Flash: E is for Excellence

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He was a complete punk-assed angry child in a six-foot-five adult package mansplaining how I should do my job.

The angry worried me.

At five four, my breakability in comparison to his body weight meant caution.

Dealing with men-children was exhausting, and I was reaching my limit for the week and it was Tuesday. I accepted it teaching college students; kids between eighteen and twenty-two didn’t have their heads on straight. Adulthood and control takes learning, and very little of those skills developed in the classroom. Students buried in learning everything BUT adulthood struggled.

Professor Sanders was a co-worker.

“Did you explode like this on Monica?” I managed to get the words out in a breathless sweet voice that usually deescalated his tirades.


I kept my voice low and soft, avoiding direct eye contact. “The student who you say I need to crack down on. Did you loom over her and yell at her?”

“What, no.” Sanders shook his head. “Of course not.”

“He so did.” Interjected Professor Moose, the third of our department. She was only a temporary, but her gray hair from age and a bank account from years of corporate work gave her the confidence of tenure. “I heard him in my office and would have come out if I wasn’t with a student.” She scrunched her nose. “I should have come out anyway.”

Not wanting to walk aground our male companion, I requested, “Alyssa, could you make sure the door is closed?” We had moved the conversation her office slash department meeting room when I realized how loud Sanders was getting.

“On it.” She stood, swayed a moment until her trick knee steadied, then opened the door, making sure our office area was empty, then closed it firmly.

I closed my eyes and breathed deep. Is it time? Monica’s face as I sent her off to the school counselor filled the dark. Right, this was a fight that needed happening. Opening my eyes, I looked up, directly at his face. “Sit.” I said firmly, pointing at his preferred chair, the only one big enough for him to sit in a long meeting.

When he didn’t move, I used my teacher’s voice, deepening it, code-changing like I was in a lecture hall.
“Now, Billy.”

He dropped, surprised.

“How dare you treat a student like that.” I leaned in now that he was at my height like he always leaned in on me when I was at my desk.

“I did–”

“Nope, I am talking now. You wanted me to be demanding of excellence, well here are my demands.”

(words 433; first published 4/5/2024)

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