Her Dirty Professor(4)

By: Penny Wylder

Boyfriend is in my chair. He gets up slowly when he sees me and saunters back to his own seat. He’s wearing perfectly pressed shorts that hit above his knee, a yellow polo, and white shoes that look like Keds, but probably cost ten times more. It’s an ensemble I’d imagine someone wearing on a yacht, except we’re about two hundred miles inland. To anyone without money, he comes off like a douche and looks like a character out of Dallas. Utterly ridiculous.

When I sit down, all I can smell is him. All wealthy people smell the same. It’s a unique scent, a formula they’ve mastered that consists of clean pores that have never been clogged with the sweat of hard labor, rubber soles that have never touched the ground because why do anything on your own when you can walk across the backs of others? Or maybe it’s just the smell of money. I don’t know. I’m probably just being cynical because I’ve worked my fingers to the bone for everything I have.

Serena doesn’t go back to her desk. Instead she continues to lean against mine, staying far too close to my personal space than I’m comfortable with. Since she won’t move, I guess I’ll have to. I roll my eyes and scoot my chair to the end of the table.

Mr. Johnson glances over at us. He knows this isn’t normal, but he doesn’t say anything, just wanders from desk to desk to see if anyone needs help.

“Did you watch the video again?” Serena asks.

I busy myself with my beakers and flasks, setting up my burner, trying to act all casual, like it’s no big deal. “I did. But I don’t think it’s Mr. Johnson.”

“Are you kidding? It looks just like him,” she says. Serena is beautiful, but it’s an out-of-date beauty. She’s too pristine, too put together. Her blonde hair is perfectly curled, clothes pressed. Reminds me of what people in the eighties expected pretty to be. I’m so tempted to dump my beaker of water on her head, see what shape wet gel makes with her hair without the authority of a brush and comb around to put it back in its place.

I seek out Mr. Johnson across the room, follow him with my eyes to make sure he doesn’t sneak up on us while we’re talking about him. Somehow I think he knows anyway. It’s like he can sense his own presence elsewhere. That old saying about ears burning, or whatever. He continues to glance our way and I keep averting my eyes to make it seem as though I was looking at the instructions on the whiteboard instead of him.

“I looked at the full movie and the names in the credits; I didn’t see his anywhere,” I say. “It wasn’t him.”

Boyfriend leans into the conversation and scoffs at me. “Have you ever watched a porn before? They never use their real names.”

My face heats up. I’ve watched porn before. A little. Very little. Not that I’m opposed to it at all, but when you share accounts and passwords with your parents it’s difficult to buy or search for things on the internet you don’t want others to know about. I guess I should’ve known the actors weren’t using their real names since most of them have names like “Johnny Dong” and “Lana Gnitsif”—which I thought was kind of a pretty name until I realized it was Anal Fisting spelled backwards.

“The guy in the movie is way too young,” I say, doing everything I can to convince myself and them that they’re wrong about the teacher I admire so much.

“Yeah,” Serena says, running her finger around the rim of my beaker. I swear if she tips it over and spills water on my assignments, I’ll break the damn thing over her head. I almost want her to, just to see if I have the courage to do it. “Because it was made ten years ago.”

“Damn,” I mumble. I didn’t even bother to look at when the movie had been made. By the low quality of the film, it makes sense that it was made ten years ago compared to some of the other movies that were on the website. I can’t get too down on myself for not paying attention to these things, though. After all, my attentions were elsewhere—a couple times that night.

I look at Mr. Johnson again. Really look this time. The shapes his body makes when he’s standing or leaning. The different facial expressions. He has the best smile. Genuine. The kind that makes wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. The actor in the video didn’t have those. In fact, he looked as though he’d never smiled a day in his life.