Monday, March 05, 2007

Flash Story for Bryon's Blog-themed Challenge

Re: University Protocol on Incidents of Student Plagiarsim
by Patricia Abbott
Dear Dr. Goodman:

I know you’ve told me I must not email you again, and that you won’t, in fact, open emails bearing my name. And, if you happen to open one and discover it’s from me, you’ll immediately delete it. The snippy departmental secretary also informed me that you’ve opened a new account and access is limited to non-student email addresses. How do you expect me to get a hold of you?

By chance, I came across your blog today on a google search for badminton sets. Who would have guessed you’d choose the name Badman for your blog? It is you, isn’t it? Although the sexual references in your posts initially threw me off, I eventually recognized your list of “favorites.” You do talk about Godard films a lot in class, and I know your favorite composer is Arvo Part. His music was often playing during your office hours before I was forbidden attendance. Yes, the Arvo Part references really gave it away.

I couldn’t resist using the comment portion on your blog to remind you that I didn’t plagiarize my paper. I know you found a somewhat similar essay on the Internet using your sophisticated spy software, but my occasional use of, “Women Who Lie in Bed in the Literature of Dickens” by Gavin Brighton was strictly an homage. (In case, you are unfamiliar with the term, please consult Wilkipedia).

Another thing to keep in mind is I’m not an English major, Dr. Goodman. For eighteen years, my mother placed increasingly difficult words on my pillow in preparation for the SATs so please don’t hold this burden against me and say I can do better.

I’m only enrolled in your course to fulfill my humanities requirement. To expect me to meet standards designed for English majors is unfair. In case you’ve forgotten, I am majoring in Phys. Ed. I can wrap my legs around my neck. I would be glad to demonstrate this during your next office hours if you will just send that security guard away. I think you’ve witnessed my agility in class. (I am referring to the unfortunate incident that led to student complaints about the inadvertent display of my genitalia).

Dear Dr. Goodman:

Removing my comments from your blog doesn’t mean you didn’t read them.
A brief response to what extra credit I could undertake to raise my grade is not much to ask. I am hoping to enter medical school in 2010 and need a 4.0 to assure admittance. It’s time to let me put a childish mistake behind me.

Another point to consider: there’s a distinct possibility my participation in the vault and floor exercise will enable Team U.S.A. to defeat the Russians in the 2008 Olympics. An awkward blemish on my record might prohibit this. I know you don’t want to act unpatriotically, thus playing into the hands of international terrorists and the Romanian team.

P.S. You get some very unusual comments on your blog, Dr. Goodman. I wonder if Mrs. Goodman ever reads it.

Dear Dr. Goodman,

I came to your office hours on Monday, but again you were absent. The security guard, Moe Albani, and I had an interesting conversation about what constitutes temporary insanity. We agreed it differed from state to state, but certain aspects remain constant.

I must remind you that the exact time of your office hours was on the syllabus you handed out in September. This document functions as a contractual obligation. I had a new paper on hand to replace the one you insist is plagiarized. And although Moe Albani and I had shared our innermost thoughts on insanity minutes earlier, he stubbornly insisted I must hand the paper to you directly. Standing outside your office has definitely soured him and I am not so sure that we will remain friends.

Dear Dr. Goodman:

I think it’s unfair of you to appeal to readers of your blog to come to your defense. Pasting my paper there was unprofessional. There must be university regulations on student privacy that forbids it. That comment by Molly A. was especially cruel although I do think you solicited such remarks by going on too long about my egging of your office door.

I admit my original paper for your Victorian Literature class was sophisticated for a freshman, but please remember I worked for several years at Sports Authority before beginning college. I also competed in gymnastic events across the state, possibly picking up a veneer you might not expect to find in a girl of twenty.

You’re making me angry, Dr. Goodman. Have I created a blog where I make fun of you? Have I sought a public forum for my grievances? I think you know the answer. Perhaps your chairperson would want to know how blithely you’ve addressed student concerns. I’m sure he/she would find your blog most interesting, Badman.

Dear Mrs. Goodman:

I was released from police custody today and am back in my dorm room with my beloved stuffed animals and photographs of my favorite gymnasts. Right now I am gazing at a picture of Olga Korbut and wondering if her thighs were as strong as they look.

The police pathologist decided Dr. Goodman was strangled by an unknown assailant. Since my hands were badly bruised from my fall from the balance beam, it couldn’t have been me. He didn’t once consider the use of thighs as a weapon.

Finding your blog and its discussion of Dr. Gs favorite sexual practices was fortuitous, Mrs. Goodman, and I’m glad we became friends. Who knew my homage to an obscure (or so I thought!) paper on Dickens would bring us together?

I have filled out the paperwork to transfer to a school in Oregon noted for its gymnastics program. BTW, I see you have removed both Dr. Goodman’s blog and your own from the Internet. Good idea, Goodwoman!

Yours truly,
Student 146098.
Thanks for reading this. Please check for other 1000 wrd blog-themed stories at


Gerald So said...

Love the student's voice. It's true what they say, academia is a great resource for criminal thoughts.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband is a professor and unfortunately, this does not veer too far into parody.

JT Ellison said...

Patti, that's just creepy. And the unreliable narrator is excellent.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, Patti,
Great story. I'm so glad I'm not in academe . . .

Christa M. Miller said...

I love this, Patti. I had exactly the same thought as J.T. about the narrator. Very well done!

My husband is a public high school teacher, and has caught students plagiarizing before as well.

mybillcrider said...

Loved it. And the thing is that it could be true. I've seen far too many communications like that to doubt it.

Maria said...

I love this. You've got such a terrific understanding of the world of blogs and online personas.

John Rickards said...

Ha! Very cool. I love the narrator's style there.

Anonymous said...

Solid writing. Really nice work.

JD Rhoades said...

I love this one.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Loved it. Got to say you write good shorts.

Karen Olson said...

Fantastic work, Patti! Love the student's voice.

Anonymous said...

Very wicked. In a good way, of course.

pattinase (abbott) said...

To anyone I was unable to thank personally, thank you so much for reading this. It is so gratifying to get to read and be read.

JJ Stickney said...

Patti -

Terrific stuff.

Dave White said...

Great Story.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Great, skin crawling stuff. What a way to go.

Steve Allan said...

That was great! I loved the "the inadvertent display of my genitalia". I just did a spit take when I read that.

Anonymous said...

The Sports Authority reference displays a cool tongue in cheek irony that looks at the unorthodox venues in which we acquire the cells of our personal veneer. Just loved it!