Ecosystem

Construction in the Rain

More short fiction about Karl, who worries that somebody might bury him in the construction on campus.

October 12, 2011

It’s 72 degrees out and the snow is all gone. The other night we had like twelve feet of snow! Anyway, guess who got banned from the library? Some librarian woke me up Thursday morning where I’d slept next to a window on the second floor, and I tried explaining that it wasn’t my fault that I was there, that it’s really their fault for locking the doors before I could escape. But I got kicked out and banned. I still have the drugs, though. I figure I could use them to bargain my way back into Cline. Or maybe I could bribe the janitors into letting me sneak back in.

                A lot happened in the past few days. Firstly, Thursday night, I was sleeping in the Cowden lobby because my roommate Todd, or maybe his name is actually Tom, had one of his nine girlfriends up there, and I looked into this kitchen they have down in the lobby. There, I saw the person in the gorilla suit wearing an apron and baking cookies. They smelled delicious, but I didn’t bother to think about them too much. I didn’t want the gorilla to catch me, so I ran off and slept outside Lindsey’s office, which smelled like incense and tea.

                The next day, I found out that Maxwell is gone. His herd of cynics can’t find him, and haven’t heard from him for a few days, so now I’m starting to think that the lost-and-found people made him “disappear” in the construction going on around campus all the time at every imaginable point. This is really bad, especially for the herd of cynics. Without Maxwell, they don’t know how to be cynical. They’ve all been happy and positive lately. It’s horrible!

                We’re in a weird part of the semester, I think. Dr. Corddry came to class in clown makeup again, Dr. Flugstadtbahnhofplatz or whatever my German professor’s name is keeps swearing whenever something goes wrong, and my Psychology professors told the entire class that even if we get a hundred and ten percent on the midterm, we’re still probably going to fail the class. My rhetoric professor, Dr. Jerry Mathers, gave this long speech about how we’re never gonna learn to write good if we don’t pay attention to his comments, and that he’s our lord and savior, or something along those lines. In the middle of class, he took somebody’s paper, took out his lighter, and burned most of the paper, saying that the F the student got was for fire. The only cheerful teacher I have is Lindsey, and she’s a hippie, so of course she’s gonna be happy. She can just meditate at a commune in the Yucatan, and she’ll be fine.

                This morning, I found out that Tom’s nine girlfriends all found about each other when he got their names confused, and now Tom is extremely single. Apparently our RA Harington has put extra security on our room because the nine exes want revenge on Tom, and might try to use me to get to him. Maybe they’ll kidnap me or bribe me or something like that. But according to Harington, the nine exes don’t really like each other, so they’re having trouble working together to get revenge. They can’t agree on who should throw the water balloons or who should buy the lighter fluid or who should catch the scorpions or who should put them in the water balloons. So at least Tom is safe for now. Not that I condone having nine girlfriends, and not that I think he should get away with it, but I don’t wanna get hurt in the crossfire, or stung in the crossfire, I guess.

                All day, I’ve been hiding up in this lounge area in the Student Union where janitors and Student Union workers keep passing me. I’m sure they’re all part of the lost-and-found people. I don’t think they’re on to me. I still don’t know for sure what happened to Maxwell, and I don’t want to make any assumptions about what happened to him without any evidence to back them up, but I’m afraid I might end up murdered just like him. So I’m just quietly minding my own business and writing a paper for Dr. Corddry’s class about how Shakespeare predicted the colonization of the Yucatan in The Tempest, and another paper about Cannery Row.

                Out of all the books I’ve read in college, I think Cannery Row is my favorite. John Steinbeck writes really weirdly, I think, but the way Lindsey explained it was cool. She has this weird hippie way of making old literature by dead people actually fun. Steinbeck goes on and on about how the Row is an ecosystem and everybody is related like in the ocean, and there are predators and prey and other species all trying to survive on their own, even though stronger species keep getting in their way. I think NAU is like that. It’s a kind of ecosystem. I said that in class during a discussion, and everybody looked at me like I was high, cause I never talk in class. But I think NAU is like this crazy ecosystem. Maxwell and the herd of cynics are like a school of fish, and the gorilla is like a migratory killer whale, and the lost-and-found people are like the sharks, and everybody is interdependent. I wonder where that puts me in the food chain, but it’s probably pretty low. Maybe I’m just caught in the middle of everything.

                Or maybe not. I guess I could be wrong. But that’s where I’m at right now. Midterms are terrifying, the gorilla has moved into Cowden, Maxwell is gone, Tom’s nine exes want to murder him, and I still have Autumn’s book in my backpack. I need to find a way to get back into the library.

                Good luck with your own school of sharks.

                -Karl

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