22) 'Becoming A Savant Overnight' And Other Situations That, Sadly, Are...

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22) 'Becoming A Savant Overnight' And Other Situations That, Sadly, Are Equally As Unlikely As Dragons Actually Existing


It would have been ideal if school was only about showing up to classes, making friends (however odd they may be) and pretending to be nice and good, but no, it was all about results. Exams were torture devices invented by the devil.

And still, Benjamin had no clue how to say anything but je m'appelle Benjamin, which made it even more painful. The moment he'd step into the exam hall, he'd die. He'd crash to the ground and die a horrible death. Like suffocation. Or dragonfire.

There was only one solution.

Thijmen had to make the exam for him.

He could put on a ginger wig and paint freckles on his face and wear Benjamin's favorite t-shirt for luck and put on an epic cape and sprout wings and—

Or he could help Benjamin study, because he was too tall to impersonate him anyway.

"Say, Thijmen..."

"Yes, Benjamin?"

"Do you know a way to put information into someone's head overnight?"

"I do not."

"Darn it."

"Unless you're talking about studying."

Benjamin groaned.

"Do you want me to help you study?"

"Ah, yes please! I beg of you, Thijmen. I'll do anything!"

"I already offered, Ben," he sighed. "But anything, huh?"

"Yes! I mean... uh, I guess. I don't know. Not anything. I won't jump off a cliff."

"I was thinking of something else."

"Like what?"

Thijmen smiled, but he got up to get the French studybook without responding. Benjamin felt like repeating the question in case he didn't hear it, but he also felt like he still wouldn't get a response.

"So, Bennie, what do you need help with?"

"Everything."

"Please be a little more specific. We only have one day."

"Uh, can you help me with the verbs then?"

Five minutes later, they were sitting on the floor, talking about verbs. And save from a pair of glasses far down on his nose and a little less patience, Thijmen portrayed the perfect tutor.

His eyes were beginning to twitch, though. Benjamin didn't really know why, but he thought that him pronouncing 'être' 'etter' might have had something to do with it.

"Christ's sake, Ben," he began, "it's et-" and then continued on to make a sound Benjamin thought only aliens could make. And then Thijmen begged him to repeat it.

"Et-ruh?"

"No."

"Et-e-rer?"

"No."

This went on for some time.

By the time Benjamin made the sound a lawn mower makes when you start its engine, Thijmen shrugged and said, "Good enough." They then moved on to the second verb, and on to the third, and Ben was certain he could see a part of Thijmen die every time he butchered the language (which was a lot). When an hour had passed, Benjamin concluded the following: French was a language either a) created by aliens or b) a made-up language used to make people like Benjamin feel stupid. He suspected Thijmen thought that c) French is a perfectly fine language to learn as long as you're not an illiterate American was an option as well. The two didn't really agree.

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