I have been teaching the present perfect progressive tense for the past ten minutes. Getting nowhere.

“Okay, so if you wake me up in the morning, what have I been doing?” I ask the class.

An eager, short-haired girl raises her hand.

“Eating?” she asks. I smile and shake my head. “Sleeping.”

I say the Russian word for sleep and add an –ing. I laugh at my own joke. Then, out of nowhere, I hear a thunk. In the back of the class, a student has fallen face first into his desk. He begins snoring. I frown. Then, like the wave at a football game, the whole class follows suit. The room descends into a cacophony of heavy breathing.

“Ha-Ha,” I say, “very funny. Seriously, you’ll need this, guys.”

I throw the cap of my board marker at the first student to fall asleep. He doesn’t move.

“Fine,” I say, in my best teacher’s voice, “I’ll go get Ivan.”

No one moves. I walk to the door at a threatening pace. Nothing.

“What the hell?” I mutter.

“Alright, your funeral,” I call back to the class as I step into the hall.

I knock on the door to the office marked “Headmaster.”


I walk in.

Ivan is combing through a textbook, making notes. He looks up.

“What’s up?”

“My class is all pretending to sleep.”

He chuckles.

“What did you do now?”

I cross my arms. “Nothing! I made a little joke.”

He frowns. “Was it appropriate?”

“Yeah,” I say, then, repeat the joke to him. A smile crosses his face, then, his head slams into the open book. He begins snoring, loud and heavy.

“Not funny Ivan,” I say. He doesn’t move. I walk over to him and shake him. No response. I frown. I walk into the hall. A woman passes me by.

“Excuse me?” I say. She turns. I repeat my joke. She almost immediately crumples into a heap on the floor.

I stare at her. Eyes wide. For some reason, I look at my hands as I mutter, “No friggin’ way.”

I walk back into Ivan’s office and find a slip of paper.

Call me when you wake up, I write. I gather my things from the room of passed out students.

On my way out of the school, just to check, I pop my head into a random class. The students all turn and frown. I repeat the joke, quickly. The students all slump over. The teacher falls into her portable white board.

“Oh, crap.” I shut the door slowly and dash out onto the street. I run the whole way back to my apartment.

Inside the door, I call out, “M! M!”

“Yeah, yeah,” M calls from the kitchen. I run into the kitchen without taking off my jacket.

“Dude, you won’t believe this, I think I discovered a magic spell!”

M lights a cigarette and leans back.

“Do tell,” he says.

“Okay, wait.” I run into my bedroom and grab a pillow, I run back to the kitchen and place it on the table in front of M. He frowns at it, but doesn’t say anything.

“Okay so, I was teaching and I made a joke combining the Russian word for sleep and then i, n, g. I know, a bad joke, but whatever, so,”

M frowns.

“спать-ing?” he asks, cutting me off.

“Yeah, aw, crap.”

Everything goes black.


**If you enjoyed this story, check us out on Facebook for more on the stories behind the stories. Or, Instagram for comics, bonus stories, are and more.



Author Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov created one story and one picture each day for one year. In May 2018 they published their first book, The King of FU

11 Comment on “The Magic of the Present Perfect Progressive

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