16 #StoryADayMay Harsh

shortstorymonthx240Quills and Quibbles writing group met last night and got a new assignment. Unlike most months, when I put it off or even ditch it, I embraced it for today’s story.

We talked about writing exercises, and how doing them, like doing physical exercises, strengthens your muscles. I told them about Jo Robinson, who said she had always imagined writers as having a special muscle at the base of the skull, flabby at first, but growing stronger with use. We agreed it was a delightful and appropriate image. Thanks, Jo!


by Marian Allen

Mrs. Malthus, like most of her students, stole looks at the clock. She wished she could join the happy few who were unobtrusively – and, some, obviously – sleeping. Don Pardo’s snoring was the only thing keeping her brain from shutting down entirely.

The dear, lovely clock on the wall told her that the oral presentation currently droning in her ear would be the last of the hour. That happiness caused her to focus a beam of attention and approval on the beauty queen next to her desk.

“And so the rebellious people brought the author of the dra… drac…”

“Draconian,” said Mrs. Malthus, along with several of the class who had somehow managed to retain consciousness in spite of the classroom’s heavy fog of boredom.

“…draconian law to justice.”

Mrs. Malthus accepted the essay and added it to the stack on her desk.

“That’s the last of the oral presentations,” she announced. “Monday, we begin a new unit.” She wrote the assignment on the whiteboard.

The blessed bell rang, releasing them all.

She tucked the stack of essays into her briefcase. Before she forgot, she made another tick-mark on the index card with draconian and the present school year printed at the top. Students in three of her classes had presented the same paper. At least they had been in three different classes.

The internet had become an invaluable source for students too lazy, too busy, or too stupid to write their own papers. It was also a nice little source of income for people who could crank out themes, essays, and research papers for a price.

She added the name of the beauty queen who had gone last to the list of three on the index card. They would all get A’s, of course. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and Aunty M’s Homework Vault brought in more money than her paltry teacher’s salary.

Draconian. What did that even mean?

~ * ~

The lovely and delightful Cairn Rodrigues sent me a set of the funniest interview questions anybody ever asked me. The interview is posted at her blog in a feature she’s just started, appropriately named Askew Questions.

MY WRITING PROMPT: author, rebellious, draconian



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “16 #StoryADayMay Harsh

  1. Jane

    May 16, 2013 at 9:29am

    Okay. Maybe I should just skip the plan where I even TRY to drink my coffee while reading your stories.

    Thanks for a wonderful top of the morning laugh. So cleansing to the system on a gloomy day like this.

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