The tutor wandered in late, and looked distinctly like his lunch had been a little yeasty. “Good afternoon, class,” he said, and let his gaze traverse the room until his bespectacled eyes fell upon me. He stared at me through wire-framed pince-nez. Waiting.
I cleared my throat. “Uh, good afternoon,” I said.
“Hm. Looks like it’s just you and me, then. Very well.”
He reached behind the lectern and pulled out a large burlap sack, which he dropped with a muffled clatter on to the table. I looked at the bag, then at him. He looked at me, then at the bag, then back at me again. He waited.
“So, um, what’s in the bag?” I asked, beaten into submission.
“Glad you asked!” He prodded the bag with a finger. “Think of it… Think of it as Pandora’s bag.” He fell silent again and waited again; I guess he was giving me time to think of it.
“Didn’t Pandora have a box?” I asked.
“Indeed she did. Yes. Pandora had a lovely box, but one you wouldn’t want to get inside of.” He raised his eyebrows, which probably meant something significant. “But if you did, all the unimaginable horrors of the world would be unleashed.”
“But this is a burlap sack,” I said.
“Indeed it is,” he replied. “I want you to free your imagination. I want you to write a paper on whatever it is that I will take from this sack.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“To unleash your creativity! That’s the whole point of this Advanced Creative Writing course.”
“Oh,” I said. “So, this isn’t French Cuisine for Beginners?”
“Bugger.” I stood up and headed toward the door.
“Wait, you might need this,” he said, and pulled a cheese grater out of the sack.