Extracurricular Activities Ch. 01byArthurianMorgaine©
Thursday, Senior English Reading and Composition
The bell rang and the students took their time finding their seats, still chatting while the teacher gathered some papers and her thoughts. The teacher, Ms. Callahan, was wearing a black pencil skirt and cobalt blue button-down shirt with matte black pumps and had her auburn hair in a tight, braided bun to keep it out of her face. She was a short and petite woman with a few curves that she kept hidden under demure clothes. This was only her second year of teaching and she loved inspiring young pupils. She felt as though she could relate to her students better than most teachers, she had only graduated high school six years ago.
"Alright class, take your seats and pass up your homework," she said, pushing her cat-eye glasses up from the tip of her nose, vintage silver bracelets jingling slightly. "How did everyone enjoy the reading last night?" she queried, "Chris, why don't you give us a synopsis," she requested.
A tall, gangly young man in the middle of the class stood up and began stammering, "Well, uh, Jurgis found out that all the tainted meat is ground into sausages. His son kept getting sick and his wife is pregnant again." Chris fidgeted with his shirt and put his hands in the pocket of his jeans. "And he took up drinking to drown his sorrows," he pieced together from the bits he remembered reading the night before, Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle.' He ran his fingers nervously through his dark brown hair, brown eyes scanning the room, before the teacher motioned for him to take his seat once more.
"Good, now what else can we get out of all of this? How can this relate to modern times?" Ms. Callahan had continued her discussion with the class and Chris felt relieved that she had moved on from him. He had read the chapters, the descriptions of the atrocities in the meatpacking industry, the graft, the corruption had intrigued him and he had even read more chapters than he was assigned. It wasn't the reading that was causing him to fail class, it was the composition. He had so many ideas but couldn't convey them without, as he said, 'sounding stupid'.
He had wracked his brain last night trying to come up with a topic for his writing assignment, a letter home as Jurgis or Ona, explaining what was happening in their lives. It was a way to summarize the chapters and get the class to work on their writing skills but it only served to frustrate Chris further.
Ms. Callahan had continued to converse with the class about the book but Chris' thoughts were elsewhere. He stared vacantly at the painted cinder-block walls as his mind wandered. Noticing her pupil was no longer engaged in the discussion, Ms. Callahan decided it was time to put him on the spot. "How did that make you feel, Chris?" she asked, being as vague as possible.
"What?" he faltered.
"How did that make you feel?" she repeated, just as obscurely.
His face turned red and she gave him a knowing look and moved on to another student. This time he forced himself to pay attention.
The bell sounded a short while later and Ms. Callahan shouted last-minute homework instructions over the din of students packing up their books, "Read the next three chapters and be prepared for our regular Friday quiz tomorrow!" Everyone filed out of class, most kids going to lunch next. "Mr. Gaiten, can you hold up for a second?" she said as she herself packed her things to go off to enjoy lunch.
Chris sighed and knew he was going to be chided for his inattentiveness, "Yes, Ms. Callahan." He took his time packing up, avoiding eye-contact with his teacher. She had this way of making the strongest man feel one inch tall sometimes and meeting her gaze only made it worse. The red-haired woman came to his desk and sat at the seat next to him, crossing her legs, her black skirt riding up ever so slightly.
"Chris, I'm concerned about your grades in class," she began softly. "I know you are a very bright young man, but you seem to be struggling with the writing assignments," the woman observed. "This class is a graduation requirement. If you don't pass, you will not be walking across that stage in June with the rest of your classmates," she stated rather matter-of-factly. Chris pushed his wire-framed glasses further up his nose, fidgeting, avoiding speech. Ms. Callahan tried to avert further uncomfortable silence by continuing to speak, "I know I'm new at this," she started, "but I am willing to give you some tutoring if you can find time. I think with some work, we can definitely get you up to a passing grade, maybe even more," she said excitedly. The other teachers told her not to get overly invested in her students. They warned her that it would only lead to disappointment and cause her to burn out sooner. She ignored them. "What days are good for you?" she asked.
Chris' brown eyes met her green ones and he nodded, "I have work on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but I'm free the rest of the week."
Ms. Callahan pulled out her day planner and flipped the pages until she got to this week. The entries were written in several different colors. "Looks like my week is pretty full this week. Every Tuesday I teach night class for GED students so that's no good. Wednesday I have an appointment I have to keep. Monday I have the cable guy coming between three and god-only-knows-when but if you want to come over to my place, we can wait for him together and I'll tutor you in the meantime!" she said excitedly.
Chris nodded, "Thank you Ms. Callahan. Should I follow you home after school?"
"Give me your cell phone," she requested, offering her hand. He placed the phone in her hand and she pulled out her own. She brought them close together, pressed a few buttons and they sounded simultaneously. "There, my contact info is in your phone and vice versa." She pulled out a pen and jotted a note in her planner on Monday in black ink. Tuesday was blue and a few different names were written in red ink on Wednesday along with a few more names in red on Saturday.
"How many people do you tutor?" Chris questioned, pointing to the names in red ink.
