Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vlad: VIII.

May 25, 1997,
Dear Megan,

It was good to hear from you finally. You haven't written me for so long. I thought you might be trying to forget me. I’m glad to hear you had a good rest at Birch Point.

The rainy season has begun here. Taipei is so humid that my shoes and leather coat begin to get white mold on them if I don't use them all the time. And we even have an air conditioner running most of the day.

You remember that I told you about my smartest class: 411. A couple weeks ago a new student joined the class, the only student I have who is not Chinese. He's a European. I don't know why he's here. Perhaps his parents are working in Taipei. But he never talks about his family, and his behavior is very strange. His name is Vlad, and I guess he's about 15. I can tell he is very smart. His clothes, however, are bizarre. He dresses like a vampire in a movie. I'm not kidding, that is really what I think when I look at this kid. I guess he thinks it looks cool. But his clothes are so strange that I thought the other students might avoid him. That was at first. Now some of the students are his friends, and I'm worried about them.

Let me tell you what is happening. At first Vlad sat at the back of the classroom. Then, during the third class after he started coming, he suddenly said he wanted to move to the first row because his eyes were bad and he couldn't see the whiteboard. He came up and sat next to a student named Candy. But he didn't look at me or the whiteboard, but stared at Candy the whole time. Candy was so annoyed by his staring that I thought she was going to scream at him during the class. But she is too polite. Finally I told him to look at the whiteboard or he’d have to sit in the back row again.

Then there is his homework. He always doodles a lot in his homework book. Some of his drawings are very bizarre. He draws accidents and murders and skeletons. He draws knives and body parts and coffins and castles. He especially likes to draw bats. These drawings are all little doodles, and they are always very violent. He uses a red pen to draw the blood. There are so many violent doodles in his notebooks that I think something is wrong with his mind. But the thing that worries me most is that the other students are starting to draw the same things! This is what is so strange, Megan. It’s almost as if he had some kind of disease that is spreading to the others.

And the class is starting to change in other ways too. They are quieter. Sometimes I see some of the students are looking at each other in a strange way. Then they will start to laugh. I give them more homework to punish them, but they do the same things the next week. I am becoming so annoyed by it that I think I will call their parents.

I am sending you copies of some of the doodles. Tell me what you think.

Otherwise everything is fine with me.



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