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FOUR

By Michelle Tan
~For Camille Tan
Happy Birthday! I hope this doesn't happen to you (or to me). Wink wink.

Setting: An air-conditioned, spacious, white room. There is a table made of wood on the front before the platform and the white board. There is no one seated in it, but the apple that stays not rotten; eight columns of chair, five rows in each column. All made of steel. There are three erasable markers, one on the left, one at the opposite side, and one at the middle. A perfectly piled up eraser, only two of them, are placed on the desk. There is a stick, and there is a hand that handles it. One remains the pivot point while the other one is slapped on the palms of the other hand, and sometimes hits the wall, and if furious, slams below the skirt. Nobody moves, not a single glance on either the left or right side of her head, except for Professor X.

            Apparently, it's the last day we'll ever have on his class. Ever! Still, even though we have this leaping joy in store for the next thirty minutes left on his class for being the last subject, we can't. We can't now because we're on his hands. Nonetheless, I hope that we all pass his class. I cannot even feel my throat.

Professor X: Are you aware of what rule you have just violated? Recite! No one? Okay, I will dictate it to you, but first, Lara? (Professor X points his fingers to a tile next to him at his left for our class president to come over where the direction he is pointing)

Lara: (stands up looking nervous. There is a huge red mark on her nose. Her cheeks are rosy, and her lips are supple and shivering. All in red.) *Nods*

            I can see how scared she was, because I am. And what more to her? What more that her name is always called from all the mayhem our class makes. We're a mess, and she was always to blame for our recklessness. It's great that I'm not her. All the girls are lucky but her.

            I saw the professor whisper at Lara. She trembled like a fragile lamb. Her hands moved, 4. He just slammed his stick onto the desk that frightened everyone in the room. He looks disappointed, he looks displeased.
            Oh no! No! He didn't ask her that question.



Professor X: (Smirks) Lara has made a decision. She decided that all of you would fail my class. (all my classmates sigh in fear) See you on summer! Dismissed!

            I guess my so-called "freedom" that I was hoping for thirty minutes ago is agonized by the hottest season, summer.

            When he left the room, all looked at Lara. And she cried. And everybody left their arm chairs and surrounded her.

Veena: Are you alright? Did you got hurt? What did he do to you?  (I circled her lower back, in case she needed the comfort. I know she needed it badly.)

Lara: (Trembles in fear) He asked me. He asked me if I'd do him a favor. And I said no.

Jane: What favor? Did he ask you kwatro o kwarto? (*translation: four {fail} or room {f*ck})
            ~Four: in the story, Four is a number shown at the report card to depict as the usual lowest rank of grade, and one being the highest. Some universities have four as their highest and one as lowest, but not in this scenario.

Lara: (nods) I'd save this class, if and only if he could have sex with me. I can't, I'm a virgin! And he's what fifty?

Veena: Fifty-nine. He'll retire soon. And it's alright that you did that, we understand. And he's right, he'll see us on summer, because only senior professors get the privilege to choose whether to teach summer classes or not. Clearly...

Sam: How could you do that, B*tch? How could you save your "chaste" in exchange of our failures? I'm a straight A student. I work my ass of every day and night to get good Ones on my card.
           
            I guess not everybody left her armchair. Sam is sitting on her arm rest, crossing her leg, feeling confident herself as usual.

Julia: (shouts) Shut up! She did what she could. She had much pressure on her. It's tough being the class president, you know. And just because you ain't a virgin anymore doesn't mean you can give your card to any man. Sex is special!

Sam: (Mocks) Oh please, I don't talk to low-class amateur loser who can't even figure out Geometry. (gives her hand to Julia as an insult)

Lara: (Shouts) Quiet! (The room silenced.) Okay, I've already made my decision. I know that Professor X is unfair: he does not teach us well, he comes to school on time and dismisses us late, he gives us advanced homework, he gives us difficult exams, and most of all he hurts us. He hurt me! And I'm sick of it!

