Jeff lowered himself into the seat, sliding down to perfect slouch before he started texting. "This better be worth it. There's a seat at Starbucks with my name on it, and a cute barista who has been denied my presence in her life for far too long. I'm giving this class fifteen minutes to wow me and then I'm out of here."
Shirley said, "Well, Abed certainly seems excited."
The rest of the group looked at Abed, who looked back at them. He was sitting at his desk, hands folded in front of him.
"You're embarrassing yourself, Abed," Jeff said.
"Sorry. I'm just really excited. Arrested Development was my favorite show. I can't believe it got cancelled after three seasons."
Troy said, "You know, on the internet they said it was coming back for another season."
"Ten eps and a movie," Abed chirped. Jeff rolled his eyes and went back to his phone.
Shirley held up her hand. "Excuse me. What is Arrested Development and what does it have to do with Britta's psychology class?"
"Arrested Development was a reality show about a wealthy family - the Bluth family - who lost everything, and the one son who had to keep them all together. It was often unintentionally hilarious. Even the narrator seemed exasperated." He laughed, sudden and sharp. "Hard to believe people like that actually exist in real life."
Jeff and Annie looked at each other, but no one said anything.
Britta arrived, growled, and stormed up to the group. "I didn't tell you guys about my professor so that you could come stalk him."
Jeff smiled. "Come on. You can't tell us what you told us and expect us not to show up. You baited the trap. Just admit it."
Britta's nostrils flared and she straightened her spine in her "self-righteous" pose. She lifted her chin, turned around, and sat a few seats away from the rest of them.
The door was flung open, and Professor Tobias Fünke rolled in. Literally. He awkwardly placed the top of his head on the floor and, after three false starts, pushed himself back. He flopped over, slapping onto his stomach like a beached trout, and then scrambled to his feet. He tugged on the hem of his sweater, adjusted his dickey, and rolled his shoulders back.
"Good afternoon and willkommen. I see we have a lot of fresh faces in the class today! Splendid! I suppose word would get around about my unique method of professoring. I am Professor Tobias F-yoon-kay. You may call me Prof, or Professor Tobias. You'll find I'm--" He attempted to sit on the edge of his desk but misjudged its height, he slammed into the corner, tilted, and fell onto the floor.
Jeff watched in awe as Professor Fünke attempted to get back on his feet. He put his phone down. "Okay, this is officially the greatest class ever in the history of psychology."
Tobias eventually got back to his feet and smiled brightly. "Ah! Much like psychology. Sometimes the... edge is not quite where you expect and you find yourself diving off the board into thin air. Ahem. What I... what we are going to do in this class is define those boundaries by carving out a path into the psyche. Or what I like to call a Path o' Psyche. Or Psychopath, I guess, would work as well."
Jeff and Troy both laughed, but they had it under control by the time Tobias made his way over to them. "Is something amusing to you gentlemen?"
"No, Professor Funky."
"Fuh-yoon-kay," Tobias enunciated. "And please, call me Prof. What's your name?"
"No problem, Jeff."
Tobias said, "If we're going to examine each other's brains, we need to feel comfortable around each other. So..." He sat on the edge of Jeff's desk. Jeff had to bear back against the seat with all of his weight so that it wouldn't tip over. Pierce, Troy, Annie and Shirley all held him down as Tobias shifted and twisted and tried to get his feet tucked under his knees so he could sit Indian-style on top of Jeff's desk. Once he was situated, with the desk creaking ominously under him, he held his hands out.
"Do you feel comfortable with me?"
Jeff sighed, trying not to laugh in the poor man's face. "Not particularly, no. I feel like you're about to catapult me out of this chair and through that whiteboard. Which would be a shame, since you've obviously spent a lot of time drawing penises on it."
Tobias laughed, clapped his hands, and tried to muss Jeff's hair before he jumped off the desk. "That is where you're wrong, Mr. Winger. That was a test. A test to probe your mind, to explore your darkest recesses." He strolled up to the whiteboard and gestured at his artwork. "This is my way of penetrating you. Getting deep inside, and not quitting until we're both satisfied."
Shirley looked at Pierce. He looked at her. She finally said, "Well, aren't you gonna say anything?"
"No, Shirley. For the same reason I don't club kittens or hit slow-walking freshmen with my car. Far too easy. I'll save myself for a challenge."
