A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
Mr. Throckmorton rose from behind his desk and came forward. He introduced himself as Elias Throckmorton, and we shook hands.
It was all I could do to keep from laughing. If ever a person was the epitome of how I pictured an old-timey banker would look, Throckmorton fit the bill.
He was about 5’5” tall, weighed about 135 pounds dripping wet, and was dressed in a black linen suit with a white high-collared shirt, decorated with a red bow tie.
He was bald on top, with a 3-inch band of hair starting over his left ear and traversing the back of his head to his right ear. Sweat glistened on top of his bald head, which he mopped with a white handkerchief as he moved back to the chair behind his desk.
He asked what he could do for me, and I countered with a request to deposit $30 in his bank. He smiled with great delight, revealing yellow teeth with enough gaps to remind one of a crocodile.
I smiled and said I also had another matter to discuss. I had just taken a room in the local area and learned that the local school teacher’s job was open. I then asked, since I had held a similar position during my professional career, if I might be considered for the job.
Mr. Throckmorton then leaned back in his chair and entwined his fingers across his stomach. He contemplated me for a few seconds.
Then he asked, “What background do you have in teaching?”
“I have 5 years in school teaching,” I said – but it was a lie.
“Where?” he asked.
“Little Rock, Arkansas.”
With a smirk he asked, “How many students were in your school?”
“Ten to fifteen, depending on what time of the year,” I responded.
“You know, some of the children in our school aren’t really children. There are two boys in their late teens that get sent, each year, to school, after planting.
“Their father wants ‘em to learn their letters and some ‘rithmatic. He wants them to take over his farm and small mercantile store when he passes away.
“His boys have been real stubborn and refused to learn what they need to know to carry on the business. In fact, they have run off the last two school teachers.
“Are you still interested in the job?” he asked.
“I’ll have a go at it. What does it pay?”
“That’s up to the teacher, but the last one charged two dollars per pupil for 6 months of school.” he replied.
“Is there a list of the parents with children who attended the last school term?” I questioned.
“Yes, I can supply you a list. Do you want the job?” he inquired with a note of nervousness in his voice.
“Yes, I will take the job.” I affirmed.
We shook hands, and he breathed a sigh of relief. He grinned at me like the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland. I immediately knew something was amiss.