Excerpt from City In Love
beginning of the short story…
W A X M A N ’ S S U N
Ms. Morderstern drew a dick and a pussy on the blackboard. In the back of the room, Danny Waxman humped his desk, and Danny Padro hid a smile in his hand. As she talked, Morderstern traced with her finger a path up through the pussy into the place where the cum met the egg. Then she drew sperms, taps and squiggles of chalk, and the egg was a big balloon about to get popped; and while her back was turned, Danny Waxman unzipped his fly and stuck his fingers in, looking slyly around the room. His face had a thousand freckles, a broken-looking nose, reddish-blond hair and a thin, yellow-toothed smile. Next to him, Danny Padro started to do the same thing, his mouth a big O that changed to a Q when he slid out his skinny tongue and made it waggle. Morderstern was writing words on the board: Condom. Diaphragm. “The Pill.” All the kids were rocking in their seats, fighting to hold the laughs in their mouths, but when Danny Waxman lay down on the floor, stuck his legs up and pretended to be Morderstern getting herself off, air escaped loudly from Padro’s lips and then everyone was laughing and Morderstern spun around.
“You think this is funny?” she said. “Wait’ll you’re all mommies and daddies before you turn fourteen. Then I’ll be the one laughing.” Ms. Morderstern wore tight pants and tight shirts which showed the shape of her body. She had short legs, big breasts, dark eyes and a pockmarked face. The class grew silent, waiting to see if she’d realize Danny Waxman was lying on the floor behind the back row.
“Danny Waxman,” she said. “Danny Waxman.”
Danny climbed back into his chair.
“Danny Waxman. Stand up,” she said, a hand on her hip and a wrinkle on her lip, “…and tell the class about your father.”
Everyone was looking at him, except for Padro, who didn’t look up from his desk. Danny Waxman stood up. There were giggles. His face felt prickling hot.
“What’s the matter?” Morderstern said, “Okay I’ll give you a hint. Your father probably couldn’t keep his fly closed either.”
Padro glanced up fearfully, his mouth now a little o. “She doggin’ you.”
Danny Waxman zipped his fly.
“What are you smiling at Danny? Something funny about your father? Why don’t you tell us?”
The smile was something glued to his face. Padro was still staring, his big round eyes saying: Go on, tell her.
“Oh, come on,” Morderstern said. “You must know something about him… Okay I’ll give you a hint. He drives a subway train. You want another hint? He’s an alcoholic. Now go on, tell us some more.”
Danny looked over at the gray window. Outside, the clouds broke and through the criss-crossed window bars sunlight grilled the classroom.
“You can’t,” Morderstern said. “You know why? You don’t know anything else about your father.” She was shouting now. “You’d better quit horsing around and pay attention here, or else you’ll make the same mistake your father made and have a kid you don’t want with a woman you don’t want and your kid will grow up like a wild hooligan too!”
There was a tremor at the corner of Waxman’s smile. In the second row, Adriel, a girl with pink-framed glasses and a square jaw stood up. She was usually quiet and got good grades, but now she screamed, “You can’t say that to him. It doesn’t matter who his dad is. You’re a bad teacher!”
Danny Padro stood up. Like Adriel, his eyes were shiny with tears. “Yeah. You shouldna said that. Danny’s no mistake. You the mistake. You so ugly yo mamma was a test tube and yo papa was a dirty rubber from the gutter.”
And then Saed, the fat Arab kid in row six seat five piped in with his high scratchy voice, “Yeah and den you was born outa asshola elephant inda zoo–” He squatted over his chair and made an asshole noise and the whole class blew up with jeers and shouting. Morderstern picked up her canvas bag and walked out of the room, seconds before the bell.