A Collection of Flash Fiction in One Setting
The professor watched the student, a virtual class clown, who kept looking over his shoulder at something in the back, procrastinating as usual. With every turn of his head, his elbow was pushing his cup of soda—contraband in a computer lab—closer and closer towards the edge of the table.
He could not help but look back at her, wondering if she noticed him. She was usually looking out the window for no obvious reason. Someday he would get the guts to ask her out. If she only knew that every pun, every prank, every joke was just for her, in the hopes she would notice him.
It was such a beautiful day, and she couldn’t wait to go outside and feel the bright green grass tickling her bare feet. Instead, she was temporarily stuck inside, reading a chapter and then responding to it in essay form while glancing out the window every chance she got. The smell of liquor was pouring into her nose every time she inhaled, and she kept wondering which student came to class drunk.
He had such a rough night, and wished he hadn’t slept with her yet again. She was upset over a bad grade, drank all of the wine in the house, then moved on to a bottle of whiskey she’d left in the liquor cabinet for years due to the disgusting taste. He slept next to her in the bed after a night of wild lovemaking; he’d stayed sober because she was using an X-acto knife and he didn’t want her to cut herself. Now, in class, he kept looking at his phone, worried she would text. A loud, unexpected bang startled him back to attention.
She was sure the guy sitting in front of her was asleep, and all she wanted to do was wake him; bring him back to the torture that was this class. She’d slammed her book down hard, startling the rest of the class but with no visible response from him. She had to do something to wake him up, to force him back to this reality that everyone else was part of.
The flashing fluorescent light above him was driving him crazy; his head was killing him and the bottle of aspirin in his bag was empty. As soon as class was over he would head straight to the pharmacy to get more. The random loud noises didn’t help his headache at all, either. He wished the stupid person would stop dropping whatever it was, but his head hurt too much to even open his eyes and turn around to discover the source. And for some reason he swore he smelled peanut butter, which could also mean a migraine was coming on. He always smelled odd aromas before a migraine.
She snuck the peanut butter crackers into her mouth one at a time, trying not to get caught through her sneaky nonchalance. They were supposed to be her in-between class snack, but she just could not wait any longer.
She watched the smug girl eating some variety of crackers, knowing full well the professor had just reminded the class of the strict “no food and no drink in the lab” policy. It was so obvious that this girl felt that just because she was the smartest in the class, she had an advantage over the teacher that allowed her to eat and break the rules.
Superficially, she was beautiful, even as she glared at the girl eating the peanut butter crackers. He was shaking a little bit, because he had decided today was the day he would ask her out. Sure, he knew beauty was only skin deep, knew all about what they say about judging book covers, but it would be enough for him. He would ask her today. But for now he would listen to the professor, who just rose to his feet and walked to the podium, signaling the beginning of a discussion. The clock ticked and ticked but never seemed to advance as he thought about asking her on a date.
The professor was at the podium, standing silently, waiting for everyone to look away from their monitors and towards him so he could begin the lecture.
Inspirational words: anticipatory, procrastinate, superficial, advantage, response, stupid.