            We all understood what she was talking about. Some cried about her preach while some remained unconcerned.

Jane: We're sorry Lara... For everything. We remained insensitive, cruel, and hasty. You don't deserve to be punished like that.

Monica: Yes, and if we have to go to summer, we'll all go to summer!

(everyone hugs each other)

(Door opens)
Lady Guard: Girls, it's time to leave school.
           
            Swiftly, we moved to our armchairs, grabbed our bags and left. I accompanied Lara. I want to guard her. I know how much she has an effect to Professor X's balls. One time, she mentioned to me that after class, he locked her into the faculty room's male restroom and kissed her there. She maneuvered, fighting for her dignity, and he just fronted her near the toilet and whipped his stick onto her buttocks. She screamed like hell. I never left her side when I saw her sloppy and underdressed on the hallway.

Lara: thanks for being such a great friend, Veena. I wouldn't have survived our second year without you. (wraps her arms around my shoulders tightly)

Veena: Sure, no sweat okay. (and we both laughed, even though we both felt unhappy.)
            There is a husky voice that came from behind us. It was familiar; it was frightening. It was...

Professor X: Lara. (We frozed)
            We both stepped towards him but he said...
Professor X: Oh no, Miss Pale, back off. It's business!

Veena: It's Hampton. And excuse me sir, what's business about getting inside your students? Lara, let's go.

            He walks briskly at me. He stares deeply into my eyes, trying to "melt" me like an ice on a frying pan.
Professor X: Don't you think I don't know you from afar Miss Hampton; I see you kid around college. You don't think I could get across your files; I can debar you from this university. In just a snap of my finger you're out of the university. Understood? Veena Hampton no more! (He smirks at me, and blinks harder.)

Lara: Veena, don't. It will just be for a minute, okay. Stay here.

            And before I could say anything, she left with him. God bless you, Lara.

            I just waited out the faculty room, hoping for a miracle.

***

            I feel my skin vibrate. I can no longer feel my throat. I cannot stare at his old, wrinkled, fat body. He mouths something. He opens his mouth and reveals his tongue; waves it in disturbance. He is lustful for me.
           
            I let him touch me for a while from my waist down to my thighs. It's really disturbing, but I have to do this. He licked my inner thighs and cups my buttocks.

"Sweet babe." He says. "I know that you're a virgin. Come, lay with me. Lower those panties and show me your p*ssy." He unzips his pants and shows me his hard three-inched sausage. It looks gross. I never pictured it to be like this.
           
            I smiled, and walked near him. I waited for the opportunity. I placed his hands together, making them intertwine; I stared onto his eyes, and kicked his crotch.

"Not this b*tch!" I said. I quickly grabbed my backpack and ran for my life. I'm not getting abuse.

***
Lara: Let's go!
            She looks messy and scared, but I didn't question her. I grabbed her hand and we ran for our life.
            When we were far away from the building, there was a beam of light that gushed through our hearts. She smiled.

Veena: Why are you smiling?
            From her chest, she showed me a rectangular device that I call savior. A tape recorder!

***
Two weeks later

Veena: (I was staring at my computer with awe.) One! I got a One!
            I still don't understand how we get the four. I dialed Lara's number at my phone. It rings. It gives me that kind of chill, irritated but jolly.

Lara: Veena, I know it's you! We won! Professor X was terminated from his job from my recording and from our witnesses. It was an easy case. I'm glad we did it! I couldn't have done it without you.

            I didn't say a word. I just smiled and hanged the phone. I leaped at my bed and felt free. The answer has been granted; Those that came from his victims from his thirty-four years of "service" from our university; those people who don't have the technology, the strength, and the will to fight back. I couldn't just say the word.

            I know that everyone in my class, but me and Lara, are wondering why. I know they'll question, expecting a one and a summer. There are two questions running: Why did we get a one? What happened to "summer"?
            Either way, we are all happy.
***
-End-


FOUR FOUR Reviewed by Michelle Tan on 11:12 PM Rating: 5

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