KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 356 words

Sin comes openly

by Kimmo Rosenthal
Sin always comes openly and can at once be grasped by means of the senses. It walks on its roots and does not have to be torn out.
—Franz Kafka

The following scene, which epitomizes this truism, has no doubt been played out countless times on campuses everywhere. The red-haired girl with the opaline green eyes sits up front in a short black dress which caresses her body as she tugs nervously at the hem, feeling almost denuded as she senses her professor’s eyes on her. He forces himself to avert his gaze, and the next time he looks up he sees her lissome form approaching his desk, undoubtedly with a question about the exam. He stands to attend to her, perhaps not to disturb other students, or, more likely, to stand close to her. He does not know whether she moved towards him, or he towards her, or they both moved simultaneously, but her breast brushes against his arm and then her thigh presses against his leg. An electric sensation runs through him and he knows that it’s indestructible, irrepressible youth brushing up with innocent cruelty against his fragile psyche. His arm moves to her back and we would like to imagine it rests there in a kindly perhaps even paternalistic way, for after all she is young enough to be his daughter. However, it begins slowly moving downward. The slight brushing against his arm and the light pressure against his leg have set into motion something he is powerless to stop, as if his arm is a separate sentient part of him, moving of its own volition, proceeding lower and lower, yet stopping at the last moment. He hears his voice, somehow disembodied and distant, suggesting she come to his office later that day to discuss the exam further. As she returns to her desk she looks back and smiles with what he would like to think is complicity, yet deep down he knows it’s just youthful curiosity rather than tendresse. He suddenly feels unmasked as he imagines all the students staring at him knowingly, for sin does indeed come openly.

[Editor’s Note: The epigram of this story is Number 101 of 109 aphorisms written by Franz Kafka from September 1917 through April 1918, which were then published by Max Brod in 1931 (six years after Kafka’s death) in a volume entitled, The Zürau Aphorisms.]

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