About Red Tales

Here's an evolving electronic collection of short prose pieces, with a poem contributed occasionally. Brevity guides. Although sometimes a piece will run to 900 words, most pieces are much shorter. Here one may find erotica, flash fiction, brief observations, and modest improvisations. Another rule is that each piece must have something to do with"red"; at least the word has to appear in each piece functionally. . . . All pieces are numbered and titled, so there's a de facto table of contents running down the rail below, under "Labels" (scroll down a bit). Browse for titles that look interesting, if you like. Thank you for stopping by. Look for some red today, tonight.

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

Sunday, October 12, 2008

37. Perfect Attendance

One year he didn't miss a single day of school. He thereby achieved something called "perfect attendance."

In fact, he hadn't attended perfectly. He often failed to pay attention to matters at hand. Sometimes when the teacher was working hard to teach a lesson, he daydreamed. Sometimes he became transfixed by what he perceived to be the beauty of girls his age. Undoubtedly, his visage sometimes appeared zombie-like at times.

He'd gotten his body there, though, five days week, four weeks a month, nine months in all.

Born of that time-period was a certificate of perfect attendance--stamped with a red seal. The certificate is lost. It no longer attends the school of here and now. It's attending a college of redistributed molecules, probably in one of the landfills in the United States of America. The certificate is working on its Ph.D. in Disintegration.

What does he recall from that perfectly attended year of school? How the girls smelled--perfume and soap, and sweet sweat, too. He turned 15 in the middle of that academic year. He was a sophomore in high school. The girls were between the ages of 14 and 18. So were the boys. He remembers the smell of grass on the football field, grass mixed with mud, sweat and blood mixed in there, too.

He believes he remembers some features of geometry--for example, one-third of the base times the height will get you the volume of a cone. One summer he applied this formula to a conical pile of gravel at a rock-crushing plant where he worked. In his mind, he also has an image of a geometry quiz, corrected by the teacher in red ink. He read some literature that year, including some composed by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert Frost.

In his mind, he detects faint but palpable evidence of satisfaction connected to having achieved perfect attendance.

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