A bit of light fiction to perhaps make you smile...
Paula Hanson sat in the first seat of the third row. Paula always wore strappy low healed sandals, shorts skirts in various pastel colors: pink, lavender, baby blue, and soft fuzzy sweaters. And the second button of each of those soft fuzzy sweaters often seemed in imminent peril of losing the battle to remain tight in its buttonhole.
Paula would sit quietly at her desk; ankles crossed, one hand resting in her lap or on top of her books. But her other hand was always doing something, the only nervous energy she seemed to allow. Sometimes with that hand she would twirl a strand of silky auburn hair. Sometimes her fingers would tap out a soft rhythm against her desk’s scratched surface. On occasion she would play with the bubble gum she chewed; stretching it out, winding it around her finger once, then twice, then back into her mouth it disappeared. But none of these habits affected him more than the small yellow pencil.
“Today we are going to discuss the disclosures of cash flow that are generally used in the preparation of a reviewed audit,” he said to his students. Paula picked up a small yellow pencil from her desk. He continued, “Can any of you tell me what the Statement of Standards for Accounting and Review issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants says about this?” Paula rolled the small yellow pencil between her thumb and forefinger, slowly back and forth. Richard Martin raised his hand and he called on him. Richard’s answer was wrong, it usually was. Paula placed the small yellow pencil to her lips, lips that were the same pink as the bubble gum she sometimes chewed. His mouth went dry. He stopped to take a drink of water. Paula rubbed the length of the small yellow pencil back and forth across her full bottom lip several times.
“Um, well, umm, no Richard, that’s wrong.” He tried looking away from her. “The financial statements and supplementary schedules provided by a company’s management are not sufficient to...” She put the small yellow pencil between her white teeth. He felt short of breath.
“Yes, you see, umm, as I was saying, an auditor must...” Now the pink tip of the eraser was met by the pink tip of her tongue. It was suddenly so very hot in the room.
“Ahhh, Frank, could you open one of the windows? Please.” Paula was stroking the small yellow pencil against the line of her jaw. “Well, yes, umm… and audit must be performed and reviewed…” The small yellow pencil disappeared halfway between Paula’s lips. Then out just a little, then she bit upon its end, finally pulling it out of her mouth again. He could feel the tiny beads of sweat forming on his brow.
“Well, maybe it would be best if someone read out loud from your book.” Dave Smith raised his hand and he called on him. Paula again was rubbing the small yellow pencil across her bottom lip, back and forth, back and forth. He could think about nothing else.
Dave droned on and on. He could barely hear him, let alone make sense of Dave’s words. Paula kept toying with the small yellow pencil and he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. She never looked up from her book as Dave read. But the small yellow pencil continued to slip into her mouth, then rub across her lip, then stroke her jaw, her neck, then the little pink eraser slid so slowly down between the perfection of her…
The bell rang suddenly, jarringly. He blinked once, twice. Dave stopped reading. Paula laid the small yellow pencil down, then looked up at him. Well, actually they all looked up at him and he said… somehow, “Read chapters six and seven over the weekend. There’ll be a quiz on Monday.” A collective moan rippled across the classroom. Then they all made their way out the door and he was alone. He leaned back against the blackboard, exhausted. Then he saw it sitting there, left behind on Paula’s desk, the small yellow pencil. He went and picked it up, and slid it into the plastic protector in his shirt pocket, thinking then that he would make sure and give it back to Paula on Monday. After all she might need it again.
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