"Lots of people need my help Chris, I'm a very busy woman," she stated plainly, closing her planner to his prying eyes, "I hope that you see that and will keep your appointment."
"Thanks again Ms. Callahan. I will see you tomorrow!" He shook her hand and left the classroom in a hurry to try to catch the last few minutes of lunch.
The rest of the day seemed to drag on for Chris; presentations in World History and another boring lecture from Mrs. Olsen in Biology. After the last bell he made his way to his locker, stashed his books and grabbed his backpack and headed briskly to his car. He unlocked the doors on his old Toyota Tercel and threw his bag in the back where it promptly got lost amongst all of the mess strewn about. Key in the ignition, engine turning over, seatbelt on; he pulled out of the parking lot before too many of his classmates choked the exit.
Chris turned up the music in his car and rolled down the windows to let in the warm spring air. The restaurant where he worked was not too far from school and didn't take him more than fifteen minutes to arrive. He parked out back near the loading dock and rummaged through the back seat of his car for a moderately clean chef coat. He got dressed as he strolled in through the doors and headed over to clock in.
"G-Man!" came a greeting from a jovial middle-aged man with dark hair, mustache and a pot belly. He was wearing a stained apron and crab-themed chef pants, "How was school, man?"
"It was okay," Chris responded as he tucked his hair under a baseball cap that said Black Bear Hotel on it. "What are you making today, Mark?" the apprentice queried as he washed his hands. Mark had worked in the restaurant industry for over two decades and it showed. His hands were rough, worn and callused from all the years of hard work. The man knew his stuff though. He could make some killer food seemingly effortlessly.
"Just cutting mirepoix for the Osso Bucco," Mark said, piles of carrots, onions and celery on his cutting board. "I think Chef's in the office, she said something about having you cut fifty pounds of potatoes."
"Fuck!" Chris exclaimed, "Dude, my hands still haven't healed from last week!"
"Dude, you gotta put in your dues," came a feminine voice from the walk-in cooler.
"Hey Sarah. How was the lunch rush?" he asked the sous chef.
"It was okay. Some bitch decided to wait until she was already served her well-done steak sandwich to tell her waitress that she was 'allergic' to the roasted tomato spread on top. If you have such a serious allergy, maybe you should read the menu a bit better, or ask your waitress... stupid cunt!" the young woman vented. Sarah emerged from the refrigerator carrying a large bag of potatoes. "But they cleaned us out of frites and we still need homefries cut for Brunch this weekend and potatoes for the gratin, so get to it!" she told the apprentice. Sarah was only twenty-six and already second-in-command of the kitchen. The head chef, a man in his forties, was usually never around; he came in, did paperwork, went to meetings, nit-picked the cooks' work and went home. It was safe to say he wasn't well-liked.
Chris got out the fry press and began cutting two-five gallon buckets of frites, soaking them in water to keep them from turning brown. The rest of the crew trickled in, a rag-tag bunch of men with various backgrounds and levels of experience in the kitchen. Each wore a white chef coat, including the dishwashers, and Black Bear ball cap but were allowed to wear whatever pants they chose. It was a tradition to see what kind of crazy chef pants Mark would be wearing today.
Sarah came up behind Chris and observed how he was doing. It always made him a bit uneasy. Sarah was a lot shorter than him, her kerchiefed head only came up to his chest, but she was strong and strong-willed. She didn't take any crap from anyone. One Saturday night, just before close, a drunk man was being belligerent to one of the female bartenders. Sarah had gone out to the dining room to tell the man to leave. He refused and she grabbed the gentleman by the shirt and dragged him bodily out of the restaurant, locking the door once she got back in. People didn't mess with her.
"Chris, I need you to finish up soon," she said while she stood next to him. She picked up a mandoline slicer and began cutting potatoes paper thin for the gratin.
"Yes ma'am. What should I do once I'm done?" he asked.
"Jose is out for a while, he 'cut his finger at home' and had to get stitches." Chris nodded as she made air-quote fingers. 'Cutting yourself at home' was a way to avoid getting drug tested and subsequently fired. Everyone had their vices in the restaurant industry; Mark drank, Jose smoked pot to relax after his shift and even Sarah slept with anything with a pulse. Anything except young apprentices, or so it seemed to Chris. "I'm moving Mark over to the grill station to cover Jose, I'll be doing sauté and expediting and I'm going to have you jump on salad station. Don't fuck it up, Newbie," Sarah remarked, jabbing Chris in the ribs sharply with her elbow. Chris winced, not a lot of meat on his bones to cushion the blow. He was excited to be working the line. "It's Thursday so it shouldn't be too busy for dinner," Sarah continued, "You have the salad menu memorized, right?"
"Yes ma'am," Chris replied.
"Good. " Sarah got as close to 'in his face' as a woman of her stature could, "If you fuck this up, rest assured you will be peeling potatoes for the whole fucking summer. You will be my potato bitch! Do. You. Understand?" she added, very deliberately. Chris nodded solemnly. "Good!" she said merrily, switching her moods with the unpredictability of a bipolar person. "Now finish these potatoes and I'll help you set up your station!" Sarah left Chris to finish his work and began prepping up the sauté station.
