No one told Matthew that college was to be the way it was. From the reduced number of classes, to the increased number of stairs, he was never truly prepared for what was awaiting him; but this was a place of learning and young Matthew was going to learn – the hard way.
His first lesson was in locating his classrooms. 3 floors with 15+ classrooms in each meant that he had an initial number of 50 rooms to choose from; amongst which 3 were his. He quickly learned which floors were his, alleviating half of his problem, the rest was not as simple. Yet, after some shameless prying, he soon found the rooms which he accepted would be his holding pen for dozens of hours per week. Slowly but surely, Matthew began to habituate, eyeing his neighbouring classmates, secretly testing them for bouts of over-socialisation (four of whom failed miserably) and the rest of his usual procedure. Once he had established a working acquaintance with these friendly strangers, it was time to focus on the real reason why he was stuck with them in the first place – lessons.
Once he and his classmates were debriefed in their respective lessons, they were all handed a large green object. Triangular prism in shape, it opened like a book to reveal two metal circles that, if provoked with enough pressure, would separate from each other, opening like the pincers of a crab or some other moss-covered crustacean. This object had several names that Matthew had actually heard in a previous time – ‘file’ and ‘folder’ were the ones that eventually stuck with his peers, and so, as social protocol dictated, he chose the latter – Matthew was now the proud owner of a folder.
Days passed and Matthew had nearly forgotten about his trusty new companion – it appeared that there was less use for it than the teachers originally anticipated, would he be forced to eventually part ways with his new confidante? Even after mere days? There was so much to be learned from it, such knowledge to be unearthed, this couldn’t be the end, could it?
The anxious boy found his answer in a meagre A4 piece of paper, upon it read the words: Homework Task. This very same piece of paper laid in the hands of his classmates as they placed them inside the folders of their own. Only through observation did the young boy witness them using the crab claws to pierce, impale and mutilate the paper so that they would be held in place by its impenetrable vice as it was snapped shut. As unnecessarily violent as it seemed to Matthew’s innocent eyes, he too savaged the papers with reckless abandon, holding back the tears that began to cloud his vision.
Matthew left that room a different person, he was spoiled, war-torn, exposed to the savageries of higher education. If he was to be made to do such horrific acts, then what else would he be expected to do? He shuddered at the very thought. His anguish was slowly relieved over the following weeks, as more and more innocent sheets were sent to their demise at his hand, his weak soul slowly became numb.
The consequences of his selfish acts eventually came back to spit in his face when his collection of dead paper ripped themselves from their circular vices in a torrent of white before him and his classmates. Embarrassed at this shaming revolt, Matthew retrieved the cluttered heap and realised that they had ripped themselves free from their metal bonds – a strategy that left them scarred and their reddened captor unable to return them to their chains.
Hours followed and the humiliated fiend had found no plausible way of recapturing his prisoners. He couldn’t sleep, the very thought of his hostages breathing freely rendered him anxious and unsettled. Every following day when he opened his green folder prison, he would scorn as the papers shifted amongst each other as if they owned the place. He couldn’t take it any longer and placed the folder in a distant drawer found in the deepest reaches of his room, a place that never felt the light of day. That was where it stayed until Matthew could think of a solution.
Then, on one fateful day, Matthew decided to escape the grips of his distress that lingered in the realm of the inside world. He bravely stepped out and walked to the supermarket to distract himself. Upon arrival, he blindly stumbled upon the stationery isle, a place in which Matthew once relished his time, where his pure soul would once go to relax. He spotted a packet of paper – fresh, untampered, practically screaming to be bought and destroyed. To stop himself from drooling, Matthew tore his eyes away from the lustful pile, and what they met in return would change his life forever.
Images of terrified papers in the firm grip of his hand flooded his mind. He could practically hear the acoustic tear, the angelic rip, all at the hands of a simple hole punch.
He grasped the small beast and admired its majestic power; its cylindrical spikes that would penetrate its victims with the might of a Trojan Horse and leave a perfectly clean wound in return.
He smiled as he thought of the folder in the drawer – unaware that things would never be the same again.