True Story: The Teacher
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
He reached into his pocket, pulled out his last $2 and dropped them into the man's cup.
"What'd you do that for?" his companion asked. "They're all on drugs and--fuck, do you know how much money those dudes make a day? Shit, he makes more than you do."
"I'm not doing it for him, and I don't care what he does with the money--it's not mine."
"What'd you mean it's not yours?"
"It's not mine--I gave it to him; it's his."
They walked in silence for a bit, the companion lit a cigarette and was pondering the interaction.
"You seem troubled," the teacher said. "What's the problem?"
"It's just that, I'm supposed to be learning from you--and if I can be honest," he paused as if a reply was coming--it wasn't. "I'm not seeing much: an empty wallet and a beater car with, what, 300,000 miles on it?"
"Yeah, and the windshield--how long has that been broken?"
The teacher had to think about the windshield. He'd been ministering to the homeless downtown when his car had been vandalized. "I'll replace it when I have a chance," he said. "How much money are you worth? If we liquidated today, what are you looking at?"
"You mean the houses, the cars, everything?"
"Yes," the teacher replied, "if you could sell it all today."
"You mean before Obama Muslim'd it up?" The companion smiled. "I don't know, but I guess if I added it up, about $3.5 million or $4 million. Why?"
The teacher was silent for a moment, and then he asked for a cigarette.
"You don't smoke, bud, but okay, I'm buying." The companion handed him a cigarette.
The teacher held it in his fingers, rolled it back and forth a moment, and then he crushed it, scattering the tobacco, and put the filter in his pocket.