The Book Of Mike

Mike Milkowski was misled. He was in college for no other reason than to play football. He played football for no other reason than to knock people down. He was a defensive lineman and nearly every college in the country wanted him to knock people down for them until they saw his grades. Mike was by no means dumb. He just didn’t see the world beyond farming and knocking people down.

It was Luther Wellingham, a soccer player converted to a place-kicker, who convinced Mike to take a course in creative writing. “The course is a snap. You just attend the lectures twice a week by some stodgy old professor, take notes, hand them in at the end of the year. He gives a B for just showing up. He doesn‘t even look at the notes. It‘s creative writing; it‘s whatever pops into your brain while he’s talking.”

Well this all seemed too good to be true, but that has never stopped Mike before. His life to this point had been a string of misadventures and miscalculation of events.

It was the first day of creative writing class. A short thin man with just enough hair not to call him bald stepped behind the lectern in 118 of Galloway Hall. He wore a brown tweed vested suit. Spectacles teetered annoyingly on the edge of his nose. He looked smugly over the tops of the spectacles at the students. It was as if he didn’t want to be there. Indeed anything other than sipping brandy with his intellectual and creative equals was a waste for him.

“My name is Ashton Galloway,” he said. “Welcome to Galloway’s Creative Writing. Some have it and some don’t. None of you do. But nevertheless, the college pays me well and I am committed to stand before you twice a week and explain the creative writing process.”

Mike was the only one taking notes and at a feverish pace.

“What on earth are you writing, lad?” Galloway said.

“Notes,” Mike said.

“But I’ve hardly said anything,” Galloway said.

“That’s right,” Mike said. “So I’m writing what ever comes into my head.”

“What are you writing about?” Galloway said.

“How to keep a quarterback in the pocket on a three man rush,” Mike said.

“As I was saying,” Galloway continued to the class with slight annoyance. “Besides listening to me pontificate and drone and taking notes, you will be required to write a book about your life. I suggest you write a chapter a week. You will write about the past, the present, and future. You’re final grade will hinge on what you write. Brevity will be key. Don‘t bore me with needless details.”

“What are you writing now, lad,” Galloway said to Mike.

“I started the assignment,” Mike said innocently.

“Do you know why they call this Galloway Hall?” Galloway said.

“No,” Mike said. “I notice they call everything hall around here,” Mike said. “It doesn’t make sense to me because it’s mostly rooms.”

“Perhaps there is a class somewhere on campus entitled Basket Weaving 101,” Galloway said.

There was uproarious laughter from the students.

“Well done class,” Galloway said. “He who laughs loudest and most often receives high marks.”

There was more laughter.

“You seem confused, lad,” Galloway said. “Are we going too fast for you.”

“No,” Mike said. “But I got a question.”

“The world awaits,” Galloway said.

“If I get done with my assignment do I have to attend these lectures?” Mike said.

“Under normal circumstances, yes,” Galloway said. “But for you I will make an exception. If you finish your assignment ahead of the others I will count you present for the rest of the year. Although we will miss the comedy relief I’m certain it shouldn’t take me long to find another buffoon.”

There was nervous laughter knowing that Galloway would be seeking others to humiliate.

“I’m Milkowski,” Mike said. “Buffoon is on offense.”

Galloway laughed and the class laughed with him.

“You are a treasure,” Galloway said.

Mike tore a piece of paper from his notebook and handed it to Galloway.

“What is this?” Galloway said.

“My assignment,” Mike said.

“Your assignment,” Galloway said.

“Yes, my assignment,” Mike said. “I would appreciate it if you’d read it so I don’t have to attend this class anymore. Seems like you ain’t gonna do anything but poke fun at me all year long anyway.”

Galloway grabbed the paper from Mike’s hand and stood behind the lectern. He smiled and cleared his throat. “I was born, I lived. I died. I met some interesting people along the way, some nice, some not so nice, but mostly nice.”

“Thank you, sir,” Galloway said. “You will get an A for this coarse.”

Everyone gasp.

“Can I go now?” Mike said.

“Sure,” Galloway said. “I’m a man of my word, but I wish you would stay. I think the class could learn much from you.”

“Nah,” Mike said. “I think everybody would end up making fun of me. I like ‘em the way they are. So I’m going to hold you to your word, but if I see that Buffoon guy, on offense, I’ll tell him the course has an opening and send him over.”

(January 11: This is your life; If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.)

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18 comments

  1. The contradiction in the words is quite interesting…you all make fun of me…I met mostly nice people, perception difference even within our own thoughts…brilliant 🙂

      • If we assume he was of less intellect, what he wrote was simple but so profound at many levels…simplicity and understanding the world around him so perfectly shows highest level of intelligence.

        I hope you don’t mind my over the top analysis..,

      • Oh, no. Not at all. I find it amazing the simpler one writes the deeper and more lasting the impact. The writer must trust the reader. If I write. “The man walked” I hope I’ve already indicated enough about the man that the reader will know how he might walk; an old man’s gait or a young man’s swagger.

  2. Galapagos Man! I can’t put it down, your best work! What great charactors.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire

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  3. I love this Kenton — big foot ball fan that I am. Have you read “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach? I think you’d like it if this piece is any indication.

Blather away, if you like.

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