Habib’s English teacher, Mr. Bell, was one of the smallest members of the teaching staff, even on a Monday; however, he had a reputation for rousing sleeping students by slamming a large book onto their desk and shouting, “Tired students die more easily!”
The first time Habib saw him do this, he thought, ~Bellicose Bell bellows by the beastly boy below.~ Unaware that it had expired, Habib attempted to write a story that did not infringe the patent on plots. Skipping the specification and figures, his claims read:
1. A story comprising at least one plot device selected from the group consisting of: boy meets girl, stranger comes to town, boy loses girl, hero goes on a journey, boy regains girl, and man hunts whale.
2. The story of claim 1 in which Hamlet’s father’s ghost sets off an unfortunate chain of events.
An abstract of Habib’s story would read along the lines of, “Stranger comes to town where he meets girl and boy. Girl and boy lose stranger but his ghost sends them whale hunting for their fathers.”
Mister Bell’s response was scribbled obliquely across the bottom in red pen, “Obvious. I anticipated the ending, as have many before me. Your grammar and spelling is atroceous.” For good measure he had added his initials with a florid swirl. It was an illegible signature, but it wasn’t Kurtz, it appeared to say, “Jesus.”