A Failed Conversion (Flash Fiction)

The bell rang and emptied the halls. Bob funneled into the stream of students that entered for 4th period English. His nerves were peaking already. There was no chance in hell that what he was about to attempt was going to work, but in for a penny, in for a pound. The decision had been made in a late night frenzy that always came while trying to reach his deadline. There was no going back now.

Bob landed his report on the stack with the others and headed for his desk. The thought of his train wreck of a paper being covered by the work of his peers was a relief. A hope spawned within him in that act. It wasn’t the hope of escape, for reality would find him eventually, but a small hope of reprieve. He moved with a quickness down the aisle, only slowing half a step to catch a nice glimpse of Susanne’s rack. It was spring time once again, and the girls were back to putting their lovely ladies on display.

“Bob,” said his teacher. “Up here. Now.” The words came across the room just as his ass was finding his seat. He closed his eyes and sighed. Leaning his head out from behind the row of students, he saw an angry English teacher staring him down. But my god is she beautiful, he thought. He trudged to the front of the room.

“Yes?” Bob asked.

She stared with eyes of dull rage. Big brown eyes that drew you in and—

“Well?” she said.

“Well what?” Bob asked.

Like a spark lighting an acetylene torch, the anger in her eye burst into a searing flame. She took his report and folded the pages back, never relenting her fierce gaze. “This,” she said, showing the last page of the report. Two pictures cut from an issue of National Geographic had been pasted there in lieu of words. “What is this?” she said.

“Oh, well,” Bob said. “Those are two pictures. You said you wanted the report to be five thousand words, but I only got to about three thousand before I ran out of things to say. So I put those two pictures in.”

She gave her head a subtle shake, lost.

“You know,” Bob said. “A picture is worth a thousand words. So that puts me over the top.”

Deep in those dark brown eyes, a fuse popped. A teacher as bold and beautiful as her had put up with a lot while teaching English in high school, but this was apparently a first. In strange way, Bob felt flattered. She leaned forward, and Bob was able to catch a small glance down the front of her shirt.

“Are you fucking kidding me!?” she yelled in the quietest whisper. The fury in her wide eyes was endless, overflowing. The report shook in her hand. “Detention,” she said. Her mouth stuck open, as though it was everything in her power to physically stop the words. “Detention until I find a way to transfer you to someone else’s class. I swear to god, Bob, I just—” But she stopped herself. She regained enough control to quell the rant. She turned her eyes, unable to look at him, and simply pointed a finger down the aisle. Bob went, and was able to catch another peak of Susanne’s perky ladies.

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