David rounded the front desk for the umpteenth time. He’d lost count of how many kilometres he’d walked up and down the aisles. He stopped at attention and turned around like a soldier on parade, completely quietly, of course. The only sound in the hall was the scritching of pens on paper and the occasional cough from one of the matrics. Scritching. Is that even a word? It sounds right. David decided to look it up later. No dictionaries allowed in the exam room. Right now he’d even read a dictionary.
He rounded the front desk for the second time since he’d lost count. By now he had inventoried everything in the hall: floor tiles, window latches, light bulbs, bricks…He decided to add them together; without a calculator. The mental arithmetic took him all of forty-seven seconds – he had timed himself by the clock on the wall. Maybe something more challenging: square roots. Yeah! He hadn’t tried those in a while.
David rounded the front desk for the third time in four minutes. He glanced at the clock and about-faced. Excellent! Only two more hours to go. David started back down the row with a spring in his step. It’s the little things that make life worthwhile, you know?
He managed to keep that up for two circuits and seventy-eight seconds. He started humming in his head a tune from a video he saw earlier that morning on the net: Dumb way to die, so many dumb ways to die, dump-di-dump-di-dum-dum…He stopped. Why were all the matrics looking at him? O crap! He was singing out loud again, wasn’t he? He stared crossly at the matrics. They resumed writing.
David rounded the front desk for the…Dammit. He’d lost count again. He looked at the clock. Only one hour, fifty-six minutes to go…