by Lisa Kwan
Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Irony (March)
Medal Words: seductive, goblet
The lecturer had been nervous all day, wondering how and when she was going to tell them. Would they be upset? Would they cry? Would they be angry? Or worse, would they complain about her to their faculty deans and get her in trouble?
But she had to tell them; she just had to.
Probably at the end, when they had less time to....kill her.
Throughout the lesson, she had tried to act as normal as she could. Students had asked her questions about class work, she had answered. A student made a joke, she laughed, albeit a little restrained.
Finally, it was the last ten minutes of the lesson. She had to do it—now or never.
“Guys, there's something I have to tell you. It's about your test.”
The class immediately quietened, and she could see (and somehow feel) all eyes on her. Her heart began to thump again, an erratic drum beat in her ears.
“There's no easy way to say this, so...” She took a shuddering breath. Whispers began and died before her next line:
“Your writing test papers that you did last week? Well, I’d kept them in my box in the office after marking them, and I was going to return them to you next week. But when I checked my box this morning, they weren't there.” Silence.
“The problem is, I hadn't recorded your marks because I wanted to go through the paper with you and finalize the marks before recording them...and now they're all gone.”
A collective audible gasp went round the room, like a creepy wind.
“I think you'll have to re-sit test. I’m so sorry.”
Anxious questions started pouring in. “Will they be the same questions?” “Of course not, I can’t do that.” The boy looked crestfallen. “Will it be during class time?” A girl, eyes a little teary, asked.
“That’s what I needed to talk to you about. I need to find a common time slot when all of you are free, so we can do the test again. Since I still have a lot of the syllabus to cover, it’ll have to be an extra class.”
Groans. Tears. Curse words. In English and Mandarin.
“Miss, can’t we just do some lousy quiz, and you’ll give us the marks?” “Miss, just agak-agak the marks, can already lar!” “Miss, give us high marks. No need do again lar.” “Yeah, Miss.”
The lecturer looked at all the pale faces staring expectantly at her. She wringed her hands, and said, “I just wanted to say….April Fool, everyone!”
The class erupted in an uproar. “Yor, Miss, don’t do like that to us lar! Heart attack oh.” “Miss, you so bad lar. Scare us only.”
She laughed out loud, smiling. “I’m sorry, guys, I couldn’t resist. April the first only comes but once a year. Besides, it was kinda fun.”
“Not fun ler, Miss. Fun for you only lar.”
The class dismissed then, mostly relieved. And the lecturer imagined that they would be talking about the funny prank that their fun, sporting lecturer had played on them for a while.
She headed back to her department office, and decided to stop by her ‘pigeon box’ in front of the counter, waving distractedly to the administrative assistant, Belinda.
The test papers were not there. They really weren’t!
She searched high and low, turned her office room upside down, asked Belinda if she had seen anyone sniffing suspiciously around her box. Who would want to steal students’ test papers?!
They were mysteriously gone.
Author's Note: Inspired by true events. Partially fiction.