Allen Dunsmore gulped down the last of his double shot cappuccino and shook his head to clear it. He had been dreading this day all month. For the life of him he couldn’t imagine what the department’s reasoning was for putting this part of the course in the syllabus. Teaching a freshman writing course at a junior college was stressful enough without throwing the subject of erotica in, but now the time had come to get on with it.
He entered the classroom, put his briefcase down beside his chair and looked out at the sea of nervous faces.
“Good morning class.”
“Good morning Mr. Dunsmore.”
“Well now. I’ve been looking over your efforts on plot and structure and I must say I’m pleased. Good effort all around. Now it’s time to move on to our next subject. As you’ll all be aware we’re going to have a look at the do’s and don’ts of adding erotic scenes in short story writing.”
Allen saw that many of them were fidgeting in their seats and Edward was bright red from the neck up and beginning to sweat. It was going to be a long hour.
“I assume you’ve all done the reading assignment, who can tell me what one of the don’ts is?”
A hand went up at the back.
“Um, don’t use profane language.”
“Very good. The aim is to write an erotic scene, not a pornographic one. An artfully written erotic scene can be very powerful, there’s no need to go for shock value or to be graphic; it detracts from the overall storyline.”
Edward looked like he might jump out his skin at any moment. He felt sorry for the lad, he was clearly clueless in the ways of the world and would have been dreading this day all semester, but he professed a passion for writing.
“I think we should just jump right in and give it a go. Take what you gleaned from your reading assignment and spend the next fifteen minutes writing a brief erotic scene. Try to let go of your inhibitions and let things flow. Start now.”
He sat down to do some paperwork, looking up once in awhile to gauge how they were progressing. Most of them were working quite slow and seemed to be struggling. Edward, much to his surprise was going at a steady clip, though he still seemed nervous.
“All right then class, pens down. Let’s see how you did. Anyone want to volunteer to go first?”
No hands went up.
“Fine then. Let me see. Edward? Would you read what you’ve got please?”
He was curious, and they would all have to read at some point, so he thought he’d get this out of the way. Edward’s hands were shaking.
“It’s all right Edward, we’re all adults here.”
He cleared his throat and began.
“He ran his hand up and down her arm and began licking her eyelids. He took his other hand and stuffed bits of her hair in his nostrils as he ran his toes up and down her leg. She moaned with pleasure. He – “
“Edward, stop there.”
Snickering was rampant throughout the room. Some of them were doubled over trying hard not to let the laughter out.
“Can you tell me…that is…Edward, what would make you think those sentences are erotic?”
Edward shrugged and seemed tongue-tied. He spoke at last.
“Well, I was just trying to be creative.”
“I see. I think something a little more mundane might be in order. Is any of the rest of it perhaps a bit less, shall we say, adventurous?”
A look of consternation crossed Edward’s face but he started reading again.
“She smiled at him and told him she had a special treat for him. She reached under the pillow and brought out a Wonder Woman finger puppet. She placed it on her finger and moved it down his chest and past his stomach to his nether regions. She rubbed Wonder Woman’s face on his throbbing – “
“Edward! That’s quite enough, thank you.”
The class was now in full uproar. Several of the boys were high-fiving each other while the girls were either laughing hysterically or sitting white-faced with their hands over their mouths. Edward had shrunk down in his seat.
Allen struggled to maintain his composure and gave serious thought to calling in sick the rest of the week.
“I think we’ll call it an early day, class. You’re all dismissed.”