Lincoln Nebraska 0900 hrs.
Charles synchronized eye contact with another student. They grinned and watched a four-foot eight Asian American, in his mid-thirties, standing on a step ladder, writing on a chalkboard. Charles doodled in his notebook of a stick figure falling off a ladder. He tapped his friend. His friend glanced at the drawing and laughed.
Charles spied the other eighteen students crammed into a makeshift classroom that used to store tables and chairs, or costumes for the Performing Arts. Only one student was taking notes of the lecture.
He had missed the first day of class for Archeology 101 because he could not find the classroom in the College of Arts and Sciences. He should of known something was off then. His teammates just laughed at him when he told them he could not find the classroom. He thought it was a misprint on his schedule when he found out the class was in the basement of the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.
The scent of Clorox made Charles rub the ridges of his sinuses. He hated that his senior teammates suckered him into taking Dr. Chow’s class. He found out too late that taking Dr. Chow's class was part of the incoming freshman hazing. He would have rather been duct taped naked to a goalpost. Dr. Chow was one of the few professors who took their job seriously. And because of that Charles was failing and risked losing his full ride scholarship.
Charles had an outlet for his frustrations. His opponents. He was a four-star recruit out of Omaha High School. Football was his life. He dreamt to one day block for a running back that would go on to score the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Scott Frost the new Head Coach of the football team personally recruited him. He was the top-rated linemen in the state of Nebraska according to 247sports.com. He remembered how Coach Frost told him that he was a five-star recruit in his eyes. It did not matter what Coach Frost had said. He and his daddy dreamt that Charles would help revive the Cornhuskers to their former glory under Tom Osborne back in the 1990′s.
Dr. Chow was about to ruin this dream. Charles scrunched his forehead and scribbled out the stick man on the paper before him. Next to the stick figure he drew a tombstone with the letters RIP.
Dr. Chow brought the piece of chalk to his mouth and placed it between his teeth as he eyed the words written upon the chalkboard. He choked and coughed, bent down, and spat whitish saliva onto the floor.
Chow rolled his eyes. Not Again. He pulled from his blue Hawaiian shirt pocket a white handkerchief, with a salmon embossed on it, and used it to wipe off the saliva dangling from his chin. He then spotted his chalk lying on the floor, five feet below and groaned. He turned his head around and scanned the eight steps beneath him.
“Hah! Not this time,” Chow quietly said to himself as he leaned down carefully. From his salmon colored gym shorts that had a red N (that stood for the University of Nebraska) on the right side of the short leg, he pulled out a rag, that he used to wipe a clear soapy liquid off the step, three steps below him.
With his lips creased upwards Chow descended the step ladder. He got to the third step below him, slowed his pace until he reached the next step, and then hurried down to the next step...
Whoa! Thud! Chow fell hitting his chin on each step below him.
Laughter filled the classroom from the student section. Two students high-fived each other.
Chow rolled to his side, grasped ahold of the step ladder, and pulled himself off the ground. “Cracker Jacks,” he said.
Chow rubbed his behind gently, creaked his neck, and turned to his desk to his right. With a flick of the right leg he budged the step ladder an inch. His face cringed as he heard snickering in the background.
Chow walked up to his hand-me-down faded desk that in height was only a foot smaller than him and so old he did not know what color it was originally. He shut his eyes, rubbed his left temple and chin, and slowly descended to his cushion.
Chow’s eyes widened, “What the BUGGER?” he said. He sprung from his chair, slammed his knees unto the underbelly of his desk, and stumbled backwards wincing. His back ran into his seat and he fell backwards over the seat of his chair, landing forcefully on his back. From outside his classroom he heard hard laughter and high fives. From the floor he yelled through the door, “You’re all just jealous because I have three Ph.D.’s.”
The door opened to Chow’s classroom. “Yeah and a minor in underwater basket weaving.” said one of the voices.
How did they know?
Crimson flushed over his face as laughter arose again from his students. He gritted his teeth, picked himself off the floor, and looked at his nineteen students. Would any of their faces reveal their guilt, he pondered?
“Dismissed...” Chow said. All the students looked amongst each other.
“Professor Dung?” said one student, which caused another eruption of laughter.
“Professor Chow, or Dr. Chow, if you prefer, miss.” He moved his left hand towards the door and pointed his index finger. His eyes moved toward his chair. “What the devil?”
“Sir,” said the girl, “I believe that is a dil...” Chow waved her off.
She opened her mouth to say something else but closed her mouth and left Chow standing with his mouth hanging wide open.
Chow took the chair to a colleague’s office leaving it in there with a note:
It is my deepest regret that I had no need of your purple self-gratifying phallic representation.
While Chow walked back to his classroom, he heard his office phone ringing. As he unlocked his office door, he spotted black marker on his door. Scribbled on his door were the words ‘Shit Eater’ above his blackened-out name. He moved to his desk leaving the phone ringing and pulled out a small bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol and wiped off the black marker, once again revealing his name, Dr. Chow Dung. He moved to answer his phone; it stopped ringing.
Back in the classroom, he gathered his briefcase, meticulous notes, checked his shirt pocket, then his gym shorts.
“Where did it go this time? There you are you little bugger.” Chow said as he eyed a piece of a neatly folded silver wrapper that had a salmon colored lace ribbon tied around it, lying on the floor under his desk. He dropped to his knees and reached for the piece of gum.
