“why follow your dreams when you can follow me?”

Sully – 2022

The Proctored Exam

Billy sighed in relief as he logged on to his computer, sinking into his plush pink Barbie gaming chair. It was the only gaming chair in stock on Amazon, and he had no choice but to order it. Billy’s computer was a top-of-the-line Alienware X790, retailing for over 5,000 US dollars. He needed it so he could run Zoom and Google at the same time. At least, that is what he convinced his mother of, who had bought the beast of a computer.

With 64 gigabytes of RAM, an RTX 5090, and an 8K monitor, the Alienware could run Fortnite at 9000 frames per second, and with the RGB lights enabled, Billy could squeeze an extra 100 FPS out of the powerful graphics card.

It was a lazy Thursday morning in Homestead, Florida, at least until Billy’s mother had asked him to mow the lawn, rake the yard, and then blow-dry the grass. WHO THE HECK BLOW-DRIES GRASS? HOW SUBURBAN!

Billy opened his calendar and gasped in surprise as he saw the notification for Thursday. Today was his final exam for his math class! He quickly opened his school’s website and looked at the time. 2 minutes until the test started!

Billy quickly rushed into his room and pulled on some decent clothes, slicked back his curly hair with ultra-hold gel, and then put on out the biggest, goofy glasses he could find in his drawer.

From his computer in the living room, he could hear someone talking.

“Billy Jacobson? Are you there?”

It was the examiner.

Billy nearly tripped on his feet as he whizzed into the living room. He plugged in his webcam, and tried to crack a smile, but when he saw the examiner’s face, he automatically grimaced in disgust. It was Trulmine McAugustine, the toughest grader online. The woman was truly feared by every student at Billy’s online school and getting a D on her exams translated to passing every other teacher’s class with full marks.

“He-Hello,” Billy stammered, running a trembling hand through his hair, ruffling it.

“Let us see here, first I need a 360 view of your room. Remember, no cheating allowed on this exam!” Billy grabbed his webcam and showed Ms. Trulmine his entire room.

“Hey, hey!” Ms. Trulmine interrupted the tour of his computer, pointing at the RGB lights on his computer. “Those lights! They could possibly correspond to algorithms used in this math exam! Turn ‘em off!”

Billy’s voice came out hoarse. “Those are my computer lights! To turn them off, I must turn off the computer.”

Ms. Trulmine pondered the statement. “All right, I guess that could pass. Can you point the camera out of the window?”

Billy positioned his webcam to point out of the living room windows, and into the morning sunrise

“Hey! Those cloud formations are familiar.”

There was a slight pause.

“That is the Pythagorean theorem! I said no cheating, kid!”

Ms. Trulmine shouted again, her voice tinny through the computer speakers.

“Close the window blinds or else it’s an automatic F!”

Billy sighed. Already, 5 minutes had passed in the 30-minute exam. Closing the windows, he sat back on his gaming chair. Ms. Trulmine eyed the chair suspiciously, with Hello Kitty pasted all over it, but could not seem to relate a cartoon character to the math exam and stayed quiet while Billy opened the exam questions.

Suddenly, there was a Meowww. It was Billy’s cat, Shrinky, and she was hungry.

Ms. Trulmine, who was tapping all of the WiFI IP history to see if any exam questions had been googled, immediately snapped her attention to Billy’s room. Shrinky, the black cat, was wandering across the floor, meowing with annoyance and hunger.

“Hey, Kid! Is your cat trained?”

Thinking further, Ms. Trulmine’s eyes widened further with realization.

“DOES YOUR CAT SPEAK ENGLISH? IS SHE TELLING YOU EXAM ANSWERS?”

Billy stammered yet again.

“N-No! She’s just hungry!”

“KILL THE CAT! KILLLL THE CATT!”  screamed Ms. Trulmine, her voice hoarse.

Billy shooed the cat out of the room, and plopped back into his chair, scrolling though the 20 questions.

“#1. If Trinity has fifty Hershey’s® Chocolate Nut Bars, with Coated Almond Sugar-free Glaze™, and let her friend borrow a bite, what would be the circumference of the Moon in relation to the ocean salt/freshwater coefficient?”

Billy sighed, and let his gaze wander up to the ceiling with boredom.

“Hey! Kid!”

Billy’s eyes snapped back to Ms. Trulmine, who had gone from scrolling through TikTok to pounding furiously on her desk to catch Billy’s attention.

“Why were you looking up at the ceiling? Did you write answers up there? Show me the roof immediately!”

Billy groaned with frustration, and angled his webcam at the ceiling. While Ms. Trulmine was busy scanned the popcorn ceiling for relations to math equations, he pulled out his fancy new iPhone 14 Pro Plus 2, scanned the math questions with his phone, and googled the answers. Within 10 seconds, he had all the answers at his fingertips, and had inputted the equations to their corresponding questions. Turns out, the answer to question #1, if Trinity had fifty Hershey’s bars”, was “Fortnite Battle Pass”.

Billy submitted the test, scoring a perfect 100, leaving Ms. Trulmine to calculate the distance between the shadows caused by the ceiling fan.

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