A Pupil's Bite

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A day in the life of a really ticked off police academy teacher

Submitted: May 26, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 26, 2015



8:08 AM


I remember the whiteness of it all. I remember how snow would fall upon the floor only to shine as the street lamps sprayed rays of light on the white surface. This made the city resemble a sort of Winter Wonderland. That’s nice and all, but winter in Montreal could pretty much be summed up in four words: it’s a bitch.


I remember I was late. The reason for this could easily be linked back to the first paragraph, but I wasn’t about to pretend that last night’s blizzard had anything to do with my tardiness. I had woken up hungover from the previous night and decided to indulge in a few more minutes of sleep. And so, as my alarm had rung as I laid in my bed that morning, only one word came to mind: snooze.


After slithering out of bed and grabbing a coffee at the closest Timmies, I had finally made it to the crossroad leading to the RCMP building. I hated this crossroad. In fact, my hatred for this crossroad could be seen as threefold.


1. Without exception, every time I needed to get to work as fast as possible, the light that allowed pedestrians to cross over shined an infernal red.


2. I am, without a doubt, the most impatient person to ever walk the face of the earth. Add this to the fact that I am a bit OCD (self-diagnosed of course. I see no point in going to the doctors when typing in your symptoms in any search engine would allow you to know exactly what you have. ) and you have me, standing in the cold, impatient, and wondering how a construction worker could possibly screw up a sidewalk so badly. This is what irritated me most. Not only was I basically forced by the social requirements of our society to stand still as a stupid red light in the shape of a hand faced me, but this moment of eagerness to get on with my day was worsened by a sidewalk that was about as straight as Elton John. I mean, come on! As a construction worker, you have one job, and one job only, and that is to make a sidewalk that doesn't make me want to shoot a bullet into my head every time I see it.


3. It’s important to understand downtown Montrealers to get this final point. You have the crazy environmentalist who think our entire planet is going to implode within any second and who believe that getting to your destination without taking public transportation is basically a sin. On the other hand, you have those who take public transportation for other reasons. Either they live rather close to all the buildings that they find relevant to their lives, or, like me, they're just too bloody poor to own a car. Hence why everyone who owns a car in this god forsaken city thinks they somehow are entitled to some sort of “i-am-better-than-you” award. This leads to drivers who could care less if you need to cross the street or not. Obviously their lives are of the utmost importance and they feel no need to move their eyes four inches lower to see a clear footpath outlined with white paint.(Congrats to the worker who made that footpath by the way. It’s almost visible through the white snow). Anyway, so when the light does finally turn a color that can only be described as anything but green, I’d be considerably lucky not to get honked at by a car as I exercised my right as a citizen of this city to cross the freaking road.


On that particular day, it was a man in a white Honda Civic that decided to take the time out of his life to raise his arm about 8 inches and hit the center of his steering wheel not once, but three times. How could I be so foolish? Obviously this man’s life was more important than mine. Clearly his need to get to work was more important than my need to get to work. And clearly his act of uttering an insufferable noise was justified. All the same, without batting an eye or moving my head, I raised my hand and allowed my middle finger to look upon this man’s face as I walked across the road.


The RCMP building could also be described in one word: insufferable. You may think that I’m obviously mistaken. How could a building be insufferable? After all, a building is but material organized in a certain way to allow human beings such as myself to enter said building and live out their meaningless lives. This is where you’d be wrong. A building can be insufferable and it begins with its design. I don’t know who designed this edifice but clearly this person should take it’s elevators that hardly ever worked, go to the roof, and fling himself of the summit of this structure. Also, whilst falling to his inevitable death, he should take the time to look at his building up close. If he’d do so, he would see how not only the windows don’t match up, but how he decided to choose material that would inevitably rust with time.  How could any person who has been given the task to design anything, whether it be a building or not, decide in their right mind to use material that would one day mix with the oxygen in the air to naturally turn a color that would be closer to green than the light I had just passed.


And so, as I neared the building, I got beneath the small part of the roof that exceeded the parameter which allowed for about two feet of shelter. This is perhaps the only flaw in the establishment’s design that i liked, mainly because it allowed me to have a smoke without having to run under some restaurant’s terrace. As I did every day, I took out my packet of Pall Mall, retracted one compact cigarette, brought it to my lips, withdrew my lighter from my left hand pocket, and began to indulge in the beauty of smoking. I would often be reminded by coworkers or students passing by that smoking will kill me. Well, if this is what stage four lung cancer tastes like, I might just have to check out the other three stages.


Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to smoke on that particular day, especially considering that it was minus something outside and that I added about three minutes to my tardiness, but just the thought of three hours in a class room with thirty unbearable and hormonal “post-teenagers” made me want to smoke all the tobacco in the world to cure the inescapable headache that would soon englobe my head.


I extinguished my cig on the side of the building and entered the premise through two automatic doors. Before my eyes could adapt to the intense light in the entrance hall, the receptionist had already greeted me with her usual “good morning Dr. Ferguson” and added “your class is waiting for you in room 83-B”. I could detect a hint of angst in her voice. Whether this had to do with me being late or her simply having a crush on me I would never know, and i would never care.


I pressed a button and waited for the elevator. As the seconds past, I began to admit to myself that it wasn’t coming and that I would need, as i needed every morning, to take the stairs. It had become a sort of tradition for me. Every morning, instead of going around the right side of the receptionist’s main desk towards the stairs, i would go around the left side in the hopes that perhaps today was the day that the building manager decided to actually do something about his building being , for lack of better words, a piece of shit. Alas, that day was not this day.


The stairs weren’t that bad. In fact, after taking them day after day, I can tell you that there are precisely 35 stairs separating the main lobby from the third floor, the floor on which most of the classes given to instruct future RCMP members are given. As my breath quickened with every step, I had begun to go through the PowerPoint I would use for that day’s class in my head. Being a teacher can sometimes be the most rewarding job in the world. It could, however, also be the most redundant job in the world as well. After giving this same exact class over and over again over the past seven years, my mannerism whilst giving said class can probably be compared to that of a robot. My monotone voice was only surpassed by the stillness of my body when it came to the degree of dullness of my class. Needless to say, I wasn’t anyone’s favorite teacher.


As I stood in front of the door frame to room 83-B (or at least what was supposed to be a door frame, but since it was lacking a door, i guess it should only be called a frame), I saw about twenty or so students huddled up at the front row of my class. This alone was strange to me. Students don’t usually want to sit at the front of my class; they’d rather pretend to be listening from the back. I lifted my head a bit to see that one student in particular had decided to take the small podium on which resided my desk for his own and that he had decided to give my class for the day. Granted, any rational teacher would have screamed said students name and demanded that order be reinstated in his or her classroom. That being said, nor did I know the students name, nor did I have a strong enough voice to intimidate an entire room comprised of what sadly were considered adults. It was, however, not my fault that i could not recall the student’s name. I had had this class only since the start of the semester which had commenced about a week ago.


It took me a few seconds to finally realize what the student was doing. As he slowly pranced in front of the whiteboard, he began to speak as if he was missing half of his brain, that is that he was talking and moving with such unevenness and slowness that one could only cringe.


“As-you-can-see-the-parietal-lobe-is-were-the-first-signs-of-a-murderer-take-place”, he said whilst stiffly extending his arms towards the blank screen behind him in. “Although-this-material-is-extremely-interesting-I-will-try-my-best-to-bore-you-with-my-man-nerism”, he added as a small burst of chuckles came from the other students.


You would probably think that I’d be pretty offended at this point. After all, to be made a fool of by a grad student who decided to mimic his teacher in front of said teacher’s class was probably many professors’ worst nightmares.  That being said, the student may have had a point. After all, one probably expected more from a teacher who named his class “RCMP 504: A journey into the mind of a murderer”. (a name proposed by one of my ex-girlfriends. As with her, I did not care for it.) Although I could sympathize with what this “scholar” was trying to say through his portrayal of me, it was the professional as well as the amusing thing to do to undermine him in front of his peers.


I waited for a beat in his depiction and, as this moment of silence permitted me, began to slowly clap as loud as i could.




Human beings are rather interesting. In fact, it takes, I would say, about half a second for an average human being to grasp a change in setting that lays within its peripheral vision that has divulged itself through sound. Hence why i decided to clap. I wanted the student in question to be the first to notice me. As I anticipated, the look of shock and disbelief that engulfed his face was in fact priceless.