THUMP! Chow crawled out from under his desk rubbing his head. “Cracker Jacks. Who could be calling - it damn well better be important?” Chow picked up his salmon colored iPhone and said into the receiver, “Hello, Dr. Chow.”
“Shit eater...shiteater...ssssshhhittteaterrrrr...” said a male voice.
“I prefer to be called Dr. Chow. If the person on the other end of the line prefers a different name other than the one christened to me, I will be forced to end this call abruptly -.”
“- Shit...” Click!
Now where was I.
Chow placed his notes into his briefcase. He checked his watch that read three thirty p.m. Chow always had to be home by seven pm to catch American Idol. He recorded the episodes to learn the songs by heart and then sang them. After he sang, he would push play and the judges on American Idol would proceed to say his singing was up to par. He smiled widest when the bully Simon loved his voice.
He smirked as he walked over to his Salmon colored custom-built Segway. When he rode the Segway, Chow appeared over six feet tall. He put on his Coal Black Harley Davidson helmet that had a skull on it and matching gloves. He stood next to the light switch and eyed his empty classroom. His eyes landed on the step-ladder.
Chow walked over to the step-ladder and felt an invisible liquid on his finger tips and shook his head. One of his students had outwitted him again. He sighed. If only this student spent as much effort on his homework.
Only one student was passing his class - the girl that spoke to him about the dildo in his chair. No one ever passed his Archaeology 101 class. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences scolded him every semester to ease up on his class requirements. He loved remembering the reddish-orange glare of the Dean when Chow remarked how the university is supposed to educate its students.
Chow powered his Segway through the school traffic to the faculty parking lot where he left his salmon colored Ford F-350. It had a six-inch lift, and thirty-inch wheels. A six-inch fire flag flittered in the breeze on the antennae.
He rode to the driver door, punched the numbers 1,2,0,4 into a button key pad that unlocked the doors. He went around to the back and opened the back where he unloaded a ladder, which he used to climb into the cab. In the cab he pushed another button that unloaded a ramp, which he used to load his Segway.
Chow climbed into the truck, he eyed his wrist, pulled the rubber band around his left wrist, it snapped back into place. Then he tapped his shirt pocket; his eyes creased, “Cracker Jacks,” he exhaled.
Within his classroom again, Chow spotted his piece of gum still safely lying under his desk. He scanned the room, placed his iPhone on his desk, and kneeled-down to grab his gum. His fingers inched closer to the gum, he paused, and his eyes squinted. His heart pounded, sweat glistened off his forehead -held still - in a flash he picked up the piece of gum and placed it into his shirt pocket. After he got out from under the desk, he relaxed into his chair.
I was being ridiculous. Chow chuckled at himself.
RING...RING...RING...Chow jolted, slightly lifting his buttock out of his chair. His iPhone buzzed on top of his desk. He stopped his initial urge to chuck his phone across the room. He wondered why he even got the stupid phone because he rarely talked to anyone in his family and did not have any friends.
Chow picked up his iPhone and pushed the green phone symbol. “Hello,” Chow said.
A sweet, sexy, girly voice answered on the other end of the line, “Hello, Uncle Chow.”
Chow exhaled, “Hello, Belle.”
“Um - like - you know...Um...like...Great-Grandfather, um...Yeah I know that movie was sic... (Giggling)...That part where the door creaked open...Like OMG...I nearly...”
“Uh, yeah...That part made me cry. I was so scared when the Ouija board lit on fire.”
“Huh...” Belle looked around her.
“What? Who’s calling my name...?” Belle continued to look around her.
“Belle, you called me - your uncle Chow.” Belle looked at her phone.
“Whoa! Like I totally forgot I was on the phone - he is half Mexican and American.”
"Oh, half Mexican and Chinese...Ugh, don't call me stupid. You're stupid."
Chow slapped his forehead with his left hand.
“Belle, I am half Mandarin and American.”
“What...(Giggles)...he says he is half of an orange - stupid huh? I know...Oh, guess what his name is?”
“BELLE, please tell me why you called -”
“Chow Dung... (Laughing is louder) I know his name is poo. Hey, my friend wants to know...like...if you smell like poo too?”
Belle and her friend laughed hysterically.
Chow shook his head and clenched the arms of his chair. “Belle I am about to end this conversation if you don’t tell me why you called.”
“He says I called him, as if - he’s supposed to be a genius.”
Chow heard a high five.
“That is a good one. My friend said you are a dumnius. Get it - you are so dumb that you are a dumb genius? Wait...A genius at being dumb.” Belle and her friend laughed.
Chow heard the laughter fade. Belle quietly cursed about dropping her phone. Chow clenched his eyes shut, “Belle did something happen? Is that why…(He shook his head)…I called?”
“Like how did you get this number anyway? I didn’t give it to you. You don’t even talk to my mummsy. Are you psychic? What am I thinking?”
“Cracker jacks...” Chow clenched his fists.
“Um...like I don’t know anything about Cracker Jacks, but do you smell hamburgers? I swear I smell hamburgers. Oh, I remember. Great Grandfather died, his funeral is on Friday...I know we were supposed to go...CLICK!”
She hung up on me - Grandfather died.