I got a job as a gym teacher at a school in the suburbs. They called me Coach even though I didn’t do any coaching. Each day, I told the children to run in circles. Each day, the circles got bigger; this helped them develop endurance. At the end of class, I explained to them that endurance was the key to a happy life, or at worst, a long unhappy one. The kids, of course, as they ran in circles, always eyed the red playground balls. Rumors even spread about a parachute in the storage closet. One afternoon, a boy who was a particularly slow runner knocked on my door. When I told him to come in, I could see that he had been crying. “Coach,” he said, “I think my heart is broken. Whenever I run, it hurts.” “How long has this been happening?” I asked. “All year,” he said. “And Coach, it’s getting worse. Now it hurts even when I walk.” It was a serious moment, but I was a good teacher. I told him it would all be fine, and the next day, I gave him a flash drive full of Nirvana mp3s. I even took him to the Salvation Army and helped him pick out a mustard-colored cardigan. Before long, he was getting picked on and spending recess in the art room. Some of the teachers started to worry about him, so during one of our faculty meetings, I had to go up to the front of the room and explain endurance. The response was overwhelming; they made me the new guidance counselor right away. Now, they call my replacement Coach. He’s a horse’s ass; our kids seem to be walking slower than ever.

Previously published in Jellyroll.

Rob MacDonald lives in Boston and is the editor of Sixth Finch. His poems can be found in Octopus, notnostrums, esque, H_NGM_N and other journals. Rob’s “Tron” and “History of the Earth (Clockwise from Top Right)” are also in Reprint.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “I’d like to see someone re-animate The Dot and the Line.”