Write a short story no more than 300 words in length and use "noted" in the title and somewhere in the text. You may not use any words starting with the letter "b" and it must be written in first person.
Confession: I've busted the 300 word limit out to about 600. Sorry. In return, I offer a first-person account of Tara, the character that I introduced in Dilute Solution, and which Mattrozi said he'd like to know more about. Not using words starting with 'b' is really challenging; but that's the point, isn't it?
Mattrozi writes a poetry blog called Cleveland Thomas.
"Tara," said Mr Everton, "tell me what you think of your last assignment.
I looked longingly at everyone else leaving the English classroom, going off to lunch. I turned to my teacher. "What I think's not important, Mister Everton," I said, smiling sweetly; leaning a little closer. "It's what you think that matters, isn't it?"
Mr Everton sighed and took a step back. "Very well," he said. "I think that it's an excellent first draft from a highly intelligent, highly lazy young lady. I think this took you twenty minutes; tops."
That got me. I'd actually written my short story submission during the ads of Australian Idol. "Whatever," I said, softly, looking at the floor.
Mr Everton sighed again. "This story, as it currently stands, is less than what I consider a passable quality." Before I could argue, he put his hand up and kept talking. "However, I'm confident that about a lunchtime's worth of rewriting and editing will elevate it to a pass; or higher."
I didn't like where this was going. I said nothing, and looked Mr Everton in the eye as he went on.
"Take your laptop with you now to the staff room, and you can get to work. I'll accept your assignment at the end of lunch.
"Si-ir," I said. "That's just not fair!"
"Your objection is noted." he said, "Though you're quite right. Giving you a second chance isn't really fair; only I think that with a push you just might start to realise some of your potential."
The lunch hour went slowly; however, I worked hard. I had to pass English. A fail would have a seriously tragic effect on the spending money and other goodies I get from Dad.
About half way through lunch, Mrs Atkinson, my Art teacher, knocked on the door of the staff room. "Mister Everton," she said, after noticing me, "I need to speak with you for a moment please; privately."
I just wished I could hide in the corner for the next few minutes to pick up some hot gossip on another student, or even a teacher. As I got up to leave, I had a stroke of genius. I opened "Sound Recorder" on my computer, hit record, and then locked the computer.
# # # # #
I could not have hoped to record a juicier conversation. My two teachers weren't talking about a student or another teacher; they were talking about themselves. They were having an affair; a very raunchy one, it seemed.
Later that night, I lay in my room in the dark and smiled. I formed my plan and slowly drifted off to sleep.
# # # # #
I said nothing as I played Mr Everton the conversation on my iPod the next morning. He went pale, and his hands started to shake. He stopped listening after half a minute.
"You little cow," he said.
I said nothing, and tried not to smile; much.
"What do you want?"
"I want an 'A' for English," I said. "Like you said, I'm pretty lazy and don't like to spend a lot of time on my assignments. So, I'll turn up to class, and hand in the assignments that you write for me; and you'll give me an 'A'."
Mr Everton stuttered. "That's extortion! That's --!"
"Your objection is noted," I said, and it felt good to say it. I turned and strutted down the hallway towards the Art department.