The Erotic Adventure of Millard Filmore, English Teacher.
Senior Teacher Judd Watkins had a decision to make. Which of the staff at Bang-On Cooperative International English was he to send to the All-Girls School on the outskirts of Wuxi, China, the city in which BOCIE was located.?
He should send Jim Carter, but that man would tender his resignation having been to the All-Girls School several times this semester already. Carter said the girls at the school were incorrigible. Carter had said on his resume that he had experience as a Marine Drill Sergeant - patently untrue as Watkins realized but he needed a body that could emit English sounds - even if the body was slight and frail as Carter's was.
Watkins couldn't send John Diefenbaker, the sixty year-old retired teacher from the Saskatchewan school system, because he wanted to go to an All-Girls School. It just wouldn't do to send him. Every group of foreign teachers has to have at least one letch in it, Watkins observed, it seemed a law of nature.
Watkins, five year veteran of the school could send Harold McMillan, but he had issues about tardiness which were an effect from issues of drunkenness and promising to marry any local bar girl who would talk to him. McMillan was also one of those teachers who called in sick when the going got tough. He just wouldn't do!
Watkins could have sent himself but he had promised himself and his wife, a local girl with whom they had a son, that he would get others to do the less desirable public school classes
So Senior teacher Watkins decided he would have to send the new guy Millard Filmore. Filmore was a divorced Scotsman, or so he said. Why he was divorced was immediately apparent to anyone who talked to him for thirty seconds. How he got married in the first place was another question altogether. Perhaps, Watkins over-idealized the common sense of woman. Irregardless, Watkins liked the fact that Filmore was a body that was easily slotted into the weekly schedule. Whatever issues that Watkins had with other staff did not apply to Filmore just yet. Filmore hadn't been around long enough for Watkins to have been flooded with complaints. Filmore came in two hours earlier than necessary to prepare for his classes - so unconfident he was.
Filmore, having been told about the teaching assignment, was immediately filled with trepidation. Watkins used all arguments he could think of, to use on a newbie, to make Filmore not worry so. But, Filmore was not enthusiastic.
"I have to teach four classes of fifty students! Tomorrow?!?" he exclaimed.
Replied Watkins: "Here is the material they have been taught. Review it with them. If they ignore you or mock you, just carry on as best you can!"
"What is the students' level of English?"
"They are good at imitating sounds and making gestures."
"Won't there be a native teacher to help me?"
"Don't be a wuss!"
"You sound like my ex-wife!"
A driver picked up Filmore and his Chinese handler at six the next morning. Filmore was excited at the prospect of seeing the Chinese countryside. Senior Teacher Watkins had told him the virtues and exoticness of it (as a means of trying to sell him on what really was a shit detail.) On the other hand, Melissa, his Chinese handler, seemed rather blasé about the trip
Filmore, having only been in China about three weeks, had not yet become accustomed to the driving proclivities of the locals. Watkins, not telling Filmore, thought of them as corrupt, wannabe F-1 drivers.
The car, taking Filmore and Melissa was a late model sedan scratched on all its' corners. Its' ashtrays were filled with cigarettes. Its' radio blared English pop music that oozed of snappiness. Filmore saw a "Michael Learns to Rock" CD in a slot below the ashtray. Melissa told Filmore that the driver was playing the English pop CD for him. "Do you think it is cool?" continued Melissa. Trying not to hesitate and in anyway sound ungrateful (Watkins lectured him on this), Filmore exclaimed "Yes.".
Filmore then asked how long the drive to the school would be.
"50 hours" said Melissa.
Filmore, uncertain what Melissa said asked "Do you mean 50 or 15?"
"Oh sorry! 50 minutes."
"50 or 15?"
"Five-oh or one-five?"
"Did you say five-oh, I mean, five-zero minutes or one-five minutes?"
Just then, the car started off and Melissa became pale.
Filmore, finally noticing this, asked Melissa: "What is the matter?".
"Driving in a car makes me sick!"
"I rarely ride in car!"
"You mean you get carsick?"
Filmore saw that he had no one to talk to. He remembered Watkins answering his query the day before with something to the effect that he, Filmore, would get there when he got there. Filmore now knew why Watkins had been so vague on this point.
The driver's driving was from another world. Filmore lost count about how many times the driver cut-off other drivers, ran red-lights, went the wrong way down one-ways, and rode on the side walk. Obviously, the driver wasn't going to let rules slow him down. What surprised Filmore most was that none of the other drivers and cyclists and pedestrians on the road were not put off by his maneuvering.
The cyclists were just as bad. The first time a cyclist turned into traffic without looking, Filmore screamed. The driver just laughed and seemed to take it as an challenge to drive even faster.
