The Money Saver

      Danang was sitting at the desk outside the computer lab. She took a glance at her watch. It was 11 AM. Danang sighed and put her thumb drive from her backpack on the table. It was one of those large thumb drive that you cannot easily lose it due to its largeness. These are not expensive due to its convenience. She then took out her pocket mirror so that she could adjust her black long hair.
      I should have woke up earlier. I didnt even have time to do my hair! Danang mumbled.
      Why are you here at the college today anyway? I thought you said you dont have class on Friday. Said the deep voice from behind Danang.
Danang turned around, and found out the speaker. It was Eak, one of her friends at the college. Eak was skinny, which didnt match with his deep voice at all. He also likes to wear too much deodorant on him, since he has some kind of skin problem.
      I dont. Im here because of this. Danang said, showing her big pink thumb drive.
      Its the EC assignment. I need to turn it in today by 4.00 PM. And I need to print it here, but it seems like our computer labs are just too popular. Danang said, rolling her eyes.
      Why dont you just print it from home? That way you dont have to be rush Eak suggested.
      Oh come on, Eak. We paid so much for this college. Too much, Id say. We really need to make that money worth it, you know? Danang said.
      Well, you will have to wait until afternoon or so. I just checked the schedule. Most of the labs wont be available until 2.00 PM. Eak said.
      Danang made a face as if to say What!? before she let out a big sigh.
      How about printing your assignment at those internet cafes around here? I dont think itll be too expensive. He added.
      No way in heaven Ill pay that bloody 5 baht per page. Its a ripped off! Danang shouted. After she realized people around her stopped to look at her, Danang kept her voice down this time.
      I think I can wait. You just have to be patience for the best to come, you know?
      Hey, why dont we have lunch together? Ill come back here with you at 2.00, how does that sound?
      Danang raised her eyebrows, and then she started putting her stuffs on the desk into her backpack.
      Thats fine with me. We havent had lunch together in a while, have we?
      Eak answered her question with a smile.

      So where should we sit? Eak asked. He was holding his and Danangs plates. Danang looked around the half-empty cafeteria to find someone she knew so that she could sit with. A second later Danang pointed her finger to the table where a brown hair girl was sitting. She and Eak walked toward the table. The girl noticed their coming, thus she raised her head from her food. She smiled when she saw Eak, but her smile faded away when she saw Danang.
      Hi, Eak. And Danang. The girl greeted.
      Mind if we join you, May? Eak asked.
      Absolutely not. You know how boring it is here at Friday lunch. May said, moving her and her food to make room for Eak and Danang.
      Regardless the excitement in Mays voice, the table was very quiet. Few minutes later, Danang asked May a favor.
      May, I forgot to buy a bottle of water. Can I have some of yours?
      May has a blank expression on her face; as if Danang just asked her the definition of differentiate. Eventually, May nodded her head and handed Danang her bottle of water. Danang then took out her pink plastic glass from her backpack and poured the water from Mays bottle into it. Mays eyes were wide open when she saw what was left for her. The water in her bottle was now become as much as a drop of sweat.
      Oh my! Im so sorry, May. Do you want me to pour it back to you? Danang asked.
      Its okay, really. May said.
      Thanks you! Youre really nice. Ill totally buy you back next time we have lunch together. Danang said.
      You dont have to. Look, I have to go. Its almost half past twelve. See you guys later. May said. It didnt take her as long as when she answered Danangs request for the water for her to leave.
      She should be more generous, dont you think? Danang asked Eak.
      He answerd her with a smile.
      Well whatever, at least she helped me save some money.
      Danang took a look at the cafeteria door to see that May wasnt there anymore. After she was sure, Danang then took out her bottle of water and put it on the table.
      You know how much these things cost nowadays? 7 baht! Can you believe that? And in America you can drink it for free from the tab, I cant believe it. Danang said.
      Yeah, things are getting more and more expensive around here. Says, would you mind if we go to the library first? I need to return some books I borrowed. Eak said. Danang stopped eating once she heard what he said.
      The Library! How can I forget? Theres a printer there!

