Holden Caufield is a sorry litle b***h.

Holden Caufield is a sorry litle b***h.

A Chapter by Katherine Van Hook

You hear all these stories about how people react when they find out they’re going to die. Their responses tend to be extreme. They either get really depressed, or resolve to live life to the fullest for the time they have left. Sometimes they don’t tell anyone, because the day-to-day normalcy is more precious than months of tearful pity. Some of this is actually based in reality. Trust me.

I’ve done the research. I know how I was supposed to react. I should have spent my life savings on a pair of boots, locked myself in my room crying, applied for one of those Make-a-Wish things, or committed a few felonies. That’s what people are supposed to do when they’re handed a death sentence. But it wasn’t like that for me. I did something utterly unimpressive: I got detention.

            To her credit, my teacher had been kindly ignoring my nasty facial expressions all week. I despise reading novels in English class, because it ruins the story. We could have actual discussions in class, but inevitably, half the class doesn’t do the reading. Then Ms. Stein has to spend the class time walking us through every plot point so we won’t fail the test and make the school look bad. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if only people that cared came to class. Imagine the discussions we could have if she wasn’t so busy explaining the setting of Huck Finn to 11 idiots who will never read it.

            This week it’s worse, because the book sucks too. People say “The Catcher in the Rye” was revolutionary, but I don’t see how. Since when is over a hundred pages of complaining revolutionary literature? My sister spends at least three hours a day complaining and no one calls it art. I’d spent the week sitting like I used to when I had glasses: Face pointed down, eyes glaring over the space where my glasses used to be. The effect is somewhat lost since I got contacts last year, but it’s still my pissed-off face of choice.

            Today, Ms. Stein sighs and places her worn copy in her lap. For a moment her mask comes off and I see her. I watch it in my head like a movie. She compares the sodium content in cans of Progresso soup, promises to go to spinning class tomorrow, and dreads the next faculty meeting. I see her at a bar with her friends, eyelashes thick with mascara, throwing back tequila shots, talking about what a sorry little b***h Holden Caulfield is. Her head lifts and the shiny teacher mask is back, but my glare softens. I understand.

            I must look different, because Ms. Stein turns to me, asks, “Lilly what do you think of the protagonist, Holden Caulfield?” and the words glide out of my mouth.

            “I think he’s a sorry little b***h.”

© 2011 Katherine Van Hook

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Excellent...its difficult to be "funny" in writing...I laughed, great job!

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Amazing. I enjoyed every bit of this piece. Keep up the amazing work.

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on April 19, 2011
Last Updated on April 21, 2011
Tags: death, teen, death sentence, high school, The Catcher in the Rye, detention


Katherine Van Hook
Katherine Van Hook


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