Shouting Down Mr. Krister
“You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,” said the Sheep: “but you can’t look ALL round you – unless you’ve got eyes at the back of your head.”
I had to read ‘Night’, which is a book by Elie Wiesel. He’s a famous writer who won the Nobel Peace Prize. It wasn’t that great of a book, which is probably why it didn’t win any other prizes for writing, just the peace thing. He’s written a boat load of books on the Holocaust, but ‘Night’ is the one that made him famous.
We had to read it in our religion class. The project didn’t make Mr. Rote any friends, but at least the book was short and creepy. It’s about Elie Wiesel going to Auschwitz, and about people getting killed shot tortured gassed by the Nazis. After that they were burned in crematoriums.
When they got to the concentration camp the women, at least most of the women, and the children, and the weak people would have to go to the side. They made them take off all their clothes. The Nazis wanted to save the clothes and shoes. They would tell everybody they were going to the showers to clean up. But, the showers would really be gas chambers. After awhile they would burn their bodies.
We watched a gruesome video about the Holocaust and then read the book. It would have been more fun if we had been able to read it at our own pace, but Mr. Rote made us read an exact number of pages every night. The next day we had a quiz on it. We had to remember one specific thing every day, so it wasn’t that hard. It was actually kind of boring. I always got a 5 out of 5 or a 10 out of 10. Mr. Rote always quizzed us on something that happened in one of the chapters. It was some kind of fact, so it was retarded.
Jack my so-called brother upstairs in his attic fortress thinks Hitler had his reasons and is misunderstood. He even went to one of Hitler’s mountain top bunkers when he was in Germany for his slap dancing championship, but he was disappointed. He said everything was falling apart and damp.
“It’s all wrecked,” he said. “Even the Germans don’t care.”
Jack is all about the goose-stepping Germans, the should-have-beens of the world, which is what he calls them. He dresses up in deer-hide leather shorts, a green wool hat with a grouse feather, and black shoes when he goes slap dancing at the German-American Cultural Center. The black shoes have two-inch heels and cleats as big as horseshoes.
His dance group dances at the Labor Day Oktoberfest every year. They dress up as old men with canes. A lady comes on stage with a big sign saying she’s got a special beer, and they drink it, and limp around to the back of a glockenspiel. When they come back they’ve lost their white beards and scraggly wigs and limps and they’re dancing all spry and happy.
“It’s like the beer that makers you younger,” Jack said.
They have sponsors who give them bead necklaces and sunglasses and they toss a butt load of the crap to the crowds during their shows. One year when I was there, since my step mom always makes us go see her boy wonder son dance, they threw out Jagermeister thongs. That was nutty. Everybody was grabbing for them. There was a riot.
I think Hitler was insane. He and his flunkies made mass insanity break out. I found out he had only one nut, which probably explains it. He was crazy, but he was a crazy mastermind. He was flipped out smart. His master plan was to make a master race by killing all the Jews. The Jews couldn’t be part of the plan because they didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. But, in the end, he killed his wife and himself.
Hitler is always blamed for starting the war, but that’s fool’s talk, because Hitler or no Hitler there would have been a war. There ‘s always a war. Nobody cares who starts something. I just want to bomb someone. Anybody. Then I get excited.
My Uncle Valdas was in the Russian Army when he was young and lived in Lithuania. They made him go to Afghanistan and fix tanks during the war, but the terrorists crushed the Ruskies, anyway. When he got back to Lithuania he became a policeman, but now he’s a truck driver here, driving from coast to coast.
He’s not annoying, although he can be. He just comes right in to my room with his radio and iPod and I have to download crime books from the library for him. I got his new radio working because he had broken his old one, but I screwed up on the downloads and had to call Apple. They were good about it, but they said, “Don’t let it happen again.” It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t exactly know exactly what I was doing.
Uncle Valdas was over for more than four hours with all his stuff. Thankfully, Aunt Lizzie showed up.
“The shit!” he said. “Put the iPod under the bed.”
Uncle Valdas is a weird talker. He has a weird accent. He’s always working, too, working hard, when he’s not gambling at some casino somewhere. Aunt Lizzie says he’s throwing all their money away. He’s nice, but a little assertive. He’s not aggressive, just assertive. Although he doesn’t ask questions, since he doesn’t not know it all, so he says. He makes a butt load of statements about things. Sometimes it seems like he thinks he knows everything. When we were downloading his books he kept telling me to do the same thing that wasn’t working.
