The small classroom had a sparse gathering of students waiting for the moment when the class' two best students would prove their professor wrong. They didn't have long to wait before a hand shot up in the middle of the room. Once the young professor saw who was the owner of the hand he rolled his eyes.
"Yes, Miss Simmons," he said as he gripped his podium for support.
"I'm just trying to clarify something, Professor Thomson," the young woman said with a smile. "You claim that the Ming Dynasty had a stronger economy than military, correct?"
"Yes, Miss Simmons," the professor sighed as he brought out a handkerchief to wipe the sweat off his forehead.
"All right," the young woman took a deep breath and smiled. "So the fact that Emperor Hongwu is credited with ruining his economy due to his trial with paper currency does not count? Plus the fact that the name Hongwu means 'Vast Military' doesn't have anything to do with the Emperor's military record?"
As Cathleen Simmons waited for the professor's response she casually crossed her legs. This action resulted in the skirt she was wearing to ride up her bare thigh and reveal quite a bit of skin to the professor's wandering eye. Cathleen smiled as Professor Thomson's cheeks reddened and his sweating increased. Unable to actually give relief to the young professor Cathleen proceeded to rub her left heel slowly up and down her right calf.
"Um," the professor mumbled. "Yes, that is a good point. But Miss Simmons, where is your proof?" The professor's momentary triumph was taken away when a hand near the back windows of the room rose up. Once the professor saw the owner of this hand his face began to pale. "Yes, Mr. Jones?"
The owner of the hand pulled out a comb and proceeded to run it through his dark hair as he talked. "Well in Dr. Andrew Synder's book China: Beyond The Wall, he states everything my classmate just said." The young man then put his comb away and leaned back in his chair. "Plus our text only looks at China from an Anti-Communist perspective and not a world history point of view. So if you were going to look up anything about the Ming Dynasty in that waste of paper you made us get. Well, we'd all be quite disappointed."
"Yes, we all know your views on the book that was chosen by the department, Mr. Jones." The professor nodded without looking at any of the class. "If you're so adamant in your beliefs that the book should be changed, perhaps it would be wise to speak to your," he pointed both hands to the young man, "connections to the faculty about changing the text."
As the professor turned his back to write on the board Henry Jones III was receiving smiles of encouragement from his classmates. Henry, better known to most people as Mutt then exchanged a long look to Cathleen. She responded with a smile before going back to her notebook and pencil.
After Professor Thomson finished writing on the board he attempted to gain their attention with unsuccessfully telling an anecdote. He was failing so badly that by the end of the class no one but Cathleen was paying attention to his lecture. And although she was a model student, even Cathleen had great difficulty not doodling on her notebook instead of listening.
"All right, class," Professor Thomson clapped his hands. "Homework for next class is to read pages 40 through 60 in the Tucker book and I want a two page summary on the facts you've read. That's right, Mr. Jones I don't want another thesis on how poorly chosen the book is. No matter how good your evidence is." The disgruntled professor said as he and Mutt exchanged a serious look. Once Mutt began to smile the professor snapped a book shut and looked at the class. "You may go."
With those simple words a mass exodus of young bodies gathered at the room's doorway and funneled out to the hallway. As the students went there separate ways Cathleen waved goodbye to some friends and walked to the street. Not far behind her Mutt was absently playing with a switchblade and studiously ignoring the appreciative glances some of the female students were giving him.
"You know, Mutt," Cathleen said as she looked away from him after he'd reached the street. "One day Thomson's going to have enough of you and tell your dad all you've done." Cathleen waived to a driver who stopped to let the pair cross. Looking back to see if Mutt was following her Cathleen saw a smile cross his face right before the switchblade went back to wherever Mutt was storing it today. "You're actually proud of that? You really want your dad to find out that you've been giving one of his professors such a hard time?" Cathleen shook her short blonde hair as Mutt began to laugh.
"It's only fair, Cat," Mutt said between breaths. "He's what, three years older than us?"
"Three years older than you, four for me." Cathleen said as she turned onto a path leading up to a rather large brick townhouse. Suddenly Mutt rushed past Cathleen and grabbed her hands. As he twirled her in the air he kissed her on the cheek.
"Ah, I forgot I was dating a younger woman," Mutt said wistfully as he turned Cathleen to face him. "But seriously, Cathleen I doubt he expected that the son of one of his bosses would give him an easy time."
"That is true. And what's more, he's way too easy to distract." Cathleen laughed at Mutt's curious face as she grabbed the keys out of his jacket and opened the door.
"What do you mean 'easy to distract'?" Mutt asked to empty air.
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