Friday, November 15, 2013

professor zender's experiment - 5. schon

by coraline o'connell

illustrated by eddie el greco and roy dismas

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

zender had always been vaguely aware that his colleagues in the modern history department regarded him as a pompous ass.

he had never let this bother him.

he was also aware that his field of study - anticipatory history, which he had done so much to promote and make respectable, but which was now widely considered to be totally discredited as a result of the recent worldwide upheavals - was no longer one calculated to win him fame, or a position beyond the one he now held as department chairman.

if, indeed, he could hold on to his position as department chairman.

he wondered what had happened to schon, his most determined adversary within the department, and if schon would be back.

no doubt schon, if he returned - had zender seen him at all on the few occasions he had visited the offices during the hostilities? - would have some cutting remarks about "anticipatory history", but would he actively mount a campaign against zender?

schon's specialty was the minute chronicling of the births and marriages of the prussian and bavarian aristocracies since the formation of the second empire, and he passionately believed - and defended the belief - that "history is documentation". he invariably concluded his briefs by striking the table and exclaiming - "no more and no less."

zender suddenly realized - why had he not realized it before? - no doubt because he had not thought about it - that he did not care if schon mounted a new offensive against him - might in fact, welcome it, if it did not involve any serious financial consequences.

financial consequences! why had he allowed such a poisonous thought to seep into his curiously and pleasantly lassitudinous brain?

for is there not always a strange - though often unacknowledged - for various reasons of courtesy and proprietary - exaltation at finding one in a new situation - or leaving an old one behind forever?

is there not a universal music in looking back and seeing something - no matter how previously cherished - grow smaller and smaller and finally disappearing on a receding horizon?

but now the music, pleasant enough as it had been, stopped.

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