A Fly on the Wall
I am an insect. I see thirty pairs of dull glares fixed on one man who wears square glasses. This man is holding a manila folder and a clear jug of iced tea in his hands, trembling with every stroke of his Expo, drying each mark as it fades onto his elbows.
As he speaks, he points to a white board with lines stretching in different directions. Once he’s done explaining how the lines function, the theory that encases the concept, he passes out a sheet of paper and tells the thirty boys and girls in the box with four white walls, two clocks and one window to practice what they have learned. More than half of the students seem confused but none of them object to the request. The few that understand, along with the many who do not, grab pens and pencils from their backpacks. And although each backpack has a different brand, a different color, a different set of straps, all of the utensils inside tend to write the same. Come to think of it, many of the people in this area all appear to be the same, too.
The boy closest to the man is wearing a hat with a bulldog above the bill. This hat has a hole in the back with six snaps that scratches when it sticks. Sometimes, I see this boy pick the tips of his roots while staring at the board above his nose.
The sudden twitches as he rests his back onto the plastic chair behind him encourages me to believe that he is daydreaming as we speak. And if I am correct, I bet the stream involves miraculous nights on beaches to the west, delusions of damaging his skin in the beautiful sun, a star that erodes layers above and beneath the clouds, but once he reaches too far into the seat and further into his wondrous fantasy, he returns to reality without the slightest hint of a tan or sand between his toes. Unfortunately, as his neck snaps back into place after colliding with the lukewarm air, he rises and realizes that he is sitting in a classroom at three o’clock on a Friday afternoon.
Once this boy, Dan, reenters the world where he eats, shits, and sleeps, he takes a glance at the paper he received. Without hesitation, he slides his sheet towards the nearest peer, making no attempt at all to start the work on his own.
“Hey, let’s work together,” said the boy. Clever. Why try when a friend was wide awake and near?
“Sure,” John replied.
But as he prepared to write his first response, he saw another answer from a girl to his right. Once he sees what she writes, he favors her choice instead, the letter “C.”
This girl is wearing pants that resembles blood. Her shoes are brown and her hair is gold and she is almost four questions ahead by the time John looks at her paper again. He is jealous but she does not know this so she happily hands her work to him. In seconds, all three classmates are ready to work on question number five.
However, before continuing the race to finish the questions that remain, the girl excuses herself, squealing as she speaks, and runs out of the classroom with a bloated look on her face.
“Bathroom,” she said, and the boys only reaction to this was “Now what?” knowing they had no chance of getting this done without her help. Lucky for them, their fears were silenced, and she stepped back into her place after a minute passed, walking instead of running this time.
“How far you guys get?” Niki says while holding a few strands with her fingers.
“Not far.” John begins. “What’s the difference between judging and perceiving?”
“How the hell should I know?” Dan says.
“Come on guys that’s an easy one!” Niki replies, and in one swoop, number five was finished.
“How do you know all of this stuff?” John questioned.
“I don’t know. It’s in the book though so I remember that.”
“The book? There’s a book for this class?”
“Well…yeah. Of course there is. How else would we know what to study?”
Dan took his chance.
“John hasn’t studied a day in his life. I’m surprised he knows what a book is.”
“Shut the fuck up. My grade says otherwise.”
“That’s only cause you cheat.”
“You cheat too!” John says, but it was a little too loud and he worried the teacher heard.
“Keep it down asshole. Man you’re an idiot.”
While Dan and John bickered like neighborhood children for the next moment or two, Niki had all ten questions finished and ready to turn in. And once the boys saw this, they joined the cheating party too.
In front of this trio of less than stellar teammates is a duo with matching sweaters. The fabric that rests on their shoulders has triangles in a grassy green hue with a pitchfork at its core and it hangs two inches below each of their belly buttons like a wiry net clinging to a rim.
The girl on the left looks to her friend and tells her to “pick up the pace.” Class is running out, she says, and there’s no time to waste.
“Chill out. It’s honestly not that serious,” says the girl on the right.
“Look, I want this grade so pull a little of your own weight.”
“I’m working. I’ll do the last two. You do seven and eight.”
“Okay,” Allie says. And before they know it, they’re the second group to finish the mission.
As time progresses, all of the groups complete the assignment. It doesn’t look that hard from my point of view but who am I to say? I’m just minding my own business. Besides, it looks like the professor doesn’t have much more to say so this should wrap up early for a change.
I’m getting my wings ready. Fuck it. It’s time to go. But the moment I entertain the thought, I notice that the professor is back on the whiteboard pumping out another extension to the discussion. Goddamnit. I was just getting ready to get out of this place.
He begins with a thorough description of the functions that build the idea of a personality test.
“The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator assessment, or MBTI for short, is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions,” the professor says. I could see the Zzzz’s bubbling already. “These preferences were extrapolated by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung.”
The son of a bitch read straight from the powerpoint slides.
“In Jung’s first published book called Psychological Types in 1921, he theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of these four functions is dominant most of the time.”
With three slides down and about thirty more to go, everyone in the class was having their own daydream. Dan was back on the beach in Laudy. John was at a party bursting Miller Lite cans on his head. Niki was at her apartment reading The Fault in Our Stars. And Allie and Macy, the two sorority girls with matching sweaters, were downtown at the mall.
What a drag. This is awful. These kids don’t deserve this.
Why are they here when they so badly want to be elsewhere? Where are their minds? Does the professor not see what is happening? Slide eleven just passed and I don’t think anyone here can remember what was said on ten. I managed to see it though. It talked about the introverts and the extroverts. But only I and the professor know that. Everyone else just hit cruise control.
There’s five minutes of class left.
I’m not sure. I really don’t know if I should do this but I might. Oh fuck it. Yes I will. I’ll save these kids. I’ll make something out of this. Why not? It’s only the least I could do. I have nowhere to be and no one to see. How about I turn this thing out?
Hmmm…who should I land on first? I thought, then I went for Allie since she seemed like the perfect victim. I went right up and just did it.
I landed right on top of her mouth.
To say the least she freaked. And when I mean freaked, the sound of her scream could be heard down the street. It was as if I was causing her pain but in my mind I knew what I was doing. A sacrifice had to be made. Sucks that it had to be her but that’s just a fact of life.
So when she aimed to slap me, I floated like a butterfly and stung her again like a bee. This made her jump up from her chair and by now the rest of the kids were released from their dreams.
“Get it off me, get it off!” I could hear her now.
“What the fuck, that thing is huge!” John said. I took offense to that but I ignored him and kept going until I got bored and needed another victim.
From there I chose Dan. He just needed to be woken up don’t you agree?
Instead of heading for his upper lip, like the last one, I sat right on his tongue. Man, I wish you could have seen that sucker jump!
It was a little shocking to me to see how well this was working. I went and slapped them all awake one by one. It didn’t take long. I’m fat but I’m fast. And once the clock hit the next hour, everyone had an excuse to run the hell out of class. And the best part about it was that the professor, during all of the commotion, forgot to hand out his next assignment. And once I knew this awesome fact, I rode the draft right out of the window, shaken, alive, and very very happy to see that I brought some much needed excitement to these young kids’ lives.
Do you smell that? My friends, that’s the sweet smell of an old-fashioned victory.