[This is part one of story one of THE FICTION PROJECT; See Vol 9 John 10]
Consider first the eyes of Amber Ducket. Like lifesavers with blue peppermint in the center instead of air. And the long blonde hair with its streak of machine oil. And the T-shirt: big letters - red on white, NO DEPOSIT NO RETURN. And the chocolate brown panties. And Professor Emil T. Fastbinder tied to a chair in her attic.
"You will never get away with this, Amber Ducket."
What hairy legs he had, this Fastbinder. What hairy legs! And what awful shorts. For eleven years she had wondered about his shorts. Something black, she figured, with chalky fleurs-de-lis. And to see instead the faded hearts. "HOT STUFF". Poor man.
Seducing Fastbinder was like shooting fish in a barrel. The sly wink. The knowing smile. Then up the stairs, into the chair, off with the pants, on with the rope. And yet, even now, the authority in his eyes, eyes the color of black licorice whips.
"I demand to know what you are doing to my pants."
"I am cutting them into tiny pieces." Amber opened and closed her shears under his very nose. "I am going to give a piece to every student in your class."
The professor twisted in his chair. Clip. Clip.
"Ducket... Ducket... Of course! You took composition from me, years ago. You failed. And you resent me for failing you. That's it, isn't it?"
Amber heard again the sound of a hundred medical schools slamming shut their doors. A simultaneous boom. She sighed. "I would have been a surgeon now if it wasn't for you." Clip. Clip.
Tricked again. Fastbinder's eyes grew moist as he followed her legs up, up. The chocolate panties. The sloppy, funny T-shirt. He stared unflinching at her shirt. Brave mountaineer bound forever to the plain! And aloud:
"The thought beneath so slight a film / Is more distinctly seen, / As laces just reveal the surge, / Or mists the Apennine."
"I like poetry," said Amber. "I think perhaps I will read some poetry to your class tomorrow." Snip. "Think of it, Emil - may I call you Emil?"
"Think of it, Emil! Two dozen freshman. Their very first college class. Innocent. Virginal. Willing to follow wherever I lead. I will change their lives!"
"Oh really? And what will you teach them?"
But then Emil remembered! Vending machines. No matter what the assignment, she had always written about vending machines. Essay after essay until he was forced, at last, to fail her. And now, in the shadows at the other end of the attic they waited for him: vending machines.
[Editor's note: Stay tuned for part two!]