Captain Ian lurched across the bar and wagged a finger in my face. “I’ve fought for apartheid,” he said, as if I’ve accused him of having not. “I’ve fought for the Germans. I’ve killed.” No one at the bar was going to dispute these facts. Just minutes before, we’d watched our drunk captain confronting another patron with truculent glee. He threatened to smash a bottle, then a chair, then his own addled head across his antagonist’s. Tempers were calmed with a great outpouring of kind words and booze. Now, itching for more action, the captain had me cornered.

 

“I learned how to take a German rifle and smash it right in the middle of your head and crush your skull to pieces,” he said. His eyes lit up, as if kindled by the sweet memory of some past… More…

I could not get used to the windows in Classroom 3. They ran from floor to ceiling, lining the entire portside wall. The Pacific Ocean rolled by. Later, in other seas, there would suddenly be land when we weren’t expecting to see land, or The Voice would come over the speakers and announce the sighting of sea turtles, and we’d all have to stop what we were doing and run over to see for ourselves. After a week, the students had gotten better about not staring out at the wavering horizon; I still found those windows distracting.

“Help me close the shades,” I said, and began to lower the one closest to the podium. Collective groan. “Sorry,” I said. “We’re looking at slides today.”

I powered up the overhead projector. The ship rocked. I clutched at the podium. The first time my balance faltered, the students laughed; now it was… More…