Sitting In


I've been writing flash fiction. I got this idea when I went to college. The first day all the classes would be over filled, and the instructors would start thinning them out. 

“Time, what is time?” Tom wrote it on the board in big block letters.

  He continued, “Now we can look at this in a Philosophical or Mathematical sense.”

  Tom loved to throw this question at his first year Philosophy students. He loved to watch them squirm as they realized this wasn’t going to be the easy “A” they thought it would be.

  Tom started picking out which students would get up now or wait till the end of class to drop it. He even started making predictions as to how many, and when they would leave. Surprisingly it was only a matter of minutes, as the sounds of moving chairs and backpacks being gathered, were heard though out the lecture hall.

  Tom thought, now it’s time to drop the next shoe, “By the end of this term not only will you have an answer to this, but also where your path on the line of time is.”

  The sound of moving chairs became more noticeable, as more students started to escape. Tom was amazed that it only took these two statements, to knock out a quarter of the class.

  Before Tom could say anything else, a hand came up. It was a rare occurrence for this to happen, but could make the rest of the hour interesting.

  The student who raised her hand surprised him. First off because she looked the same age as him. Second because she had a bit of a slight grin on her face.

  Looking at her he asked, “Yes miss?”

  She corrected him saying, “Mrs., Mrs. Palmer.”

  Tom looked at the well-dressed woman and asked, “You have a question?”

  Her grin now became a smile and she began, “So your question is interesting.”

  Tom replied, “Really, how so?”

  “Well it depends on the reality of the time line you are talking about.”  

  At that point the room went silent. Tom realizing he just stepped in to a trap and Mrs. Palmer just moved her first chess piece. Also students started sitting down, realizing something interesting just happened.

Tom starting to sweat a little replied, “Considering that realty can change depending on your point at that moment.”

  Mrs. Palmer countered, “So you are saying that reality and time are interchangeable, depending how your view differs from moment to moment.”

 Tom now flustered came back with, “Yes, no, maybe.”

There was now some snickering coming from the class.

  Before Tom could come back, Mrs. Palmer said, “Now on the Mathematical part of your question. Let’s say that we times everything by zero. Does that mean reality is zero, or time is zero?”

  Tom realizing he had just been checkmated, and trying to stop the bleeding said, “Those are the question we hope to answer this semester.”

  Mrs. Palmer just smiled.

  Tom gaining some composer back asked, “Mrs. Palmer, I look forward to arguing this and other subjects with you. May I ask why are you taking this course?”

  Mrs. Palmer smiled again and said, “Sorry Mr. Summer. I’m just sitting in checking out your class. I’d like to introduce myself; I’m the new Dean of the Philosophy department.”

  Tom just looked at her and said, “I see the begging of an interesting friendship here.”