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Creative Writing

Illustration: Shari-Anne Gibson

Lauren Thompson, “The Evil Tutor”, Short Story
Illustration: Shari-Anne Gibson

On a Tuesday afternoon, seventeen-year-old Alan Samuels is sent to the library of Jackson Creek High School to meet with his evil tutor.
             The month is March, and the reason is writing.
             Alan has used the library a few times in his two-and-a-half years of high school, checking out a total of four books: three for a research paper on Japanese internment for sophomore history class, and one on beginner guitar when he went through his obligatory phase.
            This afternoon, the evil tutor meets him at a green, plastic-topped table set beneath a large window near the Reference section. The Jackson Creek high school library is not at all musty. In fact, it is so well-lit and well-ventilated that even the PTA has no suggestions to improve it.
             The evil tutor sits down at the table across from Alan, introduces herself and quickly asks how his day at school went. Like all high-schoolers, his day was fine, which he informs her with disinterest. With no other small talk topics prepared, the evil tutor begins. She is young, out of college for just two years with an English degree, and not particularly beautiful. She is the kind of girl people call cute, which they genuinely mean so they say it often. She has dirty blonde hair her mother calls golden brown.
             The evil tutor suffers from the self-doubt that comes with knowing the difference between cute and beautiful. She masks it with over-compensating confidence, which is transferred to and interpreted by Alan as patronization. Alan resents this, which is why he deems his tutor evil.
             There is another reason Alan resents his evil tutor: he is aware he doesn’t need tutoring. In most subjects, Alan has always earned As and Bs. He even finds math interesting, and sometimes thinks fairly intellectual thoughts like, “Math is about more than just numbers” – thoughts he comes up with on his own without ever considering whether or not they are intellectual to think.
             And yet, his mom has insisted he meet with the evil tutor, whose specialty is helping teens write college entrance essays. So here Alan sits, in the clean, non-musty library that even has new books – new books! – instead of hanging out in the mall food court with his two best friends like he usually does after school. (This is another cause of resentment.)
             His mom is having him tutored for just one English assignment: writing a practice college entrance essay, making the evil tutor wildly appropriate. The assigned topic is, “What do you think it means to be successful in life?”Alan is actually okay at writing, good enough that he’ll get into any decent college to which he applies. So far, he has a B+ in English.

 
 

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