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Mrs. Jones

Junior High for me-as was for many of you-a very interesting time of life. Kung fu definitely helped me get through it. However, I never dreamed I’d have to defend myself against a teacher! Her name was Mrs. Jones. She was a riot! She cared nothing about political correctness, wasn’t afraid of lawyers, and dealt with discipline problems herself. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Mrs. Jones was Tyler Perry’s role-model for his popular character Medea.

I remember the time well . . .

“Jones, whatcha writin’ boy?”

I closed my eyes and cringed at the sound of Mrs. Jones’ voice. She caught me. I was supposed to be reading pages 104 thru 125 in my eighth-grade History book, something about the War of 1812, but instead of that nonsense, I was writing another Wade Cheng Ninja adventure. I had been writing the series since sixth-grade.

Wade had just killed ten ninjas on top of the Empire State Building. As he repelled down, using his ninja grappling hook and trusty ninja rope, a mafia hit man was shooting at him from the top of the next building. Half American and half Chinese, Wade was the last American ninja, hired as an assassin for the CIA. Bad guys around the world were trying to take him out. Wade was cool, tough, and the ultimate ladies’ man. James Bond envied him.

I sat third from the front, middle row. Without looking up, I told Mrs. Jones I was taking notes on the assignment.

“I didn’t tell nobody to take notes, boy. But since you so smart read whatcha got.”

My classmates started laughing and Michael, sitting behind me, punched my shoulder and said, “Busted!”

“Everybody, shut-up.” Mrs. Jones pounded her fists on her desk. “I got to hear this.” She adjusted her three-inch thick bifocals and fixed her eyes on me like a starved Komodo dragon stares at a wounded jackrabbit. “Go on, boy, read.”

I could feel my ears turning red. There was no way I would actually read from my journal. Earlier in the year, in Social Studies class, a girl named Sherry told me I was weird when I told her I was writing an action novel. Since then, I tried to hide it.

My journal was on top of my open textbook. I slid the journal up a bit, so I could see the bottom page of my book. I begin to read from page 105.

That lasted about ten seconds.

“Stop right there, boy, stop right there. You must think I’m stupid. You readin’ straight from the book.”

The whole class busted out laughing.

“Bring me whatchu writin’ boy.”

Hoping that Myron, sitting in front of me, could block Mrs. Jones’ view, I quickly slid my journal beneath the history book and searched for something to give her. But in my haste, I dropped my latest copy of Inside Kung Fu. The magazine hit the floor with a splat. I may as well have dropped a hundred dollar bill the way Mrs. Jones’s gaze locked on to the fallen magazine.

“Well, what we got here?”

“It’s one of those violent magazines, Mrs. Jones,” said Myron.

At first, I wanted to deliver the iron-palm-explodes-brain-stem technique to the back of Myron’s neck for fronting me out, but then I realized he just stole Mrs. Jones’ attention from my journal.

Mrs. Jones crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side. Her curly wig hung on for dear life. She stared at Myron.

“Forty years of teaching, I ain’t ever seen nobody as stupid as you. I see that’s a magazine, boy.” She sighed. “You the reason I’m retirin’ in sixty days. And that ain’t soon enough!”

Myron mocked being offended. “Mrs. Jones, you hurt my feelings.” Myron always had a grin on his face and it drove Mrs. Jones crazy.

“I don’t care about your feelings, boy. Your problem is having feeling to begin with.”

The class went wild. Mrs. Jones and Myron got into it like this everyday.

“And I tell you something else, old smiley-boy. Whenever somebody smiles all the time like you do, that’s the first sign of insanity!”

I was laughing so much that I forgot about my magazine still lying on the floor-until Mrs. Jones focused back on me.

“Jones, bring me that magazine.”

“I’ll bring it to you, Mrs. Jones,” Myron said, just to irritate her.

Mrs. Jones shook her head in disgust. “Boy, you done tipped over the edge. That smilin’ cult you belong to done sent you to the land of crazies. Stand up, Myron. You gonna stand till your feet’s as flat as dimes.”

Standing all period was one of Mrs. Jones’ evil punishments.

Myron stood, still grinning. I took my time walking to Mrs. Jones’ desk.

“Give it here, boy.” She snapped her fingers and held out her hand. I gave her the magazine and stared at her desk while she flipped through the pages, mumbling, “Mmm-hum.”

Stacks of un-graded papers, textbooks, a large round container of beige face powder, and the daily paper opened to the obituary page, covered one-half of Mrs. Jones’s desk. On the other side, sat her Bible.

Mrs. Jones didn’t let anything sit on, or even sit near, her Bible – it was HOLY!

The huge black book weighed as much as a Honda Civic and was as thick as five encyclopedias. I was tempted to touch it to see what she would do but it seemed that my magazine had already stirred her up.

“Boy, you know how to do all this stuff? You think you’re Chinese?”

“He is Chinese, Mrs. Jones!” Myron shouted.

Mrs. Jones leaned around me to see Myron. She lifted her fist. “Uh, Myron, do you want me to come over there and punch your smilin’ mouth? Even though my ankles is swelled up and my feet got the gout, I be on you faster than ugly jumps on your skin, boy. Shut up.” She looked back at me. “Jones, do you know this kon fu stuff?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“Are you fast?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I wondered why she asked me that as she began rolling up my magazine. Then it hit me. Literally.

“Let’s see how fast you are, then.”

I couldn’t believe it. Mrs. Jones was swinging the magazine at me.

I stepped back and blocked a few of the blows. The class went berserk.

Not satisfied with her hit-miss ratio, Mrs. Jones pushed away from her desk and stood up. Her over-weighted chair let out a hideous shrill as it scrapped against the linoleum floor.

“Boy, not even the Lord Jesus, can help ya now.” She leaned over her Bible and swung like a mad woman. Her watermelon-sized breasts threatened to bust out of her tight blouse and her arms jiggled like platters of Jell-O.

I kept blocking but I was laughing so hard I almost fell. It seemed like she swung forever. The whole class was on their feet, the noise louder than a pep rally.

Finally, the bell rang.

Mrs. Jones tossed the magazine at me and collapsed into her chair. Her gray-speckled wig sat lopsided on her head and rivers of sweat had turned her thick make up to paste. She fanned herself with someone’s term paper.

“Y’all better get outta here before I kill somebody. Whew.” She took a sip of tea from her 64 oz plastic Chevron mug.

“Jones, don’t you bring that magazine back here tomorrow, boy,” she told me as I was leaving.

I didn’t. But on the next day, she attacked Myron with the eraser.

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2 Responses to “Mrs. Jones”

  1. Jimmy Decker Says:

    Iron-palm-explodes-brain-stem technique. You’ve been holding out on us. Forget about the chocolate bananas.

  2. Chad Campbell Says:

    When we gonna get the Wade Cheng Ninja Adventure???