True Story: The Teacher
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
He reached into his pocket, pulled out his last $2 and dropped them into the man's cup. "What'd you do that for?" his companion asked. "They're all on drugs and--fuck, do you know how much money those dudes make a day? Shit, he makes more than you do."
"I'm not doing it for him, and I don't care what he does with the money--it's not mine."
"What'd you mean it's not yours?"
"It's not mine--I gave it to him; it's his."
They walked in silence for a bit, the companion lit a cigarette and was pondering the interaction.
"You seem troubled," the teacher said. "What's the problem?"
"It's just that, I'm supposed to be learning from you--and if I can be honest," he paused as if a reply was coming--it wasn't. "I'm not seeing much: an empty wallet and a beater car with, what, 300,000 miles on it?"
"Yeah, and the windshield--how long has that been broken?"
The teacher had to think about the windshield. He'd been ministering to the homeless downtown when his car had been vandalized. "I'll replace it when I have a chance," he said. "How much money are you worth? If we liquidated today, what are you looking at?"
"You mean the houses, the cars, everything?"
"Yes," the teacher replied, "if you could sell it all today."
"You mean before Obama Muslim'd it up?" The companion smiled. "I don't know, but I guess if I added it up, about $3.5 million or $4 million. Why?"
The teacher was silent for a moment, and then he asked for a cigarette.
"You don't smoke, bud, but okay, I'm buying." The companion handed him a cigarette. The teacher held it in his fingers, rolled it back and forth a moment, and then he crushed it, scattering the tobacco, and put the filter in his pocket. "What are you doing?" the companion asked. "You wasted that smoke."
"Whose was it?" The teacher asked.
"It was mine--I mean, it was yours, I guess."
"That's right. It was mine, but you gave it with strings attached--you gave it with the intention that I should do with it as you wished, that I should use it in the manner you see fit. You came to me because you were unhappy. Your children despise you. Your wife--a woman whom you found worthy of marriage due to the size of her tits and her ability to swing naked around a pole--is cheating on you, and your company is sliding into the gutter. I'm trying to teach you to be content with nothing, for that's what you have: nothing."
The companion thought a moment, and then his fist clenched and he threw a hard right cross, laying the teacher to the ground. He stormed away.
The teacher slowly raised his head, and through bleeding lips, he said, "I'm sorry I woke you. Go back to sleep."
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