The rest of the night went off fairly smoothly. Sarah helped Chris set up his station and she quizzed him about the salads on the menu. "What goes in the House Salad?" she asked to which he recited the ingredients. "And what kind of dressing goes on the Bibb Salad?"
"Blood Orange Vinaigrette," he iterated. "And the Arugula, Endive and Pear Salad has roasted red onions and toasted hazelnut dressing," he added a bit smugly. Sarah just rolled her eyes. She had seen it before, cocky green-horns; she knew better than to get her hopes up for a smooth service.
Dinner service started promptly at five and the waitstaff promptly screwed us their order which only fueled the rage Sarah had bubbling just below the surface. She checked the ticket and shouted for the dining room manager to bring in the offending waitress.
"When you take a steak order, you need to ask for a temperature or I'm going to put a raw piece of meat on this plate and you can explain to the customer how incompetent you are," she said through clenched teeth.
The dinner rush picked up but Chris kept up with the orders. He had begun to impress the sous chef and other cooks on the line. The usual chorus of shouts for a 'food runner', 'dishwasher' and 'Plates!' kept people scurrying around the kitchen. The printer went off every few minutes and Chris filled and emptied his board like a pro. He had even begun working on dessert orders without prodding from Sarah. His confidence grew and as the night ended, he had a smug look of satisfaction on his face.
"What're you smiling about, Newbie?" Sarah asked as Chris was wiping the counter with a damp cloth.
"I'm just smiling because it looks like you are going to have to find someone else to be your potato bitch this summer!"
"Just because you had one good night doesn't mean you aren't going to fall flat on your face tomorrow during service," Sarah remarked, knocking him down a peg. As she walked past him towards the dish machine with a roasting pan full of dirty sauté pans she gave him an 'attaboy' smile.
Sarah came back a few minutes later with four shot glasses filled with an amber-colored liquid, "To Chris' first night on the line," she cheered, raising a glass with one hand and pulling the scrawny boy closer with the other. Chris took a glass tentatively and Mark took his with the fourth going to the cook at the far end of the line.
"I'm only eighteen," he whispered to the sous chef.
"So, we're celebrating. You survived! You aren't going to get shit-faced off one shot of Hennessy, are you?" Sarah asked, a quizzical look on her face. "Besides, it'll put hair on your chest, and according to a Jamaican friend of mine, a hard-on in your pants!" Chris took his shot and nearly gagged when his boss began talking about hard-ons. The liquor went down smoothly and hit his empty stomach quickly. "You done good, boy!" Sarah said, giving him a hearty slap on the back. "Wipe down your station and head out. You have school tomorrow," she said in an almost motherly fashion.
Chris did as he was told and headed out for the night. He didn't have much homework; he had already read the chapters for English and his presentation in History had already been given. He threw his coat into the back of his car and sped off. His head was already starting to swim as he pulled into his driveway, the Hennessy taking effect. It was late and his parents were already upstairs in their room for the night so they weren't there to witness his wobbly walk through the halls. He turned the knob to his bedroom and locked it behind himself. Chris stripped down to only his boxers and flopped down on his bed, pulling his blanket over his lower body to protect himself from the chill in his bedroom. He hated that he always came home smelling like food and had a tendency to take off the offending clothing as soon as possible. He grabbed his computer and put it in his lap, his face lit with the glow from its screen.
As he checked his emails and Facebook, his head began to feel lighter and lighter. He hadn't eaten all day and the shot of cognac was taking its effects quickly on his light frame. His Facebook news feed was filled with pictures of the girls from his classes, scantily clad, making kissing faces into the cameras they held. He was feeling the sexual desire that Sarah had spoke of in the restaurant but needed something different to look at to sate his lust.
He pulled up a new tab in his browser and went to his Favorites and clicked on a link towards the bottom. Up popped a site with women dressed in leather and latex holding whips. His cock twitched and got harder under the blanket. He adjusted himself and continued exploring the site.
Dominant women had always turned him on. Sarah, when she was being particularly cruel, would often whip him and the other cooks on the ass with the wet tail end of a towel. She had left welts on several different occasions and as he sat down on the later, the jolt of pain would cause him to get turned on. He wasn't 'into pain' like some of the girls on the site he was perusing, but having a woman in control definitely excited him.
Chris' thoughts turned to his ex-girlfriend. She was quite spirited in bed and when she was orgasming, she would frequently rake her nails across his back or slap his bare ass, urging him on with her actions. He would often explode inside her, unable to control himself, screaming and groaning as he pumped jets of cum deep within her.
During his daydream, his hand had found his cock and he began jerking himself off. He set his laptop aside, still watching the movie on the screen. Between the cognac, porn and his vivid imagination, it didn't take him long to reach his climax. Soon he was spurting cum unceremoniously into his hand and onto his stomach. He didn't seem to care. In the afterglow he wiped up the mess with a dirty sock, threw it towards his laundry hamper and curled up under his blanket, falling asleep as soon as he closed his eyes.