March 12, 2007 1:03 PM

The Thin Dark Line

The day breaks with a cackling snort from the snortling, flaring nostrils of my slumbering roommate. Fool, he should have wakened me. After all, midterms don't come along every morning. Name's Jonathan. And I'm a student. Words don't complete the profile I made for myself in my head. After all, I'm special.

Tiny cracks of a fearful light peek at me from behind fat folds of polyester curtain. They spider into tiny flacks of magenta and emerald, cutting my room into fourths. This morning is going to be a bad one. I could smell it in the sky. It was one of those mornings that tell you in advance the beating they're going to fist out on your face, like one of those bad oafs that screw up your day by snatching you off the streets, giving you a good crack up of the molars, and then set you up back on the corner like so much any piece of four day old newspaper rolled fly flavored fish.

God I hate midterms.

The door slams open and the morning day flicks my eyes. Damn! They started early today! I reached for my good friend, Mr. Alarm Clock. He's a real ball buster, all bust. No ball. He's a digital clock and damn proud of it. And he's real prouding me with his little announcement. His breath is reek with plastic and cold with reality. It's 9:45, and you got a test in fifteen minutes. I suggest you move your warm little fanny.

I give myself five seconds to compile my thoughts. No time for a Windows boot up. You gotta go Mac. The carpet is warm under the soles of my feet. I don't get it. What's wrong with this picture? Quickly I robe myself with the closest pair of pants and shirts I can find. Can't register the cold now. I leave embroiled in a swirl of body flavored profanities.

The sun is hot. And strong. Damn this thermo. I can't take it anymore. I thought I was through this by heading up North. Can't think. A brown furry squirrel slits down the tree beside me. Bad squirrel. Didn't Momma BushTail tell you not take your chores too seriously? I give it a sideways kick while on my way down the stairs. No time for cookies, Mr. Nature. I got a midterm to take.

The Auditorium is fifteen minutes away. Fifteen tiny ticks on the clock flicked away by that unstopping arm of the thin dark line. Move it, legs. My heart starts to pick up the pace as it shakes off the morning eye dust with a Mexican Tango. The stomachy pit in the cull of my belly ripples with the grip of a hungry pain. Damn you, he says. That time we got tripped up down South in the California bayou of a city? I got you through that. Feed me. No time I say. I got a midterm to take.

I push my vein encrusted hands through an oak brown, axe carved recepticle. The air brushes my sleep sculpted hair. I hate bed hair. My sandals are ill fit for the environment. It's like trying to ride a motorcyle with a monkey hanging from your jaw. It's just not right at this time. They all send a tiny citation of notice to my brain.

I tell them all to shut up. It's time to take the test.

I delegate my gravity onto a nylon encased chair. It squeals like a slit pig on Hannukah. Or doesn't. Not sure about that metaphor. I shake the sleep from my eyes and its metal taste off my tongue. I don't got a problem at all. My hand darts into my right pocket. It wants something and if it wants something. It gets it. Then it hits me like a locomotive barrelling down an ungreased aluminum track at fifty kilos a second.

I'd forgotten my pencil.

My molars are starting to hurt.


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