If this looks familiar to you -- it should. I'm moving many of my one-shots to this account.
Disclaimer: Yeah. Not mine.
"I've got some ... um ... interesting reports, from ... uh, the -- the other professors ..."
The Dean at Princeton is a fumbling genius with absolutely no social skills, if they still got him there. I really hope they fired him -- gave him the boot like they gave to me, but I doubt the guy ever stepped out of line enough to get the ol' pink slip. I only say that because he had the whole freakin' book of rules memorized. I mean, hell, if there wasn't a physical book before he came around, I'm pretty sure he spent his otherwise mundane free time writing it. And I'm pretty sure he would've enjoyed every minute of it. He was a freak like that. And not the good kind of freak -- you know, like a stripper who's a freak, or a housewife who's a freak. No he was like a nerdy-freak, rule-reading, no-distractions, fun-Nazi. I mean he didn't even have any guilty pleasures that you could say, hold over his head (aka: blackmail) when he ... brought up a few of yours.
"Professor Hunders, this is a B!"
"Well I'm glad your bourgeoisie high school education at least accomplished the alphabet."
She was such a brat. Not because her parents bought her a Ferrari when she turned sixteen, 'cause she had to bum a ride everywhere she went. Not because she'd never had to hold a job, 'cause she had the memory of a waitress. She was a brat because she'd been raised on that Midwestern public school ideal that a C is a failing grade, when everywhere else it's average. She was a brat because she'd been taught to defy anything under a 98 average. She was a brat because she thought she could argue physics with me.
"Like what kind of reports?" I threw back casually. The Dean coughed and leaned back stiffly. Casual is like a foreign language to him. And God knows he's bad at them. Foreign languages, that is.
She blinked a few times quickly, like she had tears. "I ... can't have a B."
"Sure you can. This is Ivy League. Einstein couldn't get all A's."
"He would have an A in Physics."
She was a brat because she was five-nine and weighed about one-o-eight. She was a brat because she had Betty Grable legs. She was a brat because I was pretty willing to give her the A just for wearing that sweater with the buttons undone all the way down ...
The Dean coughed uncomfortably. "I-I-I understand that we're all adults here, b-but-but this is an institution of education, not ... not, um ..."
"Yeah?" I knew what was coming before he even started talking. But, call me immature, I wanted to hear the sex-o-phobic Dean put it all into words.
"Excuse me, are you Einstein?"
"Well ... no."
"Then I guess you got a B."
"I worked really hard on that paper, Mr. Hunders. I worked twice as hard as Ginni Mancino, and she got an A plus."
"Maybe Ginni Mancino's smarter than you are."
"Maybe Ginni Mancino's daddy's in the Mob."
She was a brat because she wasn't going to just storm out of the room and take the B. She was a brat because she roomed with Giovannia Mancino. She was a brat because she knew that her name meant jackshit on the east coast.
"Of-of immorality ..."
Damn. I was really hoping he'd say the s-word.
"Look, Harry, I don't have a damned clue what you're talking about. If the other professors have been complaining about me, I got a right to know what they said. What'd they say?"
He fumbled around for words. After about thirty seconds, he finally had the words together.
I met her eyes, and she kept her stare. Brown eyes. Damn you, Van Morrison. Damn you.
"You want an A?"
She looked at me like I was nuts. "Yes! That's why I'm here!"
"Would you be interested in ... extra credit?"
She was a brat because she always believed that her work, no matter how uninspired or encyclopedia-quoting, deserved an A because she spent time on it. She was a brat because she had every intention of doing whatever I told her to do to get her grade. She was a brat because she wasn't going to make me feel like a dirty old professor for asking.
"Well ... Mr. Hunders ... Some -- a lot -- of the professors are under the impression that you have been ... having personal relations with some of the students ... in accordance with their grades."
Come on, Dean. Just say it. Just say "I heard you've been screwing the girls, and I want to know your secret."
"You mean like studying with them?" God I'm good at this playing dumb thing.
"Yes! Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Hunders. Extra-credit would be great."
"Oh, I'm sure it will ..."
"What would you like me to do?"
"I'm flattered that you would ask."
"I'm ... confused."
"Do you know why Ginni got an A?"
She was a brat because I was going to enjoy every minute of it.
"No. Not-not like studying. One an-anon-anona --"
Poor schmuck. "Anonymous?"
"Right. One anonymous professor stated that you have engaged in s-s-s-sexual activity with ... six students."
What the hell. I was a sinking ship anyway.
His eyes became wider and buggier than mine. I grinned at him, leaning back comfortably in my chair.
"Then it's-it's you're saying it's true?"
There's a fine line between genius and insanity.
"Yeah. Sure is. You gonna fire me or what?"
Nevermind the fact that I was the best damn professor in the whole school. Nevermind that that ugly butch lit professor was working on shoving me out of the picture because her girlfriend had bought a chemistry kit and magnetized a paper clip, and now she wanted my job. Nevermind that any other dean would look at my resume and wave me out of the room. That spineless nut didn't even look me in the eye when he mumbled.
"Yes-yes. Please ... go."
And, after knocking over his framed picture of Darwin, I calmly left the room -- and teaching -- forever.
"So do I get an A?"
"Did Ginni get an A? Yes, sweety, you're getting an A."
"But she -- and you -- it's not because her dad's in the Mob."
"... There is no Mafia."