Adam’s Dreams of Due-Dates
Part I: Fort Apocalypse, The Exam
Adam Ritten sat at a desk and scrawled words in response to this question:
when it occurred to him that the people around him were writing much faster than he was, as though the question had not tripped them up the way it had him. How could that be? he wondered. But there they were, those people, those industrious labourers stuck in the plantation property of a gym that smelled like urine, scrawling away with the determination of crows pecking around the stink sack of a dead skunk.
He grabbed his orange and stood up.
“Adam, what are you doing?” whispered Cody.
“Sit down… Don’t!”
“It’ll be fine,” said Adam, climbing onto the desk and raising the orange over his head. A few people looked up at him, but not many; they were too busy working. It was, at that time, ten minutes after two.
“I am an orange,” Adam announced to the gym. As heads turned his way, the proctors began to move towards him. “And oranges,” he bellowed, “don’t write exams!”
He tossed the fruit into the air. It landed near the foul line, where Mr. Bailey kicked it on his way to extracting Adam from the exam. The orange rolled under the benches.
Adam heard a murmur of confusion as he was escorted outside the gym, but it was altogether not the response he had been expecting. Beyond the doors, Adam listened to Mr. Bailey growl for ten minutes, the old man alternating between demanding to know what drugs he was on and asking if he needed a doctor. His left eyelid twitched the whole time.
“Well, what was that?” demanded Principal Vickers when she arrived.
“What do you mean, ma’am?”
Arms crossed under lipstick lips made Principal Vickers’ blue dress look purple, tight, and a little sexy. “Try to figure out what I might be concerned with. Look into my eyes…”
“Oh you mean the orange thing… I just fancied that I might be a fruit of some kind. An orange seemed like a good bet.”
“You should be so lucky,” she said, standing over him. “Caught cheating twice in one year and now trying to fake insanity to get out of an exam. Plus that weed thing. Mr. Ritten,” she grinned, “could you hand over your bag, please? I’d like to have a look inside. And then perhaps we can have a long discussion about the dubious prospects for your future.”