Cicadas Every Seventh Year

with permission

Leclerc likes to come in while Everly’s studying and sprawl across her bed and generally make a pest of himself.

“Don’t you ever do any work?” Everly is pale, frail, and gracelessly female.

“Did, once. Not no more.”

“Some of us,” she grits, muscles corded in her neck from keeping her head turned away from his tawny splendor, “have work to do.” The symbols blur in front of her eyes. “Damn it!” A pencil sails out the window. “Look! Look what you made me do!”

Leclerc extends one long-fingered hand. “What’s that?”

“I made epsilon greater than one!”

His chuckle is like smoke underwater. “Tragedy.”

“Whyn’t you go do something? What’s your major, anyway? General Science?”

Her bed creaks as he shifts his weight. “Heavens, no. I have my pride. No, my duck, I’m taking my sheepskin in Middle American Wiseassery. It’s got a long and prestigious history.”

She growls and leans out the window after her pencil. Just like that he is behind her, pulsing as regularly as a quasar, killing her with his radiation.