It’s A Snap
Friend – Someone who’d give you the shirt off his back.
“Sorry Chance, Elena’s not here right now, she’s in study hall. Midterms are coming up here and she has to get ready. Do you have a number she can reach you at?”
“Thanks Mrs. B. She has my cell. Let her know I called will you?”
“Sure will, hon. She’s pretty busy but I’m sure she’ll call you back.”
I flipped my phone closed with a sigh.
With midterms coming up I’d been so busy I haven’t talked to Elena in a week. I was really hoping to talk to her, but oh well. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. For now I had to get to Metaphysics theory, the most boring of all my classes. I had been up so late I was worried I’d fall asleep.
I walked into the stadium style lecture hall just a minute before start time.
Professor Cobthorn is a beast on tardiness. I almost appreciate it though considering how little most professors care whether their students show up. I think some of them would be just as happy with an empty room; the better to hear their own voice with.
“…Has been cancelled.”
Everyone brightened up at this. We all may be called “magic heads” or “meeks” (magic + geek) but we still liked lectures about as much as your average hormone raging 20 something year old.
“Instead we are having a pop quiz.”
The attendees groaned at that and resumed their tolerant yet bored posture.
One upstart near the front row, Jimmy I think his name is, has to comment fo course. He’s the kind of guy who always corrects your grammar. In other words; annoying. He gives the rest of us studying magic a bad name. The stereotypical “meek”.
“Professor, aren’t midterms tomorrow? I don’t see the need for a pop quiz if we are just going to be tested again tomorrow.”
“Pop quizzes are supposed to be a surprise aren’t they?”
At that he waved over the teacher’s aid who began passing out the quiz sheet.
I wasn’t to worried. I’ve always been good at tests. I can usually remember anything I hear or read. That’s what got me through prep school.
My real goal has never been magic solely. What I really want to do is space exploration. In order to do that you have to be a whiz at engineering. Since most engineering involves some magic, here I am. I’m great with numbers, so the engineering is easy, but the best I can hope for without magic is to be a terminal jockey at the launch pad.
No way! I want to be out there exploring other planets.
That’s why I have to make it.
As I sat pondering my uncertain fate a white paper was slapped down on my desk. The quiz, courtesy of the perpetually antagonistic aid, Richard.
“Don’t peek or I’ll fail you.” I think he was actually hoping someone would peek just so he could have the pleasure.
A couple minutes later the quiz started.
– What year was the theory of energy dynamics written? –
I don’t see how questions like these show that you know the subject but fine. I wrote the answer; 1974.
– Explain the difference between primitive ideas about magic and how it is performed in modern day. –
For this one I’ll just quote the textbook.
In primitive ages it was believed that magic was performed with various rituals and superstitions such as channeling spirits and the use of symbolic objects believed to have magical properties. Although great magical feats were claimed to be performed this is obviously the work of exaggeration or charlatans as feats such as levitating mountains or possessing men’s minds are not possible. Magic during this time if performed at all was done by sheer luck as the real laws of its workings weren’t discovered until centuries later with the advent of advanced forms of mathematics.
In more recent times, as magical laws were discovered, it was seen that magic required in depth knowledge of math and physics as the magician would need to calculate the forces and directions in his mind in order to create the desired effect using magical force which required clarity of thought and extreme concentration.
I did change some of the words around so it wouldn’t look like I copied out of the book and get accused of cheating.
The next question was a little tougher, I couldn’t quite remember where I’d read it…
“Chance!” that was professor Cobthorn.
“Stop that racket and just take the test quietly please.”
I had been snapping my fingers. It’s an unconscious habit I have sometimes when I’m trying to remember something. It seems to help me focus or clear my mind or something. I can’t explain it, just a nervous habit probably.
After the quiz there was another lecture emphasizing how advanced the understanding of magic is and basically how barbaric ancient civilizations were and how laughable it all was back then. According to the clock the lecture only lasted 45 minutes but it seamed like an eternity.
I contemplated skipping out to go find Gerome to work through this bug I’d hit but I know I’d get into trouble so I stayed. I was getting worried. It was already 3pm. 22 Hours until my practical exam and I still couldn’t do any magic.
After the lecture I rushed to the library to meet Gerome. 2 hours until my next class.
I rushed into the library. It was quite different today than it was last night. No longer dark and empty it was full of people. You could call it bustling, but that would be too loud a description as it was dead silent here. The librarian didn’t tolerate any noise, even innocent students with a sniffle have been known to be ejected from the building.
My description of the library probably didn’t give it much justice the previous night so I will detail it a little for you.
The place was huge! From what I’ve been told there are larger libraries in the world but I can’t imagine them. The maze like design of the shelves makes the place seem even bigger kind of like a casino where they don’t want you to leave.
The place really should be 2 stories it is so tall, but then where would they put the 20 foot tall book shelves? It’s the only reasoning I can find. That and if everyone could easily reach any book there would be no need for the librarian to come with a ladder to get it for you, then the librarian would be out of a job.
One thing I will give the librarian credit for is the place is immaculate. It’s not the dusty, mildewy tomb like libraries of old.
