By: Adam Sutton
“Yo Mr. Fitz, we be playin’,” Layla scoffed.
“It’s Mr. Fitzgerald, and you were fooling around,” Mr. Fitgerald corrected her.
“Why you always be like dat?” Layla raised her hands in mild objection.
“I am like that because someday you will have a job interview, and I want you to get the job.”
“Who can tell me something noteworthy about Andrew Jackson?” Mr. Fitzgerald quizzed the class.
Layla’s hand bolts into the air. Mr. Fitzgerald waits to see if he can get more volunteers. Layla is always in a hurry to bull into the conversation. Julie’s hand in the back works its way into the air. Mr. Fitzgerald sees it immediately, “Yes, Julie. What do you think?”
“Well, Jackson adopted a Native American son. It was a pretty honorable thing to do.”
“Very good Julie! How about anyone else?” Mr. Fitzgerald scanned the room. Layla’s hand was bolt upright still. He kept looking and waiting.
“Bro, you see it. I know you do.” Layla’s impatience had won out. She couldn’t take it any longer. She had to assert herself.
“I’m not your bro.”
“You be makin’ me feel some sorta way, Mr. Fitz,” Layla complained, clearly unamused by Mr. Fitzgerald’s paternalism.
“Layla, you refer to me as ‘Mr. Fitzgerald.’ We have been through this several times. I would love to call on you, but yesterday all you could talk about was Jackson’s well endowed genitalia,” Mr. Fitzgerald chided her.
“What?!?” Layla cried. “Genitalia? What are you talking about!” she annunciated in a slow, intentional and clear way.
“You remember, right?”
“N—no. What?” she shook her head, baffled. “Wait. Wait. I said playa was a huge balla—”
“Again!” Mr. Fitzgerald said, appalled.
“Listen, listen. I was saying that dude be fierce. Dude’s—”
Undeterred, Layla powered forward, “straight slayin’. Down at New Orleans! Straight OG. He just, like, put it down on them Brits, yo. Like—”
“Enough!” Mr. Fitzgerald bellowed.
“No! No! I’m just saying Jackson’s a real tough guy.” She paused and just looked at her desk. She whispered to herself, “That’s all I’m sayin’.” Tears welled in her eyes.
“Go to the office.”
“Hey, Mr. Fitzgerald. How’s it going with Layla?” Mrs. Perkins inquired.
“Not well,” Mr. Fitzgerald replied quickly.
“Yea, she was a little upset and told me a bit. I thought I’d check on you too. She said you kicked her out.”
“I did. She is just so abrasive. Anytime I say something to her she is just on the attack it seems like. She gets super testy.”
“Okay,” Mrs. Perkins egged him on.
“It’s like we are speaking different languages.”