On the first Friday of every month, the Australian Writers Centre reveals a new set of story prompts. Writers have 55 hours to submit their best 500-word (or fewer) story.
She wasn’t going to get drunk. That would be ‘uncouth’, as her mother would say. She just missed the holidays when she didn’t have to set her alarm, when she could sleep all day, and party all night (in a covid-safe way of course). When she wasn’t sleeping or spending time with friends, she’d do some online shopping. A few new tops, a retro gingham dress (she hated anything too flowery), some halfway decent makeup.
She glanced around again. Familiar faces. Some not so familiar. One or two doing work. Another gazing out the window, jealously watching the rugby training. A couple of girls whispering and giggling in a language Theresa didn’t understand.
Two more minutes until the bell. So, so, so bored.
Daniel announced his boredom by yawning loudly and stretching his lanky frame. The plastic moulded chair groaned in pain. Or was the chair groaning in boredom?
Travis started click, click, clicking his pen, over and over and over again. He had a smug smile, wondering who would be the first to crack with a little shove or worse.
Jenna not-so-surreptitiously scrolled through Instagram, brazenly ignoring the instruction above the light switch. The ripped sign read, ‘Phones must be out of sigh”. Her phone didn’t sigh, so maybe she thought she was following the rules?
Detention was the worst. Theresa hadn’t even done anything wrong, and yet here she was, suffering with a bunch of no-hopers. She’d never been in a detention room in her life, and it was worse than she’d feared. A stupid misunderstanding, and now Theresa was here.
She took a couple of deep breaths and pretended to do some work.
A sudden commotion from the back of the room, followed by expletives, laughter and held noses. There was no embarrassment from the culprit, merely pride. Forget good looks and a magnetic personality. It really didn’t take much to impress detention groupies.
The class looked at the Deputy Principal, hiding behind a laptop. See no evil. Hear no evil. Smell no evil.
One minute to go.
Theresa was desperate to gather her belongings and make a run for it, but knew she had to preserve the illusion of being sensible. She glanced at the clock on the wall. The second hand moved achingly slowly. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick…
And there it was. The buzzer. It was over at last.
All eyes turned to Theresa.
“Good afternoon,” she said. “You’re dismissed.”
On afternoons like this, Theresa really hated being the Deputy Principal.
Grateful to the Australian Writers Centre for sparking creativity each month with the Furious Fiction competition.