International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Open and Shut Case
Adjunct Detective: The Case of Well-dressed Gentlemen
distracted from his work, Stu Hanagan peered out the window of the
Albany Park branch of the Chicago Public Library, watching the winter
weather worsen until the intersection of Foster and Kimball slowly
disappeared into a swirling mess of white.
Fruitfully spending the time in between teaching a morning composition
course at the nearby Illinois State University at Chicago and a night
course at Illinois Academy of Art downtown, Stu conducted his first-ever
online class session, this one for a third school, the Internet-based
Stu possessed little computer acumen, money was tight for a part-time
instructor stringing together rent and bills at multiple schools; even
with his altogether uncomplicated if not entirely frugal lifestyle,
additional employment was always welcome. However, without home Internet
service, Stu was primarily dependent on the public librarys free
Wi-Fi to complete his newest job, filling in the gaps with computer
usage at his crowded ISUC office and the altogether unreliable afterthought
of a part-time faculty bullpen at IAA.
He often resorted to checking his various e-mail accounts, one for each
school, at open computer labs primarily intended for students. With
new web-based responsibilities, Stu very recently graduated to computer
ownership of sorts, obtaining an old-time laptop lovingly renovated
by a computer-savvy friend with a basement full of machines rescued
from the both the figurative and literal trash heap. While the laptop
functioned properly, it was hot, heavy, clunky, and not always compatible
with Wi-Fi servers at certain cafés Stu found that his new computers
compatibility with these establishments often corresponded with his
own social compatibilitythe places that made him feel most out
of place almost never got along with his machine.
The Albany Park library was not unlike many of the neighborhood branches
throughout Chicago in that a childrens room occupied nearly half
the open space. The remaining portion included a prominent magazine
rack near the front, an entire wall dedicated to new fiction along the
Foster Avenue side, a few more general circulation stacks in the back
of the room, and a largely unpopulated reference desk next to a quartet
of computers intended for public use that were usually occupied by social
networking teenagers. Stu sat somewhere in the middle, to the immediate
left of a paunchy older gentlemen with slick black hair likely filled
with both dye and gel. The man began muttering to himself and belching,
rather calculatedly by Stus estimation, given the relaxed, even
proud manner in which the man occupied his chair. Stu grimaced after
each successive belch. As the mans auditory accomplishments amplified,
Stus facial expression, a sneer punctuated by a painfully crinkled
nose, grew more pronounced, by his intention, more loud. Unable to crack
the other mans comfortable countenance with the sheer force of
even the most pointed sneer, Stu started to produce his own noises,
ones intended to register as complaints. The resulting cacophony of
grunts inspired equally agitated looks from a third patron, a curly-haired
young woman wearing a thick green sweatshirt. Dirty looks of her own
did not succeed, so she turned her back to the two men and continued
to flip through a fashion magazine. When he rattled off yet another
doozy, she pulled her hood over her head and yanked the strings down
tight, doing as best she could to protect her ears.
With the "live" class session finished, Stu mopped up a few
final responsibilities, responding to student drafts posted on the Blackboard
website and fielding after-class questions via instant message. Stu
was delighted to finally log off Ashlands web interface, which
he found confusingly arranged if not even counterintuitive, given to
instructions that led the user to folders that either did not exist
or were otherwise mislabeled. His mind promptly settled on a new object
of apprehension: the inclement weather that he had hoped to wait out.
Stu reluctantly checked the clock above the front door, as he had somehow
managed to mess up the clock on his new computer and had yet to get
around to resetting it. If he was to arrive in time to prepare for the
first course of the Winter term at IAA, he was going to have to leave
shortly for the train.
Stu shut off his computer and began to pack his things, but the old
machine was slow to wind down. With some unwanted downtime, he tried
his best not to gaze out the window, as facing the weather that would
complicate his immediate future wouldnt do much to settle his
nerves. As his eyes scanned the room for something innocuous at which
to stare, the serial burpist blasted his coup de grace, one so loud
it garnered a glance from the circulation desk a dozen feet away. Having
had enough, the female patron flung her magazine to the table and left
in a huff.
