Noble X — Episode 12: Evidence Mounts
IT IS MORNING AND JOHN IS STILL AWAKE. He’s made several lists, reminding him of what he needs to bring home from school tonight when he’s finished at work for the Noble Experiment in just two days. John whistles a melody that’s been running through his head all night, laying out his most flashy outfit. A grey-blue three-piece suit Sylvia had given him not terribly long ago, before they broke up. He imagines it as a way to feel near her and honor her in some way, still feeling deeply sad about breaking her heart.
He had broken a very sweet woman's heart and as a result, broke his own. A raging conflict of right and wrong, then and now. He knew he had to be honest with her and himself, but knew he would lose something cherished as a result. A love when done, is still a love. It is a pure family love, a residual love, and it hurts to know that he can no longer have it. It would be wrong. He had resisted for months out of cowardice, wrapped in love that was done. He had finally let it tear out of him and something had snapped.
But the sadness doesn’t bring tears just now. His mood is rather euphoric. Grandiose ideas of tributes to different people in his life from past, present, and future, crowd his thoughts like overlapping conversations, his brain firing wildly as he bathes and dresses.
Slacks, shirt, vest, and tie in place, John slides on his suit jacket, flattens his lapels, picks off some lint, and adjusts his knot. He smiles, admiring his formal attire. He feels excited to get back to work again today, to resume tackling his mile long list of ideas. He heads out the door to start his work day earlier than usual, skipping breakfast, dashing out the door.
JOHN ARRIVES AT SCHOOL AND IS GREETED WITH LOOKS OF SURPRISE rather than concern from Principal Hall and Ms. Carlin. A tremendous wave of deja-vu washes over him as he pushes forward to retrieve his testing materials. He reiterates his apologies from yesterday out loud with his thoughts in stark contradiction. John fully intends to press onward today with his student Captains and their plans following the testing sessions. Principal Hall slowly hands over the box of testing materials. As she does, she looks him up and down more closely than usual, noticing his outfit.
“What’s with the suit, Mr. Noble?”
John doesn't feel it needs explanation but adds “For testing” anyway, with a smile.
She repeats her warning to John from yesterday, this time only with her eyes.
Something about the way she noticed his clothing seems significant to John and an overwhelming urge to record this interaction immediately rises inside him. “I need a notebook,” chases its tail in his head. He knows just the notebook to use as he scales the three flights of stairs to his classroom. At the second floor landing, he detours to the staff lounge where supplies are kept.
There are a tons of leftover composition notebooks. John grabs a small stack of them, stuffing them in his bag, along with several packs of post-its, looking around to make sure he is alone. He pauses to cross off these items on his list as the boxes of crayons catch his eye. The label reads “Cray Z Art” and he laughs quietly to himself, grabbing a few boxes to add to his haul of party supplies before continuing up to his classroom.
A love when done, is still a love.
As he walks in, he looks around his room with great admiration, relishing the quiet. John sits, pulls out a fresh composition notebook, opening to the first page. Across the top, he writes in all caps, “INTERACTIONS OF NOTE,” underlining it with a quick slash, approximating a time stamp with a wavy equals-sign for this morning’s exchange with Principal Hall. Satisfied with his brief synopsis, he closes the notebook while his manic mind pushes those thoughts aside, preparing for the day ahead. Many more interactions of note to be recorded in the remaining days of the study. But not right now.
Meticulously, John adjusts the setup for today’s rounds of testing. He feels good listening to the clop clip clop clip of the hard-soled dress shoes he rarely wears to work. The vest hugs his torso ever so slightly as he bends to and fro. He becomes so immersed in his thoughts, he barely notices Ms. West arriving.
Sally West is immediately irritated. She did not sleep well. Her interaction with John yesterday had nagged at her all night. Already frustrated with job stress of her own, this business with testing fidelity and John’s erratic behavior has maxed her out. She sits down at her desk, exhausted before the day has even started, watching John happily flutter around his side of the big double room, the sounds of his soles echoing in the quiet. It only takes her a moment before she realizes what he is wearing. “Jesus, what the fuck?” she thinks to herself, deciding that she is going to ignore him today with an audible sigh. She has enough of her own shit to worry about. The bell rings moments later.
Stay tuned for Episode 13.
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