(Written for NYC midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015-1000 words/48 hours. Genre-comedy, location-school detention, item-pretzel.)
You can do this.
An hour, tops.
And Larry Breen could forget about St. Tolerance forever.
It’s just one kid.
A kid with issues, sure. Who struggled with responsibility, race, religion, reality.
Pretty much anything starting with “r.”
Breen reached into the sanctuary of his inside coat pocket. He gulped from his new asthma inhaler before entering.
Standing on his desk, draped in a UN flag.
“This is not the first time a Luggajéan has been unfairly detained. Racist!”
Breen kneaded his temples as hard as the bruising would allow.
“Against which part of your French Hungarian African Canadian heritage?”
“Probably all of them. Khnyok!” scoffed Tyrone, descending in dramatic profile to accentuate his nose.
“Since mid morning. Church of England first thing.”
Breen shuffled the history paper to the bottom of the pile. No need to question why “Bitch had it coming.” was the entirety of Tyrone’s Joan of Arc essay in first period.
“We have to talk about your inconsistent grades.”
Tyrone snatched the sheaf of papers.
“You kidding me? D for media studies? My school website page got like a billion hits.”
“And the picture of me buggering the school mascot got me on the national sex offenders list. Though you did get an A for photoshopping,” added Breen begrudgingly.
“Hey what about this one? I’ve scored some kind of acting gig or something. You are summonsed to appear…”
“Sorry, that’s mine” said Breen grabbing it back. “Did I mention it was an A+ in photoshopping?”
“Oh I see. A technology A because I’m Asian”
“Tyrone, you’re black.”
“But we live over a Chinese laundry,” he wailed.
“You aced Chemistry though.”
“Dad did all my homework.”
“Yes, I saw his lab on the news. Don’t worry Tyrone, six months will pass in a flash.”
“Hey what about this one? An F?”
“Your exam paper was blank.”
Tyrone tapped his forehead, eyebrow raised knowingly.
“It’s physics Tyrone, not psychics.”
“The others did seem a bit hands-on,” the boy mused, passing something unseen to something else unseen under his desk.
Breen leaned forward.
“Just feeding Quetzalcoatl, sir.”
“And when did you become legally blind?”
“Tuesday for about an hour after dad’s mushroom gumbo. It’s not a guide dog though. He followed the old man home from the airport.”
At the boy’s feet, a contented beagle in a harness chomped away on a phallic shaped treat. Breen winced; though his stomach growled like an overprotective father with an underdressed daughter. Being picked up by a beefcake in a curtained kombi. And a sticker saying if it’s rockin’ don’t bother knockin’.
“Well I haven’t eaten today,” Breen admitted. His lunch hour had been spent recovering in the sick bay. The chlorine in his inhaler had eradicated his sense of smell. A blessing in halitosis/flatulence 101.
“They’re druidic pretzels,” explained Tyrone as he held up another glazed penis with sesame seed sprinkled testicles. “Made them in cooking class.”
“Are there any not shaped like genitalia?” asked Breen against hope.
Tyrone rummaged through a tote bag adorned with Yiddish. Breen spied a Ziploc bag among the stone tablets, rosary beads and severed lamb’s head.
“Now this is how a pretzel should look,” he announced, retrieving the bag.
“Like the overlapped praying hands of a monk,” Tyrone agreed reverently.
Breen retreated to his desk, sneaking a bite. The piece lodged in his throat and he rocked back and forward trying to dislodge it. Tyrone leapt to his feet, and tapping in on his inner Japanese, politely returned the same number of bows.
“H-h-heim-lich m-m-manouvre” gasped Breen.
“Oh great,” responded Tyrone, “Holocaust guilt.”
Breen’s face had turned the brash purple of his tie. He clasped his hands, pleading. Tyrone paused only to prop up his camera phone on an L Ron Hubbard novel before arriving to help.
“Jehovah is really at odds with Samaritan right now” he sighed. To witness or rescue? Reluctantly, he grasped the teacher from behind.
“The power of Christ compels you!” he screamed, slamming Breen’s head onto the desk and stapling two essays together. Breen’s recoiling head cracked Tyrone in the face. The force dislodged the offending chunk of pretzel. It sailed in a graceful arc across the class where it was snapped out of the air by the grateful beagle.
“You saved my life,” rasped Breen. He drew greedily on his inhaler. “Eventually.”
He staggered upright, where Tyrone clutched his bleeding nose.
“You racist atheist fascist,” he groaned. “I’m going to the principal’s office with your blatantly intolerant DNA still fresh on my face.”
“But it’s on camera,” wheezed Breen. “It was clearly an accident!”
“I can delete that,” shrugged Tyrone.
“Or you can leave it in. Think of Student saves teacher’s life despite shocking facial injury on You Tube. A billion hits!”
Tyrone’s crudely stereotyped Judaism won the brief arm wrestle over his rather shaky vow of poverty.
“Aaand detention’s over?”
“I was going to let you go for saving me anyway.”
“Vishnu be praised.” Tyrone grabbed his phone, shouldered his bag and led out Quetzalcoatl. At the door he stopped to light an enormous joint.
“Rastafarianism,” he smiled. “ And Hare Krishna, Mr. Breen.”
Breen watched through watery eyes as the boy led the beagle across the yard outside. Still starving, he gobbled down the rest of the pretzel, despite its stodgy texture. Typical. Tyrone was recipe challenged as well. Blissfully grateful for the lack of functioning taste buds, he finished every crumb.
The dog stopped to empty his bowels on the manicured lawn of St. Tolerance.
“Go nuts,” murmured Breen. He had survived the year. Survived Tyrone. Shit away, pooch.
But the beagle’s shining coil of turd formed a too-neat neat circle on the grass. The overlapping ends like the praying hands of a monk.
Breen’s purple complexion skipped the rest of the rainbow and went straight to green. He fumbled for his inhaler.
Tyrone waited for the beagle to finish, Ziploc bag at the ready.
In that way those damn Rastafarian French Hungarian African Canadians do.