The computer finally inactive, Stu slammed it shut and stuffed it, with
some degree of difficulty, into the fancier of his two overflowing bags,
an aging but respectable black leather over-the-shoulder number. His
other bag was a well-worn plastic shopping bag from the discount grocery
chain Aldi, which he kept overstuffed with course papers. His possessions
accounted for, he headed for the door with a meager sigh, nodding ever-so-slightly,
if barely perceptibly, to the familiar faces at the circulation desk.
A blast of cool air smacked him in the face upon opening a first door
into the little lobby; a more full-bodied blast slammed into him upon
opening outermost door, pushing it backwards into him, bashing his bags
and body. His long tan trench coat not entirely sufficient for the season
was still unbuttoned; he struggled to fasten its many buttons as he
made his first somber steps southward down Kimball Avenue, straight
into a moist, vicious and unusually horizontal snow. It didnt
take long for him to realize that the fabric below his waistline, left
vulnerable due to a missing bottom button he hadnt yet bothered
to fix, was kicking upwards in the wind, exposing much of his lower
body to the elements. It would not be long before his gray wool trousers
soaked through from his hips to his ankles.
Stu found his glasses were not of much assistance in such nasty conditions,
the wet lenses obscured by mist. He feared they might be damaged or
that the left nose piece, replaced with glue after it fell out a few
weeks back, might be lost entirely. Unable to see with his spectacles,
he removed them, only to realize, of course, he was even worse off without
them, stumbling wildly about and nearly tripping on a dip in the sidewalk.
A few blocks into the endeavor, it was clear he should have waited for
a bus in the relative safety of the library lobby. The bus option hadnt
especially dawned on him. The normally simple ten-minute walk down wide
sidewalks along perfectly flat terrain had never proved difficult in
the past, and, alas, this was not always an easy bus ride, often complicated
by rowdy packs of high school students with no regard for his sanity.
By the time Stu reached the train station twenty dreadfully slow and
stressful minutes later, his entire body felt punished by the elements.
Perhaps the only fortunate aspect of the endeavor was that an empty
soon-to-be southbound train waited for him upon his arrival, allowing
him to settle comfortably into a bench all to himself. Stu enjoyed a
deep breath, fetched a handkerchief from the deep, dry inner recesses
of his trench coat, and carefully began to wipe his glasses. Lulled
into a restful daze by relative peace and quiet, Stu was startled when
two male CTA employees in puffy blue coats covered by bright orange
safety vests burst into the car, their boisterous voices rising above
the hum of the train and the whistle of the wind sailing through the
still opened doors. "Dude," commented the smaller of the two,
"there's always people making out in the front of the car."
At the head of most CTA cars was a somewhat walled off bench adjacent
to the small closet-like space reserved for train operators, which seemed
private in comparison to the seats located in the car's rather open
body. Stu had also witnessed many a couple make out in this space.
"But it always smells like pee up there."
"Hey, man. I never said I made out there."
Both men were filled with riotous laughter when the larger of the two
workers received a communicae via walkie-talkie: "Ripe fruit, Northbound
platform, Sedgewick. Over."
"I copy that, daddy," replied the big man. His compadre giggled
as the two slapped hands.
Stu recalled a article in a newspaper he, ironically, found on an empty
train seat the previous week regarding an enhanced video monitoring
system along the El lines, which he now realized was most certainly
also employed for such sleazy surveillance purposes. He wondered how
the CTA could cite budget woes to justify service cuts when its booty-watching
infrastructure seemed provided for so thoroughly.
Once the train departed, slowly rolling around the bend towards the
Kedzie station, Stu stared vacantly out the window into the darkened
sky, yet with the mirror effect common on twilight CTA rides, he found
his gaze unwittingly focused on his own reflection, which he marked
as listless and sad. With this small slice of solace shattered, his
thoughts drifted yet again to the pants he desperately hoped would dry
before his course began at 7pm. Being opening night of a new term, first
impressions with his students were a subject of intense concern, likely
setting the tone for the entire course.
