Boy writing at desk

Todd Bowman’s Composition

by Wildwing

In many ways Todd Bowman was a very average sort of thirteen-year-old. Check that. I suppose if I was truthful that statement was a kind way of saying he was downright ugly. His ears stuck out a bit too far and his sharply pointed nose was oversized. A receding chin suggested a severe underbite problem while his thin brown hair appeared to be plastered to his head. His face was gaunt with hollow cheeks. He was as thin as a rail too, his arms and legs protruding from his clothing like toothpicks stuck in a party olive. Speaking of clothing I didn’t believe his family was poor yet the pants and shirts he wore hung on him and appeared to be one small step above Sally Ann material.

Todd was definitely not an athlete either. It didn’t matter whether the sport was gymnastics, baseball, or dodgeball. He always ended up on his keyster.

You would think that the Gods would have provided him with a decent brain to make up for his other shortcomings, but that wasn’t the case either. Poor Todd was at or close to the bottom of the pile in every subject. I was seriously contemplating having him repeat his grade seven year.

Why would I write a story about a kid like Todd you ask? Well, despite my evaluation of him, Todd also happened to be the most popular kid in my class and I was his biggest supporter!

Todd was always upbeat and affable. He had a fabulous smile that wouldn’t quit. No matter how many knocks he received in life he would simply bounce back up with that crazy-ass grin of his and declare, ‘Oh well, I’ll get it right next time’. And try he would! Everyone knew that whatever Todd did or handed in represented the proverbial one hundred and ten per cent of his ability. He’d smile while he did it, too.

But in my opinion his very best attribute was his attitude towards other people. He cared! It didn’t matter if he knew the person well or not. Whether it was a failed attempt in P.E., a poor mark on a test, or just someone down in the dumps over whatever, Todd always found a way to sympathize with them. It wasn’t uncommon to see a classmate physically crying on his shoulder with Todd holding him or her close, while draping his arm over their shoulder. It seemed at times Todd was more concerned about others than himself.

When you teach for twenty years as I did, you handle hundreds of kids. The vast majority you tend to forget as you move on to a fresh set of challenges that each new school year brings. A precious few you remember like bright stars in the night sky. Most of those remembered were because of outstanding achievement either athletically or in the classroom. Todd could not qualify using the normal criteria yet he was at the top of the heap in my memory bank.

I remember a very worried Mrs. Bowman visiting me for a parent teacher interview. She wrung her hands as she sat beside my desk. “I don’t know what to do!” she declared. “I know he tries hard, but it doesn’t seem to help. One year we hired a tutor, a tutor we really couldn’t afford. Todd’s marks hardly got any better. I am mostly concerned about his future. I mean, how will he ever find a decent job?’

I smiled at her and said my piece. “You have nothing to worry about. Your son is outstanding. He loves people and they love him right back. He may never be an astronaut or a doctor but trust me, he will find his niche in life. He’ll find a trade he enjoys and excel in it. He’ll find a good job and prosper. A good salary will follow and you will be proud of him.”

Mrs. Bowman sat there quietly, her forehead furrowed, no doubt deep in thought contemplating my words. She slowly shook her head from side to side and stated, “Well… I don’t know.”

“Mrs. Bowman,” I continued, “I just wish it was possible to see you and Todd twenty years into the future. I know you’ll feel much better about him by then.” I knew she wasn’t convinced. I made one last effort to allay her concerns. “Look,” I added, “in the meantime, I see your main role is to keep him happy… keep him motivated. As long as you know the effort is there, praise him. Never berate him or demean him for receiving low marks.”

Unfortunately another parent stood waiting at the door for their interview. I thanked Mrs. Bowman for coming and added, “If you wish to see me again before the end of the year, send a note with Todd.” She rose, thanked me profusely, and trudged wearily out of the room.

The rest of that year was comparatively uneventful save for one happenstance. The time came for me to assign their final grades. I already had enough test results to give me a good idea where I was headed with each pupil. However, I was a little shy in the area of composition. I felt it was only right that I give them one more chance to show me what they could accomplish. I announced my intention one morning as I handed each pupil two sheets of foolscap. I felt a little pressure was not unwarranted, so I announced that their stories would go a long way in deciding their final composition grade.

The pupils were soon hard at work. I noticed Todd with his head bent slightly sideways. His forehead creased just like his mother’s had, and his tongue was stuck out between his teeth. I chuckled silently to myself. He actually looked quite cute and I knew he was giving his story everything he had.

