Professor, Sir, Herald Kelso looked around the packed auditorium and felt a warm glow of satisfaction. He had spun his web over his audience and they were enthralled.
The faces in front of him were mostly young, perhaps in their early twenties, but there were also a few older men, colleagues, who had attended the lecture so that they could listen to the magic of the Professor’s words. This is what the world needs, the Professor thought, sound, irrefutable theory which explains the way things are.
The Professor looked down at Jackson, his Pointer-Setter, lazily licking his balls, without a care in the world. Now for the exit, leave them wanting more, he thought and stood, ignoring the waving hand of a student.
“Come on Jackson,” he said, stepping down from the podium.
“Sir Herald, can I ask a question?”
“No time for questions today, read my book,” he said and swept down the aisle, heading for the door.
“But how does all this apply in the field?” an irritating voice said.
“Chapter 6, page 155,” the Professor shouted over his shoulder.
Little upstart, he thought. I’m sure that was the same student who tried to ask me a question last time. Always wanting to know how it applies… well I’m not going to tell him. Jackson looked up and seemed to nod in approval.
“No time to discuss the finer points with the students, Jackson, I have to get home early and plan my new strategy,” he said.
Professor Kelso walked at a brisk pace along the long corridor towards his office and the glow of satisfaction evaporated. Oh no, he thought, looking at his arch rival walking towards him with a fixed, steely grin on his face.
“A fine lecture Sir Herald, but I would like to go over some of the issues you raised if you have a moment,” said Dr. Edgar Pope.
Jackson’s hair bristled slightly and the white of bared fangs showed beneath his curled lips.
“I can’t stop now, I’m having friends around, it needs to be planned you know.”
“Ah, yes, your campaign, that will need planning,” the Doctor said moving away from Jackson.
The Professor walked on along the corridor with Jackson at his heel, and he wondered if Dr. Pope, or fat arse, as he preferred to call him, really knew his plans. But how could fat arse know? Hadn’t Professor Kelso decided only last week, that the dinner party was the answer to his problem? He needed to meet the right sort of woman He had to meet someone with a broad outlook. Connie had turned out to be a disappointment.
“Herald, I cannot understand what you are saying,” she told him on their last date together.
“I’m afraid that your lack of understanding is not my problem,” he answered.
“But you don’t make sense. Not only that but whenever I ask you to do something you, make an excuse and don’t do it. And another thing, Jackson’s behaviour, in public, is embarrassing. Why do you take him everywhere you go?”
“Love me, love my dog,” he said and that was that.
The plan to invite the most important members of the Faculty and the most eligible women to a dinner party was a master piece. No one would suspect his real motives, he thought. First stop the grocery store.
Dr, Edgar Pope, watched his adversary walk along the main corridor and out of the door.
That dog should not be in the University building, he thought and Professor high and mighty Kelso is heading for a big fall… he knew it and he thought that all he had to do was to work out how to help him on his way. He was an able… to be fair, a brilliant lecturer, but his behaviour was getting stranger. His refusal to answer questions or to carry out experiments was as arrogant as it was unsustainable. Dr. Pope couldn’t understand why he had been by-passed for the Head of Department position and why Professor, high and mighty Kelso had been appointed. Everyone knew that he couldn’t organise the veritable piss up in a brewery. If he didn’t have Gladys he would never make it to the lectures, let alone run a Department.
“He can’t keep all the balls in the air, and I will be watching, when they fall, guess who will pick them up,” he said to himself and an evil grin flickered across his face.
“Bloody car, what’s wrong with you?” said the Professor, “and more importantly, what’s wrong with the bloody garage mechanics? Didn’t I give them clear written instructions on the service I required? They said that they couldn’t carry them out, that they were ‘too complicated,’ and when I remonstrated with them, they said that I could stick my instructions where the sun doesn’t shine… really!”
“Okay, I am going to count to three and if you don’t go this time you are for the junk heap, do you understand?” In reply the car back-fired, let out a cloud of black smoke and then dwindled and died.
“That was your last chance,” the Professor said and he turned the key another time… the engine purred into life.
“So you were just playing hard to get, let’s go to the grocers,” he said.
Professor Kelso entered the shop, and noticed the girl he had left his list with, go over to the manager and look towards him.
“Can I help you sir?” The manager said.
“Yes, you can, I would like my order please.”