This fact seemed especially prescient after a difficult fall term, his
first at IAA, in which spoiled and unruly pseudo-art students made his
Monday evenings miserable. While IAA students lacked the troubling pretentiousness
one might find in the more cultured class of learners at the Art Institute
of Chicago, Stu found the student populace nevertheless substantially
more intimidating than the relatively down to earth batch of city kids
he so appreciated at ISUC. He certainly didnt want to walk into
his new classroom wearing dripping wet trousers only to be eaten alive
by a throng of affluent, trendy, fashionable, and, mostly white, young
suburbanites fresh from Kansas and Michigan.
Even with the cold, wet fabric clinging to his thighs, Stu tried to
talk himself out of nervously obsessing over his clothing crisis. Better
to dampen your pants than to damper your demeanor, he attempted, even
snickered softly to himself, but this brief flirtation with positive
thinking didnt pan out: Stu spent much of the forty-minute train
ride brainstorming unfortunate nicknames he would gain and never be
able to shake thanks to his wet pants. To be forever branded Professor
Soggy Pants, he feared, we be more than he could possibly bear after
a term living with the moniker Mr. Moist Pits after an exceedingly hot
first week of classes.
After the train rounded the last big curve before the Loop and trudged
past the Chicago stop nearly an hour later, Stu departed the El at Merchandise
Mart with still unspeakably wet clothing, only to collide with a tall,
dark-haired businessman dressed in a crisp blue overcoat as he attempted
to cross through the turnstile before Stu and his bulky set of belongings
had sufficiently cleared the way. "Watch it, bud," the man
warned. Stu watched in dismay, gasping as the snow-damaged Aldi bag
ruptured during the accident. Seemingly oblivious to the damage done,
the other man kept on walking, barely lifting his head from his PDA
while the bag tore apart at the seams, spilling the course papers across
the damp and somewhat dirty floor. He would later find it tragic that
the practical concern posed by the rescue of his belongings compromised
his ability to pay proper respect to the dearly departed relic of his
many academic travels. His life with the tremendously cherished companion
passed before his eyesseveral years and countless miles, from
the North side to the South side; from downtown to the western suburbs;
state schools, city colleges, private and corporate universities; business
schools, trade schools, and art academies. His deep sentimental attachment
aside, they simply didnt make them like that anymoreliterallythe
new variety of bags offered at Aldi cost a quarter and had what were
meant to be fancier handles composed of thicker plastic. He found the
smaller handles more difficult to grasp, especially when controlling
a bag for a long distance standing on public transit. Most appallingly,
the new design featured loud, colorful photos of produce in the background,
a tad garish when compared to its understated predecessor, which featured
a simple store logo, "Aldi" spelled with a big blue A perfectly
befitting a discount grocer and cast against an dignified orange-yellow
After a painfully brief mourning period, no more than a few flummoxed
seconds, Stu took to his hands and knees and began retrieving the countless
scattered papers strewn about the busy walkway leading from the CTA
to the heart of the Mart. While the damp surface was troublesome, he
quickly realized a greater obstacle in the other commuters passing in
and out of the turnstiles, some of whom thoughtlessly trampled on his
materials with their muddy boots and shoes. To onlookers, his debacle
appeared a tortuously ongoing screen of the vintage video game Frogger,
one in which the frog was unable to cross the street, instead doomed
to cross and re-cross the same hazardous stretch of road.
