Thursday, October 28, 2010

Black Letter Law - an Origin Story. Episode 5. Maryanne Wells

This is part of a serial story.  The story began here.

It had to be the longest class I had ever attended.  And not just because it was 8:00am Property Law focussing on review for the final exam.  No.  It was long because I hadn't had any coffee.

I glared at the law student next to me who was clicking his pen like a hyperactive four-year-old on a sugar high.  "Stop that now or I will hurt you," I hissed.  He glanced over at me and dropped the pen.

How could Nick be out of coffee?  And what was he thinking, inviting Naomi and I to spend the night at his apartment when he was out of coffee?

Deep breath.  Focus.  I needed to get through the class and in the ten minutes before my next class started sprint across the law school to the library, hunt for the ghost, and try to find Naomi.  Naomi, who had been sent for by the Dean.

The Dean was a control freak.  He was obsessed with keeping the law school in pristine condition.  It had been named a historic landmark not long ago - gothic revival architecture, big name architect, blah blah blah.  The Dean forbade us from eating or drinking anywhere in the building except the chilly student lounge for fear that bugs and mice would be attracted by the crumbs, or that something would be stained.

Buildings are meant to have people in them.  A building without people is a forgotten ruin.  People need to eat and drink.  So unless the Dean wanted his perfect law school to be perfectly devoid of life, he was going to have to allow food and drink. 

Actually it was Naomi and I who allowed food and the library, when we were in a good mood.  It had to all be gone by closing, and it couldn't be obvious when it was out.  One girl tried to have a pizza delivered to the library - no way.  And to make sure our point got across we confiscated the pizza.

Had some faculty member found out about the library food and reported Naomi to the Dean?  Now I was worried.  The Dean had a reputation for rescinding academic scholarships on a whim.  Or maybe he had heard about the 'gun' incident in the library and wanted to hear the story directly from Naomi.  That made sense.  Yes, that must be what the meeting was about.  I hoped.

Mr. Sugar-high-click-the-pen had picked up his writing instrument and resumed the inane button pushing.  Enough was enough.  He had been warned. 

I grabbed the pen out of his hand and slammed it down on the desktop.  The professor stared, and the classroom fell into stunned silence.

"Is there a problem, Miss Wells?" the professor asked.

"No, Professor Thompson," I said, picking up the pen and disassembling it.  I dropped the pieces on Mr. Sugar-high's desk one by one.  "No problem at all."

Proffessor Thompson studied me carefully.  "Have we...had our coffee this morning?" she asked.

"Well I can't answer for you, ma'am.  But I sure as heck haven't."

Professor Thompson glanced at her watch.  "We're scheduled for a two hour review today, and we've already got an hour under our belts.  Let's take a ten minute break."

A student in the front row raised her hand.

"Yes, Mrs. Black," Professor Thompson said.

Gretta Black stood up and said primly, "We never take breaks, Professor Thompson."

Sugar-high stood up quickly and said, "If we're not taking a break then Gretta has to change seats with me and sit next to Maryanne."

"We're taking a break and Maryanne is getting coffee from the student lounge," Professor Thompson said firmly.

The non-caffienated me has a reputation.

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