“I already tried,” I told him.
“It’s not going to work,” I said.
But, he wouldn’t listen.
He’s relaxed when we talk, but he’s crazy. Not mentally crazy, but fast and loud crazy, basically. He’s always been. It’s nothing new.
I met Uncle Valdas when he and Aunt Lizzie got married nine years ago. I was five-years-old. There’s a picture of him and me when I was only a couple of months old. I’m buck-naked and my dad is holding me. Uncle Valdas is in the picture and there’s a big wet stain on his shirt. I must have thrown up on him.
Uncle Valdas never lets anyone get anything over on him. He will punch anyone in the face if he has to. He knows that non-violence is pointless. It’s fine as long as it works, but it hardly ever works.
My friends and I were at Crocker Park, walking the mall, not doing a single thing, when a pack of little retards walked smack up to one of my friends. One of them started swearing at him. They were ten-years-old and swearing up a storm. I could have slapped that kid in the face.
“Get out of here” is what I should have said, but I didn’t say anything, for some reason.
“Dudes, can you guys get away,” one of my friends finally said, shoving him away. But, the little retards kept swearing it up. If I had slapped him in the face to begin with he would have run away crying because he was just a small, senseless butt head.
I can’t believe a ten-year-old CUSSED ME OUT! I should have gotten VIOLENT. We saw them later, running around a Barnes and Noble, and security guards were yelling at them.
Is non-violence what it means to be a disciple of Jesus? Nobody knows and I don’t think so. Most guys at St. Mel’s would say non-violence is pointless. That’s because violence is a good thing. Maybe not always, but sometimes it’s necessary, when it’s needed. It depends on the situation.
More often than not non-violence doesn’t solve anything. It can, but most of the time it won’t solve a thing. It’s good to try to talk things out. No one should go straight to violence, but I have a craving for it. It’s all about adrenaline. It’s like a drug. Most guys like fighting.
There are a butt load of shows on TV about jails, jailbirds, and drugs. The people in jail, especially if they do drugs, like fighting because they feel it gives them a fix. They feel the adrenaline, which is like a drug.
Everybody at St. Mel’s is always messing around and fighting. I was wrestling with a friend of mine and he punched me, so I punched him in the stomach. But, we were just messing around, so I didn’t do it super hard. Violent stuff happens at school all the time. It’s just a bunch of guys punching each other, hitting slapping tackling. They throw the other guy to the ground. We usually do it after school, sometimes in the gym, or during practice for something, or other. We hardly ever do it in the hallways.
I’m not even especially competitive. I’m all for sports, I love it, but I don’t care about being the best. I do it for fun, at least most of the time. Teachers and adults and parents want their kids to be competitive. They’re always yelling at us. I hate that. Even the mall guards yell at us.
I was at the Westlake Mall waiting for my dad to pick me up one night when a guard came up to me.
“What are you doing, get going,” he said, all aggressive.
“Excuse me,” I said, on the sarcastic side. “I’m waiting for my ride.”
He was, “OK, but don’t wait long.”
Teachers parents adults always want to push around anybody who’s smaller than them. They want to be the alpha male, to have power over their kids, to be authoritative about everything. Adults are the ones who are aggressive in this world. They’re the aggressive grapefruits squirting their juice. That’s how guys learn to be mean and horrible.
Mr. Krister, my history teacher and cross-country coach, is like that. He yells at guys all the time for no reason. He’s ugly with nasty teeth. He’s not too tall, on the skinnier side, and has a scruff like a schmuck.
When he pulled my tie one day when I was walking to study hall he pulled it down hard. It was all on purpose. He definitely meant to do it. I wasn’t saying or doing anything. He did it because he wants to have power over guys.
“How are you, Sebastian?” he said, all smug.
“Let go of my tie,” I said.
“What?” he said, all smirking.
He’s a complete adult, just like an adult. I should have told the Dean of Students about what he did, but I didn’t. I told my dad, instead. He had a talk with Mr. Krister at one of the pasta dinner fundraisers for the team. I don’t know what my dad said to him. I didn’t ask.
But, I know he’s been afraid of my dad ever since then.
Now I screw with Mr. Krister all the time, mostly because he’s a jerk-off, but partly because I know he has to watch what he does or says to me. He doesn’t pull my tie anymore or even hardly yells at me. Even if he never did anything my dad would never believe anything he said, so he has to be careful with me.
Shutting him down shutting him up. It’s too bad for you, Mr. Krister.
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus