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The Short Form

“I Tried to be a Beacon”

Sam Lipsyte

Excerpt

I worked with rich kids for a while. I tried to teach them what I knew. I didn't know much, but substitute teachers aren't supposed to know much. Real actual teachers don't know much either. Or we'd all know more, wouldn't we? Take history. I knew some history. Not treaty dates. Not kings, or kingly edicts. Not the Pageantry of Democracy, or the Mosaic of Liberty, or whatever was my comparative misfortune. I made sure to implicate their ancestors — a continuum of villainy.

“Just so you understand.” I told them, “your trust funds soak in the blood of the people.”

“Just the principal,” said the tiniest one. He'd been born without kidneys. Some thought him plucky.

We read it in The Minus Times Collected 1992-2012.

Originally published in The Minus Times.