"That little paperback does not look like it’s discussing the fall of Rome, Meg," Becky, my dormmate said from her bed on the other side of the room. "Last time I checked, X-wings weren’t part of the artistic landscape."
I didn’t look up from my copy of Starfighters of Adumar, preferring to ignore her rather transparent reference to my Roman art history paper. I was not looking forward to getting off of my lazy ass and go to the Smithsonian.
"Rome is burning down around us," Rebecca taunted.
"I piss on Rome," I said and turned the page.
Becky laughed. "And I thought you were a democrat."
I looked up at her and made a tisking noise. "You have your political doctrines mixed. I think you’re looking for ‘republican’, and by that, not the political party." I put my book face down on the desk beside my feet. "How’s Fermat going for you?"
My roommate made a face. "I think I’m switching my major."
"That dull?" I took my feet off of my desk where they had been propped up. "I don’t know what made you pick mathematics education in the first place."
She paused and tossed the unwanted Fermat to the foot of her bed. "The Romans were good at mathematics."
Back to Rome again. "What did the Romans ever give us any way?"
Becky looked thoughtful. "The aqueduct?"
I grinned. "Medication and healthcare?"
"They cut down on crime."
"Okay," I said in my slightly ridiculous John Cleese accent. "Apart from all that, what did the Romans ever give us?"
"Oh!" Rebecca cried, throwing her blond head down on her pillow in a romantic gesture that would have made even the most whimsical of ingenues proud. "Michael Palin – so sexy!"
I made a face. "If you say so. I still go for Eric Idle."
"That’s because you have issues." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "Nero had issues, he played his harp – or was it the lyre; whatever, it was a stringed instrument – while Rome burned down around him."
I tried to launch myself out of the chair. I couldn’t manage it. I couldn’t have given less of a damn about Rome and Roman art. They stole it all from the Greeks anyway. If it were up to me, my history class would have been on the Old Republic and my current affairs classes would not be on the European Union and Iraq; they would be about the current state of the Galactic Senate. Sometimes I wished my fan fiction alter-ego was really me, not the Mary Sue I knew her to be.
I glanced in the mirror and ran my fingers through the mass of brown hair on my head, secretly willing it to be red like Mara Jade’s. Of course, I’d settle for the same color and texture as that chick in the talking dragon movie.
I looked around for my bag and, with a few helpful hints from Becky, found it under the bed, discretely covered by the sweatshirt I had worn two days ago. "Well," I announced in a thick French accent, "let them eat cake."
Becky grunted and reached for the Fermat. "You are not being led to the guillotine. Just get it over with."
I grabbed my coat from the bed post and put it on. I grinned at her. "Nos enfants de la patrie…."
"…La jour de gloire est arrive." I opened the door with a flourish and marched out, still singing the French National Anthem at the top of my lungs. I had a teacher who had made us learn the whole thing once, and I had never forgotten it.
"L’etandard sanglant est levee. L’e-e-etanda-a-a-rd sa-a-angla-a-nt est levee-e-e…"
My friend Jack stuck his head out of the door. "Meg, what in the hell are you doing?"
I didn’t answer him. "Aux armes, cityoens! Formez des bataillons!"
"Oh." Jack nodded. "Roman art history. Are you going to the museum then?"
Jack grinned. "I’ll take that as a yes. Have fun." He slammed the door. Jack’s dorm room was down the hall from Becky’s and mine. He shared it with an absentee roommate who spent most of his time at his girlfriend’s. She was a junior and, consequently, had an apartment off campus. The envy of us all.
I made my way out of the building and across the street to the metro stop. I had just missed it. Par usual.
To be Continued...
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