On an elevated highway, the driver passed a semi on its right-hand side (that is its' blind spot) by riding on the shoulder.
Passing a semi on a divided road, Filmore swore that the driver just missed an oncoming truck by inches as he returned to the proper lane.
Filmore then remembered the advice that Watkins had offered saying not to look at traffic but the scenery.
The scenery first thrilled Filmore. All the cyclists and the patch-work houses of the countryside seemed quaint. But, then it became monotonous as Filmore realized what a populous country he was now in. It didn't help that he heard the "Take Me to Your Heart" song for the third time running.
The road then became bumpier - the cyclists and pedestrians more reckless about their safety. Filmore caught one cyclist turning his bike leftwards while looking rightwards. Filmore shrieked as he saw the front of car unable to avoid the cyclist.
The driver drove on about fifty meters before finally coming to a stop. He got out of the car and looked at its right front, inspecting it for damage. The driver then looked back at the cyclist who, Filmore saw, was struggling to get back to his feet. The driver shrugged his shoulders and returned to the driver's seat.
The driver then said something to Melissa who translated for Filmore: "He said he was sorry that you screamed. He hopes you are okay."
Filmore, aghast yet again, could only say "No problem." There was no point in telling Melissa his concerns about the cyclist.
Finally, they arrived at the school.
Wuxi Lian Zhou Experimental School for Unsocietable Girls was a typical Chinese Public School, though Filmore didn't know it. Its series of two-storey brick buildings were strewn about the grounds among sidewalks and bushes in a maze like pattern. The main courtyard has a statue of a stone mold which Filmore thought of as quaint as it reminded him (or rather he forced a connection in his mind) of photos of Japanese Zen Rock Gardens he had seen. Walking to the classroom he was to teach, Melissa and he crossed a square in the center of which was a monument pedestal, consisting of bent and curved aluminium sheets intertwined around steel balls, that looked like large snooker balls. Filmore thought it was quaint - post modern de-constructionist sculpture or something.
Most of the students were already in their classrooms, having finished their morning exercises. When some of them caught sight of the lanky and wrinkled Filmore, they tittered. A few then screamed "hello!" at Filmore, who newbie that he was, said "hello!" back. He then felt something hit his back or at least he thought he did. He looked behind and saw nothing so he supposed it had come from the second floor. He then looked on the ground and saw what he swore was a bra.
Melissa took Filmore to the Head Master's Office. Filmore was given a plastic clear cup with green tea to sip. He didn't know what to do with the tea because leaves were still floating on the top. He waited a few minutes in hopes of them sinking to the bottom but they didn't. Thirsty, craving a coffee, but having no choice but to drink the tea, he sipped the tea. Leaves got into his mouth and he made a fool of himself by trying to spit them out. The Head Master then came into the office. She was a iron lady, thought Filmore, as visions of his ex-wife, Margaret Thatcher (without the PM's charm) and Hilary Clinton floated in his head. The Head Master's iron grip handshake made Filmore realize he was living in a dictatorship. He felt absolute contempt coming from her eyes.
Shaken to the core, Filmore was then taken to the classroom where was he greeted by fifty girls who seemed to scream in delight at his entrance. Though he was put off by the Head Master, the screaming girls quickly made him feel like the Beatles (Watkins had told him to expect Filmore-a-mania as a means of suckering him into going to the school.) And so for the first five minutes of the class, the class seemed rapt in wonderment at Filmore, listening to every word and nuance as he introduced himself.
But then he attempted to ask one of the girls a question.
"What's your name?", he asked a pimply faced girl in the front seat, right hand row of the classroom.
"I'm fine! How are you?" asked the girl.
"No, no....." started Filmore as he made a futile attempt to correct the girl before moving on to the next student.
"How are you?" asked Filmore.
"The weather today is cloudy!" replied the girl behind the pimply faced girl.
Filmore then moved on to the next girl
"Hello!" said Filmore to the third girl seated in the right hand row.
He was greeted by absolute silence.
"HELLO!", he repeated.
"You must be shy!", he continued
Filmore left it at that.
The Fourth girl in the right hand row of the classroom was beautiful. She had perfect facial features, erotic but demure eyes, robust chest, and a smile that was a combination of innocence and keenness to learn. She answered Filmore's questions perfectly, though somehow Filmore sensed that her English was the result of rote-learning and could never approach idiomatic knowledge. Filmore then could have sworn that the girl winked at him but with fifty students to talk to he didn't have the time to think of the implications. The girl's name was Jessabelle. Following Jessabelle's example, the other girls in the class answered Filmore's questions correctly. Filmore quickly realized that the girls would follow Jessabelle's example on every question. Jessabelle quickly became the go-to girl for the rest of the class.
