Johan sauntered into class at his own leisurely pace, much to the English teacher’s chagrin. He didn’t question Johan, though. They all knew that questioning would get them nowhere. If he didn’t want to offer an explanation on his own accord, no one could prise one out of him. He sat down at his seat on the second last row and leaned back with a slow arrogant smile on his face, as if challenging the English teacher to reprimand him.
The teacher gave him a hard glare and turned towards the board, carrying on with his explanation of a scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Johan laughed internally. “Pathetic losers.” He murmured to himself as he took out his copy of Macbeth “Which page is it?”
He looked up at the voice to see Lanie Asher looking at him with a queer look on her face.
“What’re you staring at?” his eyebrow went up in question.
“Just wondering at what it is that you have that no one dares drag you to the Principal.” She returned his arrogant stare with a derisive cynical one of her own.
She turned before he could come up with an equally sarcastic comment, and resumed noting down the explanation of the scene in her notebook. He was silent for a few seconds, taken aback. He barely knew the girl; he had never talked to her in his life, and yet here she was talking down to him.
“Oh, by the way, here’s your notebook” he looked up from his notebook again on hearing Lanie’s voice, “Mr. Monaghan asked me to hand it over to you. . . He wants to see you during lunch.”
“Thanks . . . I guess,” he said, feeling awkward.
The hard cynical look returned to her eyes at his wods, as if she had switched off. As he stared at his open book with swimming letters, he wondered what he had done to invite the cynosure of a recluse. That Lanie was a loner was a fact. She had one best friend called Alley, a host of people she exchanged pleasantries with, and very limited interaction with others of the class. He had always thought that she was introverted, quiet and people pleasing.
“Mr. Williamsohn, since you recently came into the class, would you like to explain this soliloquy of Macbeth to the class?”
“Soli-what?” Johan asked in a clear loud voice.
“A soliloquy.” The teacher sighed, “Would you like to explain what Macbeth means in the lines 35-46?”
“That he wants to be king,” Johan blurted out.
“He has already been crowned. Where was he crowned?”
“Uh…” Johan flipped through a few pages. “Inverness?”
“And who was with Macbeth when the witches prophesized him to be King of Scotland one day?” the teacher continued doggedly.
“What witches?” Johan asked, nonplussed.
There were a few laughs from the frontbenchers. The teacher, who had been getting annoyed, was positively incensed now.
“GET OUT!” he roared at the top of his voice, livid, “GET OUT AND DO NOT SHOW YOUR FACE HERE AGAIN.”
“Hey, that’s fine by me” the arrogant look was back on Johan’s face. With infuriating calm, he placed his book back into the table and sauntered out of class with the same elan that he entered with.