Reluctant Partners


Photo Credit: MorgueFile MX146-460-Cheat

“Come on. You’ll have to be my partner because everyone else has one, Steph.”

“It’s not my fault I was out with the flu when Mr. Hanson was handing out assignments, Jeff. Everyone knows you’re useless. That’s why no one picked you.”

“Ms. Henshaw. Mr. Flynn is right.” It wasn’t the voice of God, but their science teacher was a close second. “He is the only available classmate left. I suggest you two make the best of the project.”

Stephanie stopped herself from rolling her eyes at the imposing instructor just in time. She’d never been to detention before, but dissing “The Hanson” was a good way to get there.

“Fine,” she hissed at the sixteen-year-old. What’s our assignment?

“A report on colonizing Venus.”

“Are you nuts? Do you know what the environment there is like?”

“I’ve already done the preliminary research on the HAVOC Project.”

“Let’s see.”

“Not until Friday. We’ll go out for a bite, I’m thinking Chinese, then back to your place to study.”

“This better not be a date.”

“Who, me?”

At his desk, Mr. Hanson smiled to himself. By next spring, they’d be going steady.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #13 challenge. The idea is to use the photo above to inspire crafting a wee tale no more than 200 words long. My word count is 190.

Instead of cheating, which the photo suggests, I thought of the boy trying to convince the girl to be his partner on a class project. We’ve all had those experiences when one person does most of the work on a group project but all the kids get equal credit, which is what Stephanie is afraid of.

I read a “Calvin and Hobbes” story arc where Calvin was partnered with Susie to do a report on the planet Mercury. It didn’t end well which again, is what Steph imagines.

But as it turns out, Jeff is smart but needs motivation, and Mr. Hanson played “matchmaker” to give the boy something to shoot for, namely dating the pretty, blond girl seated next to him.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

This challenge needs some love, so consider contributing a story of your own.

Oh, NASA’s HAVOC Project is a real concept.

8 thoughts on “Reluctant Partners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.