“Ah, yes, the order… an attempt at a joke sir, although I must say that our staff failed to find the funny side of it. Oh, and another thing sir, would you mind leaving your dog outside, animals are not allowed into the shop.”
“I gave clear written instructions on the way I wanted my order handled. Is there a problem, there shouldn’t be should there… Patrick?” The Professor smiled at him. He remembered the last time they met, at a t-party, make-up and eye-liner made a big difference to the shop manager. His attention was brought back to the present by a high pitched laugh from the shop assistant girl. Sir Herald followed the direction of her gaze. Why did people always find it fascinating to see Jackson licking himself? There was no harm in it!
“I am sorry sir, but we cannot handle your order, you will have to try elsewhere.”
The Professor did what he always did on occasions like that. He adjusted and tightened his dickey-bow, gave the shop manager a disdainful look and turned to leave.
“See you at the next t-party, Patrick,” he said and walked out with his head held high. Jackson, in his usual aristocratic way, followed at his heel.
“I must have a word with you about Professor, Sir, Herald Kelso,” said Dr. Edgar Pope to the head of the Faculty, Professor Keen.
“Not again Edgar, you will just have to accept that the appointment board were slightly more impressed with Herald’s CV and interview than they were with yours. It was his grasp on the theory that did it,” said the Professor.
“That’s not what I’m here for; I’m here to report his strange behaviour. His lectures are of course brilliant, but apart from that he has problems.”
“What sort of problems.”
“Since he was appointed Head of Department, he has been issuing instructions to everyone from the cleaner to the Professional staff and quite frankly, they are obtuse in the extreme.”
“I’m sorry to say, that not only is it an inappropriate way to behave, but no-one can understand what he has written. That is partly his hand writing but also… they don’t make sense.”
“Well Edgar, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it all.”
“There’s also the problem of his dog.”
“Oh yes, Jackson, a lovely animal… I don’t see any problem there. By the way have you been invited to his dinner-party tonight? It should be quite a grand occasion.”
“As it happens, I have and I’m considering whether I should go. Will you be there?”
“Indeed, I will and I would advise you, to go too. There will be a lot of very important people attending.”
“Naturally, I will be there,” said Dr. Edgar Pope, fixing Professor Keen with a steely smile.
“Gladys, where are you when I need you?” the Professor shouted slamming the door to his office.
“What is it now Herald,” replied Gladys in her efficient, no-nonsense manner which the Professor had grown to love.
Jackson gave Gladys a big slobbery lick, his tail flapping furiously at the sight and sound of his favourite human female.
“People are not following my instructions.”
“You should have let me type them out and send them by email, rather than doing everything by hand, you must be worn out.”
“I’m not talking about the University staff; I’m talking about the bloody supermarket and the garage.”
“Well, Herald, I’m supposed to be here to help with your University work. But tell me what the problem is and we’ll see if we can get it fixed. “
“I would by-pass the whole bloody lot of them and do it all myself, but you know how things have a tendency to go wrong. It’s all to do with the theory; if I got that right then everything would be hunky dory.”
“Sir Herald, your strong point is the theory; it’s when you try to do the practical things that it goes wrong. That’s why I’m here… to smooth the way forward for you.”
Jackson whimpered in agreement.
“I know, and you’re an angel, what would I do without you?”
“By the way Dr, Edgar Pope rang.”
“What did old ‘fat arse’ want?”
“He said he would be pleased to attend your dinner party tonight.”
“Cheeky blighter, I didn’t invite him. My God, I must get away and plan for the grand occasion. Is there anything I have to do before I go”.
“Only this,” Gladys held up a pink garter.
“Oh, yes the t-party invitation. Is it that time again? I haven’t got a thing to wear. They’ve seen everything I’ve got… Never mind, could you send a note, saying that I fancy the Lana Turner outfit for the next… hmm gathering.”
“Will do, is there anything else?”
“Just wish me luck for tonight.”
“Good luck, show them what you can do, and err… good luck with the ladies.”
“Oh, there is one other thing.”
“Could you have a look at this grocery list for me please?”
“Okay, Herald, I’ll ring the grocers and ask them to drop it off at your house. Is that alright?”
“Thank you Gladys, what would I do without you? Come on Jackson, let’s go.”
Part 2 tomorrow
© Ray Harris Dec '09