A faulty defense mechanism of repression

The following is taken from an overheard conversation between an unspecting writer and a person who he thinks is his aunt’s new paramour but is in fact a pioneer in psychonalysis who also likes bildungsroman and nougat.

Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?

Yes, I had one on my history teacher. I would continually vie for her attention with another student who she treated with kid gloves and fawn-like ogles. He was slick and had a pierced ear well before me and was called James, the giant peach. Whenever I tried to get the teacher’s attention she would ask me what was the Maginot Line and I’d half-whisper, the zipper on the back of your dress.

But my amorous shenanigans weren’t all in vain. The was the old boiler room. A big, archaic sign hung on its forbidden door that read: “Dim Mynediad O Gwb.” (Years later, and after a sheep dip in Welsh, I realized the words spelled “No Admittance.)

It was in that old bolier room that I took my revenge on James, the teacher’s disciple who would never get any forgiveness from me.

Down I descended, the naked bulb flickering between abeyance and acceptance of light. The boiler groaned like an adult after a heavy night of drinking and his wife’s billowing admonitions. I broke apart cobwebs as big as dinner plates. Pea-sized spiders jittered on the threads as much as my own heart.

I struggled in the cloying dark toward the grille, the holy grille, where light slanted down in golden ribbons.

And waited. Waited for Simon Dimec, my very own Maltese Falcon — although he was more of the fall guy, who, at the appointed hour, would stop the teacher right over the grate. I took the whole day before drilling him over and over with the question he was to ask her.

My excitement grew as Dimec’s scuffed shoes appeared. Not long now, I knew, a trail of webs like a threadbare cape on my shoulders.

And then I heard him shout, “Miss Harris.”

Too soon I cursed in the terrestrial dark.

Dimec fumbled over the words I had ingrained into his thick head, pulled the words from his slack mouth as if they were used gum, stringy and all elasticity gone.

Bastard, I moaned, looking up to see Dimec’s grey trousers like two polluting stacks.

About to turn away and admit defeat, I stopped.

It was James’ voice. He had stopped beside Dimec.

The golden lure!

Miss Harris stepped onto the grille.

In the dark confines of my own cells light exploded, flashed, flared up. An atomic fission of happiness mushroomed inside of me. It leveled the image of a boy and brought to life a giant shadow of a man.

Alone in the dark boiler room I tasted revenge.

Unfortunately Miss Harris was soon to leave the school. It was never said why. And she was replaced with a blow fish of a history teacher. A lunker of a man who would squab in his chair and then suddenly screech at a student over the most minor indiscretion. Screech as if someone had taken a small pin to his bulk, his hissing exclamations dying into a rich sigh.


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