Part 3 of what I thought was a short story, but might be a medium-to-longish short story. If you missed the first two parts then you can find them here:
The Early Springer’s Book Club (Part 1)
The Early Springer’s Book Club (Part 2)
The usual disclaimers about adult fiction apply. Hope you enjoy! 🙂
Derek arrived home late that afternoon, reborn, renewed – very much like Doctor Who, or so he thought.
He ate his tea: baked beans, chips, and two large bangers; then settled down to watch BlockBusters with his parents. Someone on the telly said, ‘I’ll have a “p” please, Bob’, and Miss Dunbavin wandered, quite uninvited, into his brain. Derek got up from the sofa, coughed and said he was going to do his homework. His mother eyed him suspiciously and asked if he was feeling all right.
‘Got a lot on,’ he said vaguely, and raced upstairs. Derek went to his room, took two magazines from his rucksack, and then locked himself in the bathroom. He sat on the toilet lid and thumbed through the pages, first front-to-back, and then back-to-front. He opened his zip and let his Problem spring free.
And there they sat, just him and his Problem – looking at each other.
Derek swallowed; he was sure he’d seen it wink.
He’d heard lunch-time talk about moments such as these, and had always assumed instinct would take over, that some primeval urge encoded since the dawn of man would tell him what to do when he finally had to come face-to-face with his Problem
But there was nothing. No shining shaft of light carrying knowledge through the bathroom window, no unearthly clicking of ancient machinery inside his head. There was nothing.
His problem winked again.
This was becoming awkward.
Miss Dunbavin seemed to be the root cause of his Problem, so Derek, inside his head, turned to her. What would Miss Dunbavin do?
You need to apply yourself more, Sophie, she’d said once during a class in which Sophie Stebbes was being thicker than usual. Miss Dunbavin had sat on her desk and crossed her legs; and Derek had pressed his thighs together.
Do you know what I do when I come across a difficult problem, Sophie? I grit my teeth and take it in hand. And I don’t let go until the answer presents itself. Now if I can do that, Sophie, then I’m sure you can do it too…
Derek closed his eyes. ‘Take the problem in hand’, he whispered to himself, ‘and don’t let go until the answer presents itself…’