Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Sweatshirt and the Night

Synopsis written beforehand:

A man attempts to retrieve his sweatshirt from the physics-lab; it ends poorly.

And the events shortly preceding said missive and continuing thereafter.

The air grew chill.

Nicolas looked about for his sweatshirt.

But it was nowhere to be seen.

"How curious!" he remarked and stood up to look. He looked on his coat-hooks; he looked on his bed, above and below his covers. He looked on the floor, he looked on the closet-shelves, he looked in every place he could think of. But the sweatshirt was nowhere to be seen.

Now a dread apprehension overtook him. "I recall," he mused, "Noting that my sweatshirt was not upon me when I departed from my physics lecture, two hours ago. I took a quick look about me and, seeing it not, departed; but perhaps it was there after all. I shall have to sortie out into the night and - hoping that the lecture-hall is not locked, and that my sweatshirt has not been purloined or misapprehended in the time since I left it - retrieve my belongings."

He set out.

The darkness was not overly profound; lights glittered, from the white glow of residential-windows to the yellow glow of street-lights to the blue-and-red, shifting pattern of lights from the giant neon signs facing the great Warren Mall. ("Mall" in the sense of an open space. It's quite pleasant. The neon signs are art, you see. Art.) Nikolas biked steadily uphill, occasionally seeing other travellers wandering the dark. He conceived of a tale in which he mistook his own shadow for a pursuer, perhaps inspired by the excess of cheese he had consumed that night at supper; but he dismissed it.

Then he arrived at his destination. Dismounting his bike, he hurried into the lecture hall, finding it lit and unlocked. Eerily, all was as he had left it; trash littered the aisles, the professor's scribblings still covered the chalkboards. Nikolas went to the seat in which he has resided - looked - looked again -

- there was nothing.

Nicolas, indulging himself, swore repeatedly.

Then another thought came upon him. He knew that he'd worn his sweatshirt earlier that day; but he had another class not too long before his physics lecture, a class on logic. And thinking about it further: in the intervening time, when Nikolas had gone to supper, he had taken his book under his arm, not in his sweatshirt-pocket, as he would have were his sweatshirt still on his body. The recollection was as a thunderbolt; and the hall in which his logic-class was held was not too far off. Again, Nicolas set out.

The doors were locked.

Again he indulged his baser impulses, cursing most foully, shaking his fist in the air. "The lights are on!" he cried. "Why should one lecture hall be locked while another stands yet open!" Having nothing better to attempt, he went to a side entrance, this one even brighter lit than the other. He reached for the door-handle -

- and it swung wide open, revealing a brightly-lit classroom, entirely empty.

Nikolas ventured in. He was somewhat trepidatious, concerned about whoever else might be using this place (why were the lights so bright? And what was that noise he heard - or thought he heard?), but his mood swiftly changed to one of rejoicing. There it was - draped across the teacher's podium like a ceremonial garment - his sweatshirt - his, his, not stolen at all!

Swiftly, Nicolas grabbed it up. He considered matters for a moment - his own pockets, which contained solely a cell-phone and a wallet - the table before him, which seemed to be piled with essays, one demarked with NSFW. (Nikolas was intrigued, but reluctant to dally reading it.) His eyes darted forward; moving to the chalkboards, he wrote a message upon them. "To whoever put my sweatshirt on the podium," it began, "Thank you!" Beneath this, he added after a moment's hesitation: "(I was quite worried.)" Then he was off again, into the night.

But now, he had his sweatshirt with him.

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