School Days

I needed the class to stay on top, to stay competitive in the career marketplace. I drove around and around and around the campus, trying to find somewhere to park. After at least 30 laps, I found one five blocks away, behind an old Renault Dophine. On the car was a bumper sticker: 666 – OUR PLAN. “Good grief,” I thought as I got out of the car and lumbered down the street toward the administration building to pick up a schedule of classes and registration form. Signs directed me to a waiting room filled with students waiting to pick up schedules of classes and registration forms.

After 45 minutes, I emerged from the administration building and tripped down the front steps. A hunched man wearing a purple shirt with small yellow cones printed on it was mowing the campus lawn. As I picked myself up, I could see him turn away with his shoulders moving up and down and heard him chuckling in a low tone. “What a goon,” I thought as I limped back to the car and headed back to work.

Registration was a drag – waiting three hours in line in a gymnasium filled with people half my age who stared at me as if I were a dinosaur in a museum. When I reached the desk to register, I was told the class was closed and I would have to fill out an “add” form and attend the first few classes with the hope that enough students would drop the course so that I might be added to the roster. “Great,” I thought and turned to see a hunched man wearing a purple shirt sweeping the gymnasium floor. It was the same guy I saw mowing the lawn. Again he had his back toward me and his shoulders were shaking. If there hadn’t been so much noise around us, I suspect I could have heard him laughing. “This guy’s got a problem,” I thought and headed for the exit.

I arrived early for the first class. It was a nice evening – not too cool, not too warm, with about an hour of sunlight left. I found the small, temporary classroom – one of several pre-fab buildings nestled between two stately edifices of higher learning. I was the first one to enter the drab room and searched out the biggest desk I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t fit and had to settle for a folding chair I found by a window at the rear of the room. I opened my briefcase and pulled out the textbook and waited as the room filled with pupils. I chatted with a woman who was about 50 and was taking the class for about the same reason I was. “Marketing Data Base Machines” seemed to be quite a popular subject.

The instructor was five minutes late. He entered the room, muttered a few things under his breath, and then proceeded with the introduction to DBM marketing by explaining what a data base was. I was distracted by a noise coming from outside the window to my left and glanced out the corner of my eye to see a old Renault Dophine headed for the side of the building. I stared at it for a second or two, and when I realized it wasn’t going to stop, I stood and blurted out, “Hey! Hey!” and pointed stupidly at the place on the wall where I could see the car was going to hit. The car crashed through the wall, scattering several amazed students and bringing down a shower of debris. Behind the steering wheel was a hunched man wearing a purple shirt. People were stumbling over one another, heading for the door. I heard screaming and shouting as panic ensued. I grabbed my briefcase and shouted at the the woman I met earlier to follow me out a fire exit behind us.

Once on the campus lawn, we looked back toward the building to see the wall collapse as the Renault Dophine with the man in the purple shirt came charging toward us. We ran behind a large tree and the car drove past us. Then it turned back and charged us again. We moved to the other side of the tree as the car side-swiped it and tore off a large chunk of bark.

“This can’t be happening,” I said as the maniac in the purple shirt headed toward us again. When we scrambled to the other side of the tree, the woman turned to me and said, “What does he want? Why is he after us?”

“I don’t know!” I shouted as another shower of tree shavings covered us. The car again turned toward us and the guy in the purple shirt gunned the engine until I thought the rods would come shooting through the hood. The woman removed a small device from her purse and said, “I don’t want to do this, but this is an emergency.” She flipped the device open, turned a small knob, and spoke into the device, “Two to beam up.”

“Analysis, Mr. Spock?”

“Captain, it definitely appears to be a case of Klingon interference with the development of this planet. One of the members of the landing party is in the Transporter Room with a local resident she rescued.”

“Security, take our vistor to Sick-Bay. Kirk to McCoy.”

“McCoy here. What is it Jim?”

“Bones, check out our visitor. Look for signs of Klingon- induced stress. Give him a full physical. I want answers!”

“I’m a doctor, not a brick layer!”


“I’ll get right on it, Jim.”

“Mr. Sulu, take us out of orbit. Set course for Talos 4. Mr. Scott, you have the con. Spock, come with me to Sick-Bay.


“Is that all you can say, you green blooded, pointy eared machine?”

“Really, Doctor. I see no reason for such a display of emotion. I was merely commenting on the subtle Klingonian mental control evident from this victim’s behavior.”

“He’s coming to.”

“Where am I?”

“You’re aboard the Federation Starship Enterprise. Fill him in, Spock.”

“We have observed the behavior of the natives of your planet and are convinced that the Klingon Empire has infiltrated your society.”

“I get it. The guy in the purple shirt was a Klingon. Right?”

“On the contrary. The influence I am referring to is the madness gripping all the minds of your species: the marketing of data base machines.”