About an hour and a half later Todd approached my desk grinning once again. Placing his work on the growing pile on my desk he declared, “I think I done good Mr. Smith. I hope you like it!”

I returned his smile and remarked, “I hope so too, Todd.”

The period ended and I dismissed the class to P.E., one of the few subjects I didn’t teach them. I had a spare and used the time to grade the compositions.

Todd’s story was the fourth one I marked. The very first sentence was full of spelling and grammatical errors. It was also far too long, his ideas joined by a multitude of ‘ands’. I lifted my red marker and began circling and underlining each problem. I also added a one- or two-word comment wherever I felt it was appropriate. And so it went. As I continued, I could feel myself mentally sagging. The story was now a sea of red. I shook my head when I finished. It was all I could do to keep from tearing up. I decided to reread it hoping that I had missed something. All I found was another error or three that I didn’t bother marking. When I finished I sat there for a long time. What mark should I assign? I was a professional. It would not be right to assign a grade much better than he deserved. It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the class, not to mention my own standards. I finally let out a long sigh and very reluctantly wrote a large letter D at the top of the page, a failing grade. I added the comment ‘Great effort, Todd, but you must improve your spelling and your grammar to get a better grade.’ I pushed the rest of the papers aside. I’d had it. I couldn’t mark another story for now. I reached for a tissue and wiped the tears from my eyes.

My mood was no better the next day. I had decided to let Todd down in private, lessening the humiliation he would no doubt feel if I did it in front of his classmates.

“Todd, I’d like you to see me after class is finished today.”

His eyes lit up and he grinned. “Great!” he uttered. Todd was like the old dog that vigorously wagged his tail as the vet led him to the back room to be euthanized.

Promptly after the final bell, Todd placed a chair beside my desk and sat down. God, I felt awful! Steeling myself as best as I could, I declared, “I’ve decided to let you see your composition paper before the rest of the class.”

“Super,” he uttered. “How did I do?”

I opened my mouth to respond but nothing came out. Instead I gritted my teeth and silently gave him his story. I waited. Watching him was like watching the Hindenburg catch fire and fall to the ground in flames. His shoulders sagged and then his eyes got very red. He began to cry with long drawn out sobs. It was the first time I had seen him so affected. I wanted to hug him so badly, but school decorum as outlined in our policy manual strictly forbade it. Barely holding myself together, I waited him out.

Finally in a voice that was barely audible he said, “I’m going to fail aren’t I?”

He’d set me back on my heels, for I didn’t know how to respond. Finally I put my mouth in gear before properly considering the correct response. It was very unprofessional of me. “I haven’t made my final decision, Todd, but I do believe that you will pass. Any boy who works as hard as you do deserves no less.”

As soon as I said it I knew I had blundered. How could I pass him in composition? There were other subjects to consider too. Spelling was obviously one of them. Now I was committed so I quickly recovered and added, “But remember Todd, the final decision has not been made. You must continue to work hard until the final bell of the final day.”

I had done well to hold myself in check to that point but the situation was too emotional for me. My eyes gave me away. Silent tears began to fall. Todd saw my predicament. He immediately got up, wiped away his own tears with a sleeve, and gave me an awkward hug. While the school manual was emphatic regarding touching pupils, I knew there wasn’t a single word about pupils touching teachers. I did not object.

“It’s okay.” He actually smiled. “I understand. You are just doing your job. You are still the best!”

Amazing! Here I had just knocked him for a loop and now he was trying to console me. Todd was a trooper!

I smiled through my tears and said, “You better be getting on home, Todd. We don’t want your mother worrying about your whereabouts.”

As for myself, I wasn’t ready to go home. I sat there in my misery wondering over and over what could be done. Out of desperation I picked up Todd’s paper one more time and stared at it. Feeling sorry for myself as much as I did for Todd I wondered how such a likeable boy could have been dealt such a hand. It wasn’t fair. I continued to stare and as I did so an idea slowly percolated in my mind. What if Todd had not made a single spelling error? What if the grammar had been perfect? What would we have?

Wading through the red, I began to read. My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. I had made a terrible mistake! The story was brilliant; full of plot twists, great imagery, a little humour, and a surprise ending. I felt both euphoric for Todd and entirely disgusted for myself at the same time. I read it again to confirm my impression. How could I have been so stupid! I had been so blinded by the errors I had totally ignored the merits of his tale. The subject was composition, not spelling or grammar! I grabbed a sheet of foolscap and began writing furiously. When I reached the bottom of the page I stapled it on top of Todd’s composition. I swear my feet never touched the ground as I flew home. I sat in my easy chair sipping a glass of red wine. I don’t drink much wine but this was a reward for discovering my negligence and setting things right. I slept well that night, looking forward to the next day.

