Illustrations for this story by Michael Davis.
It was a normal Tuesday. I had taken the day off of work to bring my son in for a doctor's visit. I went to the same doctor's office that I had always brought him to. Just as routine, I sat down and waited for him to be called back. There was a selection of books, most of them for kids, sitting on the little desk next to our seats. I reached over and looked through them, deciding to read him a story while we waited. Most were your average kid books. Then I found a new one, one I had never seen before. The cover was gone, ripped off by some other careless kid probably months ago. The condition of the book was poor at best. Since I didn't recognize the story, I decided to read it to my son, something new.
The cover was gone, as I said, by the first page of the book displayed the title, as well as a cover illustration. The book was called "The Funny Foul-Up of Frantic Falcone". It showed a man, probably in his early 40's, standing in front of a class room of kids, probably 5th or 6th graders. The kids in the picture were all shouting and laughing, while Falcone, obviously the teacher, was waving his arms around and trying to quiet them down.
The style and quality of the artwork suggested that this would be a run of the mill kids book like the ones I grew up on. Oddly, I couldn't remember ever reading, or hearing about this one. So, I turned to this first page and began to read. You'll understand soon why I didn't read much past the first page to my son, but I did read the entire book for myself.
It opened with an illustration of Mr. Falcone walking up to a school.
"This is Mr. Falcone, a teacher. He teaches 6th graders. He has been a teacher for a very long time, almost fifteen years, and he used to really love teaching kids."
Now, I found that weird from the start, why would the book say that he "used" to love teaching, doesn't he still? I read on.
"Nowadays, Mr. Falcone has to teach, even though he doesn't want to anymore. He has a lot of debt, and no family or friends to ever help him. If he doesn't work, the bank will take away his house. Mr. Falcone is sad."
Honestly, I thought this was funny. I figured maybe this was a book to teach kids about the evils of corporate greed, or to shine light on the low wages of American educators. I turned the page.
The next page showed Falcone walk into his classroom. He is looking at the chalk board, where someone wrote "Falcone is a FREAK." I thought this was a little harsh for a kid's book, but I did stuff like that in the 6th grade, so maybe the author was trying for realism here.
"The children in Mr. Falcone's class are always telling him how they really feel about him, as they demonstrated on the chalk board. Poor Mr. Falcone."
The next page showed two of the kids in Falcone's class, which would turn out to be the only two kids shown in the book.
They were both drawn in that very real and detailed style. On the surface they looked like two normal kids, but after looking at their faces, I could see the artist put a lot of time and detail into really highlighting the contempt and hatred these two had for Falcone.
"Meet Charles and Joe. They hate Falcone almost as much as God hates him."
By this point I handed my son a coloring book. I wasn't sure where this particular book was heading, but I didn't need his mind getting warped either. Once it was only my eyes on the pages, I read on faster.
"Joe wants to be a dentist when he grows up, as you can see, he brought in some 'tools' to practice with today."
The next picture showed Falcone being held down and strapped into a dentist chair. Joe walked over with what looked like an old fashioned doctors bag, and took out a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.
"Time to practice!"
The next page was one of those hologram-style plastic deals that you could tilt to change the image. It showed Joe ripping out Falcone's teeth. Blood and teeth would fly across the room when you tilted the page. It was very graphic. This was no children's book.
"Look at all the blood, guess Joe still has a thing or two to learn before he becomes a dentist. He forgot to bring a suction!"
The next illustration was Falcone, staggering towards his desk. Charles steps out in front of him.
"Charles wants to be a soldier, or maybe a police officer when he grows up. See his combat boots? He shines them every day before class."
The following page was of Charles kicking Falcone in the crotch. The look of agony on the teacher's face was sickening. Someone put a lot of time into that. The look on Charles' face was of pure evil glee.
"Mr. Falcone teaches lots of lessons, but today, his students teach him a lesson in economics."
The illustration accompanying this was of Falcone discovering his pay check had been ripped to shreds and left on his desk. The next three pages are of Falcone simply sitting at his desk, his head in his hands, quivering. Tears can be seen forming puddles on his desk.
"Sharing is important. Charles is about to share one of his favorite devices with Mr. Falcone."
Charles is shown holding what appears to be a boxing glove attached to a trigger activated spring.
"Hey Mr. Falcone, here comes the PUNCH GLOVE!"
The device fires, and the glove strikes Falcone hard in the face. More blood can be seen, and his nose clearly breaks.
The next few pages are torn badly. In one it appears the kids are damaging Falcone's car. In another Falcone can be seen pleading with another adult, maybe the principal. Clearly it doesn't work, as the next complete page shows him back in the class room.
"School is almost over, so Mr. Falcone reaches for one of his few pleasures, his cigarettes. UH OH, looks like Charles and Joe wanted to show Mr. Falcone that smoking is bad for you."
This page shows Falcone holding up a pack of cigarettes, which are dripping with water, ruined.
The next page is Falcone taking the bus home, the page after that shows Falcone returning home to find that his house has been foreclosed.
On the second to last page, the illustration of Falcone is looking directly at the reader, his eyes are bloodshot, he is bruised and bloodied.
"Only one thing left to do," written across the bottom.
The final page shows Falcone blowing his brains out.
I threw the book in the trash. No child should accidentally pick that up and read such a horrible story. Clearly this was someone's morbid idea. After my son finished his appointment, I fished out the book and decided to see if I could find out who wrote it or published it. There was no author's name given, but I did find the address for the publishing company. I wrote them a strong letter, expressing how their book, clearly meant for adults, but written and illustrated in the style of children's books, had found its way into a pediatrician's office.
I never received a response, and as far as I can tell, the publishing company doesn't exist. I still wonder what their inspiration, or intent, was behind publishing such a story. Furthermore, how many more books did they publish, and what lessons did those books try to teach?
Written by K. Banning Kellum
Published June 17th, 2014