As the other students, who obviously were not facing me, began to turn around as i joined my hands together for a second time, they realized that the man that would be grading them has seen them laugh at a supposed comical interpretation of his idiosyncrasy. I would not say that my action evoked the same emotion on their part as with the first student. Rather, they looked at me with faces of dissociation and severance, which in other words meant they were trying to tell me “It was all him, sir, we didn’t do anything”.




This clap, as well as the four others that followed, was for the simple pleasure of seeing their grins slowly disparate and ultimately flatten themselves out.




“Very good, very good”, i said as i strained myself into putting more emotion into my voice “now if only you’d have listened in class, you wouldn't have been feeding your fellow colleagues with false information. The parietal lobe has as much to do with a man’s likeliness to kill as your likeliness to one day pass my class. It’s virtually zero.” A laugh from the students arose and extinguished any self-dignity the student could possibly still have left. Funny how a crowd can so easily turn on you. All one needs is a bit of humour and authority (which is pretty much given to you as a teacher) and all of a sudden you could start your own following.


As i began to walk down the steps towards my desk, I knew that i would have to make up some sappy story as to appease the class and that i could not sadly just start my usual course and get out of here as fast as possible.


“Listen, I understand that perhaps you were anticipating more from this class” , I said “ and maybe you guys hoped for a teacher that would intrigue you with his way of giving his class, but rest assured that studying murderers has nothing to do with fun”. I sat on my desk, something i rarely did because my height didn’t permit me to touch the floor as i did so. However, standing behind your desk as you try to interact with your students does not work too well. The desk could be interpreted as a sort of barrier and therefore doesn’t allow the students to feel comfortable with their teachers. Yes, you can be assured that that last line was taken directly from a book about how one should teach a class that was given to be me by none other than one of my former students. Sadly, i haven’t had the time to complete the book as it tends to be depressing to read three hundred pages about how i am the polar opposite of what a teacher should be.


“This class is about the basics, about what makes a human being want to kill. Rest assured that this need to kill is, for the most part, developed and it will be essential for those of you who would want to enter a field that has to do with crime to understand what makes a killer tic.”


Something I had not anticipated happened in that moment. A young boy with chestnut hair that shined under the LED lights decided to raise his hand. For this was not the first time that a student decided to make pleasantries of my class, but after each event I could say with some certainty that the entire class was too ashamed for any student to ask a question. Flabbergasted by this action, it took me a moment to respond, which probably made me lose some credibility (to hell with credibility; what do i care what these kids think).”Yes?”, I said in a dry voice which caused me to cough to clear my windpipe.


“Sir, no offense, but i was under the impression we would be learning about murderers, that this class would be about past serial killers and that we would be examining the way they went about their kills”, he said confidently. In fact, everything about him seemed confident. His dashing good looks were supported by his incredible jaw line and poised way of speaking. “In fact, I think most of us”, he said by looking around himself searching for approval” thought that sir”. As i scanned the room, I could see a few students nodding their heads.


At that moment, I reached into the pocket of my sway coat to clutch my USB stick on which most of my PowerPoints were held as to protect it from the criticism that was suddenly being put on it by these inscrutable pupils. What they do not understand is that showing them past murders will have little to no purpose if they cannot comprehend the things that were going through each murderer’s mind. They would not be able to truly decrypt each MO (method of operation) that each serial killer decided to use and why it was significant in their downfall.


All this was true, but I saw in this an opportunity to truly make them regret wanting to hear about murders before they were ready.


“All right. I guess we can skip a few courses, but only if everyone agrees that they would rather learn about real murders instead of today’s class which was supposed to be on the repercussions of maltreated infants and how it was entangled with a loss of empathy in certain cases. Show of hands-”, I did not have the time to finish my sentence as hands began to shoot up in the air.


There was no need in counting, it seemed as if every single hand in the class was raised, some even chose to put two hands in the air. It was only when i truly scanned the room that I realized that one student with flashy blonde hair in particular decided to keep his hands by his side. I thought for a moment that here was a student that truly understood the importance of psycho-analysis of killers. That being said, for all i knew he could have been French Canadian and not understood what had been going on in the class for the past few weeks. It wouldn’t have been a first. Students could take both their exams in English or in French, a notion i would never understand seeing as one would need to comprehend what the teacher was saying in any class to truly be able to pass his or her exam. Seeing as the only French i knew was “ J’ai oublié mes cahiers d’exercices à la bibliothèque” which literally translates to “ I forgot my books at the library” (a phrase that most definitely came in handy during my years in English immersion), you can only imagine how much French I used in my classes.


