Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Precursors and Lectures

It had not been a good morning for Professor Simmons. His automatic coffee maker had shorted out sometime during the night so he had to wait bleary eyed and weary for each little damn brown drop to plop. European presses are too kitschy to wake up to and this offended his faux Proletariat facade.

When he was younger, the whole cravat/tweed pretense read more like eccentricity. Now, it was like a cursor beeping at the end of a list of errors in judgement. Deep in his heart he heard every muttered derision, every passing car transported a soul that saw him and scoffed. His every moment was suffused with acceptance of his failure; and yet, like a late evacuee in a flood, there his head bobbed, there he denied the swirling fate that enveloped him.

He didn't have a bad wig, but he might as well have.

His first seminar of the day was in a bland hall tucked away behind the Biology monstrosity. The desks in the drably lit room were so like elementary school that he half expected Jimmy Travis to jump on him and pull his pants down in front of that girl he liked. His students shambled in like the suckers they use to fill out police lineups, innocent but just barely.

Without greeting them formally, Simmons began. Coffee lids, powdered pastry in plastic wrap, zippers on backpacks, earplugs coming out, all these sounds fought him until he was just far enough into the lecture so that he couldn't start over. The collective lack of interest in the room was enough to put pre WWII Germany to shame.

Suddenly, without provocation, to the surprise of all present, most of all himself, Professor Alton Simmons began to laugh at it all. And once he did this, something even more surprising happened. His hair began to grow at an alarming rate. By the middle of the seminar he almost tripped over it while staggering into the corner in a fit of giggling. Surprisingly, none of the students called 911...

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