Better Things

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #138, where we write about the image below from Don Matthews.

A picture containing grass, outdoor, nature, smoke

Description automatically generated

“Okay, last item…”. Jay brought his stack of paper down onto the desk, with sufficient effect, he hoped, to reclaim everybody’s attention. “The End of Term Treasure Hunt. This will be the last event we organise, so let’s make it a good one.”

Roz continued to blow smoke rings from her roll-up and looked at her watch. “Will this take long? It’s just that the bar closes in twenty minutes, and I’m gasping for a snakebite.”

Jay found it difficult to conceal his disappointment. This must be the most lacklustre committee ever elected in the history of the college.

To his right, Jez yawned. Jay stared at him. “Sorry, mate, I was up all night last night. I had an essay due in today, and old Harpo told me that if I was late again, they were going to kick me out.”

Jay tried to be officious. Clearing his throat, he began, “Okay, the Treasure Hunt. I thought that since it’s our last event, we could make it something special.”

Jez’s thoughts turned to the Summer Ball, when the beer had run dry after only an hour.

“Now”, continued Jay, “all the noddy stuff has been done before. We’ve done traffic cones, road signs… even temporary traffic lights and the policeman’s helmet last year. We need something cryptic, something to get them thinking for themselves. God knows, that’s why they came here, isn’t it?” Even in his three years here, Jay could have sworn that he had seen a decline in students’ ability to study without guidance.

Lethargically cocking an eye at the Napoleon clock ticking lazily above the fireplace – a quarter to ten – Jez offered “how about a stitch in time?”

Roz blew another smoke ring, and Jay sighed.

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