Elijah Grammer’s Final Project

The Judge poured over her notes again, let out a long sigh, and furrowed her brow. She checked them, rechecked them, rechecked them again, took a quick burrito break, and rechecked them a third time. You would think as an eternal being I would have seen everything. I mean, there’s literally no way I couldn’t have seen everything.

She sighed. Nothing for it I suppose.

She snapped her fingers and it appeared before her. It really was as strange as she thought it would look, but somehow it’s mismash of parts congealed into an intelligible whole. It could almost be called beautiful. You know, if you were into that sort of thing.

“Whe… where am I?”

“Oh dear you can speak! I wasn’t really expecting that. Not sure why but…”

A look of confusion spread across… could you call it a face?

The Judge shook her head. “What was I thinking?! You don’t even know what you are.” This did not help alleviate its confusion. “Okay. Let’s start from the beginning. You’re dead.”

It startled, as if it didn’t quite know what to make of that. “But… wasn’t I… a class? How does that even happen?”

“Oh goody! You have self awareness! This is great. That will make this whole process a lot easier.”

“What process? What is going on?”

“Right. Sorry, I’m so used to dealing with people (and even then really only once every billion years or so) that I’m turning into a bumbling moron. So, yes, you were a class. The Good Class, to be specific. Honestly… that’s a little presumptuous.”

A look of realization spread across its face. “Ok. I think I understand. It’s like in the show, and now I’m being judged?”

“Exactly!”

“But wait, how did I die?”

“Well, you see, you had a pretty short natural lifespan. There are only so many times your going to get Mike Schur to visit your campus — well only the one time really. And your professors decided that you would only live for half the semester, so here we are.”

“Ok, other question — if this is like the show, why am I here and not just in the Good Place or the Bad Place? Don’t you know how many points I got?”

“See this is where it gets tricky. Most classes reincarnate in some form or another, so it’s really unusual for us to have a case like this. And let’s say our methods of evaluating classes are… not as practiced. Oh screw that. They really really suck.”

“So how do you do it?”

“Well there are these course feedback forms, achievement tests, grade inflation standards, yada yada yada, but I gotta be honest, I really don’t care about any of that stuff. They all tell us a lot more about the people in the class than the class itself.”

“Aren’t I just the product of all those people?”

“Oh sweetie no! I mean, you are, but you’re also not. You are born of them, but not really just them. Like, you had your own blog and everything. Ted Danson talked about you on Seth Myers! You… you kinda took on a life of your own.”

It… nodded? “Ok, that sorta makes sense. Anyway, if you don’t like the methods, how are you gonna judge me?”

The Judge smiled. “Boy you are a smart one. I knew you would be.”

The class blushed, if it could be called that since it had neither a proper face and certainly no blood flow. “Thanks?”

“It’s just true, dearie. Ok, here’s the deal. If we just did points, you would be in the Bad Place. Like, you did a bunch of really cool stuff, but it may or may not have been to show how cool your university is and we just can’t have that kind of questionable motivation in the Good Place. Also that lunch? Horrible for the environment. I thought Notre Dame was all into the sustainability stuff?”

“Honestly, I understand that. A class should be about learning first and foremost, right? And if I wasn’t about that then I was a bad class.”

“But wait! I’m not sure that’s the whole story. See, there were some really awesome people that took and taught you, and I think that the impact you had on them needs to be taken into account too.”

“So… what? I’m just going to wait around and see what they do because of me?”

“Well, yeah. Except there won’t be much in the way of waiting. We do exist outside time, you know.”

The Judge smiled again. “Oh this is great! I’m so excited to see how this works. If you’re going to have an afterlife, The Good Class, then it will depend on them.”