Bernard watched attentively as his lecturer explained what the course would be about. He glanced about searching for Charlotte amongst the herd of dozing students. He couldn’t see her anywhere. Bernard looked to his left and appraised the slumped student on his laptop. He was flitting lazily between Facebook and Guardian Sport. There was also a window opened called LiveJasmine.com. I like flowers too mused Bernard. What a silly way to spend his time, Bernard thought to himself as he furiously typed every single word the lecturer said. His fingers moved swiftly and deftly and the sound he was emanating was like a hoard of locusts.
The lecturer gazed out at the audience “Any questions?” he asked. Bernard’s arm shot up like an unwanted erection in year 10.
“At what point will we be doing Marx’s critique of the capitalist structure and his dialectical theory of history?” Bernard asked, knowing that his question showcased his stupendous genius.
“Week 17” came the blunt reply. The lecturer’s eyes were blank. Why wasn’t he staring at me with admiration and hope, thought Bernard, surely my question illustrated my intelligence, surely he wants to nurture me and make me his protégé?
“You may be dismissed” he said as students streamed past Bernard. Bernard was expecting someone to congratulate him on his brazen question but it was not to be. He could merely overhear innocuous conversations: “Did you see that girl at the front?” said one sexually frustrated teen to another. “Man, I was so fucked last night; I had 10 pints” said one liar to another. “My daddy works for Goldman Sachs” said one twat to another.
Bernard began to reflect on his time at school as he trudged out of the lecture hall on his own. He could still hear the accusatory jibes ringing in his head. “George Bernard Shawsese” they had called him, for his religious obsession, borderline addiction, of the works of Martin Scorsese. Bernard had vowed that at university he was going to drop the ‘George’ from his name, and be known only as ‘Bernard’. It had a nice ring to it and made him feel like a bear. He had considered introducing himself as Bernardé but then he realised he was neither French nor handsome enough to pull off such an audacious name. Bernard it would be.
“Shall we head back?” a recognisably alluring voice cooed. Charlotte stood behind him; he could almost feel her deliciously stale breath warming his neck. She needs a glass of water, swooned Bernard feeling his heart batter against his chest like a bird on LSD.
“Yes, we shall” replied Bernard, whilst frantically trying to quash the evolving bulge in his crotch through his hand in his pocket. Luckily Bernard was wearing his favourite tight-fitting ‘Game of Thrones’ y-fronts and the bulge was thoroughly nipped in the bud. Bernard and Charlotte began the short walk back to halls. She languidly began to link his arm. I feel like Snoopedy Dog, Bernard thought to himself.
The walk back was great, thought Bernard as he reclined in his room. They talked about some really important things; whether the world exists or maybe we’re just brains in a vat; perhaps Marx was right, but his timing was just wrong; is it possible to do a truly selfless act? All sorts of enlightening things that no one had ever talked about before.
When Bernard and Charlotte got home they went to dinner at halls together. It was simply awful; some sort of curry that had goat in it – a goat! -, tasteless rice, all pleasantly topped off with a flourish with a block of sponge coated in lobulated ‘custard’ which Bernard was sure the cook had spat out. But the awfulness of the dinner was made redundant by Charlotte’s transcendental presence. She had such an ease within herself; when someone asked a question she averted her eyes and shifted her feet, when a boy said hello she spluttered like a dying fish, when Bernard told her he liked her hair she scratched at it awkwardly like a starving mouse. Just how I like girls, he thought rubbing his knee.
Bernard returned to his room to do some reading for his class in a week’s time. Bernard liked to seek solace in his academic articles. His brain was expanding like the broken condom that brought him into this life.
It was a Tuesday night and Tia Maria, Xi ‘Jacques’ Wan and Karl were all going to a pubbing house. A house of pub called ‘The Rocket’. Bernard immediately thought of astronauts and the fragility and inanity of human life when he heard the name; he has no control over his soaring philosophical thoughts. Bernard had thought this a great idea; apparently it was a pound a pint! I only need 3 quid to have a great night Bernard thought smugly rubbing his knee.
And a great night he did until it ended acrimoniously with Bernard calling Karl a ‘pseudo-intellect’. Bernard deeply regretted this slight. He had never said anything quite so scathing before, and it weighed heavily on his conscience like Mrs Crocker’s leering breasts weigh heavily in his darkest dreams.