Adam Ash

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

JESUS NATION SEX REBEL, mini-chapter 23


There was knock on the door. Adam guiltily clicked the website away. He’d redone his own profile to make a match with the one blurted out to him by the woman at the burning of the stake, and was checking to see if the Bureau had hooked them up.

He went to the door, and was surprised to see the Dean, Doctor Proctor, who never came to anyone’s office. He summoned you to see him in his office. Very aware of his position. A true academic.

“Doctor White, may I come in for a minute?”

“Certainly, Doctor Proctor.”

“Doctor White, we have a serious situation here.”

Adam took one look at Doctor Proctor’s face and felt that slight and familiar feeling of being intimidated. Doc Proc was no fan of his. The Dean looked very serious: worse, he looked very smug.

“What’s the matter?” Adam asked. Doc Proc tried to hide a thin smile of keen Schadenfreude.

“One of your students has made an accusation under the Patriot Act. Apparently you said something treasonous in your lecture a few days ago.”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“He says you said that it’s a good thing to defend one’s civil liberties.”

“On the contrary, I remarked that for female bonobos, who are animals, it might be a good thing to defend their civil liberties. It was a joke.”

Adam kept a calm front, with a touch of defensive insolence, but inwardly he went stone cold.

“It cannot be treated as a joke,” said Doc Proc. “This is a serious accusation, which will have to go before our Patriot Board, who will recommend appropriate action.”

“What kind of action do you imagine will be appropriate?”

“Criminal prosecution.”

“You can’t be serious. This is tantamount to the preposterous.”

“We cannot have our professors make treasonous remarks to our students. It goes against the academic grain, not to mention Christian morality.”

“But I made a joke!”

“You will have the opportunity to defend yourself.”

“I look forward to defending myself against this ridiculous accusation.”

“We had a case just this morning, of a female who had the temerity to bring along a friend to testify about her character. I’m sure she was looking forward to defending herself, too.”

“This is an accusation unworthy of your time.”

“I’ll be the judge of that, thank you. That female this morning, she had an attitude, too. She should be thankful we didn’t punish her as well as her friend.”

“I’m not a female, and I don’t need anyone to testify to my character.”

“If what this student says is true, and we have a class full of students to call as witnesses, your character won’t be enough to defend you. Meanwhile, you’re suspended. You may use your office until our Patriot Board comes to a decision, but you are relieved of all your teaching duties.”

Holy shit of Islam. Five minutes ago he felt powerful. Now he felt powerless. It was very rare to launch a successful defense once an accusation of treason was made. The Patriot Board would look upon any breach of the sacred relationship between a professor and a student as a very serious matter. Once the Board made their decision, a criminal trial with a jail sentence was a foregone conclusion.

How could he possibly defend himself in front of a USA Patriot Board? The very name was scary: the Uniting and Strengthening of America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. It had a very wide sweep. He wasn’t a terrorist; he hated them with a fierce passion. But he could be named one because of a single remark.


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