Day 93 of 100 Word Prompts: Tack
Rin made their way down the bustling city street through the crowds of people. Their tussled back hair the only thing visible for most of the people traveling that particular sidewalk, but that’s how Rin preferred to live, unnoticed, and practically invisible. They didn’t like the looks or the questions that came from too much attention. Held tightly against Rin’s chest, a wide package that their arms could barely squeeze around, blocking even more of the view of Rin from the other pedestrians. They arrived at the school with five minutes to spare before the bell. Most of the students had already gone inside.
“Morning, Yala,” Rin said as they entered the classroom, veering for their desk in the back. “Where’s Mr. Galleon?”
“Not here yet,” Yala replied, her bright eyes catching the light through the window, giving the usual blue color an ice blue quality. “What do you have there?”
“It’s for you,” Rin said, setting the package on Yala’s desk before removing their backpack. They waited for her to begin tearing at the plain brown paper before continuing to speak. “We were talking about Olivander yesterday, and you seemed really interested-”
“This is too much,” Yala said, looking up from the box inside the paper. Before her sat a box set of Olivander: Protector of the Universe movies and comics. “You love Olivander, why would you want to give this to me?”
“Oh,” Rin replied, scratching the back of their head with a chuckle, “my parents told me that I couldn’t buy any more comics or movies unless I got rid of some of the others. I figured, why not give them to you. That way, I can still enjoy them, and you can as well.”
“Well, it’s still very sweet of you,” Yala said, bouncing up from her seat and pecking Rin on the cheek.
“It was nothing really,” Rin said, their cheeks flushing from the show of affection. “You’re just so nice to me all the time. I wanted to make sure that I did something special for you as well.”
“This is super special,” Yala said, looking down at the box again. “Do you want to come over tonight and watch some movies with me? My mom will make us pizza.”
“I-” Rin began.
“Alright, take your seats. I apologize for the tardiness, but it was unavoidable,” Mr. Galleon said as he stormed into the room, practically throwing his briefcase on his desk. He picked up a marker and began writing on the whiteboard. “Who can tell me what we were working on last Friday.”
A few hands went up as he spun around and pointed at Hannah sitting in the front row.
“Rational and Irrational numbers,” Hannah said, putting her hand down.
“Very good,” Mr. Galleon said, “Can you tell what the difference is between them?”
“A rational number has a clear number, while irrational go on forever,” Hannah said.
“Can you give me an example?” he asked.
“I’m fourteen, so my age is a rational number, but Pi continues forever after the decimal, making it an irrational number,” Hannah replied.
“Outstanding,” Mr. Galleon said, writing the definitions for rational and irrational numbers on the whiteboard. “This week, we will be continuing our lessons along these lines. Can everyone open your books to chapter six, please?”
Mr. Galleon walked to his desk, sat down, and jumped back up with a yelp. His face turned bright red as he glared out over the classroom before him. Rinn wanted to ask what had happened, but the answer came before they could as Kyle and Pete snickered to their left.
“Kyle, Pete, would you care to explain why there was a tack on my chair?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“I don’t know, Mr. Galleon,” Kyle said, failing to suppress his laughter.
“You don’t know,” Mr. Galleon repeated. “Pete? Could you shed some light on this?”
“No, sir,” Pete replied through his amusement.
“Then why are the pair of you the only two laughing?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“We didn’t do it, Mr. Galleon,” Kyle said, as he realized what was happening. “I swear it. We were laughing because of the face you made and the way you yelped. I swear!”
“If it wasn’t you two, then who was it?” Mr. Galleon demanded.
“We don’t know,” Pete said, we didn’t get to class first. Most everyone was here already.”
“Okay, so then we can do this via a process of elimination,” Mr. Galleon said, nodding. We’ll use logic to solve this problem. Who was the last person here today?”
“Rin,” Yala said, raising her hand. “They came in just before you did.”
“Can anyone confirm this?” Mr. Galleon asked, looking around at a handful of people that raised their hands. “Very well, who came in just before Rin?”
This process continued until they had figured out the exact order of people who had arrived. No one confessed to placing the tack on his chair throughout.
“So, now we have the order of arrivals, but still no one saw anyone get near my desk?” Mr. Galleon asked. Everyone in the room shook their heads. “Very well, you’ll all be punished then.”
“That’s not fair,” Hannah protested. “Some of us wouldn’t do anything like that, and you know it.”
“I have to treat you all equally if no one steps forward,” Mr. Galleon said with a shrug.
“You have to punish all of us because of the actions of a few?” Hannah shot back. “That sounds like bad logic to me. It would be more beneficial to conduct an investigation and eliminate suspects.”
“And who would be in charge of that?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“I don’t know,” Hannah said. “The problem with appointing any of us as the investigators is that we are all suspects. Where no one saw anyone at your desk today, we can assume it was done yesterday after class, leaving all of us as suspects again.”
“So, I should do the investigation?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“Again, that wouldn’t be prudent. Where you were personally involved in the incident, it makes the results personal to you, tainting your results with your own bias,” Hannah continued.
“That’s very observant of you,” Mr. Galleon said, leaning against his desk. “So the only solution is to have a third party conduct the investigation? Or should I allow someone to be the sacrifice and take the punishment for the class?”
Rin raised their hand.
“Yes, Rin?” Mr. Galleon said.
“You’re neglecting the third option,” Rin said.
“What’s that?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“That through some random chance, the tack fell from your desk, onto your chair,” Rin suggested.
“Interesting,” Mr. Galleon said, scratching his chin. “If that were the case, who would get punished, no one?”
“Not every wrong that happens to us needs to be punished,” Rin said, “That’s not something that can ever be achieved. Do you punish nature because there are floods that ruin homes?”
“So, now we have three choices, I punish no one, I investigate until I find the culprit, which may not happen, or I punish everyone,” Mr. Galleon said. “Which do you think I should do?”
“That’s an unfair question,” Hannah said, “Everyone would obviously choose no one gets punished.”
“Would they? Or would those not involved choose the investigation?” Mr. Galleon asked.
“I think that depends on who is doing the investigation and how much faith they have in the process,” Yala interrupted.