“Normally we wouldn’t hire someone with your astounding lack of credentials, but the district is strapped for substitute teachers at the moment,” the administrator said. Montrezl Harrell, sitting on the opposite side of the desk from the man, nodded somberly, not wanting to say something stupid that would jeopardize his chances of landing the position. “You’re hired, Mr. Harrell.”
“Nice,” Montrezl relied, reaching over to accept the handshake that was offered. “So, what, I just wait for the call?”
“Yes, we’ll call you in the morning when we need a class covered,” the man answered. “Just so you know, um, we might put you in the more…difficult to handle classes, given your intimidating appearance.”
Montrezl shrugged. He just wanted to make a little extra money before the season started. Elementary-school kids could do nothing to him.
Standing in front of his students, Montrezl realized he didn’t know what he was supposed to teach. The regular teacher had left some notes about where the class was at in various subjects, but Montrezl didn’t feel like reading them.
“Time for decimals,” he said, and when the rowdy class didn’t immediately quiet down, he shouted “TIME FOR DECIMALS!”. This got their attention, so he wrote two numbers on the chalkboard. “If I had .206 win shares per 48 minutes, and DeAndre Jordan has .186, can somebody tell me who was the more productive player when adjusted for unfair minutes distribution?”
One girl raised her hand, so Montrezl called on her. “You?” she answered.
“That’s right,” Montrezl said. “You can tell because my number is bigger. That’s how decimals work. Any questions?”
When none of the students had any questions, Montrezl was again stuck. “Did your teacher give you, like, worksheets to do?” he asked the class. They shook their heads.
“Time for recess!” Montrezl abruptly announced, having run out of teaching material. At some point, he had been given a schedule that listed the correct times for recess, but he had lost track of it. In any case, a quick glance out the window confirmed that nobody was playing on the playground at that moment, so it was as good a time for recess as any. Some of the kids seemed hesitant to get out of their desks, knowing very well what the proper time for recess was, but when the more outgoing kids ran screaming out into the hallway, the rest followed.
Out on the playground, the students scattered to various activities. A group of them started up a game of basketball on the single dilapidated hoop. “Come play with us, Mr. H!” one of them shouted to Montrezl, who was leaning against the school building, vaguely making sure that nobody in his class killed themselves by falling off the playground equipment. Montrezl shook his head, but the rest of the kids in the game soon took up the chant “Mis-ter H! Mis-ter H! Mis-ter H!”
He finally gave in, joining the group to cheers. After some quick determination of teams, the game began, and Montrezl ended up defending the boy who had the ball.
“You can’t stop me,” the boy said cockily. “I’m taking you to school.” Montrezl stayed back from him, not wanting to take the game too seriously. The boy had loose handles, and it would have been easy to steal the ball from him. When the boy took the jumpshot, Montrezl could have easily blocked it, but he let it sail over his head towards the basket, where it went in.
“Schooled you, bitch,” the boy told Montrezl as he did a celebratory dance. “You suck.”
“Hey, watch your language,” Montrezl admonished, feeling lightly annoyed. “I can send you to the principal whenever I want.”
“Yeah, and I can send you to bitchtown,” the boy retorted. “Hey, give me the ball again, this dude can’t play D.”
When another shot went up relatively quickly, Montrezl barely had to jump to catch the ball with two hands. He passed it to one of his teammates, but when it became clear that neither one wanted to shoot, he asked for the ball back. “You’re not gonna score, you suck,” the same boy said as he watched his teammate defend Montrezl on the three-point line. “Bitch.”
With that last insult, Montrezl forgot his self-control. He easily drove around the small kid defending him and rose up to dunk. The talkative boy unwisely got under the basket to try to stop him. It ended with Montrezl dunking and the boy falling to the ground after getting hit by Montrezl’s knees. The boy immediately began to cry.
“Who’s the bitch now?” Montrezl asked him as tears poured down his face. Then, he remembered he was the teacher, so he switched to consolation mode. “Hey, don’t cry. Stop crying. Hey. Come on. Stop.” He looked around and noticed the principal of the school walking towards him with an angry look on her face.
“Mr. H. has some other stuff he has to attend to,” he told the players who were gathered around their crying friend. “If she asks, he tripped on his shoelace.” Then, he sprinted off the playground and away from the school, wondering if he would get any more calls.