The students mingled among themselves.
"I heard it was a personal problem."
"Yeah, it's with his son. He's sick or something."
The girl with the braces looked up.
"We shouldn't talk about this, guys. It's not any of our business."
A boy stared at her.
"When my teacher leaves without a reason, it is my fucking business. Especially when it's a class that I'm failing."
The substitute looked up from the paper he was reading.
"I want silence, you hear me? Silence. No talking, whispering. Not even breathing, if you can help it. And especially don't talk about Mr. Carson's son."
The substitute looked back down at the paper.
"Unless it's a prayer. God knows he needs it."