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Funny Fantasy High School

“So, the first step is just to pour this bottle into that one?”

“Edwin, I told you it’s the blue beaker into the red. And get your hair out of your eyes before we start.”

“Right, right, sorry.”

“No need to apologize to me, just follow the directions. I do not want to blow up in study hall on a Tuesday of all days just because you can’t figure out a basic assignment. Especially when your dad is barely paying me to be your tutor.”

“Yes, fine… you don’t have to be dramatic. Alright, here we go…”

“Gently!!”

“How do you pour gently, Samantha?!”

“Just…. Edwin …. Slow down and think for once. This isn’t just a bunch of chemistry and technical proportions; it’s also an art form. You always say these things are ‘fine’ but details are important. It’s written down for a reason.” 

“And you always worry too much, even when it is fine in the end. The skinny beaker is now poured into the square one. You don’t need to give me that look. I'm being detailed in my descriptions of the steps, just like you want. Now, let’s see, the next step is, uh…”

“I’m not gonna just tell you. I won’t be there whispering in your ear during the exam with Mr. Gryffin looking down on us.”

“Swirl it with the stone rod three times to the left?”

“It’s one to the left; two to the right. Three to the left just changes the color of the subject’s arms. This affects the size and shape of the feathers.”

“I knew that. I was just testing you. Where’s the rod?”

“Edwin, you put it down over there next to the pickled eyes.”

“Thanks! One turn to the left and... two and three to the right. Damn, that’s a cool lookin’ swirl! I put the jar of falcon talons next to you, could you hand it over, Samantha?”

“Sure, here you go. You know, if you want to excel in potions, you need a cleaner workstation. I nearly stuck my elbow in some goop. Add them one at a time, and try not to splash. A drop will burn that hideous band tee of yours.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ve got my system. My table is perfectly organized and I look very cool doing it. Try letting your hair down some time. Alright, all four little talons dropped and dissolving! This isn’t that hard.”

“Then why are you failing potions so badly?”

“Rude. Uhh, next is a pinch of crushed silver egg shells.”

“I can’t believe I’m really gonna die in study hall. I should have asked your dad for more.” 

“No, wait, I know! Five shakes of the silver crush into the glass bowl at the same time as our-“

Your’s, don’t put my name on this-“

“-my purple liquid is poured in!”

“Yes!”

“And I am doing it gently, Samantha, so no, your obituary won’t say anything about study hall.”

“We’re not done yet. I’m still holding my breath.”

“Fine. Okay, okay, six minutes of hard stirring before I add in the batwing. My wooden spoon is... ah, there, left it by the first beaker.”

 “Wait- just checking, which wing did you grab from supplies?”

“That’s like the seventh time you’ve asked. It’s from a Golden-Crowned bat and it’s the right wing.”

“Just had to be sure. Don’t hunch so much, you’ll inhale the fumes.”

“Ugh, crunching up this wing is the worst step. I hate how this feels and it sounds so strange breaking it up.”

“Remember, even pieces. You know, you can just like, leave, if you’re gonna be weird about it. Some of us actually want to be here, not just because our daddy said so.”

“What I want is to get through this semester without Mr. Gryffin sinking his claws into me. I’ll just have Father buy me dragon skin gloves. And then what I really want...”

“Oh no, you’ve got the look on your face again. Stop staring into the distance.”

“It’s just...my band is gonna be big one day....”

“Focus, Ediwin, focus.The potion is bubbling already.”

“C’mon, you must’ve heard me at band tryouts. Can’t you just- pass me the next beaker, size eight- imagine it? Spells to rock to. To change hearts. Feel the beat shaking their bones. Then I won’t have to be a dumb potion master like Father.”

“Everyone heard what happened at band tryouts. The janitors are still trying to replace that section of the auditorium. You can try rocking out again on your dinky mando after you get your marks up.  And also, being a potion master is not dumb. I’m going to revolutionize healing when I graduate. I’ve already got some really cool ideas started that-”

“Maybe you can start by curing stick-in-the-mud-itus. Hey, look! I think it’s starting to come together! It looks thicker. Starting to stick to the back of my spoon.”

“Edwin… It only sticks like that if you’ve used the left wing…That was in our textbook.”

“You’re such a buzz kill, Samantha. It’s still a big ol’ bat wing. I’m sure it’s fine.”

“Wait, hold on, we need to check how that alters the spell. I have to look at the book.”

“You worry too much. I can lend you my demo tape on songs for calm and focus. Look at how easily this potion is coming together? Now, I just need the last tincture, it’s the ninth from the right in that row of test tubes. Dandelion yellow.”

“No, it’s crow’s foot yellow, the tenth from the right. Edwin, we really should…”

“Samantha- thank you- I’m telling you it’s fine. Maybe the resulting wing growth will be a little bigger but it’s fine. You’ve seen Mr. Gryffin’s wings- big is cool. Crow’s foot yellow, hmmm, crow….”

“I’m not watching but make sure you're using the stone rod while I flip through the pages.”

“Right, right, of course.”

“Don’t say ‘of course’ to me with confidence when I know this is, like, your eleventh attempt at a basic flight potion.”

“Look at me, ‘I’m Samantha, my hair is always in a perfect bun, and I know everything ever and I’m going to make the prettiest potions.’ Well I can do this, too. I’m using the pipettes just like my notes—“ 

“-my notes, you moron.”

“—alright, your notes say, I’m putting twelve little drops into the final beaker and —“ 

***

“Mr. Gryffin! Mr. Gryffin! There’s been an explosion in the study hall- the roof flew clean off!”

February 23, 2023 07:13

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5 comments

Paul Sandford
17:17 Mar 02, 2023

Your story was in my critique circle email. Overall, I liked it 🙂 and it didn't leave me feeling completely like, 'what was the point?', which plenty of short stories, even by some widely revered authors, have done in the past. I enjoyed discovering that this was no ordinary chemistry lesson and the inevitable explosion at the end made me smile (probably because I'd ruined so many experiments in high school myself!). To develop this, I'd suggest considering whether a reason for the friction between Samantha and Edwin could have been esta...

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Elka Rae
21:40 Mar 02, 2023

One of my editors had the feedback about wanting to have better descriptors for what they're doing, and I struggled with that. I appreciate you catching my attempt and your advice on how better to fulfil the movement. I'll work on that. I will save your comment to my draft so I can think on what you've said and make updates. Thank you so much for making time to read my story!

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K.E. MacPhie
23:35 Mar 01, 2023

Sent to your story from a "go critique each other" email :) It could be a little more human. Like, conversationally, most of us would say "I don't want to blow up..." unless there's dramatic emphasis like "I do NOT want to blow up..." just noticed up front, otherwise cute story!

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Elka Rae
21:36 Mar 02, 2023

That's exactly how "not" was in my head when I wrote it! When I'm emphasizing I often don't use contractions, haha. I also wanted Samantha to be a little bit stuck-up. Thank you for the feedback!

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Raji Binesh
23:50 Feb 28, 2023

sarah lynn's back at it again! her and her flying 🤤😋

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