Don't forget the practice part.
|Bollson had been an English teacher for 25 years. “Yeah, I’ve been an English teacher for 25 years,” he said to Clyde, moving his feet on the narrow hanging scaffold to get positioned and show he wasn’t petrified to be fifty feet in the air.
Clyde said, “That so?”
“Yeah, and I’m going back for Year 26 in September. This sign-painting thing is just my summer job.”
Clyde looked over at Bollson from the opposite end of the massive billboard. “I’ve been painting signs as long as you’ve been teaching English,” he muttered.
“What’s that?” called Bollson.
“Nothing,” said Clyde.
“Nobody teaches English like I do,” said Bollson, unrolling the first of the giant letters. His half of the billboard would read, SMITHSON TIRES. He pushed the sheet with the first massive “S” up with his long-handled brush. “Kids ramble on when they write,” he continued. “Concision, I tell them. Know what that means, Clyde? Brevity. Short. Don’t repeat. Say it once. No need to say it more. Know what I mean, Clyde? And precision. Look at every word. Is it right? Is it the right word? Is it precisely the right word? Is it exactly right? Concision and precision, that’s what I teach.”
Clyde didn’t reply. He hardly replied all day. But at one point, he held his razor-sharp Exacto knife in one hand and gazed over at the ropes holding Bollson’s scaffold up in the air.
At 5:15, they were on the ground. As Bollson bent over to sort his supplies, Clyde looked up at the billboard. On Bollson’s side, it said, SMITHSON TRIES. He said to Bollson, “You just made a big mistake.”
“What?” said Bollson. Clyde looked down at his Exacto knife and over at Bollson’s intact scaffold rope. It was still early in the week.
(Word count: 300)