Job of a Lifetime

Tran smoked a cigarette while he painted, the cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth,  never once using his hands to deal with it, inhaling and exhaling through his mouth, squinting through one eye. When the cigarette was finished, he spat the butt with expert aim into a brass pot.  I have never smoked, so I found it fascinating, and when I finally moved in at the start of term, there was not a shred of cigarette smoke in the place. I never met Tran again.

At the community school, where I would be working, I met the head of education. She called herself Miss Maggie. She was taller then most Vietnamese women, had long and straight black hair, with legs that ran to her neck, and she had the greenest eyes. Jim and John met her with me and they later told me that meeting an asian woman with green eyes is very good luck, like marrying a white woman with blue eyes. It's simply the polar cultural opposites of good fortune. Being only twenty-six at the time, I won't lie, I wanted to fuck Miss Maggie bad. She was hot.

With three weeks to go before the start of a new term, Miss Maggie said, “ You should cycle. Go get cycle, love. “ She said love. My heart was beating fast. Then, she said, “ The people there. In the country, they need you. I don't need you here. I need you there. Introduce yourself, Mister Grantley. Be a teacher. “

“ Just call me Eddie, “ I said.

“ No, you are Mister Grantley. You are a teacher, like I am, but I am better than you are. You know why? You are here, love, “ winking at me, knowing she was the boss, and that was all of it.

Love... That word again. A learned word to soothe the nerves of the caucasian, like junkies use it to appease a dealer they owe money to, or to get product from, or to slide their foot through the door. We were attracted, I could see it, but she wanted me to do my job, earn the money, better her homeland, and prove it.





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