It seemed like a good idea at the time. “I’m going to form a study group for our final exam,” Hal announced at the end of his economics class. “Anyone up for being in my study group?”
He was disappointed in the tepid response to his invitation, but two other students, Larry and Arlene, did take him up on his offer. “I’ll reserve a small study room at the library,” Hal told them.
Hal hadn’t known that Larry and Arlene were a couple until they walked, hand-in-hand, into the small study room he’d reserved. Nothing in the way they had interacted in class had suggested that they were “together.” But Hal figured that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as they all kept in mind that the mission of the group was to prepare them all to pass the final.
But a strange dynamic had formed by the third meeting of their small study group. Hal and Larry seemed to be competing for the attention of Arlene. And Arlene seemed to relish in the competition. Focusing on economics became harder for Hal as he spent more time trying to come up with ways to impress Arlene than in learning the material.
At the fourth meeting, Larry and Arlene couldn’t seem to take their hands off of each other. It was too much for Hal, who picked up his books, said, “Don’t let my being here stand in your way,” and stormed out of the room.
Arlene came running after him. “Hal, wait,” she implored. “Larry and I were just giving you a lesson in basic economics.”
“Economics or sex education?” Hal said sarcastically.
“We were role playing,” Arlene said. “You know, demonstrating the law of supply and demand. We were creating a demand for something that is in limited supply.” Arlene smiled at Hal and said, “Me.”
Hal didn’t understand, so Arlene continued. “When there is a high demand and a limited supply, the price of the goods goes up. It’s called price elasticity.”
But how does that apply to what you and Larry were doing?” Hal asked.
“I’m the goods and Larry helped drive up the demand,” Arlene said. “So the deal is $200.”
“$200? For what?”
“For me!” Arlene said. “You know you want the goods, right? College is expensive, my friend.”
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “study.”