dontravis.com blog post #317
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Pure nonsense this week.
SHARK’S TOOTH WILSON
By Don Travis
My real name’s Bobby—well, Robert, actually—but everyone in high school called me Shark’s Tooth ever since our Algebra teacher, Mr. Langston, said I was as sharp as a shark’s tooth in class one day. Before I knew it, everyone in my world except my parents and this girl named Becky called me that. Guess I’m lucky he didn’t say sharp as a tack or else I’d be known as Tacky. Praise the Lord for small miracles.
But back to that one girl who still called me Bobby, the one known behind her back as Boxy Becky. To be honest, that sort of described her, but as a victim, myself, I tried not to think of her in those terms… as difficult as that was. My closest friends—my buds—who’d shortened my unwelcome nickname down to Sharky, claimed she was sweet on me, but all that did was put a twist in my shorts. Why couldn’t some of the other girls… the babes… be sweet on me, instead of Boxy Becky?
I managed to keep my distance from Becky—although I was always polite to her—until just before the winter prom my junior year. She caught me in the hallway and let me know she didn’t have a date for the dance. I felt my cheeks burn as I said I didn’t either and then rushed off to English class.
The prom was neat, and I managed to dance with just about all the girls, but I was constantly aware of Becky standing off in the corner with a couple of other girls the football jocks unkindly labeled as cows. Being sort of soft-hearted, I occasionally asked one of them for a dance, including Becky. By this time, she wasn’t carrying as much weight, so her old sobriquet wasn’t quite so appropriate. Still… a habit’s a habit, and she was still Boxy just as I was still Shark’s Tooth.
Somehow, I ended up with her for the last dance of the night. Finally noticing that she had pretty good moves, must have flustered me, because when she asked what I was doing after the dance, I blurted out that me’n some of the guys had plans.
“Do they include girls?”
My cheeks heated up again. That only seemed to happen around Becky. “Not… not that I know of.”
“I don’t believe it,” she retorted.
“Look, Boxy, I---”
Even in the subdued lighting of the ballroom, her eyes flashed. She puffed up like a tire on an air hose.
“S-sorry, Becky. I just….”
I was talking to thin air. She stalked toward the exit, the sway of her broad beam expressing righteous indignation. She didn’t speak to me again that term.
Over the course of the summer, I managed to swallow the shame of my indiscretion with Becky. In fact, between my temporary construction job and hanging with the guys, I forgot about it completely. But as opening day at school grew closer, I found myself composing apologies for my careless mouth.
First day eventually arrived and proved a busy one. Getting classes squared away and talking to old friends you somehow hadn’t seen for three months, turned it into a zoo.
Finally, I heard a familiar voice speaking to someone behind me. I whirled and butted into the conversation.
My voice died in a constricted throat. Chill bumps played down my back. Despite myself, my eyebrows shot up. The girl who stood before me was Becky all right, but she was another Becky. Her face was still broad, but it had shape, definition, from violet eyes to cupid’s-bow lips. Her frame displayed curves that weren’t there before. I swallowed hard and tried again.
“B-Becky, it’s good to see you.
She smiled broadly, said “Hello, Shark’s Tooth, and swayed provocatively away, chatting and laughing with her companions.
Life catches up with you, doesn’t it? I’m sure we can all recall something similar to this when we were growing up. Hope you enjoyed the reading.
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