Pencil Suicide

by dangent

Ten minutes and still nothing. Describe Yourself (45 Marks). A mark a minute. That’s all. Easy, right? My sweaty arse, she wants to write. But she won’t. Because Cal’s a good girl and good girls want to get it right, aiming-for-an-A* right.

“Miss?” Miss approaches. “Do you mind if I take my jumper off? It’s ever so hot.”

Miss shakes her head.

“But the air conditioning isn’t even on.”

“It distracts!” Miss hisses.

Cal tries not to look at the boffin on her left who’s on his second side. She stares at the desk. Two pencils. A blank answer booklet. Describe Yourself, she writes. Looks at the clock. Adds brackets and 45 marks. Rubs this out. What kind of question is that? she thinks, though she wants to scream it, wants to shout “who thinks this shit up?”

My name is Cal, she writes.

Another ten minutes pass. Nothing.

Another five.

I’m fifteen. I’m in an exam. I can’t think of anything to write. I think this question is unfair

She deploys a semi-colon. It doesn’t look right.

; I have used this semi-colon because Sir says they get you A*s.

Five minutes pass.


And then, already, Miss starts taking the papers in.

I didn’t mean for this to happen, she scrawls.

And it’s done. Her paper gone, her future fucked.

On her desk: two pencils.