I normally sit at my desk as the pupils file in first thing in the morning but this time I stood at the door. I planned to greet each one as they entered. But the main reason I stood there was to make sure Todd wasn’t way down in the dumps before class even began. Not that I knew what I was going to say, mind you. I would just play it by ear. I needn’t have worried! Todd bounced into the room with a Cheshire cat smile.

“Good morning, Mr. Smith. Mom and me had a good talk last night. We decided I would work harder than ever today. You’ll see!” With that he promptly bounded to his desk.

Todd never failed to amaze me. I shook my head in wonderment. What a boy!

I announced after recess I was ready to return their compositions. Todd immediately folded his arms on the desk and buried his head in them. He was clearly dreading the moment. “Class I must say I am very proud of your efforts. For many of you it was your best story of the year. And most importantly everyone passed!” That got Todd’s attention in a hurry! His head shot up and he stared at me quizzically. But then he sank back down and reburied his head. I called out each name, handing them their paper in turn. On receiving his Todd turned his paper over without even glancing at it. Returning to his desk he shoved it into his backpack to take home. I figured he thought I had told a white lie in saying everyone had passed in order not to embarrass him. He buried his head once more.

With all of the stories distributed, I called out from my desk, “Todd, please take your paper out and read it.”

He lifted his head from his folded arms, retrieved his story, saw my stapled comment page, and began reading. The creases on his forehead began to melt. A small smile appeared. Then as he got towards the bottom the smile became a shit-ass grin. He gazed at me with tears of happiness streaming down his cheeks. He mouthed a silent ‘I forgive you’, and then followed that up with ‘Thank you so much’. Without a doubt it was one of the high points of my teaching career.

This is what Todd read: ‘Todd, I owe you a huge apology! Teachers are human too, and humans make mistakes, I made a doozy of an error when I graded your paper. You see, when I mark a paper I look for any spelling or grammatical mistakes first. Then I read the story again to assess its merits. Most of the final grade is based on the merits of the story, not the spelling and grammar. In your case, unfortunately, I found so many errors that I was blinded by them. I based the grade on that alone, ignoring the story. Last evening after you left, I realized the error of my ways and reread your story, ignoring the mistakes. What I found amazed me. The story is brilliant! The characters were well described and the imagery was excellent. The plot was full of twists and turns. I never knew where you were heading next. The ending was a total surprise. Well done!

‘This is an A+ story but unfortunately I must take some marks off for your errors. Your final grade is B+. Congratulations! Once again, please forgive me for messing up!’

I had a policy in my class of permitting the top three stories to be read aloud to the class by their writers. The hope was that the rest of the class would find inspiration and ideas from hearing them. It was a way of rewarding the writers too. Missy Halton was the third-place writer. She usually was one of the chosen three and she read her story with confidence and a little haughtiness. She received some quiet applause as she returned to her seat. Phillip Braithwaite was next. Without a doubt he was the brightest boy in the class. He was also Todd’s best friend. Todd led the clapping when he returned to his desk.

I now addressed the first-place story. “Class, I want you to pay particular attention to the next story. It’s an A+ tale, one of the best I have read all year!” In my best Bob Barker impression, I called out, “Todd Bowman, c’mon down!”

There was a huge collective gasp from every corner of the room. Heads swivelled quickly to watch Todd as he strode to the front. He turned and nodded his head to me. I suppose it was a way of thanking me again. He then turned to the class, holding the paper in such a way that all the red marks could not be seen. He began to read, following all of my grammatical corrections. His voice rose and fell along with the action. The pupils were on the edges of their seats listening. There was another collective gasp when he unveiled the surprise ending. He had read it perfectly!

Todd lifted his head and waited for a reaction. The class was stunned and there was total silence. Finally Phillip Braithwaite slowly rose from his seat and began to clap. It was like letting the cork out of the champagne bottle. Total bedlam! Pupils began hooting and hollering and clapping across the room. Everyone was happy for Todd. Of course Todd stood there and cried tears of joy. Finally, as the class began to settle down Todd grinned through the tears, and said, “Thanks, guys,” and returned to his desk.

