Bar Flies Back to School: Tricia Parker’s “Calvin” – Arizona News

Bar Flies Back to School: Tricia Parker’s “Calvin” – Arizona News

Time flies. Two years ago this summer, New Times teamed up with Valley Bar to create a monthly live reading series. Our tagline: True Stories. And Drinks. We’ve lived up to that, with more than two dozen shows on the books — and documented in our podcast, available for free on the iTunes store. For information about upcoming shows, or to find out how to participate, visit This week, we are sharing three of our all-time favorite Bar Flies stories, each touching on the theme “Back to School.”

Calvin is a student in my sophomore English class, and I’ve been calling him by his last name, unwittingly, for weeks. He has one of those last name/last name combos, like Taylor Martin or Hayden Cooper. He’s an ROTC kid, so it’s weird that it even bugs him, but I know it does because he raises his hand and says, “Tricia, may I ask you a question?” To let this slide would mean anarchy. It’s not even September yet. A fellow cadet chastises him for his un-ROTC-like conduct, and he explains that if I can call him by his last name, surely he can call me by my first.

He’s super-tall, Creamsicle-blond hair cropped close, all elbows and angles wearing desert-camo cargo pants, T-shirt tucked in, belt cinched tight. He carries a huge military-style backpack and reads the Ham Radio License Manual for his free-choice novel. I overhear him telling another student he wants raspberry pie for his birthday. I think this is a strange (and adorable) thing for a kid like him to want. On one of our library visits, I nudge him toward my friend, the school librarian. “Tell the librarian what you want for your birthday.” He does, and they start geeking out over…

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