Shame / by Cyle Talley

"Now wait just a minute," he says, turning onto his side to look at her. She's got her hands behind her head, staring at the ceiling in the milky moonlight. "You can't be serious." 

"I swear to God." 

"When I was in high school-" 

"A million years ago." 

"Yes, back in the prehistoric dawn of the 90's when a man could tell a story without being heckled-"

"Oh, shut up and tell me." 

"We had this Biology teacher junior year, Miss Daniels. For the first time in my life, I had no trouble paying attention in science class."

"Good teacher? Or just a babe?" 

"Yep." 

"Oh jeez. So you were paying attention, but not comprehending a damn thing."

"Anyway, she was also funny. Very snide. No time for bullshit. This one day, we were working in groups and this idiot, Josh- sort of a hick kid who drove a big diesel truck, thought he was the shit; he was always mumbling under his breath about what he'd do to Miss Daniels if he ever got the chance- he pulls a coke out of his bag while she's writing on the board. He gives us this shit-eating grin and then makes a loud coughing sound as he opens the can. Miss Daniels doesn't miss a beat. She says, 'Joshua,'- she used our full names no matter what; I was Jacob, never Jake- 'Joshua, do you think that I'm an idiot?' She's still writing on the board, so he takes a swig before saying, 'No miss.' She says, 'Well, I'm increasingly believing that you might be. Please throw that soda away in the garbage can next to my desk.' The class lost it. This is a guy who'd harass girls and grab their boobs; who'd trip guys in the hallway or piss on their shoes in the bathroom. A real jackass. We heckled him as he turned tomato red and walked up to the front of the classroom where her desk was. She turned to watch him do it and tried to cover her smile with her hand. You could tell that she enjoyed that. So-" he adjusts his pillow and yawns. "The answer to your problem is shame. Just a little bit."

"I'd love to. Really, I would," she says. "But the problem is that vape pens don't make any sound."