A rollicking romp through the halls of academia. Fast-paced. Hilarity at its best!
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Famous Union is a pretty little college with expensive fountains, cute coeds, and brand new artificial turf on the football field. It seems like the perfect place to work, but not all is as it seems, especially when bungling administrators create theater-of-the-absurd conditions in this once very proud institution of higher learning. Hampered by severe budgetary problems, the powers-that-be at Famous Union College create situations that bring about comical chaos for faculty and students alike. How will the often eccentric characters cope with the drastic changes suddenly thrust upon them, where compromise is a four-letter word? Famous Union College is a place where what is what is not.
Famous Union was a pretty college, with pretty buildings and pretty coeds and a lot of trees. It also had a pretty water fountain that ran from eight in the morning until five in the evening, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. It was a small college but with not small problems and expenditures. The water fountain alone had cost a mint, not to mention the artificial turf on the football stadium, the bowling alley in the student union, and the many automatic coffee makers around campus.
On September 1, 2012, two recent PhDs entered employment with the English Department of Famous Union College, one a young Greek, the second a younger hybrid. But unfortunately for the latter—the hybrid—who had been hired to coordinate the department’s freshman composition program, a two-semester sequence, the entire program, as the result of an executive decision in late August, was abolished forever at Famous Union three weeks before the new coordinator showed his face in town for the second time, the first having been for his job interview two and a half months earlier. The decision was a landmark one, Famous Union having been the first and only institution of higher learning in the entire country to disband the writing program that was a strict requirement everywhere else under the American flag, and always had been.
Alexander Smith, the Greek, had received his PhD in British literature in 2006 in an American university. He’d first come to the States as a young boy. His parents had sent him there to learn English. He’d lived with his uncle and aunt and had never returned to Greece. And he learned English very quickly. When his eldest sister had married in Athens in 1997, he’d sent her a certified check in the amount of seventy-five American dollars. She’d had a huge Greek wedding with everything as it should be, celebrating fast and loud until the wee hours of the morning.
Alexander went to Oregon State right after his high school graduation, and he remained there until he received his PhD, working summers and evenings as a wine steward in a fancy Italian restaurant not twenty minutes by foot from the books of the Oregon State University library, Alexander’s favorite habitat for the nine years he spent in Corvallis.
In his second year of graduate school he met Haide Mohammadi, a senior in psychology from Iran. But three months later he lost her.
Haide came from Mashid, the holy city of Iran, the center of Iranian conservatism and religious thought. She thought she was both conservative and deeply religious, but she found out in Corvallis that she was neither. She threw off all of her restrictive religious chains and began to drink beer with devotion, as did her two run-around American roommates. She took to wearing a mini-skirt and no bra in summer, and a tight sweater and tight pants and no bra in winter. She even perfected a little wiggle when she walked, which only served to enhance the mind-boggling curvature of her body that always seemed to be fighting with all it had to gain access from its confining clothes, usually rich and colorful and Western.
When Haide finally lost her virginity, not long after she’d made herself at home in America, she found to her delight that she enjoyed the sex act so much that she got into the habit of making it a habit, much to the enjoyment of her steady stream of American dates.
Needless to say, she was quite accomplished in her love-making when Alexander first met her, which was in the parking lot of the fancy Italian restaurant where he worked evenings, and she went to bed with him on their first date. Alexander was so excited by the lithe Persian beauty that he could hardly think of anything but her, even when he was not physically touching or teasing or screwing her, all of which he did for three glorious months. As a result, his grade average began to slip, not much, but slip nonetheless. However, Alexander, normally a serious student, couldn’t care less about the slippage of his G.P.A. he was so engrossed by Haide Mohammadi.
In February, however, when her once untouchable loins began to crave the taste of new masculinity, Haide Mohammadi dumped Alexander Smith. She dumped him hard, with little explanation and with finality, and Alexander nearly lost his mind, especially so when her ongoing sexual exploits continued coming back to his own ears. So he began to apply himself to his studies of British literature like he’d never applied himself to anything before, Haide Mohmmadi being no exception. He proved himself so capable in this endeavor that his dissertation supervisor even suggested, after it was all over for Alexander at Oregon State, that his lengthy discourse on the allegorical love poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer be published. But, for one reason or another, Alexander just never got around to trying to do this, though he did manage to maintain a lifelong interest in both love and poetry, allegorical or not.
After his graduation Alexander accepted a teaching post at a Florida university, where he stayed for five years.
And then on April 2nd he signed his name on the bottom of the second page of a contract for full-time academic personnel at Famous Union College.
William Ferris, alias Bill, the hybrid, received his PhD in nineteenth-century American literature in June of 2003 from a California state university. He’d been born and raised in his hometown, and he’d received his high school diploma, his Bachelor’s degree, his Master’s degree and his PhD there, too. And in 1998 he’d received the shock of his life there. It was a summer afternoon when this had happened. Here is what took place:
Bill Ferris had just finished a cheeseburger with everything on it and a thick chocolate shake and a side order of French fries with a dab of ketchup on the side and he was heading back to his car in the nearby parking lot when a man in front of him suddenly pulled a gun on him and cocked the trigger, aiming the thing right into the chest of William Ferris. Ferris froze and the man told him to try no funny business and to throw his hands into the sky and to move not a muscle or he would forfeit his life. So Ferris, scared shitless, did as he was told. He threw his hands up in the air and moved not a muscle and tried no funny business. How he was able to do all of this at the time, he can’t remember to this day.
The man cautiously approached William Ferris and checked his person for a sidearm, found none, and then ordered him to slowly turn his pockets inside out. Again William Ferris did exactly as he was told, except that, out of extreme fear, he did so much more slowly than the man with the gun desired. When Ferris was finally finished, the man with the now empty holster quickly scooped up Bill’s wallet and searched it for identification purposes and then, with a sheepish grin on his face, put his gun back into its holster and handed the wallet back to Ferris and told him to relax, that he was the wrong man. Then he helped Bill retrieve the loose change that had been splattered about the parking lot from Ferris’ pockets, and he smiled and told Ferris to have a good day, then walked away, leaving William Ferris still scared shitless.
This was an event in his life that William Ferris never completely forgot.
He continued his studies and then defended his dissertation and later that same night, and into the wee hours of the following morning, he filled his body with too much liquor he was so delighted with himself.
Then two weeks later he put his signature to the full-time academic contract that Famous Union College offered him.