Passing Notes

“What happens when one capsizes on the stream of consciousness?”

The students all looked at him with vacant stares.

His left hand did a quick run through of his buzz-cut gray hair. Turning to face the blackboard, his right picked up a stray piece of chalk from the tray and wrote two words: Writer’s block

A less than enthusiastic mumble erupted from the pupils upon reading this…the mumble seemed louder as the voices of the twelve students reverberated off the white walls of the tiny classroom.

“When a writer can’t get it up, what is your Viagra?” He dropped the chalk and he dusted off his hands before folding his arms. The blonde hair on his arms was invisible against his pale skin. The skin, however, thanks to a button-down shirt with half rolled up sleeves, was obvious.

His ex-wife used to look at his skin and say, “Your Irish is showing.” Then she would hand him a fresh can of Guinness…which he would return to the refrigerator, unopened, after she would pass out from her nightly wine increase.

Snapping back to the present for Graham was always like walking from pitch black into bright light. The discombobulation always held him back for a moment until his mind adjusted to the brightness.  “Your Viagra?  Come on, people…I’m not here to talk to myself.”

“But sir,” interrupted a female student, Mary-Kelly Lane who was usually quiet and extremely conservative.  “The sexual innuendo of this…”

“Next chapter is erotica.  You think the sexual innuendo of this is bad, just wait.”

She hushed her complaint and sat back in her desk.

The boy who raised his hand, Vincent Bond, had more pimples on his face than seemed humanly possible for a twenty year old to have.

“Yes, Mister…?”

“Bond, sir.  Vincent Bond.”

The other students laughed at the implied joke.

“Shake it and stir, Mr. Bond.  You have an answer?”

“Beer, sir,” he answered tentatively.

Graham stared the boy down and absently scratched his gray beard for a moment before responding, “That’s a good one, actually.  How many of you have awoken with a headache one morning only to see Twitter activity from the night before that is very unlike you.”

Four hands went up.

“Be honest.”

Four more went up.

“Not something you want to get in the habit of, but it is one option as it does free up the inhibitions.  Are there others?”

The hour chime chirped to announce the end of class.  Immediately the students started closing books and standing.

“Okay, you have a two-week holiday.  Enjoy it, but here is your homework.  Read the aforementioned next chapter, chapter five which is on writing erotica.  Then, and this is mandatory for thirty percent of your mark…”

All stopped moving and scribbled or texted the notes on their homework.

“Each of you, after reading that chapter, is to get laid.”

Gasps and laughs.

“I’m not kidding.  When you come back, I want a five-minute description of how it happened…what happened…where…with whom, but change the names to fiction please, to protect the guilty parties.  When we get back, first day, each of you will read and then have a five-minute critique by the class of each piece.”

The students’ eyes were all wide.

“Go on, get out of here.”  Graham turned to his black leather briefcase and closed it.  He released a sigh knowing he had two weeks to himself without anyone around over the Christmas holiday.  He also had three large bottles of vodka currently sitting in the liquor cabinet at home that would be thoroughly enjoyed and were likely to cause blacked out nights on Twitter.

“Professor Stone?”  The voice was female.

Graham turned to find Mindy Weston, a tall brunette in her final year at Yorkton.  “It is just Mr. Stone, I’m not a professor.  Never graduated high school, but thank you for promoting me.  You can call me Graham.”  A quick wink of his blue eye.

By the single raising eyebrow, this was obviously not the response she had expected.  “How are you teaching here, then?”

A chuckle touched his chest.  “I’ve published fifteen novels.  Apparently experience was the more important factor here when Dean Gowan was hiring for the part.  Apparently he wanted someone with Hank Moody’s wealth of experience, and Johnny Fever’s boyish good looks while sleeping on the staff room couch.”

It took her a moment to regain traction on what she wanted to ask.  “Mr. Stone, are you also taking part in the homework?”  Her right hand twirled her hair between her fingers.

“Ms….?”  Of course he knew all their names, but he loved to play the fool and see who would try to pull one over on him.

“Mindy Weston.”

He nodded as though remembering.  “Ms. Weston…you can be guaranteed I will be.”

She handed him a small scrap of paper.  “If you need an assistant.”  A quick spin and she sashayed away.  She had the body of a porn star, but the face of a lamb.

It was Graham’s turn to be dumbfounded.  He watched her leave before opening the piece of paper and finding her name with a little heart to dot the ‘i’ in Mindy, her phone number and her email.  He, of course, already had her email as she was a regular contacting him for assistance.  In fact, he thought she was one of the brighter students in the course.

The wind howled outside the window as the dark days of winter began to pour snow out there.

A stray thought of how cold his king bed will be next week crossed his mind.  Picking up his briefcase he allowed a soft whistle.  “This is going to be fun…”

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