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Another Day In Paradise
Chapter The Second: Maxfield, Maxfield
©2003-2006, WriteByMyself, All Rights Reserved.
Any duplication, in whole or in part, is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the author.
REVISION DATE: 16 July 2006
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Angry Young Man Artist: Billy Joel There's a place in the world for the angry young man With his working class ties and his radical plans He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl and he's always at home with his back to the wall. He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross And he likes to be known as the angry young man. Give a moment or two to the angry young man With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood It's a comfort to know his intentions are good He sits in a room with a lock on the door with his maps and his medals laid out of the floor And he likes to be known as the angry young man. I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage, I've found that just surviving was a noble fight I once believed in causes too, had my pointless point of view Life went on no matter who was right or wrong. And there's always a place for the angry young man With his fist in the air and his head in the sand He's never been able to learn from mistakes He can't understand why his heart always breaks His honor is pure, and his courage as well he's fair and he's true, and he's boring as hell And he'll go to his grave as an angry old man. There's a place in the world for the angry young man With his working class ties and his radical plans He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl and he's always at home with his back to the wall. He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross And he likes to be known as the angry young man.
Maxfield Maximilian Parrish walked slowly towards school dreading, as always, his arrival. His art-scene parents had named him after a famous artist and as a result, he was always a target for other kids' fun. Since the earliest days of his recollection he'd been a target of ridicule.
He was taunted relentlessly, but that didn't bother him nearly as much as the occasional physical abuse he suffered. As he grew older and more and more kids associated his odd name with the legendary artist, the abuse grew worse.
The term recluse could almost be applied to Maxfield though there are precious few fifteen year old recluses. Maxfield was friendless in every sense of the word. The students who didn't taunt him ignored him which suited him just fine. His teachers, he felt, didn't know him, nor did any of the school counsellors take any interest in him or his progress. His grades were excellent since he went to school, then went home, studied, and played on his computer or read books -- all while listening to music that would have been decidedly unpopular with any of his fellow students.
Maxfield was a sophomore in high school and high school brought a fresh new hell. Maxfield felt alone as he walked towards Ramses Senior High School. Being a sophomore here wasn't much better than being a freshman. Because of overcrowding in the district, this year the ninth graders now went to school at the local junior high, leaving only the tenth through twelfth graders. He knew the taunting from junior high became harsher in high-school, as did the frequency of the abuse.
The ultimate teenage insult was the label faggot and it had been applied to him repeatedly. Whether or not it was true was beside the point, as it had been so frequently applied everyone assumed it was true. Maxfield himself was unsure as he'd never had the opportunity to find out one way or another. He'd never been out on a date much less romantically involved with anyone of any gender.
As he came closer to his new school, he brushed his dirty blond hair out of his eyes. His bangs flopped in his eyes in an irritating fashion and he decided he'd need a haircut soon. The problem with that would be the need to go out and interact with people, and Maxfield wasn't a big fan of people anymore.
Today, though, his dread was for a different reason -- Maxfield had made a monumental personal decision. He knew that as it was a new school, the time to change people's impressions was early in the school year. The longer he waited, the worse it would become. He wasn't going to roll over and take it anymore -- he was going to fight back. Today was the day it would change.
It wasn't hard for Maxfield to reach inside and feed off his own anger, but normally he used it to comfort himself and keep himself calm after the ridicule, the taunting, and the beatings. He was going to change how people saw him through sheer force of will. He was going to hate it, he knew, especially at first, but he wanted the misery to stop -- he just wanted to be left alone.
He was not ten steps inside the school's front door when he heard a male voice shout, "Look! It's the faggot artsy-fartsy boy."
Maxfield steeled himself for his first confrontation, turned around, and looked for the speaker. He couldn't identify the person and he resumed walking towards his assigned locker. This wasn't an auspicious start to the new, improved Maxfield. He knew it was a safe school since there weren't any metal detectors like some of the larger schools had installed.
He emptied his backpack into his locker, bending slightly to have full access. He mused to himself that he must have grown noticeably over the summer because the upper locker bank always used to be a bit of a stretch for him.
He selected the books for his classes before the lunch break, and put them along with some selected supplies into his pack. He put on the lock, spun the dial, and walked away. The halls were filling up quickly. He headed towards homeroom and he felt himself being pushed, but being unsure if it was an act of aggression or an inadvertent push in the overly crowded hall, Maxfield let it slide. Again, self-doubt over his course of action crept over him and he fought it by repeating his decision to himself.
He entered the class that was to be his homeroom and walked back to the last row and selected a seat, as he never wanted to be at the front. Drawing further attention to yourself if you were already an outcast wasn't bright because it made it easier for your tormentors to pick on you. The warning bell rang and the classroom filled up quickly followed by the final bell.
As soon as the bell rang, the teacher stood up and spoke. "Hello, people. My name is Arthur Levitan, and I will be your homeroom teacher for the year. We have only fifteen minutes together each day before you all scatter about to your assigned classes, but I'd like them to be as pleasant as possible. I also realize most students aren't morning people. So, after today, I will simply call attendance and leave you alone except for any announcements. I will allow you to bring the elixir of life into the room as long you have a lid on the cup but I will insist there be no food." There was a smattering of applause when Mr. Levitan indicated he'd disregard the rules and allow coffee in the classroom.
"There will be no talking until I've completed the calling role and made the announcements. After that, you are permitted to talk quietly among yourselves until the bell for first period rings."
