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Physics 101

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The class was tedious, boring, a waste of his talents, and sadly a requirement for graduation. He’d brought it up with the Dean of Students as soon as his schedule had been mailed to him, but had been quickly shot down. Freshmen, the Dean said, should take their classes, do their homework, and stop bothering him. 

The professor, wild haired and wearing the bell bottoms that were in fashion two years ago, wrote his name on the green chalk board. “I’m Professor Winger. Welcome to Physics 101.”

A young man sat next to him. He’d tried to make it clear that the seats to his left and right were off limits by strewing his belongings across the entirety of the desk, but the boy, blond and with a wide smile, sat down anyway. Harold glared at him. The boy smiled wider. 

“I’m Nathan,” he stage whispered, “Nathan Ingram.” They sat at the back of the theater-style classroom. Ten rows below them the professor rambled on. Fluid dynamics, paper airplanes, and other asinine topics. 

Harold looked back to the notebook he had in front of him. It was filled with his equations, sprawling in controlled diagonals across the page, not Physics 101. 

“Wow, that’s some advanced stuff,” Nathan Ingram with the wide smile said and leaned in close. Harold could smell cigarettes and mint gum on his breath. “Way cooler than this class.”

Harold snorted. “This class is for nose pickers and ruler chewers. Math is what they should be teaching. Math explains the universe, this just... describes it. It’s so remedial.”

The professor was glaring at them. A loose sketch of an aerofoil was on the board and dotted lines curved up and over the wing. Nathan waved and the professor grudgingly left them alone. 

Harold looked between the professor and Nathan. “How did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“You just made him ignore us.”

Nathan nudged Harold’s shoulder with his own. His coat was leather, light and expensive, and it moved like silk against Harold’s worn out denim jacket. “You know math. I know people.” Harold turned to a fresh page. His pen had bled through and pin pricks of blue dotted the white surface. “You never told me your name.”

“Harold.”

Nathan grinned. “Nice to meet you, Harold.”