Mr. Meardon is a fictitious 30-year-old substitute teacher.
Mr. Meardon was jogging down Broadway in Cambridge, it took him a while to realize the noise was children screaming out his last name. He let his eyes dart over to verify. The bulk of the kids clinging to the fence was the 2nd grade class he’d substitute taught for two weeks last autumn.
“YOU SAW US MR. MEARDON!”
“Yeah Mr. Meardon!”
The kids took a little break to allow Claire, a kindergartener to show her pipes. She was standing a few feet back from the group, most of whom were clinging to the fence, with both hands wrapped around bars. Claire had her head pointed upward, toward the heavens when made her impressive cry. She was Danny’s little sister. She’d always managed to find her way into Mr. Meardon’s class.
“Mr. BEARDon, don’t ignore us!” Yup, Danny had said Mr. Beard-on, acknowledging Mr. Meardon’s seven-days growth. Danny was very smart. You call the kids by their first names and they call you Mr. Meardon.
He was grown-up to them. No, that’s bullshit. There was irony in their cries. He wasn’t grown-up. He was faking and they all knew it. He was a free child, just on the outside.
He was 31. The fact that he could teach was a miracle. They gave him his high school diploma because his brother was dying. They got him into college despite his disgusting transcript, and they got him to graduate at age 29. They was everyone- Mom, aunts & uncles, The Church. The baton was passed with every move. They let him run all over the country, paying for bits here and there. They They They. He got help from everyone. They got younger. College students. Younger and younger. They helped him with resumes and math homework. They calmed him down and kept him from walking out of jobs. Sometimes. He slept on their couches and ate their food. Who was he kidding? He slept in their BEDS. He cried to them, but not until recently. And they understood. He cried and they understood and they liked him more. And that made him cry more.
Mr. Meardon had a lot of nicknames over the years. Air-head. Delington when he worked in a Deli. On his mission he was Elder JFK. A girl he’d loved called him Meardy. His old step-father called him Destructo Oblivion. Mr. Meardon had recalled Destructo Oblivion in recent years and it made him smile every time. The old step-dad wasn’t so bad- he’d named Mr. Meardon’s older brother Little Lord Fauntleroy…