After a few desperate minutes, most everything was recovered, although
not without significant damage to several items. Stu paused to take
a deep breath, thankful that at this early stage of the term his bag
had been fortunately free of papers that would need to be returned to
students. While only momentarily relaxing his defenses, the tips of
the fingers on his right hand were stepped on by yet another tall, dark-haired
business type hustling by in a handsome blue overcoat. Stus mouth
opened as if to shout only to be outdone. "Get out of the way,
moron," the man remarked with some degree of hostility, albeit
without hesitating to turn and face the target of his scorn. While the
pain quickly subsided, Stus sunken morale lingered in the depths,
as he trounced, huffing and puffing, through the now closed food court
to its still open restroom. Oblivious to any others who may have been
in the mens room, Stu whipped off his coat and boldly marched
straight to the hand dryer, tenting the crotch area of his pants out
with both hands to catch as much warm air as possible. Glancing over
his shoulder to note his reflection in the mirror, Stus already
sullen mood was exacerbated by the sight of his disheveled appearance.
His hair was obliterated, his face was pallid yet screaming frustration,
and worse yet, his pants were nowhere near dry. One of the tall dark-haired
businessman who gave Stu grief moments earlier, although with such brief
glances Stu wasnt immediately certain which one, entered the restroom
to observe him laughing to himself and standing with his hips under
the hand dryer. "Freak," the man muttered. Undeterred, Stu
sternly gave the large round metal button one more push, as if it were
the grandest act of defiance ever accomplished. With his crotch region
progressing nicely, he employed a new strategy intended to address his
still intensely damp legs, leaning back into a wide stance and rotating
his hips to allow the hot air to reach a greater area.
The resulting, remotely funky, pelvic gyrations got the attention of
another man entering the restroom, a short, stout Merchandise Mart security
guard with curly blondish-brown locks jutting up from under his cap.
Their eyes locked, commencing a tense pause. Stu felt a twinge of panic
that was quickly relieved when the man, who wore black shoes, black
pants, and a black jacket, joyously quipped, "Now that looks like
a good time!" The guard punctuated his comments with a robust yet
slightly screechy belly laugh. Stu smiled awkwardly, happy to avoid
the guards scrutiny and to receive any reaction that recognized
his basic humanity. The guard nodded and stepped towards the only remaining
empty stall, the one nearest the restroom door.
"Hey, wait a second," hollered a disembodied male voice emanating
from the area of the stalls. "Wait a damn second. Somebody lifted
The guard quickly popped back out of the stall, crouching to peak into
the open space at the bottom of the doors to view an expensive pair
of white Nike hi-tops with a red swoosh occupying the one in the middle,
flanked on both sides by pairs of shiny black loafers. A young man with
spiked blond hair flung open the middle stall door, nearly smashing
the guard in the face. The guard sprung from his crouch just quickly
enough to evade all but a glancing blow, deftly catching his cap as
it fell from his head.
The victim, who wore a bright red t-shirt over a white long sleeve thermal,
was still fastening the belt that held up his baggy blue jeans as he
resumed his complaint. "It was resting on my bag and now its
gone. Its gone, man. Gone. You gotta do something, dude. I just
got it for Christmas."
The guard knocked on the remaining two occupied stalls, simultaneously
tapping on one door with each of his hands. "One minute,"
replied the voice on to the young mans right. A tall, dark-haired
man in a blue suit emerged from the left side. Another tall, dark-haired
man in a blue suit soon emerged from the right side. The gentleman on
the right was perhaps an inch taller than his counterpart. He wore a
red tie, while the others was yellow. His suit had very fine pinstripes,
while the others had none. Most notable to someone who viewed
the two from the perspective of an adjacent restroom stall, their neat
black leather loafers were closer to identical than their other features
and accoutrements, near spitting images of each other in style, shade
and size. They each even possessed attractive blue overcoats, both hanging
from hook attached to their respective stall doors. Perhaps the most
distinctly different feature was their briefcases. While both were brown
leather and nearly the same size, the briefcase belonging to the man
on the right had gold-colored trim, the others a less dazzling
The total affect of their appearances was similar enough that a person
encountering these men in passing, without any real reason to focus
on their identity, might struggle to tell one from the other in a police
lineup the next day. For Stu Hanagan, who had in fact encountered both
just moments before, as he scrambled for his belongings beneath the
CTA turnstiles, and even possessed a perfectly good reason to pay attention
to them given the respective injustices they had both perpetrated upon
him, was completely unsure which man had perpetrated which injustice.
