History

Dr. Deacon showed his bicep to the class. A couple of the football players were impressed, but most of the girls seemed embarrassed. Blushing was how teenagers showed admiration, he knew, but he was still annoyed by their evasive glances.

A nerd raised his hand. “Is this going to be on the test?” Other students laughed at the question. Dr. Deacon watched the nerd smile to himself. He thought he was smart.

“What separated lords from their vassals?” Dr. Deacon asked, writing the words ‘lord’ and ‘vassal’ on the board behind him. Answers came from around the room. Wealth. Power, but what is power? Strength.

“Exactly. Physical intimidation was very real in the middle ages. An insubordinate serf might expect a visit from the knights of the order.” He wrote the word ‘enforcer’ between the other two words, and nodded affirmatively as he curled off the r.

He continued the lecture, doing his best to get a laugh from the bored-looking cheerleaders, but they were too stupid to understand when he was making a joke. “No, don’t write that down,” he said, and they looked up to him with empty eyes that he could only pity. His voice resonated in his head. He thought he’d sounded vaguely faggy. He’d even flipped his hand limp-wristedly.

As class ended, he showed his bicep again. A couple of the girls came and felt it on their way out. So did a football player, who pointed to the blackboard and said, “Hey. Doctor D. We got the message.”

“Great,” he said. “Study hard.”

After everyone was gone, he erased his writing. He had two hours before his next class. Maybe he’d go to the gym.

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