Filmore couldn't figure out why all the other girl's were also named Jessabelle.
Jessabelle proved to be the only good thing to happen in any of the four classes Filmore taught. The classes all followed the same pattern as Filmore had the girls' attention for about five minutes before the girls all started to talk amongst themselves. Filmore gave up talking to them as a group and sought the students who could understand what he was saying.
By the time he was finished, Filmore was emotionally exhausted. His was hoarse from his initial efforts to get an entire class to pay attention. He had experienced a lot, but the experiences were so awkward he couldn't see how he make any worthwhile late night bar anecdotes of them. So many moments of misunderstanding without once accidentally having a logic of nonsense.
Filmore looked forward to sleeping on the car ride home. It was the thought that sustained him through the final class.
But his handler walked up to him with a look of grave concern on her face.
"What is the matter, Melissa?" he asked.
"There is problem. The driver's car is broken. We can't go home but tomorrow."
"Tomorrow! Where will we stay?"
"I live with other teacher. You can live in the school."
"Where in the school?"
"The student building has a bed."
"Okay!" gulped, Filmore.
The room in which Filmore was to spend the night was meant for the dormitory supervisor. In practice, the room was abandoned though the bed frame and some chairs were there which were of course covered with dust. The room did have a private bathroom but lacked a Western toilet.
Filmore having to go, had no choice but squat for only the second time since he had arrived in China. A quick learner on this point, Filmore took off his pants, underwear, shoes and socks to avoid the embarrassment of the first squat.
It was just then that someone entered the room. Filmore was caught literally with his pants off. The girl who entered was Jessabelle, the Jessabelle whose name really was Jessabelle. Giggling, Jessabelle asked Filmore if he would like to come to her dorm room and have supper with her roommates who had stolen food from the Refectory.
"We can practice our English too!" added Jessabelle.
"Sure" replied Filmore, "Just let me put my pants back on!".
"It's okay!" Jessabelle exclaimed, as he grabbed him by the hand and pulled him to her dorm room which was only two doors down the hall.
It turned out Jessabelle was lying about wanting English practice. There was no food, and no roommates. Jessabelle only had some cigarettes for them to share. Jessabelle had her way with Filmore for a few hours. Then, Filmore had his, forgetting all about his pants.
Friends or Followers of Jessabelle then slowly filtered into the room. The first to enter, didn't knock, interrupting Filmore but not bothering Jessabelle in the least. Jessabelle spoke to the girl who started taking off her clothes.. Jessabelle speaking in Chinese to the girl, said something, to make her giggle.
Filmore, all agape, said "What?'.
Jessabelle said "I told Ming Li that you very good teacher!"
Filmore, unsure, asked "English?"
Jessabelle giggling replied "No! Not that!"
Slowly, more girls dropped in on Filmore's impromptu class. Filmore, thinking of Watkins, thought: "I can say I have achieved maximum participation!"
The class seemed to last all night with students coming in and leaving Jessabelle's dorm room. Filmore eventually fell asleep thoroughly exhausted.
He awoke with Jessabelle sleeping beside him. He at first smiled but then thought of the propriety of it. He immediately ran out. He quickly realized he had forgotten where his assigned room was. Choosing the wrong way, he passed a whole lot of girls aghast at the sight of a lanky man running down the dormitory corridor with no pants on. Realizing that his room was at the other end of the long dormitory hallway and having seen that the hall was full of girls, Filmore thought maybe he could get to his room by running outside and around the building.
It seemed to be a good choice for the school grounds were empty. He ran around the building and was not seen by anymore girls. He then turned the corner to get to the entrance where his room and his pants were nearby. But who should he see when he turned the corner?
It was an older woman, a Chinese version of Joan Collins. But as she glared at Filmore, he realized that he had run into the Head Master. Filmore was too paralyzed by fear to run into his room.
The Head Master made Filmore follow her to the office. She didn't understand Filmore begging to get his pants. At the office, Filmore was knocked out of his daze by the slamming of two doors. The first was at the entrance to the Head Master's office. The second was at the entrance to the Head Master's inner sanctum.
In the inner sanctum, language was not necessary. The Head Master had her way with Filmore for what seemed an eternity.
Unconscious, Filmore was thrown into the repaired car which drove him back to BOCIE. The driver rudely woke Filmore up, pointing at something but Filmore did not know what. Filmore then wondered where Melissa was. Filmore then wondered where his pants were.
Arriving at the school pantless, Filmore was forced to submit his resignation. While it would be a pain-in-the-ass to find employment, Filmore decided the night he experienced made all the inconvenience worth it.