Friday, October 18, 2013

Short Story: A Black Hole Ate My Homework

Time for another short story.  This one I wrote rather quickly.  Hope you enjoy!  Tell your friends.

A Black Hole Ate My Homework
By:  Michael Heitkemper



“You had all of last week to finish this project, Brian,” my World History teacher, Mr. Thindle, said to me.  He wanted to make sure my humiliation was well received.  Everyone in the classroom stared at me as they handed in their own essays.  “So where is it?  Where is your homework?”
I took a deep breath because I knew that what I was about to tell him was going to be hard for him to swallow.  
“It could be anywhere by now; another dimension maybe?” I said.
There were a few giggles amongst the class.  Most in the class knew that I was a bit of a joker, but I’m sure they didn’t know where I was going with this one9. 
“Quiet!” Mr. Thindle snapped. 
Mr. Thindle looked at me with a frustrated stare.  He knew that he was about to hear one heck of an excuse from me; it wasn’t going to be the first time.  I had already filled his ear with many tall tales that year.  Only this time, he had no idea of the doozy I had in store for him.  And this time, it wasn’t just an excuse; it was the truth.
“Well Brian, let’s hear it?” Mr. Thindle said.  
“I had the paper done.  Really.  I was actually finished with it before the weekend,” I said.  “But something happened Sunday morning…”

