"Liquid Drano" by Ted Prokash

I had a science teacher in middle school named Mr. White

he was dyslexic with a pronounced stutter

he was Greek, maybe born in Greece, even

Mr. White played sports as a kid, though he was extremely skinny and not very good

he got into the basketball game and got the ball far away from the basket

the clock read “0:01”

young Mr. White’s brain screamed “SHOOT IT!!”

which was the right thing

but Mr. White was dyslexic


Mr. White talked about a juvenile delinquent home he worked at

where one kid shut himself in a closet and drank a bottle of Drano

I can’t remember if the kid died

but the Drano did eat away his esophagus


All of Mr. White’s stories were funny to us, of course

they were tragedy and tragedy is comedy

but I didn’t know anything about that then

I remember some of us showing up at Mr. White’s apartment one night

and he was alone, eating pizza and watching Star Trek

comedy is tragedy and tragedy is comedy


The most memorable thing Mr. White and I had between us

was when he was showing the class a video of the inside of some blood vessels

and I shouted “she’s having a gusher!”

Mr. White took me into the next room, away from the other kids

he wrote down what I said on a piece of paper

he showed me the paper

“I’m going to keep this paper in my desk and if  you ever do something like this again

I’m going to tell your parents what you did” he told me, as if it was a very bad thing

I wonder if Mr. White has any idea of the sort of things 

I would eventually have to tell my parents that I did