Tuesday, February 24, 2015


You know its funny all these years of teaching English and I never had time to read.
Jack looked at Randy
You don't read.
Not really. When I retire this year I will but I just don't have time
Jack was a writer and would never retire. He taught part time English classes as an adjunct.
That's crazy.
I just don't know what I'm going to do when I retire.
Well I will never have to worry about that.
What do you mean
I don't have a pension. I'll never retire.
Randy was silent. He had worried a lot about retiring. For one thing it had been rocky lately between he and his wife. He looked forward to going away to the high school all day. It gave him relief. A necessary separation.
Jack fingered a cigarette.
Your a lucky man Randy.
Oh I know. Sue and I are going to travel a lot when she retires.
When is that.
Oh...not for another ten  years. she is a lot younger than me.
Jack drank his whiskey.
Yeah Ill work to the day I die. Just like my old man.
Writers never retire huh
Randy thought about not getting up and leaving at six AM. He thought about not setting his coffee pot. He thought about not being involved in the speech and drama club with meetings after school that ran past dinner time. He thought about not going back to school in the fall. He thought about sitting around and watching television like his dad who died a year after he retired from the railroad. It scared the shit out of him.
Jack pulled out a cigarette and looked at hijm.
You thought ahead man.  I''ll be driving to crappy community colleges to teach snot nosed freshman while you'll be kicking back. You have a pension. The rest of us are just fucked.
Randy nodded and stared down at his beer.
Oh I know. Im a lucky man....believe me...I  know.




Well we just have to check references, but I am sure they will be fine.
Great Toby said.
I knew your brother when he taught here and he was one of the finest teachers at Devine.
Oh yeah. He's a great professor.
Well you will be hearing from us for the fall term then.
That was how Toby left it. A shoe in. He had the experience and his brother taught there. He gave two teachers at his old college for references. They had both nothing but praise for him. So he didn't give it a thought. Two weeks passed before he allowed himself to call Jane Dystrak back.
Hi  Jane. Its Toby just calling to see how it is all going.
Well...I was going to send you an email.
Toby laughed.
Well my schedule is all clear for the fall term still.
A long silence.
Well..ah...something has come up.
Toby felt something cold down in his stomach.
What do you mean?
Oh well...this is rather awkward. But we called your references and one of them was less than stellar shall we say.
Toby's mouth dropped.
Not Ann. She loved me.
Ah I really cant say. But no I would not say she was someone you need to talk to.
I really cant say. I'm sorry.
Toby hung up and sat quietly. Sylvia was tenured. A nuts and bolts lit teacher who ran the department under Ann. She had more than once asked him about his syllabus. He was a writer and they approached writing differently. But he never thought she would give him a bad reference.
He sent off an email explaining that he had received word of a bad reference from her and could she please explain. An hour later his phone went off with an email.
Toby. I gave you a good reference. I just said that you tended to do things your own way and that was a good thing. I would never give you a bad reference. You and I have a different approach to teaching English and that is alright. If you prefer to go off your syllabus and "make up" the curriculum as you go then it is not for me to criticize you. Good luck.
Toby called Jane back.
It was all a misunderstanding he explained. She was just saying I have my own style but she did not give me a bad reference. Like my brother I teach in a unique way.
Debra was silent
Oh I see. Then it is a matter of style.
Ok.  Well then we will proceed. I will let you know about the fall classes within two weeks.
Toby hung up.
After the fall classes began he saw Sylvia at a Starbucks on Michigan Avenue.  He was working at a Hispanic college on the West side of Chicago where people barely spoke English.  Sylvia didn't look at him and left without her coffee.

The Pitcher