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Chandler In The Classroom

by Susan Oleksiw

About the Author: Susan Oleksiw is the author of three mystery series. Her short stories have appeared in AHMM, Level Best Books anthologies, and numerous other magazines and anthologies. Her nonfiction can be found in Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing and other publications.


Alicia dropped the last story manuscript onto Floyd’s desk. He always sat in the front row, so he was sure to be noticed when he had a critique of any of her instructions, which was often. It was a wonder she ever got through a class without losing it. Floyd lifted the cover sheet and glanced at the first page of text, where she wrote the grade. His upper lip curled in his usual disdain. The other students did the same and then spent a good three minutes paging through their creative work.

“Today we’ll talk about pace and how to use certain techniques to maintain it.” She waited while the students opened notebooks and pulled out pens, or flipped open iPads or laptops. A few books slid to the floor, a chair scraped on the linoleum.

It still surprised her how much noise a class of only six students could make. This adjunct gig was going to kill her. The pay was terrible, the students hostile, and the scheduling worse. Maybe she really should consider her brother-in-law’s offer to work in his lumber yard—the pay was good, the hours steady, and the office had AC. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Floyd just waiting to pounce.

“Get the dirty deed on the page as early as possible,” she said. “That’s standard advice.” Just then the classroom door banged into the wall. She hadn’t closed it, to keep the air circulating in the room, and now wondered if she should have. A young man in a hoodie and jeans slid in.

“This is English 203. Creative Writing.”

He scowled at her and slammed the door.

Story Comments

Dec 6 - Susan Rickard

Witty AND true!

Dec 6 - Teffy Wrightson

Such a clever story! So amusing and I wasn’t quite sure how it would end. I really enjoyed reading that.

Dec 6 - Mickey Cherry

I enjoyed it. Right from the start you’re drawn in and feel like an unnoticed observer. Her final comment is perfect!

Dec 7 - Frances Dunn

A fun read. and author pulled it off.

Dec 8 - Erik Deckers

I loved the meta-ness of the story, and how Alicia just took everything in stride.

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