And so, even with the blond student’s silent opposition to the overwhelming will of the class, I decided to give into their demands. This would be fun.


After reaching into my briefcase and withdrawing my laptop, I opened it and began looking for a folder i had discarded several years ago. After finally finding it in my trash, i inserted the plug which would allow my presentation to be projected onto the main screen behind me. As i did so, the picture of a middle aged man with brown hair and sideburns that were truly too long appeared.


“ Who can tell me who this is?”, i said.

Silence reigned. As every single one of them looked as hard as they could (as if that would somehow able them to come up with this man’s name any easier), it was almost sad to think that these students may be the future of the RCMP.


Finally, after a few more seconds of silence, a student of Chinese descent decided he would have a go. As he raised his hand as hesitantly as possible, he uttered the following, “Ted Bundy?”. As i need to add a question mark at the end of his remark, you can probably guess how close he was to the answer. They were truly and indistinguishably amateurs.


As i thought this, the student who had held is lonely silent protest a few seconds ago raised his hand. “Yes, student in the back who’s name escapes me”, i said lying as all their names escaped me.


“ That’s Wayne Boden, renown Canadian serial killer”, he said “and my name is Peter O’Donnel”. Well, just by hearing his name i could confirm that he was most certainly not French Canadian.


“Yes, this is in fact Wayne Boden, better known as “The Vampire Rapist”. And why was he given this nickname by the press?” I asked whilst looking at Peter, because clearly no one else would be able to answer. Something I really despised about teaching: acting as if somehow I had forgotten my curriculum and needed a student to remind me of it.


“ Well, he would bite his victims ….so i guess...well it’s rather self-explanatory”, he added.


“Very well”, i said as i switched slides. I could already see some of the girls flinch and look away as the picture of one of his victim’s face came upon the screen. They would not last the entire presentation, I guarantee it. “Mister Boden had indeed a tendency to bite his victims. Although he would do so after raping them and would bite them specifically on their breasts”, i switched slides to a full body shot of his first victims. This time, a shriek came from some of them, others fell silent.


“ This ultimately led to his downfall. After all, leaving a bite mark is as good as leaving your name written on a victim, right? Wrong.”, i switched slides once again, this time showing the victim how she was found at the crime scene. One student immediately took her books and walked towards the door at the back of the class. “ This was the 1960’s. The technology to accurately use not only the DNA left by his saliva but his bite marks themselves did not yet exist. This may infact be the reason why he was able to do this not once”, i switched the slide to show all four of his victims “but four times”.


At this point, I could clearly feel that my students were uncomfortable and that they had regretted what they had gotten themselves into. In all honesty, when I usually present serial killers, my presentations are not as graphic. In fact, sometimes i do not even show the victims. This is precisely why discarded this presentation in the first place and never would i have thought to show it to a class, especially a class that had not been presented any other serial killer before.


“Sir?”, said the once confident student with the brown hair.


“Yes?”, i said although i knew what was coming.


“Could we stop?”, he said in an imploring manner. Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes one regrets so deeply what one wishes for? I, however, was not done with my game just yet.


“What in heavens do you mean? Is this not what you wanted? To have the chance to hear about real murders?”


. . .


7:33 PM


“ Oh my god, you really are a psychopath”


“I reject that”


“ Oh please, what normal teacher would try to teach their class a lesson by showing them pictures of mutilated women”, sarah said just as the waitress brought me my food. Startled as she clearly overheard, the vietnamese women in her thirties gave me a worrisome look right before she left back to the kitchen.


“Could you not?”, i implored


“Could i not what?”, she said.


“Could you not give the people working in my favorite restaurant reason to think that i’m the zodiac killer?”, I asked. I was hoping that the next time i came to pick up food I would not be stared at by the entire kitchen staff, especially not miss Lam. She was the owner of the place and would give you the dirtiest look if you didn’t tip at least twenty percent.


