Wednesday, June 8, 2016

mr. jenkins

Mr. Jenkins teaches Earth Science to 6th and 7th graders at Lily Vandenburg Middle School in East Sedwick, North Carolina. He loves his subject but hates his students. The latter feeling has grown over his twenty-seven-year career, primarily due to the growing disrespect he faces from his students and their parents. His students openly ridicule his wardrobe choices, especially his footwear. He's considered early retirement, but can't afford a reduction in his already meager projected pension.

Roberta Jenkins is having her 25th birthday in Rubicon, New Mexico. She's working her shift as a municipal security guard at the Surrey Park Public Library, where she is regularly called "Mr. Jenkins" due to her very short haircut, boxy build, and tough demeanor. She never corrects anyone because being seen as masculine enhances her ability to do her job. After work, she's meeting friends at Tink's, for what will probably be a rowdy night of drinking and debauchery. She'll play along, but what she's really hoping is that Cynthia has had a change of heart and will show up tonight.

"Congratulations, Mrs. Hodge, it's a boy!" They plop the bloody, crying baby on her belly. She reaches for him and carefully holds him against her skin. She is crying too. This is not the first birth of the year at Pennsville Memorial Hospital in Pennsville, Montana. It's early April, so first births were a long time ago. And it's not the most famous birth they've had. The Grisham Quadruplets were born here just last year. But the staff has still gathered around to witness this miracle. Just three hours ago, this baby's parents were driving to the grocery store, hit a patch of black ice and spun off into a swollen creek. And there they would have perished had John Jenkins not been coming home from the same grocery store and witnessed the accident. He leaped out of his truck and three times dove into the frigid water to get them out. He then drove all three of them to the hospital, the cab's heater on full blast. In a show of gratitude, that baby will be named Jenkins three days from now.

Carl Owen Jenkins is crying in his living room in East Grinding. Alabama. He had his cat, Snowball, put down after work today. Snowball was fifteen years old and predated his wife's appearance in his life by twelve years. "You love that cat more than you love me." Carl Owen stopped denying it about the tenth time she said it. His wife is in the kitchen right now, banging cabinet doors and loudly returning items to their assigned space. She is disgusted by his tears. Carl Owen doesn't love his wife anymore. He decides then and there to file for a divorce.

Leeroy Jenkins at least has chicken.

"My music is so often a lullaby I write to myself to make sense of things I can't tie together, or things I've lost, or things I'll never have." Stephan Jenkins, Third Eye Blind

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