"Wouldnt you have seen someone swipe your device?" Stu
"Darn tootin," the guard agreed. "Thats a
pretty good point, there, bud."
The youngster shrugged and sighed. "What can I say? I was zoned
out. I had my eyes closed."
"Thats convenient," quipped the man on the right, drawing
a skeptical glance from Stu.
"What model do you have?" asked the man on the left. Though
both men possessed particularly deep voices, this mans voice was
recognizably more gentle than his opposite. The man on the right made
fierce, almost intimidating eye contact when speaking; his counterpart
didnt make eye contact at all. While the man on the right appeared
perturbed by the hassle, the man on the left seemed disturbed by the
"G3. Very sweet."
"Interest you?" asked the gentleman on the right of the gentleman
on the left. His cocky protestations reeked of defiant indignity. He
was above the fray.
"No, in fact," replied the man on the left as he pulled a
device from his blazer pocket, displaying it with the proud smile of
a new father. "I have a perfectly nice PDA of my own."
"Super sweet," remarked the victim.
"The new Blackberry PDA SmartPhone."
The guard then addressed Stu. "And you?"
"Huh? Um, I own a Compaq Presario 1200."
"Did you pick that thing up in the 80s?" asked the man
on the right.
"Ive been told its a 99."
"Who told you that?" continued the man on the right. "The
lady at the flea market?"
"Somehow I dont think youre guilty," remarked
the guard of Stu. "OK, big guy. Whatta you got?"
"What do I need with toys? Ive got a brand new NDB."
"NDB?" the guard asked, somewhat perplexed.
"None of your Damn Business."
"You could clear things up pretty easily if you opened up your
briefcase," the guard asked, realizing he had no authority to request
a proper search.
"Are you a police officer?"
"May I direct your attention to the jacket?" He traced his
fingers over the big, gold letters "MART GUARD" printed across
his chest while silently mouthing the words they spelled. "Private
"Not that Id need to be to know better, but Im an attorney.
You have no right to search me."
"You have no obligation to comply, bro, but I would, however, happily
radio the actual cops and let them straighten this matter out,"
he threatened, widening his hips and bended his knees as if poised for
action before pulling his walkie-talkie from its holster like a loaded
"Listen, Im a busy man . . ."
"Are you in a hurry, son?" the guard interrupted, now addressing
the accuser, who also appeared to have somewhere else to be, distractedly
checking his watch every few minutes.
"Yeah, actually. Its the first day of classes. Ive
got a stupid writing course at IAA." The student pointed in the
general direction of the college housed in the Apparel Center, the Merchandise
Marts less attractive annex, located down a long corridor on the
west end of the complex.
This perked Stus attention. "Really? Which course is it?"
He pulled a slip from one of his rear jean pockets, unfolding it to
read, "Writing I. Professor Haragan."
"You mean Hanagan?"
"What?" The young man seemed confused.
"Hanagan. Check the name again."
"Oh yeah, Hanagan."
"Why, thats me! Im your instructor."
After years as an adjunct, Stu had trained himself not to use the term
professor, even in the small-p general sense.
"Sorry about the stupid crack."
"Why, thats OK. I realize not many students look forward
to Gen Ed writing courses. In fact, I even encourage some of them to
pen persuasive essays arguing against mandatory Gen Ed courses. I dont
agree with them, per se, but it makes for a fascinating debate."
Reassured, the student spoke freely. "Yeah, I know what you mean.
Im here to design video games, not to write essays."
Stu crinkled his nose dubiously but did not offer a reply.
"But you know, dude, there is one thing that bothers methese
books are expensive."
Stu wanted to complain openly about textbooks he considered creatively
confining and dramatically inadequate but decided against airing dirty
laundry in front of a student, opting instead for the politically cautious,
"The department requires each instructor employ those particular
texts. I dont have any say in the matter."
