I was sitting in Eckhart
206, staring at my analysis midterm
. I thought that I might have understood what the test
was about, but I wasn't really sure how much of the math
I understood. Suddenly, there was a cold breeze
, and my midterm flew out the window
, which for some insane reason
had been left open. Winter
at the University of Chicago
is not something you normally want in your classroom
, but someone had decided to open the window up and let it in
. I looked up at my teacher
, who looked back at me with his one good eye
and said "We're out of midterms. You'll have to go get it
." I got up, made my way past everyone in my row of seats (interrupting everyone's concentration
), and went outside
to find my midterm.
It was a little chilly outside, so I tried to hurry up. I looked all around the outside of the building, but my midterm was nowhere to be found. I started to look in the passage between Eckhart and Ryerson. Suddenly, I stopped--there was a big white thing lying on the ground. I looked closer, cautiously, but also inevitably. It seemed to be a naked man! with totally white skin. No, not totally white. There were little black lines on its--his--skin. I reached out with my hands. I couldn't stop myself.
The instant I touched him, his eyes opened. They were pitch black, black as the ink of the letters in a question about sequential compactness in a metric space. I jerked my hand back, but it was too late. I could no longer escape.
He leapt up and swung at me. I tried to block his blows, but I was no match for him. He had the mind of a senior math professor. I was a student with little more than a year of college calculus. I never stood a chance.
I had never been in a real fight before, so I was totally unprepared for the pain of his attacks. He backhanded me across the jaw, then lifted me bodily and threw me against the stone building wall. I opened my mouth to scream, but he punched me right there and burst both my lips. I could only wimper.
Then...he threw me forward. I broke my fall with my arms, so I was bent over, knees on the ground, hands on the ground, bleeding hard from my mouth. He grabbed my pants and pulled. At first, I couldn't understand what he was doing, but then when the cold air brushed across my now exposed buttocks, which had suddenly become a boundary point between my body and the world, I realized through the blinding pain just what he was going to do.
I lay on the ground twitching while the repititious laughter washed over me like the peaks of a sine curve. Then it began to fade, like the graph of xsin(1/x), whose oscillations diminish to zero as you approach the origin. For a long time, I could not move. Finally, I was able to turn myself over. He was gone--vanished or departed, I know not which. I somehow managed to crawl back to Woodward, where I now type this story, and wait for death's sweet release from this mathematical agony.
For the record, my midterm turned out to be pretty easy.