Do you need more time?

The Tender Trap
The Tender Trap





Bart had signed up for the test a few days before the deadline, a lost soul grabbing at a straw, his options few, his dreams fading.

On the appointed day, he gathered with a crop of other would-be lawyers to give it his best shot.

In order to gain entrance to law school he knew he would have to score in the top fifteen percent of all the test-takers in the nation.

He looked around him at young kids who had never held a job, never had to support a family, never performed poorly on a test in their lives. They were spit-shined, vibrant on caffeine, the women dressed like debutants at their coming out parties.

He had worked all night at his second job, hopping bells at a large hotel, while these kids got a good night’s sleep and dreamed of making partner at their daddies’ law firms downtown.

When the test began, he looked at the words on the page, long sections that required concentration.  He slapped his leg to keep himself awake, to make his eyes focus on the blurry print.

When a lady stood up near the front of the room and checked her watch, he knew the gig was almost up.  He blackened the empty ovals that remained on his test sheet, leaned back in his chair.

“Time,” the monitor said.

Around the room, people began to grumble.

“I didn’t finish, did you?” someone asked.

“I still had the last page of questions to go,” another person said.

These were the kids who had taken paid courses on how to master the test, how to game the results, how to gain an advantage over people like Bart.

In his beat up truck that morning in the university parking lot, Bart had done his only test preparation when he read the brochure that came in his registration packet.  The thing that stuck in his mind was a sentence that said the LSAT rewarded only right answers.  Wrong answers didn’t matter.  Bart knew if he ran out of time, he would guess.

The grumbling increased as the test-takers filed out of a university lecture hall at the prestigious law school.

Bart didn’t complain, he grinned.  He figured if he ever became a lawyer, the ability to make the right guess at the right time might come in handy.

(Written for The Writers Collection to the prompt “time.”)


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