Iron & Bass


Joe Parker - Aug. 1, 2001

One morning, Professor Henry looked out his office window and contemplated a dandelion in the grass in front of the university building.

"What does it mean to be a dandelion?" wondered Henry aloud. "What are his responsibilities? Does the dandelion have worries, like I?"

It matters not, thought Henry, now quietly and to himself.

"You were saying, sir?" It was Withrow, eyes shut, from the arm-chair in the darkest corner of the office.

"It's not important, Withrow. Go back to sleep."

"Of course, sir."

Before noon, Henry was standing in the office of the headmaster, staring at a family of squirrels making its way up the large oak on the far side of the lawn. The headmaster stroked his polished brass paperweight, a gift from the university, as he spoke. There had been complaints about Henry's effectiveness as a lecturer.

"Arguably," said Henry, "this is the most difficult thing for us to talk about. But I don't want to argue anymore."

Henry went on to explain that though philosophy was still very much his passion, teaching was not, and that he wished, in a manner most respectful to the university and its executive board, to resign his post as head lecturer for the department.

"You see," Henry went on, "there comes a time in a man's life..."

Outside, far beyond the lawn and into the woods that ran along the county highway, two undergraduates were hard at work digging an eighteen inch hole in the forest floor. Once completed, it would serve as hiding place for a dark liter whiskey bottle until that evening's rendezvous with the pair of prep school girls they'd met several days prior.