A Nuisance No More

March 26, 2008
By Logan Ream, Norcross, GA

One hand in his left pocket, the other clutching his backpack shoulder strap, this is the walk of Hunter. Behind this lonely walk, he walls up his scathing judgments and grotesque assumptions.
When a fresh insight grew from behind his defense, he would discourteously discard the discovery to the nearest set of ears. To dispose of this discomfort, spite would strengthen his voice, and red would tint his flesh. This is the habit of Hunter. The feelings of these lemmings did not bother Hunter, for none of them had yet developed a solemn walk like his. “Thoughtless drones deserved no better than this,” he would justify.
He wanted to leave these herds behind. Hunter had successfully distanced himself from their grazing ground. He stayed within earshot; perchance one of the dull instruments chose to sharpen and sever his (so far accurate) assessment and find some note of use for itself.
The ground moved by as his feet caught up. The bell rang a minute ago, and there was little incentive to be late to class. Some cows chose to chew the cud between bells, but Hunter had not developed the taste for their empty meals. Occasionally, a cause for interjection would arise. At these junctures, he would usually find a callous quip to insert.
Setting his course for second period, the weightless words of a couple conversers pulled his ears to listen begrudgingly. The dull displeasure of this often-performed operation had not yet caught his conscious. He was half-listening to the pair of parakeets recount their recent discoveries, made from within their cage.
“I never realized…” Hunter allowed a blink of hope. Perhaps this bird is finally one who flies with an inclination to insight. “…how warm it can get in February.”
Really? he thought. This pathetic pigeon has clearly never noticed the bars that protect her from any accident of intelligence. How can one be so content to perch when the sky screams to hold one higher? Hunter’s mind fumbled to find the right words to mumble so he might humble those winged toadstools. His tongue was so ready that it turned and squirmed, impatient for words. At last, he procured enough to speak.
“I doubt whether the weather can be all that stunning. Maybe a sunset could create adequate cause for amusement, but come on. Global warming is a household science term now. Congratulations- your brain’s got a good three year lag to it.”
The primary parrot poured pride into Hunter with her dumfounded daze of disgust and surprise. This is the haughtiness of Hunter. He checked her friend to receive similar satisfaction, but she stole all possible pleasure. Rather than respond, she fed her focus to her friend and chirped a more updated version of “Did you hear something?” This lack of reaction kicked Hunter’s tongue back into his throat. He swallowed some sarcasm and his skin tone receded from red to pink and from pink to a pale cheesy hue.
Flustered and frustrated, Hunter gained his bearings and took flight for class once more. He fled, reminding himself on the way that he does not care about “them.” As is custom, he beat the bell… and half the class. He set his bag down and leaped into apathy’s protective arms.
The following three periods were much of the same- bland education smothered by immature obsession. Hunter could not ignore how he was shoved off balance by a second-grader’s weak trick. He could not forgive himself for being bothered. He was finally able to distract himself by sixth period.
He had sculpture with Mr. Harris. That scruffy-bearded bald man had a quirky way of trying to take life lessons for any mention of woodcarving. Last Tuesday, when some brown-headed boy was discarding scraps of knotted wood, Mr. Harris saw a chance to be their Buddha. “Some strips of wood have less appeal. They may have knots or rough surfaces, but it is the same way with life...” He continued about differences and rough patches. Hunter continued to ignore him so that he might better focus on his project.
As he was reaching for the nearest can of stain, a bison decided to walk backwards while talking to a friend across the room. This wide load stumbled over himself. Bison are not known for their agility, only their weight, so this domino fell fast… a few woodchips away from the buzz saw. This near death experience seemed to be an excellent opportunity for Hunter to teach a lesson in motor skills.
He made a mock warning; “Mothers: when pregnant with triplets, be careful not to operate any heavy machinery.” He waited for the class’ response. A few from the Bison’s herd turned off the saw and helped him to his feet. Some color left Hunter’s cheeks. Maybe I should try again, he considered. “I think you forgot to turn on your back up lights,” Hunter attempted, this time with more attention to his syllables. Mr. Harris dusted the bison off and checked it for injury. Shame was stepping on Hunter’s throat.
He moved to make a redeeming comment, but his throbbing heart clogged his esophagus. He felt the color vanish from his face. Blood was quickly leaving his limbs. Cold, congealed flesh was insulating a steaming need for recognition. He felt as if that need was about to burn through his stomach. He ran to the bathroom. Mr. Harris did not seem to notice.
Hunter let his weak body follow his hand into the bathroom door. His legs caught up to his body halfway across the floor. He ducked his head into his hands as he collapsed toward the sink. His pulse was pushing the toxic thirst through his arteries. The porcelain matched his skin- both in color and in texture; his hands now had the filmy feel of an overused faucet.
After hurling some water into his face, Hunter slowly let gravity have its way with his arms. He found the mirror poorly focused at first glance, so he took a step back. The image lost even more definition with this move, so he reversed it. The mirror’s abilities were not improving. In an earthquake of confusion, he flung a fist at the hazy image. He had aimed where he thought the mirror to be but felt nothing. He must have something troublesome in his eyes. He stepped forward to compensate for his eyes’ fault and took another swing, this time with the need for proof, not relief. He felt nothing. He saw nothing but the illusion of his hand moving through the tile wall.
Resolve was spewing from his pores now. He stepped to the right of the sink to avoid collision, took a breath, and then accelerated toward the wall. He crunched his eyelids together, bracing for an unpredictable impact. He pried them open in the French class next door. Hunter perused the room for eye contact. He thought how strange none of the students noticed him, especially since he was two feet away from the teacher, not to forget he just entered through a wall.
He examined his body. He was now a fading figure of dull white. Neither the cattle nor the cowgirl seemed to notice the phenomena. He quickly excused himself out the door. Hunter did not wish to derive his attention from abnormal happenings like transcending the solid state of humanity. He puzzled over what he had just done.
The hall did not supply many suitable tests of his existence; none that could prove what he would not believe. Finally, a trio of football players was making its way through. He approached them in his pseudo-casual style and looked for eye contact. When he found none, he decided to get their attention by other means. He moved his lips and shaped his tongue to make some mention of their glorified aggression and probable future spousal abuse, but not a syllable materialized.
No one would be found listening to such a consistently cruel voice anymore. Everyone stopped looking for the proud pessimist. Everyone stopped caring for the negative narcissist. This is the final mention of Hunter.

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