johnny. Seeing him brought a smile to Raphael’s face also because he really liked his cousin.
“Classes are nreally different this year,” he moaned. “They nlook hard.”
“A piece of cake,” Johnny laughed. “I’m sure we will find a way to blow some smoke up somebody’s ass. Check out who I drew for Math Class this year.”
Raphael inspected Johnny’s schedule and recognized the entry MATH 5-A with a teacher named ‘Rachel Bonner’ listed on the sheet. He bounced back to his own schedule and much to his delight, realized they would be classmates.
“We get to be ntogether,” he burst out smiling, “how cool is nthat.”
“Miss Bonner is HOT too,” Johnny added. “I used to stare at her walking down the hall last year and wondered which class she taught. She’s got such a nice little ass.”
Shortly before the first bell, the boys found their classes. Johnny yelled back, “I’ll meet you in the lunch room at noon” and dashed off. Raphael walked into his first class and immediately became dismayed. In the front row of class, sat none other than Sammy and Mitch.
CRAP! Raphael thought. Maybe I can get out of this class.
“Welcome to Social Studies 5-A,” the teacher , “my name is Mr. Bazell and we are going to learn much this year. Please take a seat.”
Raphael found an empty seat in the rear of the class. He didn’t so much fear Sammy, rather wanted to avoid him. Mitch didn’t act too badly. He seemed somewhat lame. Sammy tried to be a bully and Raphael wanted no trouble.
“Mr. Bazell,” Sammy queried. “Doesn’t this class set a weight limit for students?”
“What do you mean,” Bazell commented, “by a weight limit?”
“Well,” he smirked, “look at the pork chop that walked into the room and sat in the back row. Don’t you think he should wear a name tag saying ‘Fatso’?”
Raphael and Mr. Bazell both understood exactly who Sammy spoke about. Here he sat, not in school over 5 minutes and Sammy already poured out his shit. Raphael couldn’t deny he gained considerable poundage over the last year, but he needed no one advertising the fact.
“You will kindly stop making comments of a negative nature,” Mr. Bazell said. “We are all here to learn and not pick on peoples’ appearances. How would you like if I called you ‘Scruff’, because your appearance definitely fits?”
“I would return the favor and call you a douche bag,” Sammy snapped back, “because you remind me of one.”
“I’m going to write you a hall pass, Mr. Lovelace,” Bazell declared. “The hall pass is for you to head down to the Principal’s office and tell her what you said to me. I don’t want you back in my class until you learn manners and get a haircut.”
The teacher wrote a quick note for Sammy, telling him ‘GET OUT’. Sammy snatched the note from his hand and headed out the door to visit the Principal; or at least where he allegedly needed to go.
“Does anyone else want to make any rude comments?” he chided. “If not, let’s get to work and start learning about the States.”
Raphael understood Mr. Bazell did not act as a man to be trifled with. He took a crude situation and addressed the source without a moment’s hesitation. He admired the teacher’s attitude and thought he may even like this class.
When the bell rang, Raphael headed for his next class. Looking at his schedule, he noted he would meet his teacher for MATH 5-A, Miss Bonner, for the first time. Johnny mentioned her earlier, but when he walked in the classroom, everything Johnny said brought new meaning.
Miss Bonner exhibited the form of an pretty woman. She stood about 5′ 1 inches tall with flowing black hair; and a huge set of boobs. Even though he didn’t comprehend what the numbers meant, he estimated her to be stacked with a set of 38-D’s. He assumed the other boys in the class might be as enamored as himself, and probably all the girls would be jealous too.
How in the hell can a prepubescent boy learn anything while staring at those?
Physical Education turned out to be his next class. The teacher, Mr. Olum, explained they would do varied things during the year. Activities included running track, working out in the gym and swimming. The school offered an Olympic-sized swimming pool as part of the facilities, which stood out as something Raphael wanted to participate in.
Living in a metropolitan area like Manhattan, finding niceties like a swimming pool, without going to a public park, became a bonus. Raphael also liked that part of the requirements of Gym, included taking a shower after class. This would allow him to clean up and be refreshed before lunch.
Johnny waited for Raphael at the lunch table. He touted a little twinkle in his eye, meaning something brought him a certain amount of joy. Raphael got his lunch and sat down at the table.
“We’ve got Science class together this afternoon,” he joked. “I’m positive we can find something interesting to do in class.”
“I’ve got Miss Bonner for Math,” Raphael acknowledged with a smile. “You called nthat one nright. She is ngorgeous.”
“I’ll bet Sammy would like to get his hands on those tits,” Johnny continued. “They are even nicer than Miss Gordon’s.”
Both boys laughed and continued to eat and talk about what experiences they enjoyed over the summer months. Raphael complained how ‘pissed’ he remained because his parents wouldn’t let Johnny and his mom visit. It all started when the money came up missing and mysteriously reappeared. He also told Johnny about his escapades of shoplifting in the local stores.
Johnny reached in his pocket and pulled out a small aluminum foil packet. He tapped Raphael on the shoulder and said ‘Check this out’. Raphael didn’t grasp the significance of the item and Johnny gave an explanation.
“It’s a rubber,” he boasted. “I swiped this one from my mom’s dresser. I guess she must get a little action I wasn’t aware of.”
“Getting a nlittle nwhat?” Raphael wondered.
“Sex,” Johnny answered. “Is this a new word for your vocabulary?”
“What’s a nrubber is nused for?” he bugged.
“The man puts this on his dick,” Johnny explained, “so he doesn’t get the girl pregnant.”
“Why nwould the girl get pregnant?” he squeaked.
