I get presents

So Hosea walks into class this morning at the beginning of the day and hands me something wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag. “Merry Christmas!”, he says, “but don’t open this until I’m gone.” I agree and put the bag on my desk, where I proceed to forget about it until fifth hour, when he’s actually in my class. He asks if I have opened his present; I conceal my lapse of memory by saying that I thought he meant to wait until he’d gone home for the day, not just left advisory. This placates him, however, and we get through class.

During my prep I look at the bag. There is a note attached. The note is legitimately rather sweet and has already been added to my Notes from Students file where it will remain forever until my wife and son throw it away after I die:

I open the bag and find two things inside. The first is this bag of chips:

Okay, cool, I think. I have a thing I need to do after school that is going to keep me from getting home on time and maybe a quick snack will tide me over until then. Then my teacher Spider-Sense kicks in and I examine the bag a bit more closely:

Hm. Maybe not, then. But what’s this other thing?

It was wrapped a bit more prettily than that, as I’ve unwrapped it a couple of times since then, but you get the idea. It’s a couple inches square. Now, Hosea has brought me baked goods from home before, which is always kind of unfortunate, as he really is a nice kid when he wants to be, but I have a thing about eating random baked goods from kitchens I’ve never seen, particularly when students hand them to me and double-particularly during Covid. But, shit, I’m genuinely kind of hungry, and this looks like it could be a brownie. I could go for a brownie right now. Maybe I’ll make an exception.

I unwrap the item and immediately die laughing, because this is what is inside. I actually have to take it to another teacher who I know also received a gift from Hosea to make sure that I am looking at what I think I’m looking at:

It may be that at this resolution and sans any context or touch you still can’t tell what this is. I thought for a moment it might be a block of cheese; it is not. No, that is half a bar of soap, and I think it might be homemade soap, but I’m not a hundred percent sure, as there’s traces of a logo molded into it, which it only now occurs to me could mean that not only is it half a bar of soap but it might be half a bar of soap that has been used and then dried off before being wrapped in aluminum foil.

Again, the note was sweet. And it’s the thought that counts. But apparently the thought in this case is that I am smelly and have the iron stomach of a raccoon or perhaps some sort of opossum, and … well, this is what having Hosea in class is like.

Merry Christmas!

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.