Classroom 2021

It happened again, unfortunately. Class started well enough. The building was brand new, and all the health and safety procedures were in place. A taped line marked the lecture area. Desks were six feet apart. Doors and windows were open. Professor Jones entered the room in his usual button down shirt, tie, and pajama bottoms. The slippers today were the brown corduroys. He waited a few minutes for students to come in late.

One student came in with her baby, mouthing apologies. Professor Jones reminded her to turn on her microphone, and she took a seat. The girl in front of me was looking at her phone, the guy on my left watching surfing videos on his screen. The professor began the day’s lecture, about the women’s suffrage movement in the Progressive era. When his slides came up, his body faded, but we could still hear his voice. I took notes.

When his body returned, he asked if there were any questions. A dog started barking at the back of the room, making everyone jump. For a minute we couldn’t hear anything but that. I started to ask a question, but three children ran into the room and jumped onto their parents’ laps, causing a commotion.

Professor Jones began the next part of the lecture, but he stuttered and I missed a phrase. Then his voice crackled and stopped. We all looked up and peered at him. He froze, then disappeared in front of our eyes. The room was silent.
The girl in front of me clicked on her mic. “He’s gone again,” she said.

I turned on mine. “I don’t see why they can’t give the professors more support, so they don’t just vanish like that.” The girl turned in her seat and rolled her eyes at me.

“He’ll be back,” said another student. “Just needs to log in again.”

We waited. A few students stood and stretched, revealing bare tummies or rock band boxer shorts. One took out a placard with a photo of her face, placed it at her desk, and left the room. Just then a naked couple came in to the room and began having sex on the table at the front.

“Oh no!” cried the guy who’d been watching surf videos, “we’ve been classroom bombed!” Two burly students wrestled the couple off the table and escorted them out the door.

“Didn’t Jones secure this room with a password?” said a boy at the back wearing a black t-shirt.

“Yeah, but no one is monitoring the door, so anyone can get in,” answered one of the burly students as he returned. “I’ll do it.” And he stationed himself at the entrance.

There was a thump and Professor Jones reappeared.

“I’m sorry about that,” he said, “I just lost my connection. I’m back, so let’s continue.”

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