``I heard you used to write erotic stories. Did you, professor James?''
Natasha Porter, that blonde girl who sat by the windows, taking notes apparently at random, and only asked questions very seldomly. I fear those students. When they ask questions, it's not because they didn't understand, or because they are trying to know what will be on the exam. It's because they disagree with what I said, and have a good argument. It's because they think they can crush me. And now, that. Every semester somebody asks me this question, but usually during the class, or surrounded by some friends, trying to make a fool of me; I know how to deal with them. As if I care about that. But she waited for the class to be over, and for everybody else to leave.
``Yes. It's not a secret.'' She seemed surprised that I was not embarrassed, or defensive.
``I've read your work.''
Big deal, they all do. They want to know what kind of smut an English literature professor would write. They are surprised; maybe in part because the texts flow swiftly, but, I think, even more because they find the descriptions much less graphic then they were expecting--and yet a few are shocked by the few graphic descriptions scattered here and there. I guess not one of them cares about the plot. It's like reading Lolita for the spicy parts, you're going to be disappointed.
``Yes, I did.''
She said it with a naughty smile, leaning against the table, doing something with her brown eyes that was captivating, probably perfected after hours in front of a mirror. I could bet she's not a real blonde. But who isn't fake these days, hair, breasts, lips, nose? And she is pretty, really pretty, and she knows that. The blondeness is just a detail, an extra.
``I liked it.''
``You know, flattering me won't help you with your grade,'' I said with a grin.
As if I didn't know that she doesn't give a shit for her grade, which is probably quite good.
``Ohh, I'm not kissing your ass.'' She stopped the phrase there, in that playful tone, but I could swear I heard her mind completing it: ``yet, and literally.'' She was still smiling.
``And how can I help you, miss Porter?''
``It's a small favor... if you don't mind, professor.''
She swayed from one side to the other, as she said that.
``If I can help.''
``I was wondering if you could review something I've written.''
``Your final paper?''
``No, no. It's something... it's silly, really, but I wanted an opinion. What I can improve, you know? I hope to get published someday. I know you are probably busy and don't have time...''
``Well... I am... but I'll try. Is it with you?''
She handled me forty printed pages.
``Be honest, please.''
I glanced at the title. ``Crossroads.''
She waved goodbye and grinned as she left the room. This will be a long semester, I thought, as I watched her ass swaying away and noticed that her story is not exactly a bed time story. For children, that is.