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Entry 12 -- The Taste of Injustice

I was in the upstairs hall by the library, when the hall monitor stopped me. He is a big brute of a country boy now turned teacher's aide. If you want to listen to gossip, people say he might be gay, but he's never hurt anybody so it doesn't make much difference. People sometimes think I'm gay because I have long hair and I'm skinny and small.

The Hall Monitor (We don't even call him by his name) stepped up to me like a cop, and drawled: "What are you doing here?"

"Going to the library," I answered and hoped that would be enough.

"Where's your pass kid?"

"I forgot to get one."

I was on my way back to the cafeteria where Joshua held down an unhappy table with Lenny, and oddly enough Atalya and Koli. The girls had all ready finished eating. Koli was working on her homework, and Atalaya was reading her novel for Honors English. Joshua was still eating his lunch. His mother packed him half a chicken. No wonder he is so fat.

Well, I'd never get half a chicken to eat at home, not that I complain. Aunt Aliza is an artistic cook and she takes our poultry and boils it, discards the skin and makes it in to casserole and/or salad so we always have enough to fill us up, and don't have to eat half a chicken to do that.

"What happened?" asked Josh.

"You're back awfully fast," quipped Lenny.

"Got caught by the Hall Monitor," I answered.

"Some peopel have too much time on their hands," said Atalya looking up from her novel.

"He gets paid to harass us," Joshua reminded her.

"What a rotten job," sighed Atalaya. I wasn't feeling one bit sorry for the Hall Monitor.

"How you going to get that book?" asked Atalaya.

"After school I guess," I answered. I've got health and bio lab this afternoon. "No free period seventh." I knew I couldn't go to the library after school either. Aunt Aliza had bothered to phone the school to make sure I had my marching orders and that Stasch' bike got fixed. At least I knew how to fix and customize bicycles. My dad wondered why I didn't want to be a mechanic or a machinist. It was because there were other cool things in the world like French and higher mathematics and science. Even economics might be cool with algebra in it but I'd have to find out about it some other day.

"The trouble with the Hall Monitor," Koli looked up from what she was writing, "is that he never got out of this valley. He's from Dogwood Hollow. His dad knows my dad."

"I thought you liked it in Myrtle Hollow," commented Atalaya somewhat acidly.

"I like it well enough, but I want to go away to college and work for a while in a city before coming back," Koli explained as if this made sense.

I am not sure I like Duluth which is where I lived until sixth grade. It has a big lake and I miss it. Sometimes I dream about going down to the lake at night. Here in Greenup there is just the river which is often brown or black and not that big at all, and the mountains hem you in. I'd rather have a lake and a big sky than mountains. Still, none of this is anything about which to get passionate if you know what I mean.

"What do you think of the new preacher?" it was Atalaya who asked Koli. "Mom got sick of the AME Zion Church last week and took us to Evangelical Lutheran."

"He's a bum. He reminds me of the Hall Monitor," Koli sniggered. Now with both girls talking trash, both girls would not fight. We boys had to listen though.

"He doesn't even bother to wear a suit and tie for services like a real high class preacher," Koli went on.

"Yeah, I know," Atalaya made a face at the new preacher's lack of fashion sense.

"He wanted to come by and see Grandma and mom said 'yes,'" Koli continued. "Grandma likes him, poor grandma. I wonder if the sickness got to her brain."

Koli's grandmother had been sick all of last year. Koli usually said of her grandmother: "She's in a bad way."

"Some grownups just have no taste," Atalaya comforted Koli.

I was very very glad when the sixth period bell rang even though my next class was health.

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