Topic: "Lean and Hungry " (2)
Within an hour Johnny Babb would lie dead on the floor, slain by the hand of Frodo. Not that Babb was such a terrible fellow, rather the scene had been scripted long before either of the young Hobbits had trod the stage of Middle Earth. For this was the tenth year of learning, in which words were enacted in much the same manner as when, in the fourth year, they had been taught to multiply. Babb was a very regal Julius Caesar and Frodo his noble Brutus.
The remainder of the cast were undistinguished since they remain anonymous for purposes of recall. They all sat in their seats and followed along with those in front who read their assigned roles. The reading of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in Tenth Grade English was a routine followed annually in the Shire, and Frodo rose to the occasion with high enthusiasm. The ancient words seemed to come alive for Frodo, and he glided through as if the dialogue had been drawn for him. Babb was a formidable assistant Even the teacher was caught up in how well the class involved itself in the classical text. Frodo remembered the smile of Janet Perry who watched him from her desk in the front row.
Shortly after Caesar spake of Cassius as "having a lean and hungry look," the conspirators struck, one-by-one, and Caesar slumped toward the floor and raised his weakening eyes to meet the intensity of Frodo, preparing to strike the final blow. Babb, unfamiliar as he was with Latin, blew the lines when he stated "Eat Two, Brute."
The class erupted in laughter, and Babb's pale complexion reddened to match his full head of hair. Frodo paused while all around him tried to regain their composure. When, at last, all was silent, Frodo proceeded and brought the life on stage of Johnny Babb to a well-deserved conclusion.
In the days to come Frodo started, on his own, to read many more of those plays. As time passed, he learned that others in his class had done likewise. When the end of the school year arrived, and the ritual of autographing each other's Annuals took place, he noted that Janet Perry had written something special, just for him. She remarked that he had been "a darn good Brutus."
The next year, Frodo took little Janet Perry to the Junior-Senior Prom. A year later they would part, and go in entirely different directions. Such, Frodo supposes, is why art and life are mirrors upon each other.
Little Janet Perry is now a grandmother.