"I will not force assigned seating upon you, but if I have problems, I will. You're all adults and if you act like adults, I'll treat you that way. If you act like children, I will treat you as such. So play nice. Are they any questions?"
"Can we read the paper?"
"If you wish to speak, you must raise your hand to be called upon. I will not have chaos. But yes, you may read the paper. Anything else?" He was greeted with silence and decided to take roll. He rustled around and found the roll-call sheet.
He went through the list in alphabetical order, surprisingly not mangling some of the difficult to pronounce names. "Max Parrish."
"That's Maxfield, please. I won't answer to Max."
"You will if I call you that."
"I wouldn't count on it, sir."
"You will stay after homeroom, Maxfield," stated Mr. Levitan his face turning red with anger. He was greeted by a number of snickers around the room. Mr. Levitan was noted for being easygoing until there was any sort of confrontation, and then his inner demon came out.
The student next to him leaned over and whispered something to him. Maxfield couldn't hear it but knew by the tone it was derogatory. He turned slightly, put on an expression of utter contempt, and uttered a simple "fuck you."
There was no small amount of tittering and another student said "Ooooo! Maxie got some balls, and I know...." The student was interrupted by the bell. The students darted towards the door, where Mr. Levitan stood handing out a sheet of information as each person made their egress. Maxfield remained in his seat, waiting for whatever confrontation his stance had brought.
"Well, Mr. Parrish, would you care to explain?" asked Mr. Levitan, hoping that Maxfield would apologize and return things back to normal.
"Explain what? You didn't understand my name is Maxfield?"
"I understood, however I am afforded some amount of respect as your teacher."
"Bullshit. Respect is earned. I politely asked you to call me by my proper name and you refused, thereby eschewing all rights you had to any respect. Maybe one day I'll meet someone worthy of mine but it's obviously not going to be today."
Maxfield stood up, and strode out the door with Mr. Levitan yelling after him, "Come back here! NOW!"
The students around the door waiting to enter were shocked. "Wow! Who pissed in Max's Wheaties?" asked one student who previously had made no small effort at verbally haranguing Maxfield.
Maxfield arrived at his first class with a scowl on his face, and took a seat. The teacher began to introduce herself, but she was interrupted by an announcement. "Will Maxfield Parrish please report to the administrative office immediately." The class erupted in laughter and the teacher had difficulty calming it. Maxfield got up and walked out the door. The halls were empty since class was in session and he was soon at the administrative office where walked to the desk and rang the little tin bell.
An old lady who could only be described as a flawless replica of a cliché spinster came up to the counter. "Are you Max Parrish?"
"No. I am Maxfield Parrish, if you please."
"There's no need to be fresh."
"There's no need to screw my name up, Ma'am. It's pretty simple. I wasn't being fresh. I was correcting your error."
"I can only imagine why you're here. Please, follow me," she said with an affronted and indignant tone to her voice. He followed her to a door which bore a small, brass plaque inscribed "Thomas Farmer, Vice Principal".
In the office, there were two standard-issue chairs, and in one was seated Arthur Levitan. Maxfield entered and stood by the empty chair, waiting for his invitation to be seated which was given immediately.
"Young man, do you know why you're here?" asked Mr. Farmer who was seated behind his massive mahogany desk.
"I would imagine it's because Arthur is upset that I wouldn't accept him calling me by a name that isn't mine."
"Young man! You will refer to him as Mr. Levitan.
"Certainly. As long as he calls me by my name. My name is not Max." He went on to tell what transpired less than twenty minutes ago.
"You're headstrong and impertinent."
"Why yes I am. Thank you for noticing, Mr. Farmer."
"I have your file you know. I was going to be lenient because you've never been in any sort of trouble at your previous school. I hope we're not going to have trouble with you here. Disrespecting your teachers simply can't be tolerated."
"But it's okay for a teacher to disrespect his students?"
"Of course not. We expect mutual respect between students and faculty."
"Then we don't have a problem do we, sir?" asked Maxfield putting enough emphasis on the word sir to indicate there was absolutely no respect attached to it.
Farmer was irritated. He'd just been trapped by a student. "Maxfield, step outside for a moment, and shut the door behind you, please."
When they were alone, Farmer spoke. "Arthur, what he did was inappropriate. I am on your side, but I'm not sure what I can do. You did, in front of your class, refuse to call him by his proper name. A student has the right to be referred to by his proper name."
"None of the students will speak up for that pantywaist. You won't find a witness."
"Probably not, but I won't stand for it. Furthermore, referring to one of your students as a pantywaist is entirely unacceptable. I won't stand for that either. I'm letting this incident slide for both of you. I trust I won't hear of it again because I recant my previous position: I'm not on your side any more." Farmer was clearly agitated and yelled a bit more loudly than he needed, "Mr. Parrish you may return."
Maxfield walked in, a scowl on his face.
"As much as I cannot condone your behavior, I think you're in the clear based on the facts that I have. You may return to class with the understanding I don't wish to see you again." Farmer scribbled a hall pass, handed it to him, and watched the scowl on Maxfield's face fade.
"Thank you, Sir," said Maxfield with far more respect in his voice.
Maxfield walked back into his first period class, handed the teacher his pass and went to his seat, a wide grin plastered across his face. His fellow students were confused because they were certain he'd be suspended or expelled.
There were some snickers at his arrival, and a number of odd looks. Maxfield noticed one of the kids kept staring at him.