“Man, you truly are a rookie,” Johnny said. “I guess I’m forced to explain everything.”
Johnny enlightened Raphael on the mechanics of intercourse. He explained the act is not only to make babies, but grownups like to practice sex for fun too. When they want no baby, they need to use a rubber to keep the sperm trapped inside. Raphael asked a bunch of questions and to him, Johnny seemed to be an expert.
“Have nyou ever done sex before?” he went on
“No,” Johnny admitted, “not yet. But if Miss Bonner tells you she wants a young stud in her life, mention my name.”
Both laughed again at Johnny’s quick wit. They kept chatting until the bell rang and lunch time ended. Johnny said he would meet Raphael later in the afternoon when both were scheduled for class together. They both went off separately, for an afternoon of intensive education.
Raphael arrived at his class called Humanities 5-A, right after lunch. The class began as a lecture and continued with practical application. Humanities dealt with music and art; two subjects Raphael liked. During the practical part of the class, he showed off his drawing skills, dramatically improved over the last few years.
The scheduled classes ended with Science. Raphael was happy to being with his cousin again. The teacher appeared as an older, gray-haired man named Mr. Whitslow. Unlike most of the other teachers, he dressed in a suit and wore a pair of black rimmed glasses. He announced today’s lesson would deal with Earth Science; namely Gases. He revealed a chart on the wall called a Periodic Table. The table gave the chemical symbol for all the elements.
Raphael found the lecture interesting because this class reminded him of a TV show his Daddy tuned in on the Discovery Channel.
“Today,” Mr. Whitlow promised, “I’m going to show you kids some of the properties of gasses. Oxygen is all around us and we, as humans, need Oxygen to breathe. Remember though, this gas has many other uses which I will demonstrate. I want everybody to come up to my desk and take one green balloon, one red balloon and two paper clips. Who wants to volunteer to help me?” he requested.
Everybody’s hand went up at once and he picked Johnny as his assistant. He instructed him to fill the green balloons with Oxygen, placing a paper clip on the end to seal the gas inside. He also wanted him to fill the red balloons with Acetylene gas and paper clip the end also.
He explained how when he lights the green balloon, the Oxygen will give off a loud POP while burning. There would be no odor because Oxygen is odorless. He explained when he lighted the red balloon; the class would be treated to a bright flash of light and a soft POP.
“With the red balloon,” he noted, “you will also detect a foul odor, like rotting meat.”
He directed Johnny to come up to the front of the class and fill the balloons. Johnny glanced at Raphael and said ‘This should be fun’.
One by one the students brought their green and red balloons, with the paper clips, up to Johnny, where he filled them with the gas. When Raphael approached, Johnny filled the green balloon with Oxygen, the red balloon with Acetylene, PLUS a little Oxygen in the same balloon. Raphael didn’t question the action because he wanted to see what would happen when the teacher lit them up.
As soon as the balloons filled, everybody formed a line in front of the teacher. First he would take the balloons from them and unclip the ends. He held a Bic lighter in front of the tip and released the gasses individually.
The Oxygen burned from the green balloon and as the teacher said, the gas gave emitted a loud pop.
The Acetylene from the red balloon ignited and as described by the teacher, the gas gave off a small bright flash and a foul odor.
This exercise repeated with every student in the line. Finally, Raphael stepped up to the desk. He handed the balloons to Mr. Whitlow and stared in rapt attention.
“POP!” went the first balloon, filled with Oxygen. The same result occurred as with every other student. But when he ignited the red balloon Johnny filled with two gasses, everyone got a big surprise.
“BOOM!” ... a minor explosion erupted. Black smoke filled the air; smelling like burning rubber. The explosion went off so violently, Mr. Whitlow’s glasses cocked sideways on his soot-covered face. The class broke out in riotous laughter. They did not understand burning Oxygen and Acetylene together, would produce such a violent effect.
Mr. Whitlow stood with black soot all over his face and his fancy white shirt. His stern body language indicated his displeasure. He specifically glared at Johnny and Raphael. He turned on one heel and headed straight out of the classroom. He followed the hall down to the Men’s room, to get away from the class and to clean up.
“Wow man,” Johnny shouted, “What a cool explosion. Wow.”
“Why did nthat happen?” Raphael marveled, “the balloon didn’t do nthat before nwith the other students?”
“My neighbor is a welder,” Johnny snickered. “He told me he pulled the same stunt when he went to school. I thought the prank sounded funny and wanted to experiment for myself.”
Mr. Whitlow came back into the room. He washed his face and straightened his glasses, but his shirt still bore the stains of soot. In his hand, he carried a flat wood board with a handle on the end; shaped like a small cricket bat.
“Johnny Rivero and Raphael Hernandez,” he commanded. “Would you come to the upfront, please?”
Uh, Oh. This sounded like trouble. The boys left their seats and came up front.
“This is how I deal with smart asses,” he proclaimed to the class. “Bend over you two.”
“What for,” Johnny cried. “What did we do?′
“Your little trick didn’t impress me at all,” he boomed. “You deliberately mixed the two gasses together ... and you, Hernandez; you acted as a partner in the crime. NOW BEND OVER.”
“WHACK!” the paddle sounded when colliding with Johnny’s bottom. “WHACK!” again on Raphael’s rear end.
“Now both of you smartasses can head down to see the Principal. I don’t want you back in class until you bring me an apology.”
Raphael and Johnny left the room and went to their destination. Raphael thought this turned out to be a crappy start of the new school year. He liked his cousin, but he couldn’t help thinking how Johnny acted as the cause of him getting in trouble. He believed he’d been conned or abandoned by his cousin and he didn’t like the feeling .
And how would his parents react to this?