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by Gary J. Beharry





Brandon yawned, stretched his arms up and arched his back. He looked over his desk, which was buried under papers, note cards, and open books. He wiped his eyes and looked out the window into the darkness. Jeez, was it that late already? He had been writing this paper for eight hours straight.

He clicked the Internet icon on the lower right hand corner of his computer and logged onto his email account. He deleted the obvious junk mail emails for low interest mortgage rates and penile enlargement and found the only legitimate email. Seeing whom it was from, he wished it were junk. He opened up the email from his teacher without seeing that there was an attachment. The message read, "Just a reminder that all papers must be emailed to me in rtf format no later than six a.m. tomorrow. Professor Troy." As the computer tried to open the attachment, it hung and after thirty seconds, Brandon finally pressed "CTRL-ALT-DEL" repeatedly until the Internet window closed.

His jaw dropped as the document window bulged in the middle, popped, and a stout, short, dark creature burst onto the screen.

What the -- ! The creature's long black hair was somewhat hidden behind a red glitter topper hat. It had a thick, bulbous nose, a worn, black trench coat and great goggle-eyes.

It danced a little jig on his sentence about the advancement of physics after Newton's time and its black pupils rolled freely around its irises. It bent over the end of the last sentence Brandon had been working on and scooped up the period in one hand and the word "century" in the other. It shoved both in its mouth and began chewing. It licked its lips after swallowing and scooped up more words. Its belly got fatter as it ate each letter, word, and punctuation mark.

Brandon could not believe his eyes. The creature burped and a question mark and the letter "t" popped out of its mouth. It looked at Brandon, waved and belly flopped into the paragraph above.

No! Not the paragraph on Newtonian physics.

Jeez, it had taken him two hours just to decipher what Newton was talking about and then another hour trying to condense it into a coherent paragraph.

Brandon's hand clutched his mouse and moved the cursor toward the creature. The creature waved its hands at the cursor like it was shooing a gnat while at the same time eating away at Brandon's homage to Newton.

He clicked the mouse frantically now and the creature grabbed the arrow and swallowed it whole. Brandon continued tapping the mouse, hoping beyond hope that the cursor would magically appear again. Brandon began biting his fingernails. All of his work was disappearing before his eyes. The creature looked his way, stuck its tongue out, jumped off the word processing program and landed on the desktop.

Brandon sighed, then squinted his eyes and furrowed his brow when he saw where the creature was headed. The creature jumped on the computer icon twice. The icon opened up to his "My Documents" folder. The creature took hold of his folder titled "Organic Chemistry", opened its mouth, tilted its head back and swallowed it whole. No! Its belly distended even further.

The little monster looked his way once again, smiled, and tipped its hat. Oh, this thing was so dead.

Brandon pressed two buttons simultaneously and the run command window appeared. He typed a command and hit the "Enter" key. His virus scan program opened and started to search his computer. The creature had already eaten two other folders and was now eyeing the physics folder -- with all his saved notes from lecture, the remnants of his paper, and his lab data. The creature licked its lips and grabbed the folder.

Suddenly, it seemed to sense something and looked behind. It then grimaced, looked at Brandon, and stuck its middle finger out. Then it jumped out of the "My Documents" folder and double jumped on the "Program Files" folder.

Brandon bit his nails faster now as the creature approached his anti-virus program folder and prepared to jump. In mid air, the creature's leg disappeared, then body, and before its head disappeared, it stuck its tongue out one final time.

The mouse arrow reappeared in the middle of the screen.

With shaking hands, Brandon grasped his mouse and brought his paper to the foreground. Only the first paragraph remained. Brandon looked at the clock and then scanned his room: a desk overflowing with out of order physics notes, a half pot of cold coffee, and four hours left.

This is what college was all about.

Gary J. Beharry, 2005
All Rights Reserved



BIO: Gary utilizes his degree in Chemistry and miscellaneous adventures on the streets of New York City for the past ten years as inspiration for his speculative fiction stories. When he's not writing or at that "other" job, he can be found reading, going to the movies, or tinkering with computers.