Friday, 21 June 2013

21st June 2013 - Fucking Coward


File:Professor.PNG
Source: Wikimedia Commons
“And that’s why the intertemporal inconsequentialities of the consumption axiom are,” droned Professor Honda, pausing here for dramatic effect, “rather consequential.” Honda stopped to laugh at his own witty joke, and some knob in the front row tittered politely.

Hiroshi, sitting rather more towards the back of the auditorium, looked to Kazuko on his left, who had fallen asleep. Kazuko, wearing flared jeans and a white shirt through which Hiroshi could see the black fabric of her bra, snorted awake when Hiroshi elbowed her; Hiroshi guffawed quietly as her eyes refocused, then dimmed slightly as she remembered that she was still sitting in the dull hell of the auditorium.

“You need more practice,” whispered Hiroshi, “your snores still haven’t got that truck-changing-gears quality yet.”

Kazuko elbowed him, and Professor Honda glared in their general direction. Whipping out a pair of Ray-bans, Kazuko put them over her eyes and leant back into the seat. Not very subtle, but Hiroshi gave her credits for general moxie.

With Kazuko back asleep, Hiroshi was forced to derive his own entertainment from the scant opportunities present at the lecture. Gazing around at the other participants, Hiroshi saw that most of them, like Kazuko, had fallen asleep: Honda seemed amazingly oblivious to the chorus of gentle wheezes that filled the auditorium. Hiroshi could only imagine that Honda’s brain was so filled with sparkling quips—like that little gem of a minute ago—that it couldn’t imagine a universe that encompassed students who were bored with his lectures.

Looking towards the front row, Hiroshi noticed that the same guy who had laughed at Honda’s joke had put up his hand and asked a question.

“Nerd!” Some genius behind Hiroshi had acted quickly and taken vigilante justice into his own hands. Hiroshi gazed approvingly behind him, and the minority of still-conscious students laughed. Honda glared at the back row, before returning to answer the question.

The atmosphere was stiflingly hot in the room, and the air-con unit at the back was struggling to pump out cold air that would combat the oppressive July heat. Sweat was beginning to trickle down Hiroshi’s back, he could feel it sliding down the base of his spine and into his jeans. Kazuko’s Lacoste perfume, composed entirely of synthetic chemicals, forced its way up his nose and gave him a slight headache. The taste of her cherry lip-balm remained on his lips, and he could still recall the taste of her spearmint breath. His hands stopped trembling as the last of the caffeine exited his system, and he leaned back into his seat, feeling the sweat of his back absorb into the blue fabric of his Ralph Lauren t-shirt. Closing his eyes, he drifted slowly off into the nether regions of semi-conscious sleep. 

****

Waking up with a jolt, Hiroshi found that he was alone in the auditorium. Honda was still standing on the stage, arms akimbo, with a look like thunder on his face.

“Glad you could join us again, Hiroshi. I hope your dreams were pleasant. Now, pay close attention to what I’m about to say, as this will appear on the midterm.”

Hiroshi sat up quickly, scrambling for a pen and paper, and wondering why he was the only one left in the auditorium. Honda began to drone again; Hiroshi, whose reflexes were wired to sleep mode whenever they heard Honda’s voice, began to feel sleepy.

“The original theory of consumption supposed that the rational individual was faced with a single time-period only; this theory was greatly improved by Milton Friedman’s permanent income hypothesis…”

“Professor,” said Hiroshi, raising his hand, “what would you say if I knew that your wife was cheating on you?”

Honda froze in the middle of his discourse, eyes locked on Hiroshi. He gave no answer.

“What would you say,” continued Hiroshi, “if I told you that I could even give you the name and address of the bastard who’s been crossing the sacred threshold of your home and violating the sanctified bond between you and your beloved wife?”

Again, Honda said nothing. A single bead of sweat formed on his forehead and drooled slowly into his eyebrow. His mouth was slightly slack-jawed. 

“You wouldn’t do anything, would you? You fucking coward. But I don’t need to tell you anything of the sort, do I? Some prick’s been fucking your wife every day while you’re at work for the last year, and you know it. You’ve just been too fucking chicken-shit to say anything or do anything about it.” Hiroshi was screaming now, a high-pitched voice that echoed hysterically in the auditorium.

“In fact, you’re so goddamn cowardly, that I’d bet you’d do nothing if I stood up right now and punched you. Right in the face, on the stage, the place you love most in the world.” As though to prove his point, Hiroshi stood up and approached the stage. Mounting the stairs, he moved towards Honda.

“Don’t come any closer!” Honda’s voice, a squeaky shadow of its former self, cried out like a weak whip-crack.

Pausing momentarily, Hiroshi smirked.

“You call that threatening? You couldn’t frighten a child.” Hiroshi stood directly in front of Honda, staring into his dirt-brown eyes. Honda took a step back, frightened. Drawing his arm back, Hiroshi rammed it forward into Honda’s chest. The rib-bones spread around his hands, as though to permit him entry; reaching further in, Hiroshi wrapped his hands around Honda’s warm, beating heart and squeezed.

Honda’s bellows of pain fell on Hiroshi’s deaf ears, and he snapped his arm backwards, dragging out the still-beating heart with it. The arteries projected out of the muscle like a grotesque highway, and Honda collapsed at his feet. 

****

Hiroshi’s eyes snapped open; panting, he felt a wave of relief wash over him as the dream quickly faded into the depths of his memories. A chorus of screams reached his ears, and he realised he was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. Raising his hands to his eyes, he became flooded in confusion.

They were incarnadine.

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