The rumor was that Mr. Johnson's wife had cancer. A junior told it to me on the bus after I handed him my schedule. He said that Mr. Johnson dressed up on the first day as a mad scientist in a white lab coat, thick yellow gloves, and neon blue ski goggles. And if you're lucky, you can sit next to his bees.
The beehive was there alright, but the man in the wrinkled plaid shirt shuffling his feet to the front of the class looked nothing like Einstein. My gaze drifted to the bees landing on the plastic tube on the other side of the window. I followed their wiggling, pollen laced bodies inside.
"So is lemon juice acidic or basic?" Mr. Johnson asked me.
"Acidic, that's why it's sour," he said.
"Try to pay attention," he said and I heard Susie Norman giggle.
After school Tower and I played hacky sack until the lights went off in the hall. I noticed a glow coming from Mr. Johnson's door window, so I passed by quickly. His desk light was on but otherwise there was no sign of him. I showed Tower the queen bee.
"Why doesn't she move?" Tower asked.
"Lazy," I said and tapped the glass. Suddenly the bees panicked. We started laughing.
"Stupid bees," Tower said, hitting the glass with his whole palm. I smacked it even harder and it exploded onto the floor, honey drooling out from shards of broken glass. We didn't stop running until we passed the baseball field. My only regret is that I didn't get to see Mr. Johnson's face in the morning.