…I had just gotten up.  I came downstairs to the living room and flipped on the TV.  There wasn’t anything on; there’s never anything to watch on Sunday.   While trying to accept the fact that nothing enjoyable was on TV, I noticed my homework paper lying on the coffee table in front of me.  I had a good feeling of accomplishment seeing that paper there.  I really felt good that for once I had finished my homework ahead of time.  I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted.  The sky was the limit. 
A few hours later, the clock reached noon.  I was still on the couch, in the clothes that I had slept in, watching ridiculously old movies that I had absolutely no interest in watching.  It was going to be the typical Sunday.
“Brian, you’re not going to sit there all day are you?” my mom interrupted my stasis.
“Don’t know.”
“Your father and I are going out to the mall.  Do you want to come with us?”
“Hmm, cruising the mall with my parents?  No thank you.”
Soon, my dad entered the room. 
“Since you’re going to be hanging around here all day, don’t forget to drag the trash cans out to the end of the drive.”
“Ugh,” I moaned.  We lived out in the middle of nowhere, and our driveway was like a half mile long.  Ever since my dad traded his truck for his mid-life crisis sports car, taking out the trash was terrible. 
My parents left and I returned to my lazy slouch.  It was one-thirty.  I was still on the couch, and there was still nothing new on TV.  But my day had only begun.
For no reason at all, a large hanging photo frame fell down and smacked the floor.  It startled me.  When I realized what had happened, I really became bothered.
“Ahh, man.”  I started to think of the ways that my parents were going to blame this on my carelessness.  They would probably assume I was throwing my football in the house again.  Who could blame them though?  I was the poster child of carelessness.
I walked over to the wall where the picture had fallen.  Luckily the glass in the frame wasn’t broken.  The nail that was holding the frame had just pulled out of the wall.  There was a piece of drywall, about two inches wide, barely hanging on by its paper layer.  It must have chipped out when the nail pulled out.  I pressed the hanging piece back into place, but I must have pressed to hard.  The piece instead disappeared into the darkness inside the wall making a strange suction like sound.  THWOOP!  Now the hole was about two inches around.
Several swear words came to mind.  I should have just left well enough alone.
I started to think of the best way to fix the situation.  The frame was not broken; why not just hang it back up.  It could hang a few inches higher and cover the hole.  No one would ever know.
I grabbed a hammer and nail from the garage.  And in seconds, I had a new nail ready to hang from.  I held the frame up to the wall, hooked the wire on the nail and slowly laid it back against the wall.  As the back of the frame neared the wall, I started to feel something; as if there was some sort of vacuum pulling the frame closer.  As I let the back of the frame touch the wall, I again heard the strange noise.  THWOOP.
Confused, I pulled the frame away from the wall.  There was a very light resistance.  I unhooked the wire, and then laid the frame safely on the floor.  I felt around the edge of the hole.  I could feel a draft; like air was being sucked into it.  I cupped my hand over hole, covering it completely.  THWOOP.  There was a strong suction holding my hand against the wall.  I pulled my hand away. 
What could this be?  Why was there some kind of vacuum inside the wall? 
I placed my hand near the hole again.  I could feel the air pulling around my palm.  It was insane.  I had to get to the bottom of it.
After a quick run to the hall closet, I came back with a flashlight.  I shined the light into the hole, but all I could see was darkness.  I was frustrated with those results, so I decided to dig deeper. 
I started to break away small parts of the drywall with my hand.  I opened the hole up piece by piece, each being sucked right into the wall like the first one.  Before long, I had opened a hole in the wall the size of my head.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I should have been able to see the back of the drywall from the opposite wall, but it wasn’t there.  Instead, there was only a swirling black circle of darkness.  I don’t know how else to explain it; but there was a miniature black hole inside my living room wall.
The hole was only about eight inches in diameter.  The swirling circle of darkness was an unnatural thing to look at.
I didn’t know what to do.  I mean, who do you call for something like that?  A scientist?  The idea of calling 911 crossed my mind for a minute, but I wondered if there was really any true emergency.  It wasn’t like the black hole was trying to eat me.
I decided to experiment.  I grabbed the first thing that I saw, my dad’s hammer.  I held the hammer about six inches away from the black hole.  I could feel the suction and it was much stronger now that the drywall around it was peeled away.  I let go of the hammer handle, and as fast as I could blink, the hammer was sucked inside.  THWOOP.
Where did the hammer go?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t really care.  The only thing going through my mind was, “What else can I stuff inside this thing?”
The first thing to come to mind was really a no brainer for me.  There was no way I was going to drag those trash cans out to the street.  So I drug them inside instead.  One piece of trash at a time, I tossed each into the swirling black hole, all with a smile on my face.  Plastic wrappers, milk jugs, egg cartons; THWOOP! THWOOP! THWOOP!  It all went in without a problem and like everything else that goes into a black hole; it all seemed to disappear from existence.  I’ll admit, I was having fun with it.  So much fun, that I failed to notice that the hole was getting larger with every piece of trash that I fed it.  The hole started to grow larger than the hole that I had made in the drywall.  And as its sized increased, it would consume more of the drywall around it.
I was down to the last bag of trash.  I held the last bag, and gauged it by eye to be about the same size as the now almost three foot wide black hole.  I decided to have fun with this one.  I stepped back from the hole.  I held the bag tightly by the draw strings and started to swing it around staring at my target.  Finally, I flung the bag toward the hole.  It was a direct hit, but my gauging was apparently a little shy.  The bag was too big for the hole, and it became lodged in the wall.
I stepped over to the hole, and gave the bag a good push, but it wouldn’t budge.  So I grabbed the bag the best I could and tried to pull, but it was no use.  The vacuum had too strong of a hold on the bag.  I could hear the sound of air whistling around the bag from the suction.
I grabbed a broom from the closet and used the handle as a battering ram, pushing the bag into the hole.  I could tell that I was making progress.  The sound of the hissing vacuum was getting louder and louder.  Finally, all at once, the bag zipped into the hole.  PHWOOSH!
I tried to smile about my accomplishment.  The hole was unplugged, and the bag was gone.  But something was wrong.  The hole was different.
The black hole was more than four feet wide now.  It started to make a swooshing noise that was coming from deep within it.  And though I was standing more than six feet away from the hole, I could still feel the vacuum of it.  The air in the living room started to swirl from the black hole’s vacuum that was growing stronger and stronger.  I knew that I had a real emergency then, and it was far too late to call 911.
The curtains over the windows were streaming toward the hole.  And with one quick snap, the rod gave out and they too were sucked in.  It was as if with every item the hole consumed, the hole would grow larger and stronger.  Soon, as the deep swooshing sound turned into a growl, even the furniture on the floor started to rattle across the floor toward the hole of swirling darkness. 
I dodged one of the sections of our sectional couch as it slid across the floor toward the black hole.  I made it to the other side of the room where I could barely feel the vacuum.  I pressed my back against the wall, trying to stay out of the way of the chaos.  The couch flipped up on its side and pressed against the wall where the black hole had formed.  It was too wide to be pulled into the hole. 
I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know if there was anything that could be done.  But I knew that it was only a matter of time before the black hole grew so large that it would consume the entire house.  And who knew then if it would ever stop growing or consuming.
In one sudden second, the couch cracked, and then snapped in half.  Each half of the couch was instantly sucked into the black hole and devoured forever.  But then something happened.  The black hole shuttered and the swooshing turned to a growl.  For a second, the hole looked like it was collapsing in on itself.  It was as if the large couch was too much for the black hole to handle.  I came up with a plan.
I rushed back into the swirling winds in my living room.  I got behind the center section of the couch and gave it a heavy shove.  That was all it took before the vacuum took over.  The center section of the couch hit the rim of the black hole and was stuck for only a second.  But then, like the last piece it too was sucked into oblivion.  Again, just as I had hoped, the black hole reacted like it was going to fall apart. 
Before the hole could recover, I shoved the final piece of the couch toward the hole.  As the final piece of the couch was pulled in, the black hole started to loose it’s perfect round shape.  It became oblong and distorted.  Even the vacuum in the room seemed to be getting weaker.  I figured that one more hit just might kill it. 
I gave the coffee table a good shove.  The slowing vacuum pulled the coffee table closer and closer.  Then, just like everything else, it was gone. 
The black hole started to bellow and burp.  Its swirling motion slowed and slowed, until it finally stopped.  Instantly, the vacuum inside the room was gone.  I watched the black hole sit still and motionless for a few seconds before the outer rim of it began to shrink toward the inside.  After another moment, the black hole had disappeared completely.  The danger and everything that it had consumed was gone forever.

“And your essay paper?” Mr. Thindle asked.
“It was on the coffee table,” I replied.  “I didn’t really have time to save it.”
“Of course not,” Mr. Thindle nodded in a mocking way.
I looked around the classroom.  I could tell that no one believed my story.  But from their smiles, I could tell that most all of them had enjoyed it. 
“So, Brian, if I understand you correctly, you don’t have your essay paper because of unfortunate events in which you were quite possibly saving the world?” Mr. Thindle said.
The class chuckled.  Who could blame them?  Not me.  But I was about to make them eat every giggle.
I pulled a slip of paper from one of my folders, and carried it to the front of the classroom where Mr. Thindle was standing. 
“Is that your essay?” Mr. Thindle asked as I handed the paper to him.
“No,” I replied. 
Mr. Thindle examined the paper from top to bottom.  I could tell his genuine shock from his expression.
“It’s a letter from Homeland Security requesting that you excuse my missing essay paper, and thanking me for my quick thinking in the catastrophe that I was faced with,” I said. 
Mr. Thindle didn’t say a word.  I’m sure Mr. Thindle was questioning the authenticity of the document; however, I think the signatures at the bottom were enough to convince him. 
“You’re welcome,” I said.  And then, I returned to my seat.

END


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