The Substitute

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Once again, I was in school—and tired. With my heavy backpack weighing me down, I pushed the door in and entered my classroom. Today we are to have speeched prepared, done, and ready to be presented, and so...wait, is that a substitute?

There in the front row of desks sat my friends and classmates appearing bored.

"So, a substitute, huh?" I idly said to them.

They all grimaced.

And then I turned around to see, lo and behold, the substitute! And that's when I noticed something—she is that substitute. She can barely speak English, and is a former teacher here. She puts emphasis on the wrong syllables when speaking and seems to never truly understand the directions she is given. I already had her for English class two or so days earlier.

My mind began racing through thoughts on how to cope. A very long restroom break? Rebel?

Well, nothing would come of it now. I walked over to my seat and sat next to my friend, Aaron. After ranting on the usual stuff with him—politics and movies—I settled in and braced for impact.

"Hay-lo claws," she said, butchering the words "Hello class," to a pulp.

I shuddered, probably a tad too loud, for she cast a glance at me. She thought I was saying hello like a good student, and so directed a "Hay-lo" at me. This time I shuddered again in my head.


And so she began to tear the English language apart again: "So I wahs told by Mrs. Feettzy that we are goy-ing to be doooing...speek-chess. So, how is abouts Harry?" she said, while glancing at the attendance list.


She couldn't even say speeches right? Speek-chess? Seriously...


Here was the problem, Harry never did his homework. So, being the good students we are, we decided to cover for him.


He said, unsteadily," Yeah, I know my topic...just, give me a sec to prepare."


Then, turning towards us while our substitute used the computer, he whispered, "What's my topic?"

Another guy told him his topic would be,"The Importance of Clothing"


"Well, that works"

And so Harry went up. Skinny, lanky even, and with black greasy hair, he smiled nervously trying to stall for time as our substitute looked at him suspiciously. "Eh-hem. Eh-he-hem. Sorry, just clearing out the throat." He cast us all a knowing smile.

"Well, go on thens," said the substitute.

"Okay, okay, just, umm....I need to get my paper, hold on,"

He walked slowly, taking each step to as little degree possible, and then rummaged through his binder. Perhaps for a full minute.

"Hurrys up!"

"Okay, okay, gimme a sec...and there it is!"

Harry flashed the paper just quick enough that our substitute couldn't read it, and just went a long with a nod.

Harry began: "Alright, the...Importance of Clothing, that is, well, yeah, that is my err..um...topic."

"Wait a moments," said the sub, "don't start off your speech likes that. That is not at all proyfeeshional. Start over."

"Okay then. Here we go, clothing is very important—"

"Stop right there. That is way too obvious—-your title is the importance of clothing. And don't says heres we go, okays?"

"But," I chimed in," We didn't know the title, so it doesn't really matter, right?"

The sub cast me a mean glance through her ugly glasses. Sure scared me a little.

"Okay, start," said the sub.

"Imagine a world without clothing..."

I, and everyone else in the class, couldn't help but laugh. Blame it on sick teenage minds.

"Show some mah-turity everybody! Let him go. Start again, Harry."

"Guys, imagine a world without clothing—our clothing would be bare to the elements, and so..."

I laughed again, real hard. Everyone else was trying to hold in their laughter.

"I'll tell yours teacher abouts what happened! Be quiets!"

I hid my large grin behind my hand as I continued to laugh.

"Try a new opening, these guys are nots mah-ture enough."

He stopped to think for a moment. Harry began, slightly unsure, but with growing confidence. "Now, surely you know about the importance of clothing. There are many situations where it is important, like...have you ever seen a fat man naked?"

The rest of the class and I burst out into tears laughing. Oddly, the sub seemed to have no reaction to what he said but to what we did.

"Hey, hey, hey! Let him speaks! Shows mah-turity!"

We all quieted down.

Harry began again, "Have you ever..."

I think I just burst a gasket, as I laughed so hard my gut began to hurt. Then I told Harry halfheartedly I would stop. Everyone was telling me to be quiet—we could get, well, screwed over if things continue to go downhill.

Harry kept smiling knowingly, and began again, and I laughed again—hard. To the point of hysteria even.

"Thaht ees it! Alright, sit down Harrys—"

"It's Harry—"

"Whatever, Harrys. Alright, you all better stop this now. You know what, you kids these days and your mah-turity ees so bad, God!"

The rest of the period was awkwardly quiet, with intermittent laughing by me and others, but especially me.

When the period ended, oddly, the teacher acted as if nothing had happened, but she sure wasn't warm. Oh well. It was funny.





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