—an excerpt from A Serviceable Villain: The Lives and Times of Wyatt Duvall by Buck Sparkman
During Wyatt Duvall’s senior year at South Woods High School the average SAT score dropped by 350 points, and the forensics team failed to qualify for the regional debate championship for the first time since the school was founded in 1975. At the time, no one knew that Duvall was responsible. But in his second memoir Archmotherfucker: A Portrait of an Asshole as a Young Man, Duvall confessed to his many misdeeds as a schoolboy. As shocking as those admissions were, the steps that he took to bring them about were truly disturbing. In Archmotherfucker, he writes:
“The stench in the A Hall boys’ bathroom was so foul that students held their breath each and every time they entered that wretched hellhole. They pinched their noses. They stuck socks in their mouths. They vomited beforehand just to mask the smell. And if you were one of the brave and the bold who could manage to make it to a urinal, it was best if you didn’t look in the bowl. Cigarette butts. Bubble gum. Fingernails. Ping-pong ball sized balls of phlegm. Semen soaked detention slips.
The aluminum trashcan in the right-hand corner had not been emptied once in the 22-year history of Piedmont High. The trash overflowed and seeped and pulsed. It was like a noxious zit trough filled with half-eaten bologna sandwiches, fish sticks, and Clearasil ass wipes. Sometimes the sound of the creaking metal would cover up the sound of flatulent rats and the gurgling toilets, though most of the time it didn’t. The pipes uttered mantras that were both terrifying and soothing. Every bloodstain on the floor had a story. Every cum-filled rubber was an After-School Special. Every pubic-hair tumbleweed that rolled into the hallways was a very important episode of Blossom.
As fate would have it, one day I was standing at the middle sink, the one filled with rancid chocolate milk, waterlogged cheese puffs, four retainers, and a jawbreaker-sized plug of flesh and fat that had been ripped from Roger Winans’ right ear. It got lodged in the sink and no one bothered to unclog it. The rest just piled on top. As I stood there, collecting my thoughts in front of the mirror above the sink, reading the bathroom scribbles, noting how hollow boasts were twisted into crude sexual innuendos and ultimately racial slurs, when it came to me. I had to get out of there. I had to get out of Piedmont High School and head somewhere else, somewhere better. And I knew just how to do it.
The next day at school I cut my wrists in the gym shower. When they found me, I was barely conscious. I was rushed to the hospital. Almost immediately I was put under psychiatric care. I got better and weeks later I was released. But my counselor thought it would be best if I transferred to another school. It was then that I first stepped into South Woods. No one knew me, but they had heard rumors. Once I was settled in, I got to work.
On Oct. 15 I took nine printouts to the boys’ bathroom on the ninth grade hall. I put two over the sinks, one over each of the three stalls, and four for each urinal. The message was simple but direct: “Urinals and toilets broken. Please use sink.”
“Even I was surprised at how quickly chaos spread from there.”