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finding mr pembrooke

by John Brantingham

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finding mr pembrooke

mr pembrooke
mr pembrooke wakes up monday morning and showers and shaves and dresses and fries two eggs and pours orange juice into his los angeles lakers 2010 championship souvenir glass and watches the news until he realizes that twenty-nine eager sixteen year olds are going to sit down in his physics class in twelve minutes and that school is eight minutes away if he coasts through a couple of stop signs but somehow that doesn’t make him stand-up and he wishes regis were still on but michael and sarah’s banter is pretty good and he chuckles for eleven minutes and looks at his watch and can’t take himself away from the kitchen television this morning and that thought occupies a full minute and then another and then his phone rings and it’s the school and he hasn’t missed a single day nor has he been late in thirty-seven years so the voice on the other end seems to believe him when he says that he’s in bed so sick that he slept through the alarm and he makes a coughing laugh with the voice and says you’re right that’s no way for last year’s teacher of the year to act and he says he might be able to make it in tomorrow even though he knows he’s not going to be able to leave the kitchen so he coughs again to start tuesday’s lie and hangs up wondering about retirement whether he’s built up enough and he laughs because whether he has or not he’s going to be retiring because he can’t move and he wants to but he can’t after all this time of helping bright kids like it was a holy mission handed down on tablets but michael and sarah on the television make him laugh so he makes himself butter toast which is his sunday morning treat and he laughs and nods and says to his television tell them michael and then he can’t remember what it was michael said
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