"Enough about your little classes," quipped the man on the
"College education is important," returned the guard.
"I know. I went to Northwestern Law."
"Exactly," the guard continued, cutting off the man on the
left as he attempted to jump in. "Thats why Im taking
business classes at Odyssey down the hall." Odyssey University
was a mostly Internet-based college that shared some facilities with
IAA. "I wanna open my own e-business. Kind of a Netflix for tools."
Visibly frustrated by his inability to get a word in, the man on the
left finally had his turn, beaming as he declared, "Im a
U of C man. MBA."
The guard grew still and silent, upset no one had inquired about his
business plans. Stu sensed an opportunity to segue, "Where was
"Lying on my bag," the student explained, pointing to the
red and black backpack lying on the floor.
"Was it on the right, the left or the middle?"
"You know, I dont really remember. To the right. Maybe?"
"The right, hey?" the guard gloated, doing a bit of a chicken
dance in the direction of the man on the right "What do you have
about that, brother?"
"Im leaving. Thats what." With his right hand,
the man grabbed his briefcase, which was on the floor on his right hand
side. As he pushed the door forward, he paused, turning to conclude,"
And Im most definitely not your brother. Im not certain
were from the same gene pool."
He took one step through the door before Stu shouted, "Wait!"
"Yes?" the man growled.
"Youre right handed!"
"And you. You are left handed?"
"I am," the man on the left answered softly, as with some
degree of uncertainty, even though he most certainly was left-handed.
"Well, that does it!"
"You know who swiped my phone?" the student asked eagerly.
"Maybe not, but I do know one thing." Somewhat confidently,
Stu approached the man on the right. "You sir are a hand-stepper.
The man who stepped on my hand held his briefcase in his right hand,
passing by on my right side while virtually leaving track marks on right
hand with his left foot, offering nothing in the way of an apology in
"Im glad your memory serves you, but . . ." the man
on the rights sentence trailed off as he once again pushed open
"Hold your horses," the guard warned. "It was closer
to your stall. You did it!"
"That doesnt prove anything! You have no reason to delay
me. The only wrong Ive committed is, apparently, accidentally
stepping on the hand of some fool crawling around the floor beneath
a busy CTA turnstile. Unless he plans to charges for assault with a
loaded loafer, Im not sure this is a matter for the authorities."
As if oblivious to the guards recent line of questioning, Stu
popped back in. "May I ask you both what business you were conducting
at the Mart tonight?"
"My office is here in the building," the man on the left casually
"Its awfully late for an office to be open?" Stu probed
with a single-minded purpose and in total control of his faculties,
utterly free from shyness and clumsiness.
"Im on my way out," he said more sternly, making direct
eye contact with Stu for the first time. "Long hours. You know
how it goes."
"I have a case in town. The cheapskates put me up at the Holiday
Inn over at the Apparel Center. Simply dreadful."
"You went to NU, but youre not local?"
"Im from around here, originally, but I work for a practice
in downtown Milwaukee. I was brought to town on for a slip and fall
"Arent there plenty of slip and fall experts in Chicago?"
"Listen, Im the top slip and fall guy in the Midwest."
"U of C?" Stu abruptly shifted his questions to the other
Having recently spent a great deal of time with another part-timer at
ISUC known for indulging in tales of his glory days at the University
of Chicago, Stu felt informed enough to pursue details about the mans
education. "What year?"
"Did you like it there?"
"Sure, its a lovely campus. Best education in the world."
"Chicago certainly is a world famous business school. Did you have
any classes with Friedman?"
"Really? Courses with Thomas Friedman. Must have been something."
"I think you mean Mil . ." the guard attempted to correct
only to be swiftly shut down.
"Sure, the legendary Professor Friedman."
Stu quickly shifted his attention to the guard. "Do you have a
"Who is your instructor?"
"Professor Perkins. Slick guy. Real smart."
"Ever heard of him?" Stu asked the man on the left.
"Excuse me? How would I know this Perkins guy? Of course not."