A few days later his report card was a forgone conclusion. Todd received a B in composition and in shop. The rest of his marks were evenly divided between C+ and C. He did receive D+, a bare passing grade in spelling and in grammar. I had found some additional marks under a bush (wink, wink) to push him through. It was a practice often applied but never spoken about among teachers, for pupils whom it was felt would be far better off passing rather than repeating a year. Todd was over the moon. By the way, I had added a comment at the bottom of his report card: ‘Todd, it has been my pleasure to teach you. Believe in yourself! You can reach for the stars.’

The final bell rang and the students rushed for the exits. That is, all but one. Todd waited for the room to empty and then approached me. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged hard. “To hell with the regulations,” I thought, and hugged him right back. “I shall miss you, Todd,” I admitted.” I cried again.

“I shall miss you, too,” he responded. “You were the best teacher I ever had!”

The summer was not a holiday for me. It was recuperation time. Teaching was the hardest thing I ever did. I could not teach without getting emotionally involved with thirty odd different personalities. The process was immensely tiring. I suppose most people would have to teach to understand that. I wanted the best for my pupils.

Todd’s grade eight year began. Apart from passing him in the hall and seeing him in the cafeteria, I expected my Todd period was over. It did not turn out that way. The principal called me into his office the first week in the new school year. Miss Pringle, the school librarian, had retired. One of her responsibilities had been to chaperone a little four-page school newspaper that the students produced once a month. “Would you accept that responsibility?” he asked.

Now, it was part of the unwritten code that when the principal asked you to accept such a responsibility you had to have a damn good reason to turn it down. Since I had none, I became the chaperone for the paper. Guess who decided that he would be a reporter for the paper. Yep, Todd Bowman, front and centre.

Now, Todd always liked sports. Liking was one thing; performing was another. Todd tried but was never good enough to make any school team, but that didn’t stop him from reporting on them in the newspaper. He also contributed an original story of his own making to each edition. Todd’s columns became the most widely read in the paper.

Todd always came to me first before submitting a column to the editor. We would sit down together and discuss it. I stressed it was his final decision to accept or turn down my suggestions. I was now, in effect, Todd’s private tutor. He needed to improve, and improve he did! By the end of the year I only needed two hands and no toes to count the errors. He successfully completed his year and was ready to become a high school freshman. Ask me if I was surprised.

That summer I decided to change schools. I thought it would be a way to rejuvenate myself. It didn’t work. I could feel my teaching performance slowly drop each year. By the twentieth year I felt I was doing my pupils no favors. I was burned out. It was time to quit. I also lost track of Todd Bowman and never expected to see him again.

Such is life.

I could have retired completely but, hell, I was still in my forties. I felt that with a few months rest I could continue in a brand new direction. But what that direction might be, I had no idea.

It so happened that a few months later I hired a contracting firm to do some extensive renovation work. I was quite pleased with the results. However, a short while later the improvements began to fall apart. I called the contractor and he arrived promptly and rectified the problem. Unfortunately the work kept falling apart and I had no choice but to call him again and again. The fourth time I complained he called me a goddamned fag and refused to honor the warranty. I sued. I had no legal training but I had seen enough courtroom TV and I was cheeky enough to believe I could handle my own case.

Thankfully it turned out okay. In fact, after ruling in my favor the judge praised my courtroom decorum.

As I left the courtroom a woman came rushing out and accosted me. “Oh,” she said, “ I want you to represent me. I was going to do my own case like you did, but I am just too nervous. You were terrific! I know you can win my case. I’ll pay you for your trouble.”

“Hold on,” I warned her, “I have absolutely zero legal training. I’m self-taught. I could easily screw it up for you.”

“No, you won’t. I saw you in action. I’ll pay you,” she repeated.

“Flattery will get you everything,” I thought to myself. “All right, let me see your material before I decide.”

I looked over her submissions. The case was very similar to mine and she’d done a good job of stating the facts. I liked her exhibits, too. “All right,” I agreed, “I’ll do it on one condition. You can’t pay me. I believe it’s against the rules.”

Sure enough, as soon as I introduced myself to the judge, the paralegal for the defendant leapt to his feet and complained I couldn’t act on her behalf because I had no legal degree. The judge turned to the plaintiff and asked, “Ma’am, are you paying your representative?”

“I tried to,” she replied, “but he refused to take it.”

“I am satisfied Mr. Smith is doing the case pro bono. Let the case begin.”

It turned out that getting accepted was the hardest part of the case. It was an easy victory. I walked out of the courthouse feeling like Perry Mason, the TV attorney who never lost a case. I had found my new calling!

