The last class of the day was Econ where Johnny sat right behind Taryn Avery. He could smell her perfume, a mix of cinnamon and vanilla. Every so often Johnny leaned forward and thought about touching her long blond hair. Of course, he knew better than that; not just out of respect for Taryn but because she was dating Ryan Schumacher, a four letter athlete, football quarterback, basketball center, baseball pitcher and ran the hundred for the track team. The muscles in Schumacher’s arms were bigger than Johnny’s thighs.
“And today class we are going to learn about Capitalism at the local level,” Donald Halstead announced, “I’m dismissing you early so that you can interview small business owners. I've already contacted the merchants. You'll do this in groups of two. This handout has your question list along with the name and address of the business. They’ll be expecting you. Half of your semester grade will be based on the report you submit next week.” Johnny found himself paired with Taryn and almost fainted when she spoke to him for the first time.
“You’re going to get me an A on this one,” she challenged him. “If I pass Econ then I can go to college.” Taryn pushed her hair back permeating the air with the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla. They were assigned to interview Craig Bolema, owner of a hardware store. As they walked down the street Johnny was too excited to talk but Taryn broke the silence. “Aren’t you one of those guys who goes skiing with that Hanson dickhead?”
“You mean Stuart?” Johnny knew what she was talking about. Stuart had a motorboat and insisted on repeatedly going past the beach where Taryn and her girlfriends were sunbathing.
“What a creep. Why does he have such a big mouth?”
“He’s alright once you get to know him.”
“He’s a vulgarian. All that hooting and hollering. He’s a pervert. I bet he does it with his dog.”
Casey Bush is a long time Portland poet whose collection, Student of the Hippocampus, was published by Last Word Press in 2017. Casey is known to hunt mushrooms, throw the yo-yo, and push pawns. For many years he was a senior editor of The Bear Deluxe Magazine, exploring environmental issues through the graphic and literary arts. He currently writes reviews of avant-garde jazz for Audiophile Auditions. His poetry has most recently been featured in Oddball and Mad Swirl. His essay “Marcel Duchamp Gets Mugged by a Street Hustler” appeared in The Decadent Review (March 2021) and was translated into several languages. Casey recommends Chess for Success and SMART Reading.