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Alan and the Exploding Woman

The lady in the back row of my class appeared to be suffering from just about every terminal disease going (at least, all the noisy ones). She coughed, sneezed, wheezed and occasionally raced out of the room (presumably to vomit). I wasn’t at all surprised that NASA had lost contact with the Mars lander earlier that same day. This woman could infect across interplanetary distances. My chances of surviving the week unscathed appeared slim.

She wore a very short dress, exposing enormously muscular legs that terminated in the general area of the feet with a gigantic pair of shit-kicking boots of the type much favoured by skinheads about to embark on serious aggro. The floor vibrated as she thundered out of the room, the overall effect being not unlike that of an earthquake. I nervously checked out convenient door frames to stand in.

Teaching this class had an interesting effect on my lecturing rhythms for I found I had to time my sentences so that they fitted nicely between the coughs and sneezes. Generally I managed to squeeze in about four words between paroxysms and I began to develop a distinctly minimalist style of speech. The essentially random nature of her periodic explosions also required much repetition from me as my last sentence vanished beneath waves of white noise. At some point in her life it would appear that she’d had 500 watt amplifiers surgically embedded in her throat. Students three classrooms away complained.

During the course of each day she sucked slyly on a bottle of violently pink medicine (could it be, perchance, the infamous Lily the Pink’s patent remedy?). In addition she kept popping the occasional pill. Her eyes became progressively more glazed and sometimes they crossed. A violent cough followed by a discreet spit generally straightened them out again, but the effect was only temporary.

She was, of course, the only student to have any difficulty with the lab exercises. She was constantly calling me across to ask for help and I would patiently squat beside her thinking germicidal thoughts as I debugged her latest listing. Perhaps the bugs were falling straight out of her nose into her programs (if they were, perhaps they wouldn’t infect me on the way).

At the end of every day, when the students had all gone home, I would pick up the saturated, snotty, phlegm-infested tissues that she positioned very carefully in neat piles on top of her computer, and throw them into the bin.

Amazingly, I have as yet developed no evil symptoms of my own. But there is still time…

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