Tobias pointed at Starburns. "What do you see here, young man?"
Starburns seemed flustered, irritated, confused. "I don't want to say."
"Don't be shy! Just tell us what they look like to you."
Tobias threw back his head and laughed. "Oh! Oh, I see." He pointed at Jeff. "The two of you cooked this up before class, didn't you? You got me! You got your ol' Prof. But I think we've had enough fun and games. This is a valid exercise, and I want somebody to tell me what they see in these shapes I've drawn."
Hands went up.
"And don't just go with the crowd and say 'penises.'"
Hands went down.
Tobias sighed and put his hands on his hips. "Well, I can see it's not going to be easy teaching you merry band of tricksters. Okay, the first stop on the Psychopath is relaxation. In order for your mind to stretch, it must be utterly... and completely... relaxed."
"Also important," Jeff said, "lube."
"Ew!" Annie said.
"Your brain is a sensitive organ, class, and you can't just ram in full force right away. You have to ease your way in. Start with, say, a finger..."
Shirley's eyes widened. "Annie, I think you owe Jeff an apology. He was spot-on."
Tobias pulled down a chart.
"Oh, sweet baby Jesus."
Troy's jaw went slack.
Abed tilted his head to the side.
Jeff held up his cell phone and snapped a picture.
Annie covered her eyes but peeked through the fingers, trying to figure out if the one person in the diagram was actually... yep, oh. Yes, he was.
Starburns said, "Uh, Pro-Prof? I think you have the wrong image."
Tobias turned. "No, but thank you for covering my back."
"I didn't, I swear," Starburns sputtered.
"This, ladies and gentleman, is a metaphor. Would anyone care to guess what it's trying to say?"
Hands went up.
The class filed out of the room in a daze. Troy shook his head slowly. "I feel dirty."
Abed smiled. "Classic Tobias. Ten episodes and a movie!"
Shirley excused herself to go directly to confession. Annie and Britta did the same. None of them were Catholic, but they felt that was just a technicality.
Pierce and Starburns left together. "It's a matter of effort and talent. Mocking him requires neither, so I refrain. I'll save my skills for when it's really impressive. Like with that guy."
Jeff walked out with Britta. "Just when I thought there was no way Greendale could possibly get any weirder... my condolences, Britta."
"Don't worry about it. The workload is light, and I've heard he grades well for blondes. Probably some history there. I bet he was traumatized by an emotionally cold blonde woman at some point in the past."
"Wow, you're already sounding like a therapist."
"I'm actually aiming for a combined degree as an analyst and a therapist."
"So you'll be a--"
"That's what I said."
"No... Britta. No, it isn't..."
After the class was empty, Dean Pelton stuck his head around the door. "Knock knock. How's Greendale's newest hire doing?"
"Hi, Craig. Not well. Those kids certainly know how to give someone the business. They just kept pushing and pushing, and I was too nervous to tell them I wasn't ready. So they just kept shoving, and I just took it."
The Dean raised his eyebrows. "Wow. I'm surprised you can still sit down."
"I'm getting used to it," Tobias said. "Perhaps tomorrow will be different. After all, when life gets you down on all fours, you just have to turn the other cheek and say, 'Please, sir, can I have some more.'"
"I like the cut of your jib, Professor Fünke. And you know what? If these little hooligans try to get you on your knees tomorrow, you give ol' Dean Pelton a call."
"Aha! That would certainly show them who is boss. Yes, a good old double-team gangbang."
"Ye- uh, what?" The chart rolled up, revealing the Rorschach test on the whiteboard. The Dean's eyes widened and then narrowed, and he stepped closer to the whiteboard. "Huh! I've always loved these ink-blot test things. These are very good."
"Well, thank you!" Tobias said. "It's just something I whipped out this morning before classes."
The Dean came around the desk. "You are quite the artist. But I'm afraid that I just, you know, I can't make out what these are. I know they're something, and I know I like them, but I just cannot put my finger on it. I feel like it's right on the tip of my tongue. Ooh. Hm. No." He leaned forward for a closer look.
"Don't try to force it, Dean. Sometimes it'll just pop out at you when you least suspect it. Let's try and figure out what it is together."
They leaned against the desk together.
"Whatever they are, they're making my mouth water."
"You and me both!" Tobias said.
They laughed and then focused on the ink blot some more.
They knew it would come to them. Eventually. It would come.