I was pulled out of my thoughts by a familiar voice.
“Hey. You looking for something?” It was Trish. She asked in a barely audible whisper but still got some angry looks from nearby readers.
“Yeah, I’m looking for Gerome. You seen him? I’m supposed to meet him here.”
“haven’t seen him all day. I’ve been worried because I heard he didn’t show up to his classes. Another professor had to step in.”
I could feel my stomach sink. I figured there’d be revenge for last night but not so soon and I assumed it would be against me. Whoever did this is pretty bold to go after a professor.
“Let’s go. We have to find him.”
“Shh!” That was from a brunette to our left at a table. I said that a little loud.
Trish nodded and we were off.
“You know where he is?” asked Trish.
“Not for sure, but I can guess.
“Gerome isn’t a powerhouse when it comes to magic but he is smart. Nothing these jokers could have done would hold him. What he lacks in power he makes up for in pure skill and precision. He could be a Houdini if he was interested in anything but studying.”
“Then how could he be missing if he’s so good?” Trish rebutted.
“The only way they could get him is while he was sleeping which is why we’re going to his room. I can’t imagine how they’ve kept him there if he’s awake, but that’s where I think he is.”
“You mean the professor’s dorm!? I’m all for adventure but we’re not supposed to go in there and it’s guarded.”
“Don’t worry I’ve got an idea.”
Some professors live in their own houses hear campus but others stay at a dorm, set up similar to an apartment complex, only for professors and staff. It’s off limits to students for many reasons. I think you can guess some of them.
“This is your idea!? I can’t believe you got me into this!”
“His window is on the 2nd story, it should be easy for you if I give you a boost onto the fence. If you can climb on top of a bunch of girls you can climb a fence.”
“Hey mister. Choose your words carefully.”
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean that.” I blushed a little I think.
I checked both ways to see if anyone was around. We were in a side street that went next to the 2 story dorm building. There were plenty of trees and bushes here so unless someone came down the street they wouldn’t see us.
I put my hands together with the fingers interlaced and boosted her up.
Standing up on the top of the fence she looked into a window.
“Nope, not his. Which one is it?”
“Should be one of the windows on this side, try the one to your right.”
She moved over, holding her balance by leaning against the wall. She moved into position in front of the window and immediately her head jerked back in surprise. Then she covered her eyes and moved atop the fence back to me. She looked down at me and her face was beet red.
“What is it?”
“I’m coming down, catch me before I fall.”
It looked like she was suppressing a laugh. Without any warning she hopped off the fence and folded up sort of like a jackknife like cheerleaders do during their stunts.
It made it surprisingly easy to catch her which I wasn’t certain I’d be able to do. She slid from my arms gracefully to the ground as if she’d done this a million times.
“What?!” I exclaimed.
“Wow, they must have been pissed.” she was still talking to herself and still beet red.
“What did you do to those guys anyways?” I asked.
“All we did was take their pants. Not that big of a deal. They had to walk out in their boxers. Ronny and I figured it was light enough that it would create an effect but not result in a retaliation. We guessed wrong. This is pretty funny though.” she motioned to Gerome’s window.
“WHAT IS IT!?” I demanded.
“I can’t say. It’s too…”
At that point she was interrupted from above by a loud banging noise.
I looked up and saw Gerome gesturing angrily from the window and pounding on it. He was making strange motions with his hands like he was trying to pantomime something, but I couldn’t make it out. I did notice though that I could see his bare chest above the windowsill.
“They took his clothes! All of them!” Trish finally spat it out and began laughing hysterically.
“Not only that but they took every scrap of cloth I might be able to use to cover myself; blankets, sheets, curtains and all. I’ve been trying to get someone’s attention all day, but no one stays in the dorm during the day and I have no phone in here. My cell phone is in the pants they stole.”
I’m going to spare you the details on this one but suffice it to say we got him some clothes and got him out of the dorm. Hopefully we did it covertly enough that no one knows what happened.
“Why did they come after Gerome? He’s a professor? It was me and Ronny who did it.” asked Trish.
“The best I can figure, is they didn’t know you’re part in it as they were knocked out when you took their pants; and you’re a girl. They obviously aren’t going to go after Ronny, because, well… he’s big. As for me. I don’t know why they didn’t go after me. The only thing I can guess is I didn’t actually play any part in stopping them. You provided all the magic. They’ll probably still try something on me at some point.”
“We’ve got to get these guys back big time!” Trish slammed her fist into her other palm.
“Now, now let’s not create some kind of war here…” Gerome cautioned.
“No, she’s right man. We can’t stand for this kind of crap. First of all you’re a professor. If they get away with this it’s going to make it ok from here on out. Second, we have to stand up for our people, we have to stop these guys from acting like this to anyone.”
“Our people? Really Chance…”
“Look. Every school is like this. And it is only that way because people let it happen. I’m not going to let this kind of stuff happen anymore. Just because we study magic and are a little smarter than other people doesn’t make us outcasts.” I was really on a soap box today.
“Well, Chance, our fearless leader, what do you propose?” Trish asked slyly.
16 hours until exam time, but I’ve got to do this.
“This is what we’re going to do…”