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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Short End of the Stick (02/20/14)

TITLE: An Academic Injustice.
By James Sparrow


It had to be a mistake! There’s no conceivable way that isn’t a mistake, Matt reason to himself. His marks were the best in the year, there was no way he was really going to have be in a group with Bill Pollis and Nigel, these guys were the class wasters!

Approaching Alistair’s office, Matt was confident that the error would soon be corrected, which he was certain would alleviate his anxiety considerably.

Alistair’s office was not an arena for the faint hearted. Putting aside the man’s awesome intellect and the genuine disdain he held towards other human beings, the general condition that he chose to work within was far from orderly, which, to a obsessive compulsive like Matt, was already causing him an alarming measure of discomfort.

‘Thank you for taking the time to see me Alistair’, Matt confidently opened.

‘Well if you would kindly dispense with the niceties and get to the point, you won’t have to monopolise too much of it Matthew’.

‘Well, it’s just that you’ve posted the group allocations for the presentation assignments for Issues in Applied Theology and, well… I seem to have been put in a group with Bill Pollis and Nigel Dillon, which must be a mistake sir’.

‘Oh I see’, Alistair replied, with a slight squint in his eyes. He continued, ‘Well Matthew, you would normally be correct to assume that you would indeed be in group one. Although your average score across the board is very high, this module is a continuation of the Philosophy and Ethics course I tutored last year, which I’m sure I don’t have to remind you was not one of your finer pieces of work’.

‘Yes, I certainly do remember, the essay was due in a week after my wife gave birth to our first child. The fact that I got the essay in on time at all and managed to get a 2:1 was an amazing achievement. Surely you’re not going to use that as the reason to put me a group with Bill and Nigel!’

‘I would have thought with the obvious ability and gift for leadership that have amply displayed this year Matthew, that you would relish the challenge of whipping this group into shape’. Alistair was enjoying this. He was perfectly well aware that Matt had become obsessed with the notion tof getting a first. It happened to someone every year and every year, whoever it was, became an insufferable bor.

‘So you’re telling me that I am stuck with this?’ Matt’s fate was sealed and he knew it. How could this have happened to him? He was the golden boy; the highly favoured one! What on earth was God playing at?

As he trudged wearily across the car park, Matt resigned himself to his fate. It seemed that the heavens had conspired against him, having tried unsuccessfully to alter his predicament. Standing by the door of his car, he heard the unmistakeable sound of Bill Pollis, who promptly emerged from behind the bank of trees that lined the car park. He was enthusiastically rapping a verse from a track by the Wu Tang Clan. He stank of cigarette smoke and was dressed in his usual scruffy, unkempt and dishevelled manner. Catching sight of him, Bill made a B line for Matt.

“Sup bredrin? So I saw that we got paired up in group 2, yeah massive. I can’t wait! What I think we need to do is incorporate as much biblical philosophy as we can, which we can then use as a basis to build a system of inductive reasoning, that will take account of the social sciences and pastoral theology!’ Pollis was those of those people who talked a very good game, but expected people not to notice or question his blatant lack of any kind of actual work.

‘Yeah, sounds good Bill’, Matt replied in bemusement.

‘Anyways, I gotta gets moving blood innit! I’m on placement tonight with the kids from the Boscombe estate innit. They’re some crazy bitches gonna be there tonight man. Peace man, I’, out!’ And with that, Bill trudged across the car park, continuing to rap and gesticulate wildly with his hands.

Matt continued to watch him until he disappeared from sight. Shaking his head in disbelief, Matt got into the car, started the engine and prepared to drive home to see his wife and son. Life isn’t so bad he quipped, as he pictured his beautiful young family waiting for him back in Sailsbury.

‘Thank you Jesus!’ Matt smiled.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Toni Hammer02/27/14
Wonderful story about what really matters in life.

In the first line, it should read "Matt reasoned..." Also keep an eye out for typos such as "tof" instead of "of" about halfway through. They sneak up on writers as we're editing--we only see what we think we see sort of thing.

I found Alistair's character quite amusing. I always have a soft spot for the old codger's and you wrote him well.
C D Swanson 02/28/14
A very well crafted story with many multi-layered messages and meanings.

Really well done.

God bless~
Phyllis Inniss03/04/14
You need to read over your work, even more than once. A very interesting lesson on what is truly important and the characters are realistic. The presentation is just marred a bit by a few grammatical errors or typos.