Normally I don’t pay much attention to the other students in my classes, but it’s hard to ignore people while they’re watching porn in the seats right in front of me. Two of them: a wealthy Abercrombie-type kid, and his sorority villain girlfriend. Both Barbie- and Ken-doll blonde and spray-can tan. They huddle together, eyes glued to an iPhone propped up against a beaker, snickering and whispering to each other.
It’s a fairly large class with long science tables lining the room in two parallel rows. I’m surrounded by Bunsen burners, flasks, beakers, stacks of notes and flashcards, electric balances, and burets. The place always smells like rubbing alcohol.
The distance between our desks make it difficult to see the little screen from where I sit, but not so difficult that I can’t make out the two naked bodies humping away at each other.
Dog-earring one of my notebooks, I glance over at Mr. Johnson, who’s lecturing about alkaloids and chemical reactions at the front of the room, oblivious to the perverts in front of me.
I continue to glance between the video clip over their shoulders and Mr. Johnson. As far as I can tell, it’s normal porn. Two people in a staged room with bright lighting, going at it. So why are the couple in front of me watching it in the middle of class, laughing? Seriously, who watches porn in public? I try to stretch farther for a better look, but I’m too short and the table is too wide. They either know something I don’t, or they’re ridiculously immature. Whatever it is must be worth the risk of getting caught, which only sparks my curiosity more.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been an overachieving, overly curious girl. It’s my Achilles heel. My mom thinks it’s an asset, but for me it’s a burden. I can never seem to mind my own business. It’s great for academics, always wanting to know what happens next in books, or how someone came up with an equation. That inquisitiveness got me to the top of my class, earning me a spot as high school valedictorian before I graduated last year, but when it comes to my social life, it hasn’t helped me make any friends. I can’t seem to stop myself from butting in where I don’t belong. I try to hold my tongue. It doesn’t stay still for very long. I’m just too damn nosey for my own good.
As much as I tell myself to ignore it, I can’t help myself. I lean forward, practically on top of my desk, tapping the girl on the shoulder. She slowly turns in her seat, a glare already prepared on her face before looking at me.
“What’s so funny?” I whisper to keep Mr. Johnson from hearing me. He’s wandered to the other side of the classroom with his back to us.
The girl—I think her name is Serena—looks like she puts on her makeup with an airbrush, hair sculpted out of satin, nothing out of place. All of her clothes bear logos and have French names. She’s alien to me. I can’t imagine a world where I could afford a pair of shoes that cost more than my parents’ combined monthly wage. I can’t even fathom for a second being her. I wouldn’t know where to start.
She looks at her boyfriend (I have no idea what his name is) as if she’s not sure if she should tell me. He gives me a once-over like he’s sizing me up, then lifts a perfectly waxed brow and nods.
Serena hands me the phone. I notice her manicure is perfection like the rest of her when our fingers touch. “It’s Mr. Johnson,” she says.
At the top of the screen is an advertisement for a website called Rocket Cocks that boasts nothing under eight inches. I don’t need to whip out a ruler to see that the actor who my classmates believe is my teacher definitely fits the criteria in the size department. Only thing is, he looks too young to be him. Before I can really get a good look at him, Serena yanks her phone out of my hands.