[short story] Mark Time

2022. 02. 19. 01:30 | \English \dedicated \français \pun intended \random

"...So it's like he's in pain, but from pleasure of pi---, um, urinating after, um, marital relations."

"Oh, I... yes," Mark nodded, "I see what you did there, but the reason I asked you to change is th---"

"No!" The angry student exclaimed, "I told you already! This is it! I refuse to change any of it!" He threw his papers in the air and stormed out of the lecture hall.

"What was that about?" asked the curious bystander, who helped Mark to pick up the angry student's essay.

"Just another art student refusing criticism," he said as he looked at his empty wrist, "do you know what time is it?"

"It's 11:05," she revealed with morbid casualty.

"05 already?" He did actually say oh-five before grabbing, putting and inevitably crumpling every pieces of paper from the floor, stuffing them into his priced Burberry briefcase that he had gotten from his aunt two years ago. "I gotta run. Um," he found himself looking at the curious bystander in her cleavage. "Wow, you're tall!" he mumbled weakly, "sorry about that." After lifting his head and composing himself, he inquired (not unlike how an assistant professor, that he was, would utter this very same question to an unknown student, that she was): "were you looking for someone here?".

"Yes, actually," she said with a frown on her face, trying hard to ignore the accidental staring, "I was looking for Mr. S---"



That bastard, he thought, "he's next door." The Burberry clicked as he continued without finishing "well, as I said---" Mark turned and ran down the corridor to the main entry to abruptly exit the building, shuttering the heavy door's glass in the process. It must be seven, nay, eight by now and thanks to that girl, I forgot to pick up my watch from my desk. His mind was focused on more important things than collateral damage in university property. Normally on this route, it takes 5 minutes to get to the Place, but given my tempo I would estimate my current E.T.A. to be closer to 3 minutes, which means, he inhaled as if he was talking aloud, that I'm gonna be one minute late. Mark increased his pace to uncomfortably fast walking, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, "fuck!" People looked at him after his sudden outburst that he failed to notice in his hurry. Upon reaching the Place, he stopped and looked at his wrist once again. "Fuck", he whispered and quickly shook himself back into a professional, albeit profoundly sweaty stance. "Hi, I'm here to see Madame Mimmeux."

"This way," said the doorman while he lead the strange man to a solitary table at the dark edge of the speakeasy. "Mademoiselle?"

The lean woman twisted around and greeted them, "ah, thank you, Norman. You would be Mr. Marcusson, yes?"

"Yes," the aspiring author said, only now realizing that Mlle. Mimmeux, this beautiful woman was in her fifties, "Madame---"

"Oh, just call me Bettina, please." She reached out her hand. The aspiring, yet terrified author took and put a kiss on it. "Would you care for a drink?"

"No, ma--- Bettina." He pointed at the chair, cursed himself for his stuttering and asked, "may I?"

"Of course, of course," she replied, "now, tell me, what was it you wanted to talk about?"

A faint voice escaped his throat that was supposed to be a "thanks" as his gluteus maximus met the hardwood seat, "I have a manuscript---" The Burberry swung open, releasing a few dozen sheets of homework along with the Sworn Swords' Sward, "right here, which I believe---"

Mlle. Bettina Aurora Jean-Marie Mimmeux de Reyfus yanked the sole copy out of the assistant professor's grasp and began to read:

I want to live in a world where humanity discovers a creature in the seas that shall redefine our current understanding of nature by letting us know that sperm whales are, in fact, not whales at all, but literal sperms -- a monster so huge, so gargantuan, yet so far ahead in its evolution that what is a single reproductive cell in humans is a fully developed mammal in them...

"Hmm... But that... Ah! I see, so..." She sat silently and read through the first 75 pages, while occasionally humming, mumbling, laughing and shedding tears over the carefully handwritten pages. "Well, I have to say..." She looked up and saw Mark's vague outlines, caused by the excessive movements of his legs below the table, "that this is quite a story you've got here."

"Th-th-thank you, Mademoiselle B-Bettina."

"It needs some editing, but I think it would be a great fit for our Kessé ça esti? series." She stood up and hold out her hand. "Come around my office tomorrow and we shall talk about the details."

Mark followed suit and shook her hand gently. "Sure. I'm glad you liked it."

"Non, non, non," Bettina giggled, "don't rush things, young man, I was merely halfway through the first part, I want to read it to the end before I form my final opinion."

"Naturally," said the hopeful writer. "Tomorrow, then?"

"Tomorrow," she reaffirmed and left.

Mark hold up his hand and proclaimed loudly, "gill of single malt, s'il vous plait!" He drank his celebratory contraband and left the speakeasy along with the trusty Burberry without any care in the world, not yet knowing he had forgotten to mark the papers that were all due this afternoon.

Created on 04. Dec. 2021, Considered done at listed date. Dedicated to X.

If something looks like a reference, it probably is.

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