“Oh don’t worry, i’m sure you give them enough reason on your own”, she said with the biggest grin on her face as she sipped from her glass of wine.


Sarah Mcreeve was arguably my oldest and most annoying friend. In fact, i couldn’t remember a time in my life when Sarah wasn’t there. Our parents had been friends before we were born and i guess we had become close by association. That being said, i still have no idea how we were able to retain our friendship through the years since our personalities were so very different. Sarah was the most popular girl in our high school, probably because she looked like she belonged on the cover of some magazine. Her blonde hair was only surpassed by her blue eyes when it came to her beauty. Though she wasn’t your typical prom queen (although, not to worry, she had won the award); she would not take any BS from anybody. She prided herself on her independence and could easily cut through any man in just a matter of seconds. Whilst passing her exam to become a cop for the SPVM (the Montreal police), they had evaluated if she had the psychological capacity to join the force. The man evaluating her tried to put her off her game by telling her that she was a women and that women were too weak to be cops. She responded with a cool “So then how did you join?”. Needless to say, she’s worked herself up and is now the leading detective for the SPVM.


“What are you looking at?”, she asked as i hadn’t realized that I was staring at her as my thoughts flew.


“ Oh nothing. Just thinking about how i was going to freak out my class on Monday is all”, I said hoping to make her laugh.


“I think you showing up on time could be enough. And if that fails all you really have to do is get really close to them, your face would do just the trick” she said. “But seriously can’t you be fired or at least fined by some sort of a board for showing graphic content in your class? And, I mean, of all people, you decided to show Wayne Boden’s work? I mean seriously, at least go with the recent. Luka Magnotta was the clear choice in my opinion”, she said jokingly.


“Well ,see, i think Magnotta’s work is a bit too contemporary for my taste” I said, pretending to be some sort of art connoisseur and acting as if we were talking about some painting. I managed to get a few chuckles out of her.


“Alright that’s enough, anymore of this and they may just think we are crazy”, she said as she looked at our waitress who was approaching with a plate. She thanked her as she placed the plate in front of her. “ Well, bon appéttit”


We took a few minutes as i confirmed to myself that this truly was the best Vietnamese restaurant in all of Montreal. “ So what’s new in your part of the world? Any fresh information for me?”


“Not really. In fact, my job has been really boring for the past few months, more paperwork than anything else.”


“Well that sucks”, i added.


She laughed and added,” well that depends on how you see things. Some may say no news is good news in my profession”


“Well of course”, i said” but it must get boring if nothing is going wrong in the city”


“Don’t worry, James, something is always going wrong in the city” she said in a way only Sarah could.


Did I mention that I have had a crush on her since we first met? And did i mention that i can’t remember when we first met?


. . .


3:48 AM


The noise came from hell, of that i was certain. I was deep in my slumber when my house phone decided to make a noise that could only be described as annoying. As it first rang, i decided to let it ring. I had long had this policy that if you needed to reach me so badly, you would call a second time.


To my despair, the phone had begun to ring again, and that night i had decided to push my policy to three rings. The time between the second and third call was abnormally long in the sense that i had the time to fall back asleep and ruin my dream once again. As it rang for the third time, i managed to open my eyes wide enough to scan the dark room and see from a far who was calling through the caller ID that shined from one of the phones that was charging on my night stand across the room. It was Sarah.


I attempted with all my might to reach the phone without getting out of bed, but alas the distance was too far. I stood, accepting my defeat to both my bed and my night stand, and walked across the room to pick up the phone.


“Yes?”, I said in the grumpiest of voices.


“Oh, thank god. Why didn’t you pick up?”, Sarah said with more than a hint of malaise in her voice.


“Oh i don’t. Maybe because i was busy doing other stuff at four in the morning...like, you know...sleeping?”, I said sarcastically.


“Listen, you have to-”


“You know if you wanted a booty call you could have just shown up”, i said jokingly.


“James, stop. Something has happened”


“What?”, i said trying to imagine what could have been of such importance that she needed to call at four in the morning.


“A women’s been murdered”, she said almost in a whisper.


“Ah, well see. I knew our city wasn’t that boring!”


“No, James. You don’t get it. The women we found was murdered and was bitten twice...on each breast”


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