I looked into becoming a lawyer but decided it was too expensive and would take too long. Hell, I would be in my mid-fifties before I took the bar. I chose the paralegal route instead. It was a good move. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I never felt the pressure I experienced in teaching. One day, after winning yet another case, I was approached by a lawyer who stated, “I like your style. Might you be interested in joining a thirty-lawyer firm? We have lots of work. These are cases that our lawyers don’t want because the suits are for less than ten thousand dollars and they can’t charge their normal fees.”

I liked the idea of the prestige such an association would bring and accepted an interview. It turned out to be an excellent move, for I was busier than ever. I was enjoying life and time marched on.

One day a colleague in my office asked if I would deliver an important affidavit to a fellow lawyer a few blocks away. Since I owed him a favor or two I was happy to oblige. Thirty minutes later I was on the twentieth floor in an office similar to our own.

“I’m here to deliver an envelope to Mr. Lavender,” I announced.

“I’m afraid he is with a new client at the moment and he does not like to be disturbed. However, I can take your package and give it to him as soon as he is available,” the receptionist said, with a smile.

“I’m sorry,” I replied, “but I’m under instruction to deliver it in person.”

“That’s fine. Please wait in the reception area.”

I found a seat among three or four other parties and began twiddling my thumbs. This was in the days before the iPad was around to entertain. There were some magazines, but they appeared to be even older and more weather-beaten than those in our office. I turned them down. Instead, I sat and reminisced about some great cases I had won in the past. I loved cases where my opponent was a cheeky lawyer who considered me, a mere paralegal, to be miles below his station in life. I often pretended to be mortally terrified of them only to rise up in the courtroom and rip their cases to shreds. What fun! So okay, I admit it. I did lose a few, but… I had started to reminisce about one particular case when I was interrupted by the office door opening. I was gobsmacked! Of all the people who could have entered the room who did I see but TODD BOWMAN!

He’d changed some. His hair was nicely styled. He wore it long to cover those ears. He had grown a neatly trimmed goatee that hid his receding chin. He must have worked out, for his chest showed some definition. And his nose was… well, still his nose. I guess you can’t hide everything. Anyway he was definitely a handsome dude now.

Todd carried a stepladder in one hand and two fluorescent bulbs in the other. He walked right past me and made a beeline for the receptionist. “Hi, Rose, How’s the family?” That grin of his was still intact.

“They are wonderful, Todd. Thanks so much for asking.”

“Good! Okay, so where is the problem?”

She pointed to a flickering bulb off to one side. Todd promptly placed the stepladder beneath it and removed the panel. After changing the bulbs he tested them before replacing the panel.

“There, that should do it. Anything else, Rose?”

“No, Todd. That’s it. You were prompt as usual.”

“All part of the service,” he laughed.

Todd picked up the ladder and bulbs and this time he turned towards me. Our eyes met and we locked. It was Todd’s turn to be gobsmacked.

“MR SMITH! Is it really you?” Before I could answer he put the ladder and bulbs back down, rushed over, and hugged me. “I can’t believe this,” he declared. We hugged some more.

“Shhhh…” Rose interrupted. “You guys are being a little loud. I can give you an empty conference room if you wish.”

“Todd, I’d love to find out what you have done with your life the last twenty years. Do you have the time?”

“I’ll make the time,” he promptly replied.

We soon found ourselves seated in plush chairs around a small oaken table.

“Well, where do we start?” I began. “How about you tell me what happened in high school?”

“Sure,” Todd agreed. “High school was really tough, even more than middle school. I almost quit a couple of times but you saved me. I would never have made it without you.”

“What?” I exclaimed. “But I wasn’t there, Todd. How could I have helped?”

“Maybe not physically, but you were there mentally. Remember the composition I wrote? Well, if you go to my house today you will see the composition, your critique, and the report card, framed and hanging on the wall in my den. Mom took each of them and put them in picture frames for me.”

“Wow!” I commented.

“Yep, and every time I got a bad mark, or got home and realized I didn’t know what the hell the teacher had been talking about, I read your comments again. Like I said I wouldn’t have made it without you! Of course, Phil helped too.”

“Phil?” I asked.

“Sure, you remember him. He sat beside me in your grade seven class.”

“Ah, yes,” I responded, “Phillip Braithwaite. He was your best friend, wasn’t he?”

“That’s right, but he became a lot more in high school. We became boyfriends and lovers. We came out in our senior year. He was a star athlete and I seemed to have lots of friends, so we were never harassed. Oh, and I also became part of the yearbook staff each year. I did my usual composition. Phil replaced you as my proof-reader. And one more thing. We both made the senior football team in our final year.”

