Of Doggerel and the Dean

Excerpts from Of Doggerel and the Dean

Meeting with potential donors was one aspect of the job the Dean savored. The two hours spent with the aging couple that evening were not easy. Their questions made him suspect that they had been talking with dissident faculty members, those people who did not appreciate the need for strong leadership. Still, he felt he had answered them satisfactorily. A couple of more conversations and, he was sure, a substantial contribution to the endowment fund would be in the bag. It could go a long way to insure his elevation to the college presidency. In spite of wishing he were already at home in bed, he decided to follow the procedure he normally followed on those days on which he used his personal car for college business, that of dropping by the college gas pump to top off his tank before going home.

As the gasoline gurgled into the tank, it’s fumes intensified by the cool night air, he contemplated the large number of crucial items on his plate, dealing with obstreperous faculty being one of them but, at this point, not the most pressing. The weightiest of all the problems was the need to act decisively on the matter that had most occupied his mind in recent weeks. Perhaps he should have acted sooner, but he wanted first to be absolutely sure of his facts.
In addition to the more critical issues, there was the foolish distraction of the petty thefts and related doggerel. That detective the Board had inadvisably decided to hire did not seem to be getting anywhere. He would be meeting with him again the following morning. A private detective? What were they thinking?

When the tank was full he made sure he completed and signed the required slip showing the number of gallons he had pumped. There was no sense in upsetting that idiot Baird by forgetting to complete the damn paperwork. Once in the President’s chair, he would be in a better position to deal with the man.

He was about to walk the several yards to the maintenance building to deposit his gas slip in the mail slot when he heard someone approaching. Even though this was his bailiwick, Baird certainly wouldn’t be working at that time of night. Or would he? A better explanation would be illegal aliens camping in the wooded area adjacent to the maintenance yard. Within minutes—his musings ended—he lay dying, his carefully pressed white shirt soaked with blood.

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