Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac
“Hey, Maggots, I’m here for school,” Stephen said while strutting into the office. His mother was forcing him to be there and he was not happy with it. School was endless tedious hours of boredom and he was tired of it. In an attempt to end this travesty that was called education, Stephen planned on being obnoxious.
“The name is Magus.”
“That’s what I said — Maggots,” Stephen said. He smirked. Most people would have found the smirk on his face particularly irritating. Magus ignored it.
“Catch!” Magus gently tossed a CD in a plastic case at Stephen.
Stephen made no attempt to catch the disk. As a result, the corner of the case bounced off his chest. Rubbing the spot where the case had struck him, Stephen said, “Hey that hurt.”
“Go in the office at the far end of the reception area. You can watch that on the computer in there,” Magus said.
“What is it?”
“Your first assignment,” Magus answered cryptically. He picked up a paper and looked down at it as if he was reading it.
“Why should I watch it?”
“So that you learn something,” Magus answered without looking up from the paper. He had suspected that Stephen was going to be a tough nut to crack. Of course, tough nuts often times cracked quickly and thoroughly when the right pressure was applied.
“You don’t have anything to teach me that I want to learn,” Stephen said. He crossed his arms across his chest and gave Magus a look that suggested that the older man was more than welcome to take a long walk on a short pier.
“I’m going to have to insist that you go into the office at the far right end of the reception area and watch the contents of that disk on the computer in there,” Magus said.
“You can’t make me do shit. You aren’t my daddy,” Stephen said.
“That’s true,” Magus said. He touched a button on the side of his desk. The desktop rose up six inches and slid forward eight inches. A projected image appeared on the wall opposite the desk.
Unable to hold back his interest in the unusual desk, Stephen said, “That’s pretty cool.”
Magus typed on the keyboard that was revealed under the desktop. He said, “I guess we could watch it together.”
“What is this?” Stephen asked looking at the video being projected on the wall. The quality of the video was pretty poor compared to a professional television production.
“Selected sections of a surveillance tape,” Magus answered. He pointed at the image and said, “That fellow looks a lot like you, doesn’t he?”
“Kind of. He’s a little bigger than I am,” Stephen answered. He glanced over at Magus thinking that the expression on the man’s face suddenly looked positively evil.
“Oh look at that!”
Stephen covered his mouth and watched the events unfold. Unable to believe what he was watching, he mumbled, “Oh my God.”
“With two guys holding him down like that he doesn’t stand a chance.”
“What are they doing to him?”
Looking over at Stephen, Magus asked, “What do you think they are doing to him?”
“I can’t believe it.”
“Believe it,” Magus said. He continued to watch the video.
“No. That’s blood; not shit. That was a good guess, though. That is the right place for shit to come out of a body,” Magus said while leaning forward as if he was trying to get a better look.
“This is wrong.”
“Look at the expression on his face.”
“You are one sick f•©k showing something like that to someone my age,” Stephen said. His face was white as a sheet.
“I’m not showing this to you for our entertainment. This is your first assignment,” Magus said.
“What do you mean?”
“I want you to calculate the dimensions of those cocks from the video tape. It is a very good lesson in image processing. I think you’ll learn some very tough mathematics,” Magus said.
“Why would I want to do that?” Stephen asked. He had never seen anything so disturbing in his life.
“Well, it is quite simple really. I figure you can get the dimensions of those cocks from this video tape today or experience them for yourself in about two weeks when you get sent to the juvenile detention facility,” Magus answered. “In case you’re wondering; that’s where this took place.”
“That tape has got to be illegal,” Stephen said.
“No. I was actually hired to find out who raped and killed a kid there. The Department of Corrections paid me to make this video. What you are watching is evidence for a murder trial,” Magus answered. He sat back and watched the film. Shaking his head, he said, “It is an ugly world, isn’t it?”
Magus pointed at the screen and said, “Look at the monster on that guy. It is hard to believe that something that big can actually go in such a small hole.”
Magus rose from his chair and looked over the desk. He said, “Stephen? What are you doing on the floor?”
When there was no answer, Magus smiled. He said, “I guess he fainted. Ah well, he’ll come around eventually.”
Stephen walked into the office and said, “I’ve finished, Sir.”
“Yes, Sir,” Stephen said.
This had been the most difficult thing he had ever been asked to do. It wasn’t that the subject matter was so disgusting, but calculating sizes had required more mathematics than he had ever used before. He had to take into account angles, distances, and heights. Everything had to be scaled so that the raw measurements could be mapped into accurate values.
“Let me see your answer,” Magus said holding out his hand. Stephen handed over the sheets of paper. Magus reviewed the results and nodded his head. He said, “I came up with a half inch larger circumference than you on the big one. If you study the video, you’ll see that it isn’t exactly a cylinder.”
“I guess I missed that,” Stephen said.
Magus said, “You’ve got to watch out for little details like that. It is attention to details that makes the difference between excellence and mediocrity.”
“You don’t want to be mediocre, do you?”
“I didn’t think so,” Magus said. He smiled and pointed to a stack of papers on the corner of his desk. “Read those papers. I’ll expect you to write a report on them, Wednesday.”
“What kind of report?” Stephen asked. He stared at the huge stack of papers wondering if he could possibly get through all of that material before Wednesday.
“I’ll tell you Wednesday morning,” Magus answered.