Short Story #145: A Teacher's Rewards by Robert Phillps
Title: A Teacher's Rewards
Author: Robert Phillps
SummaryAn elderly woman and retired teacher, Miss Scofield answers her door to Raybe Simpson. Raybe was her student many years ago and she has all but forgotten him. She invites Raybe in who happens to be visiting and the two talk for a while. During the conversation, Raybe asks questions about how she is doing, has she married, what does she do nowadays. She answers in kind and continues to try to remember Raybe from her classes. He identifies different things from his class, things she said to him (such as unfortunate nicknames) and did (rapping his knuckles with the ruler). He offers other names of his peers to whom she remembers including who was her favorite student. Raybe begins more probing questions and soon reminds her of how cruel she was to him. She denies it and eventually asks him to leave, but he refuses to let her go and precedes to exact this revenge with a hammer that he has brought.
ReflectionA standard revenge fantasy but one that I'll have to admit I wasn't entirely sure who was going to kill who. The title could be read as how a teacher takes or receives rewards. The dialogue for this tale was good and felt authentic. That we never actually know what he does with the hammer has its own horrific appeal.
Short Story #145 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 5/23/2014
Source: Masters of Horror and the Supernatural: The Great Tales, compiled by Bill Pronzini, Barry N. Malzberg, & Martin H. Greenberg. Bristol Park Books, 1981.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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