| 03.17.2018

Friday Fiction: The curse of finals past


The morning was just like any other. I brought my ice skates to school so I could play some hockey in front of the Idaho Commons, my buddies and I terrorized some squirrels and I didn’t bother to study.

Shane Wellner | Rawr

Shane Wellner | Rawr

Not a word, not a page, not a theory or train of thought passed between my notebooks and my eyes. We went out that night to a party on 1st Street and I’m not entirely sure how I made it home.

That night was when the dreams started.

I dreamt of last year when I earned straight As. I made the dean’s list two semesters in a row, but my entire social life was lacking. I dreamt of the late nights I spent hovered over my desk and the jeers of the other people on my floor as they went out on Friday nights.

I woke up in the middle of the night confused. I wondered where I was, and it took me several minutes before I realized I was in my apartment, wrapped up in the blanket my mom gave me for Christmas last year.

I must have fallen asleep on the couch watching “A Christmas Carol” again. All of those weird ghosts and funky hallucinations seemed to be tripping me out. I grabbed a glass of water and headed to my room. As I shut off the light, I heard a tapping sound.

Tap. Tap.

I looked around in the dark, straining to see what could possibly be making the noise.

Tap. Tap. Tap tap tap!

It grew frantic, louder, closer.

I suppressed a scream.

Then, floating in front of me was the textbook I used for my integrated seminar class last year. The ethereal book seemed as if it was judging me in my blanket burrito. How could I be awake at 1:00 a.m. with a final lurking on the horizon? I ignored the book, however. I was tired and still slightly intoxicated.

I buried my head under a pillow and fell fast asleep.

The next morning was just the same. I brought my ice skates to the Idaho Commons and played hockey, then sat at Einstein’s watching herds of freshmen and studying students. It was a typical day. I picked up The Argonaut, read the same news I read yesterday…


It was Friday. A new issue of the paper should have been out by now.

The rest of my day went by in a cloud as I pondered the situation. There was no way. I picked up an old paper, that’s all.

That night my friends and I went to a party on 1st Street. I don’t remember how I got home, but I remember falling asleep watching an ABC special showing of “A Christmas Carol.”

Rustle. Rustle. Flip. Flip. Rustle. Flip. Tap.

I groaned and rolled over, landing face first on my living room floor.

Glaring around my in search of whoever had woken me up, I noticed my statistics notebook on the coffee table. Ignoring the shimmering white paper, I pulled myself to the kitchen for a glass of water.


I stiffened and glanced over my shoulder.

My notebook was hovering off the table slightly, the pages turning on its own command. I saw words, numbers, doodles stuck as they had been yesterday when I was in class. Then, there was a scratching sound as words were scrawled across the front of the page.

“You should be studying.”

With a gulp and an indifferent sniff, I turned on my heel and went to my bedroom.

I dreamt of sugar plums.

The following day was a disaster. I forgot my skates, couldn’t play hockey, didn’t have my wallet and my backpack was full of books. Not that I intended on doing any studying of course, but I must have forgotten to take the books out this morning in my sleep deprived stupor.

I went to the same party I’d gone to before, but decided to only have a few drinks. My friends called me a baby and continued playing King’s Cup.

After a few hours, I went home and decided to watch a different Christmas special. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was on Nickelodeon.

This time I woke up to the sounds of a restaurant. Cash registers beeped, grease gurgled and orders were being called out to customers. I squeezed my eyes shut against the noise.

When I dared to peek, I had to repress every urge to scream.

There I was, standing in my kitchen wearing an atrocious McDonald’s outfit, flipping burgers, chewing gum and looking bored.

The zombie food service worker version of me glanced over her shoulder.

“I wanted to be an engineer. One that solved the genome sequence and cured cancer. But now I just flip burgers.”

I sprinted to my room and slammed the door. Pulling out my books, pens and any paper I could find, I flipped on my desk light and studied like I never had before.

I didn’t sleep that night.

“Seriously? Did you sleep all day again?”

I opened one eye languidly and glanced around my little apartment.

“What day is it?” I heard myself ask my roommate.

“Oh, come off it. It’s Friday. December 12.”

I closed my eyes again with a smile.

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