Mr. C and Mr. E Buy Gold Chains on 6th Street

While I liked junior high school, I wasn’t so hot on gym class. Not because of any nerd versus jock bullshit, but because our gym teachers were uninspiring crap. Namely two gym teachers we all referred to as Mr. C and Mr. E.

Of course those aren’t their real names nor are they pseudonyms for this piece, but rather they were just the simple nicknames they adopted. Mr. E had the more complicated name so referring to him by an initial made sense. Mr. C had a much simpler name but I guess he liked to be called that just to be part of the team; the two man team of crappy gym teachers that liked to be referred to by the first initials of their last name.

Anyway, one fine spring day I was hanging out at a friend’s house on Brighton 6th Street after school doing not much of anything, when my friend’s attention starved younger brother started yelling, “Come here! Look!”

The kid was, and still is as an adult, a whiny attention needy pain in the ass. So me and his brother both rolled our eyes and shouted, “What?”

He just repeated, “Come here!” So we relented, walked over to his room and saw him leaning out the window and looking down the block.

“Come here!” he said, “Look! Look!”

We walked over to the window, stuck our heads out and looked. The whiny little putz kept on waving his hand to the right towards Brighton Beach Avenue. We looked and then saw it: The fat bookie down the block was standing outside of the storefront he worked out of talking to two guys who were none other than Mr. C and Mr. E.

“What the heck are they doing?” I said. I mean spotting a teacher outside of school was always weird, but to see them casually talking to the fat bookie down the block? That was really next level.

And let me take a small detour to describe exactly what the fat bookie looked like. First he was fat. Like perfectly round like Fat Albert but he was a white guy. He was greasy faced, had stringy facial hair, stubby fingers and was pale in that greaseball “I stay indoors all the time…” way. He always wore some kind of discount store bucket cap with the rim pulled down and had cheap aviator sunglasses on him at all times.

The storefront he worked out of was once a small side street candy store or newsstand. The place was no bigger than a small studio apartment and, while there were still remnants of retail fixtures and a counter in place, it was even clear from a distance that the place had not been used as a legit place of business in years.

It was dark, dank and small and the main fixtures in the place were simply the fat bookie and the small crew of lackeys that hung out there seemingly all the time.

So anyway, back to Mr. C and Mr. E being spotted with the fat bookie.

We sat and watched them interact with the fat bookie. At some point the fat bookie made some hand motion along the lines of, “Wait here!” and walked into the storefront. Then after a minute or so came back outside again but with a small brown paper bag in his hands. He opens it up in front of Mr. C and Mr. E and one of them reached inside and pulled out some gold chains.

They both started to look at the chains, and were talking to the fat bookie as well; presumably negotiating some kind of deal. After a few rounds of back and forth, Mr. C and Mr. E both look at each other in agreement, pull out their wallets and give the fat bookie some money.

“Wow!” I said, “They just bought those gold chains from the fat bookie.” We all looked at each other in silence, pulled away from the window and closed it.

The next day in homeroom me and my friend talked about Mr. C and Mr. E and the gold chains. “Should we mention we saw the in gym class?” my friend asked to which I simply responded “No.”

Then when gym class came around, we just sat down on the gym floor and looked at Mr. C and Mr. E as they did their pre-class talk. They were still jerks in our eyes, but after seeing him buy those gold chains from the fat bookie somehow made them even less than the jerks we knew them to be.

An acute perception does not make you crazy. However, sometimes it drives you crazy.

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Jack Szwergold

Jack Szwergold

An acute perception does not make you crazy. However, sometimes it drives you crazy.

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