      The library was very quiet, even though there are many people in there. Danang could see them from outside by looking through the windows. Eak opened the library door but he stoped when he saw Danang walked past the library to the water tank.
      You can go ahead before me. Im going to fill my bottles up so that I dont have to buy them later today. Danang said. Eak could see that she had three empty bottles in her hands. He nodded to Danang before he made his way through the door to the counter.
      While Danang was filling up her bottles of water, she noticed a short black hair girl. The girl adjusted her glasses nervously, as if to make sure that she was looking at the right person. She walked pass Danang, however her eyes were looking at Danang.
      It was when Danang just finished filling up her first bottle when the girl eventually talked to Danang.
      Danang, is that you? she asked.
      Hi Narinee! Friday class?
      Yes. Since I took a minor, I have to study harder to graduate in 4 years. Narinee answered.
      Anyway, may I ask, if you dont mind, for my fifty baht back? Can you recall borrowing my money to pay for the taxi?
      Danang can see Narinees nervousness through her right moving her glasses unnecessarily. Danang put the full bottle into her backpack and started filling the second one.
      Of course I do remember. But you know what? I only have the thousands and not fifties. I suppose you dont have changes for those, right?
      Narinee tightened her lip and sighed.
      Im really sorry Narinee. But Ill definitely pay you back, ok?
      You know what? Just forget it. This is the third time I ask you.
      Then I think three is a charm phrase probably doesnt really work well for you. Danang shrugged.
      Danang also giggled. Narinee did not. Her face was red, and her lip was tightened that it was like a thin straight line. Narinee, then, burst out of the hallway with a loud thumb.
      Isnt that Narinee?
      Danang sniffed because the smell hit her suddenly. It was Eak. He was standing at the door when Narinee walked away.
      Yeah, she was asking back her money. Shes so stingy, dont you think? I mean, it wasnt like I borrow her a million baht or anything. Danang ranted. Her hands were still at the water tank, filling the second bottle.
      Narinee, May, they should be more like you. Danang said, turning her face to Eak.
      You lent me money often, remember? Remember the health education project we did together? You even were the one who paid for the whole project cost. And have you ever asked me for that money? No!
      You are such a generous person, Eak. Im sure something good will happen to a person like you. Danang told Eak, looking into his eyes. She finished her second bottle now.
      Thanks. Im sure it will. Eak answered.
      But arent you in a hurry for printing your EC assignment? He asked
      Danang looked at her watch. It was one oclock.
      Would you please plug this thumbdrive into one of the computers in the library? I want to finish the last bottle. Danang asked
      Eak nodded, took her thumb drive and walked through the door he just came from. Danang looked at him with a smile. However, she had to turn back to the water tank when she found out that there was no water left. And her last bottle was only half-filled.
      Oh come on! I dont want to go up to the fifth floor. Danang yelled at the water tank. She pushed the button but there was nothing comes out but drops of water and its dripping sound. She tried it again and again for those drops until there was nothing comes out of the tank. Danang looked at her last bottle, which was still half-filled, and sighed.
      Eventually, Danang walked up the stair to the fifth floor. There was another water tank there. Danang take of the last bottle from her backpack and then finished filling it up. While she was closing the bottle, she saw Eak burst up the stairways. He stopped when he saw Danang, handing her the thumb drive.
      Im sorry Danang, but your thumb drive is too big. It doesnt fit any computer USB port in the library. Eak said.
      You have got to be kidding me! Danang shouted.
      Danang grabbed the thumb drive from Eaks hand, descends the stairs, and ran into the library. She then made her way quickly to the computer room. There were three computers left. She rushed to the closest one. Danang then pushed her big thumb drive into the computer USB port. However, the thumb drive was too big for the narrow space where the port was. Danang tried to push it harder and harder. Other people in the room stopped what they were doing to look at her. Danang moved on to the second computer, ignoring people in the room. However, she stopped when she saw that all computers are the same.
If the thumb drive couldnt fit one of them. It couldnt fit any of them.
Danang looked at her watch quickly. It was one twenty. Then she saw Eak followed her from the library.
Are you sure you dont want to print your assignment at the internet café? Eak asked.
Danang was silence at first, and then she answered.
No, thats not an option, ok? Ill just wait until two like you said before then. You have to be patience for the best to come. She said, closing her eyes as if to calm herself.

