ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious
Last fall, the editor of ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious reached out to me on Twitter for an interview because she had read the home page of my author’s website, and she was curious about the role that teaching Latin had played in my writing.
As it turned out, not much. I wrote one short story about my experience teaching high school Latin and English at York Academy in Shacklefords, Virginia: “King and Queen’s New Day.” The story is told from the point of view of the fictional headmaster, Leroy Littlefield, as he fights a losing battle to keep the place open after it loses its tax-exempt status for racial discrimination. My ENVIE! interview includes the scene in which Latin appears: Envie November_17_2020.0.52
Because I have a relevant photograph, I’m sharing the following scene as a bonus. Leroy Littlefield has just arrived late for a meeting of the board of trustees, of which “Jack” is president. Littlefield knows that the meeting will not go well.
Jack looked up as Littlefield entered the dining room, where the board members were huddled over a spread of papers and open ledger books. Littlefield hesitated as he saw that there was no empty chair for him at the table.
“Glad you could make it, Leroy,” Jack said. “Let me get you a chair.”
Littlefield nodded. “Sorry I’m late.” He stopped speaking, waiting for his chair, but the five board members were looking up at him expectantly, waiting for an excuse. “Paperwork,” he said. The chair Jack brought him looked like an antique, its legs as spindly as an old woman’s. Littlefield eased his weight onto it, part of him praying it wouldn’t break, another part of him hoping it would.
Jack had returned to his seat. “We was just going over the budget figures before you got here, Leroy. How you doing at keeping expenses down?”
“Best I can,” Littlefield said. He took a forty-nine-cent memo pad from the inside pocket of his sport coat and flipped it open. He briefly fished for a pen and, not finding one, gave up.
“You watching the Xerox machine?” Jack said. “The teachers are Xeroxing too much again. What the hell they Xeroxing anyway? They have textbooks.”
“The textbooks are a little old.”
“I don’t see what difference that makes,” Jack said. “Tell them teachers not to Xerox so damn much. It’s costing us a fortune.”
“Doin’ the best I can, Jack,” Littlefield said.
I have lost count of the number of rejections “King and Queen’s New Day” has garnered. I can’t give that story away!