"Would you please allow me another look at your Blackberry?
"OK," he fumbled around a pocket on the inside of his blazer.
Stu stepped forward, stooping a touch to take a closer look at the device.
"The more I think about it, the more Im sure that I have
cracked both cases."
"No kidding?" the guard asked.
"I wouldnt kid you. One may say that both gentlemen are guilty
of something, one of avarice and fraud and the other of ruthless self-importance,
but only one of you is a thief, at least according to the letter of
the law." Peering at the man on the right and shaking his head
in condemnation, he continued. "You sir, are a no-good hand-stepper
and a discourteous jerk, but you are no thief."
Stu returned his attention to the man on the left. "This other
gentleman passed by my right side with his briefcase in his right hand.
You, on the other hand, if you will, squeezed by my left side, holding
your briefcase with your left hand, while my bags were caught between
your body and mine. Though you were not at fault, you caused my bag
to give way. While it may be hard to understand, the bag held much sentimental
value. Alas, you are not to blame for the destruction of my bag; you
are, however, caught in a needless lie. You claimed to be leaving your
office for the train, yet I saw you coming in through the turnstiles
after 6pm, and I can confirm it was you based on the design of your
Blackberry. Here in the restroom, you werent aware that Professor
Milton Friedman was a world famous University of Chicago economist."
"Thats my guy!" the guard proclaimed.
Stus instinctively started to sneer, but made sure the guards
input didnt interrupt his line of thinking. "You also werent
aware that Professor Friedman retired from the university over 30 years
ago, which means you were not truthful about your University of Chicago
education, if not the MBA itself. Given that no Mart office that Im
aware of is likely to be open at this hour, my guess is that you too
are a student at Odyssey . . . probably a freshman."
"Even if these things are true, and Im not saying they are,
that doesnt prove I took his iPhone!"
"Perhaps not, but it proves you lied. Why, if not to hide your
"I wanted to seem like a big man in front of the Northwestern lawyer,
a big shot with an office and a degree."
"Really? There is no shame in taking courses at Odyssey; however,
there is plenty in stealing a silly gadget from a college kid."
"Silly? Are you kidding? Do you know how much a G3 can fetch?"
His face reddened immediately after the last word was spoken.
"Oops!" hollered the guard, this time activating his walkie-talkie.
"I knew it," Stu continued, "A lawyer, no matter how
crass and insincere he may be, is not a crook. A businessman, even a
potential businessman just embarking upon an MBA program, would not
be dissuaded from taking an item simply because he already possessed
one. You might have a dollar. That doesnt mean you dont
crave many more."
Stu extended his hand to the guard. "Excuse me, friend. I need
to prep for my class session. Ill let you handle the rest. The
guard offered a respectful salute.
Stu attempted to exit at the same time as the lawyer, causing both men
to converge under the doorway, colliding gently. "Pardon me,"
Stu apologized. "After you," the lawyer offered, although
not without rolling his eyes and muttering, "you clumsy S.O.B"
as he slipped away.
A few weeks later, Stu would learn of the storys denouement via
a remembering an event narrative essay written for his course by Tyler,
the student involved in the incident. When the student proposed the
strange developments in the restroom as a potential paper topic, Stu
loved the idea. Per Tylers account, the MBA student and attempted
thief offered the aspiring electronic artist his own Blackberry in exchange
for letting the matter slide. The student was happy with his new iPhoneit
was the Mart Guard who accepted the Blackberry to look the other waybut
settled for letting the man pay for his expensive textbooks. Tyler's
essay's reflective conclusion emphasized that while business school
was not for him, business students sure knew how to strike a deal. For
his part, Stu regretted he had not asked for a quarter to buy a new
© Michael Hammond June 2009
michaeljhammond at yahoo.com
among road-weary part-time professors, adjuncts, Stu Hanagan, for more
than a decade, rode public transportation from school to school, college
and university, teaching composition and literature courses to predominantly
ambivalent general education students.
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