At 2 o clock, Danang and Eak were waiting at the desk in front of the computer lab. However there was only one computer lab that there is no class. Danang turned to look at Eak as if to ask him a question. Eak shrugged.
Maybe they have made up classes or they have to move to move to one of these rooms. It always happen, you know.
Thats probably what it is. Well, lets just go to the available one then.
Danang and Eak rushed into the only free computer lab. It was like there is a concert in this room. People were so crowded that Danang had to try so hard to look through them to find a computer that she can use. She saw one man who was sitting at the computer with a green sticker on its case, meaning that this one allows you to print.
Why wouldnt that guy sit on other computers if he only wants to play solitaire? Danang talked to herself. It was loud enough for Eak to hear. Or maybe it was just that the room was so crowded that anyone could hear anything being said.
      Wait here, Im going to talk to that guy Danang said.
      She moved toward the computer where that man sits.
      Would you please let me print something out? I have an assignment that has to be turned in by today. She asked the man. He turned to look at her and said ok. Danang gave him a smile for thanks you and plugged in her thumb drive.
You probably have to wait. So many people are printing out stuffs. The man suggested.
Well, you have to be patience for the best to come.
I supposed youre right.
Danang gave him another smile. She then joined Eak who was waiting for her at the printer. She showed Eak her right thumb. However, Danang started to see that people around the printer were leaving the computer lab. Eak waved his right hand and point to the printer.
The printer runs out of paper. Eak shouted.
Danang was silence. She doesnt notice that the man at the computer handing back her thumb drive.
Well, it seems like you have to wait longer. Said the man. This time he got Danangs attention. She grabbed her thumb drive back from his hand.
So it seems. Well, thanks you anyway.
Hey listen. Ill just sit here to safe this seat for you while you go and get the paper. How does that sound? The man said.
That doesnt sound so bad. Thanks.
Eventually Danang and Eak walked out of the computer lab to get some paper at the staff office. However the computer staffs told them that the paper is coming. They told Danang that the paper will be at the staff office around half past three.
Three thirty? I really think you should go to the internet café, Danang. Eak said.
Eak, Ive told you a hundred times that I wont waste my money on this. Unless, you want to lend me money.
      There was nothing come out of Eaks mouth.
      So see? This is the best solution for us. If I wait, I got my assignment done, and you lose no money. You have to be patience for the best to come.
      You really are patience. I admire you. Eak said.
      Im flattered. Lets go back to the computer lab. That guy saves a seat for me, and I dont want to lose it.
      Danang and Eak then moved back to the computer lab that they came from. Danang said thanks you to the guy and took his seat. She and Eak surfed the internet to kill time until it was 3.30 PM.
      Oh Its 3.30 PM now. Eak, would you please go get the paper for me? I dont want to lose my seat to other people. She asked.
      Eak answered her with a smile.
      You really are a nice person, Eak. She told him. Eak nodded before he rushed out of the computer lab. A minute later he came back with a pile of paper. Eak then loaded it to the printer and showed Danang his right thumb. Danang gave him a laugh, and clicked on the mouse to print her assignment. After that, she stood up and walked to Eak.
      Your assignments due at four right? Just in time,eh? Eak asked.
      Yeah. See? You just have to be patience. This way, I dont have to pay those stupid internet café for something I can do for free. Danang said.
Her eyes were staring at the paper which was coming out from the printer. Danang could see her assignment being printed on the paper. Eventually the first page was completely printed out.
How many pages are there? Eak asked.
5 pages. If I did what you told me, I would have waste something like--
Danang didnt finish her sentence. Her eyes were still looking at the paper that was coming out of the printer. However, her eyes were now wide open. Her face turned pale and her hands were sweat, as she saw the printed text faded more and more.
Danang picked up the second page that was printed out and stared at it, at the half blank paper, half faded texts, half of her assignment.

      The printer is out of toner. Said the computer staff.
      But cant you do anything about it? I really need to print out my assignment! Danang shouted. Her face was red and her hands were more sweat than before.
      The classes will be ended at five oclock or so.
      Thats not possible. I have to turn this in by four oclock or in fifteen minutes. Can you just refill or replace the toner or something?
      I can, but that has to be done tomorrow. Its a procedure.
      Danang had a blank expression on her face. Her face was neither red nor pale anymore.
      Well, if you could excuse me. Danang said. She then walked into the lady restroom near the computer lab. The computer staff looked to make sure that she was out of sight and then turned to Eak.
      She should have come here at noon. All the computer labs were free at that time. There were no classes at all. Dont you know that?
      Eak answered him with a smile.
      Yes, I know.
      The computer staff had a puzzled look on his face. Eak did not care. He looked to the hallway that led to the restroom.
      She was right, though. You have to be patience for the best to come. Eak said.
      And that was when they hear a very loud scream from the restroom.
Post Script

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