Monday, May 2, 2011

15/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by Brian Eno by MGMT

The auditorium style classroom was filled mostly with exhausted, disheveled students. It was near the end of the semester. A fluorescent light flickered above the long desk on the dais in front of the whiteboard. It was five past the start of the class and the students were getting restless and chatty, wondering to each other about the results of another one of Dr. Spargus' brutal tests.

Then the door at the front opened and a tall man in an impecable suit entered and strode to the dais. He put a large leather briefcase up on the desk and popped the lid. He stood motionless, impassive, looking at the class. He sighed deeply, then reached into the briefcase and withdrew two chains and a pair of locks. He walked over to the doors he just entered, and slid one of the chains through the bars, then pushed the lock through two links and closed it.

"Hey, Professor, sir, what are you doing?" said someone with a bush red beard in the front row. Dr. Spargus walked to the aisle of steps and strode, two steps at a time up to the back doors.

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm locking the doors." He reached the back doors and slid the chain through and locked it. Everyone in the class went quiet, their eyes locked on him as he strode back to the dais.

"But why?" said someone else.

"To keep you in the room of course," said Dr. Spargus. He reached the dais and looked around the room. "I'm glad I finally have your attention." He adjusted his glasses by shoving a finger at their bridge.

"But, again, why?" said the man with the red beard.

"I'm glad you asked," said Dr. Spargus. He reached back into the briefcase and pulled out a paintball gun. There were gasps.

"What the hell man?" said a male student who was wearing sunglasses and looking unintentionally like Tom Cruise circa 1985.

"I was very disappointed with the results of the last test," said Dr. Spargus, as he clipped a full canister of paintballs onto the gun. Most of the students instinctively leaned back in their chairs. One woman at the back got up and wrenched on the door handles. She looked back and stopped under the Professor's intense admonishing gaze. She slunk back to her chair. Dr. Spargus climbed up on the desk, and took a stance with his legs shoulder width apart.

"I mean, really, not one of you could tell me who led the march at Selma," he said calmly. "Or for that matter, the year that the Rwandan genocide took place. These are basic facts I expect you to know, people. I can't tell you how ashamed I am of all of you. Without a doubt, you are my worst class, I have ever had the displeasure of having, in twenty years of teaching. You are all really, truly appalling."

A woman in the front row wearing a faded Justin Beiber t-shirt gingerly raised her hand.

"Yes?" said the professor.

"Uh, sir, what are you going to do with that?" she asked, looking warily at the gun.

"Oh, I'm going to shoot all of you," said the Professor. The room started murmuring. Several people took out their phones and started calling 911. Dr. Spargus took aim at one of the students using a phone and shot him in the forehead. Several people screamed. "Put your phones down!" he yelled, "or I'll shoot you too! Drop them on the ground!"

"Ow, that really hurt!" said the man who received the paintball. "How dare you! You could have gotten paint in my eyes!" He rubbed his forehead.

"Oh, I assure you, I have excellent aim," said Dr. Spargus.

"Fuck you man!" Dr. Spargus took aim again and hit the man in the forehead again, both shoulders, the center of his chest, and then the groin. The student crumpled to the ground screaming, then sobbing. Dr. Spargus paced the desk, looking onto the class intently.

"Here's how this is going to work, if there are no more interruptions," he said. "I will ask each one of you a question that you should know the answer to, if you ever bothered to crack your text book or managed to stay away during class. If you answer correctly, I will spare you. If you answer incorrectly, I will shoot you."

"That's insane!" said someone in the back, slinking low in his seat and hiding behind a large, beefy, glassy-eyed athlete. Dr. Spargus walked to the far end of the desk to get a better look.

"What insane," he said, "is to pay hundreds of dollars to take a course you subsequently put no effort whatsoever into passing. You," he pointed broadly across the class, "are the insane ones. Now. Let's start at the front of the class." He looked over in the far corner opposite the front doors. A short, older, dotty looking woman looked back at him her jaw agape. "What, my dear, is the date that Buchenwald was freed by the allies?"

"Uh, ah, 1942?" she said, shaking.

"Oh, that's just pathetic." He shot her in the forehead and she fell back in her chair. "Next!" He looked at the student to her left. It was red beard man.

"I'm not going to do this!" he said.

"Then I guess you forfeit!" Dr. Spargus aimed and shot, and red beard screamed shrilly, clutching his forehead. The professor turned to the next student. A young woman with green hair. "When did England abolish slavery?"

"Uh, I don't know," she said snarkily. Dr. Spargus shot her and she yelled out "Ow!"

Then there was clamoring at the front doors that rattled the chain and lock. The professor looked through the little rectangle windows in the doors to see several campus security officers yelling at him.

"Put your weapon down!" one of them said. Dr. Spargus just cocked his head to the side, and raised the paintball gun up and aimed at the window.

"He's gonna shoot!" said another. They backed up, drew their weapons, and shot out the glass. A bullet went through and hit Dr. Spargus in the chest.

"Let's get him!" yelled red beard. Several of the braver students ran towards the dais, ripped the gun out of his hands and pulled the Professor to the floor.

"Damnit," he said quietly, looking at the blood leaching rapidly through his crisp white shirt.

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