“You actually made the team?” I stated incredulously. “That’s amazing!”

“Yep! Phil was the star receiver and I was the star water boy.” We both cracked up.

“I’ll bet you were the best water boy that team ever had.”

“You wanna believe it!” he chuckled.

“So, go on. What happened after high school?”

“Phil graduated the top in his class. He went on to university and got his MBA, and he is now the CEO of a small but very successful firm. I decided to take a college course in mechanical engineering. I actually found it much easier than high school. No more Shakespeare, thank God. I maintained a B average.”

“That’s very impressive, Todd.”

“Not really,” he replied. “Mechanical engineer is just a fancy name for a janitor. Look…” He pointed to the fluorescent tubes. “They even taught me how to change a light bulb!” We both broke up again. “After Phil and I graduated we dedicated the rest of our lives to each other. When they changed the laws we got married and later we adopted our two kids. By the way, Phil is great in bed. We keep trying to get a third kid but no luck so far but we plan to keep trying. Phil has a beautiful cock but mine is bigger.”

He laughed.

“Whoa!” I yelled. “That’s far too much information Mr. Bowman!”

“Ah, c’mon. I know you don’t mind ’cause I know you are gay, too!”

“WHAT?” I yelled.

Todd just sat there with that big grin of his and went silent. I knew the ball was in my court to respond. Should I vehemently deny it, or go with the flow? I reasoned Todd was in his early thirties now. He’d been an adult for many years. I went with the flow.

“Todd, that was my deepest secret, in the classroom. How the hell did you know?”

“I realized many years ago that I ain’t the smartest kid on the block. But I also realized that I had a lot of common sense. I see things that other people miss. I’ve also got excellent gaydar. I have never been wrong and you, fine sir, are definitely gay!”

“Go on,” I urged.

“Well, look at the language you used in your critique. It was a little flowery, doncha think? To me, that was gay talk. Then you apologized, not once but twice, to a thirteen-year-old in writing. A straight teacher would never bow to a young student like that. Definitely gay! And you cried a lot that year. Under that hard teacher exterior you showed me a soft emotional teddy bear. Very gay! And on top of that, on the last day of school—and again today—you gave me a long, very hard hug. Definitely gay, gay, gay. I mean, what additional proof did I need?”

Just at that moment there was a knock on the door and Rose popped her

head in. “Mr. Lavender is finished with his client. He’ll see you now.”

“Well, Todd, I am here on business so I must be moving on. However, I’d love to continue this conversation. Do you have a business card by chance?”

“Yes.” he replied, “and you must come to our house. Since dad died, mom lives with us now and she is a great cook. She speaks of you often, so I know she will be thrilled to see you again. Of course, you can meet Phil again, too.”

With that, Todd exited the room and headed for the reception area. I followed Rose to Mr. Lavender’s office.

“I hear you know Mr. Bowman,” he began.

“Yes,” I responded, “I was very fortunate to have been his grade seven teacher.”

“I’ll bet he was as modest as ever. What position did he say he holds in the building?”

“Why, he indicated he is a janitor.”

“Thought so!” he said, grinning. “Todd is a lot more than that. He has a graduate degree in engineering, and was hired to oversee the mechanical systems here. Three years ago he was promoted to be head of systems and maintenance for the entire thirty-two-story complex! He has a staff of seven people reporting to him.”

“I’m not entirely surprised,” I responded. “Let me tell you how I think Todd would act on the job. No matter what the issue is, small or large, he would be on it immediately. If whoever he assigned to the job couldn’t fix it right away, he would personally stay on it like a bulldog until you were completely satisfied. And everything would be done with that shit-ass smile of his.”

“You nailed it!” Mr. Lavender grinned. “That’s our Todd.”

“Your Todd?”

“Well, yes. You see, everyone likes him so much we consider him to be part of our family. In fact, to be truthful the whole building loves him.”

“I can understand that,” I replied. “You see, I love him too!”



My sincerest thanks to my editors. The tale is improved immeasurably thanks to their efforts!

And now, dear readers, I have a confession to make. This story is about eighty percent true! Yes twenty percent is fiction, which I felt was necessary to make the story more enjoyable.

If you enjoyed Todd Bowman’s Composition, please consider making a donation to AwesomeDude. As most of you know by now we tragically lost Mike, the owner and curator of this site. I for one am sure Mike would like the site to carry on his fine work in his memory. The best way to assure that is to make a donation. Please do it today before you forget.