Sometimes the people that seem the most intimidating are more human than we think.
"Listen up!" Professor Peterson paced around the classroom. "Everything you thought you knew about Literature, throw it out the window." He was a serious man, early fifties, about the age of most his students fathers. Eyes blue as deep pools. So blue that if one stared into them they would down within their vast abyss of knowledge. He wore business suits. Not Armani or anything super expensive, just costly enough to convey his superior class and intellect. Black leather loafers well worth their cost for comfort tapped lightly as he strutted around his class. Lastly to top it off a bright red neck tie worn firmly around his neck. The Power Tie, tied in professional double Windsor show his class that he was in charged and not to be challenged. "This class will cover historically renowned authors. Plato, Walter Raleigh, Poe, Tolstoy, Shelley, Twain, all will be included in this course." His eyes scanned the class as he glared at those not paying attention. "Make no mistake, I am not considered an easy A. Those of you who thought you could just spend a day sipping a latte and skimming the footnotes..." He paused as he stared down the girl in the front row openly text messaging, "there's the door." He ran his hands through his jet-black hair as he leaned back against his desk.
"In depth discussion is what I require. Know your author, know his works, and most of all, know your history surrounding the time periods of your works. Don't get caught up in a lie because I guarantee you will get caught. For those of you who are going to drop my class I wish you luck in your future endeavors, and for those of you brave enough to stay.....good luck."
The clock tower chimed in chronologically perfect timing with his last words. His class cleared out like a spreading wildfire, muttering words like "douche bag," and "asshole." He didn't expect for many of them to return the following morning.
No one was left...empty. Students never seemed to have any questions for him anymore. A lively intellectual discussion was above the current academic class. "I wouldn't be surprised to see the class get cancelled for lack of attendance this semester." Pulling out a copy of Hadji Murad, Peterson begins to read. Hours go by and eventually the sun goes down. Peterson peaks his head out of his class to see if anyone's left. Dead. Not a soul is left on campus. The professor opened up his briefcase...surprisingly worn by the way, and began to pack his belongings away. Slowly, Peterson began walking down the dimly lit halls towards the parking lot.
In the parking lot sat a 1980s Volvo. The pea green rusted paint looked like someone had just eaten a plate of greens and vomited them back up on the old rust bucket. A heavily worn spare tire was on the front passenger side and a dented rusty bumper completed the look of the old jalopy. Peterson inserts his key into the passenger side door, jiggles the handle up and forces it open. After climbing over the gear shit, Peterson pumps his gas pedal a few times and turns his ignition. The gunshot sound of the engine backfiring was a sigh of relief. He knew he would make it home.
After a hellish journey dodging SUV's and Mac trucks on the freeway with his one headlight of a tin can, Peterson pulls into a parking garage. The Professor exits his vehicle and pockets his keys. Five flights of stairs and he's finally at the door. When he reaches into his pocket to retrieve his keys his arm goes straight through to the other side of his jacket. He looks down and sticks his hand through the hole once more and turns up only air. "I knew that thread was going to go sometime," he says disappointed in his own abilities. " I need to learn to sew better." As Peterson begins to head back down to the stairwell he stops himself. Making an abrupt one hundred and eighty degree turn he head back to his apartment mumbling, "Fuck it...it's not like anyone would wanna steal that POS anyways. Peterson reaches his door and bends down to retrieve the spare key underneath his floor mat. As he bends down eyeballing the quote on the mat that says " The happiest place on earth," he hears a seam pop. "Crap," he says to himself as he obtains his spare room key.
He opens his door, one room, not a bedroom and kitchen or a nice little loft or condo, just one room. A stand up shower in the corner, hot plate by his bed lined with soiled sheets, and a sink and mirror with a spectacular view of the alley from the Chinese resteraunt next door. This left just enough room for an old oak desk complete with overdue utilities bills piling up on the hutch and stacks of ungraded term papers from last semester piling up where there might have once been a computer.
Peterson hangs up his coat, ripped back, holey pocket and all. He then has a seat on his bed. What a dump. The room smelt damp. Humid, like a high school football team had left had piled up two weeks worth of sweaty gym towels in the corner. The Professor looks around and lets out a sigh. He unclips his bright red power tie. Peterson could never get the hang of a double Windsor and besides that silk ties weren't exactly the cheapest items to come by. He sets his tie over on the desk chair, removes his shirt, heavy with sweat stains invisible to his class due to his blazer starts to undress. He wasn't wearing socks anymore, no he couldn't afford black dress socks and the holes in his white socks would show. Besides white just didn't look professional.
Steam fills the room, fogging his one gloomy window as Peterson steps into the shower. The water runs over him, cleansing him of another horrible day. As he washes his hair black liquid runs down his cheeks and down the drain. 24-hour hair die was all right so long as you didn't sweat too much while you were in class. In an emergency, black shoe polish could be used to cover up the thinning areas of his aging scalp. The professor steps out of the shower next to his black faux leather loafers now cracked from strenuous use. Sometimes he wonders what he'll need shoe polish for more, his hair or his shoes.
Peterson slips on a pair of olive drab sweat pants, black t-shirt, and house shoes. He is now a salt and peppered shell of what he appeared to be earlier in the day. His night commences as he rifles through old mail and term papers. Feeling overwhelmed, the Professor opens up his right desk drawer and reaches through a stack of read pens to the back. Red pens used to cut into young scholars minds and dash their hopes and dreams to bits. He pulls out a small red tin once used for keeping mints. "That's what I'm talking about," he says satisfyingly as he opens the container and commences hand rolling a marijuana cigarette. In a deep inhale, Peterson looks up at the ceiling and floats away for a few moments. His eyes dilate as he drifts away from the burdens of everyday life.
With a cough and an exhale, Peterson is brought back to reality. In a purple haze, looking through read eyes and armed with his read pens, the Professor begins grading a late term paper. "Words are the most powerful drugs used by mankind," he chuckles as he quotes Rudyard Kipling and begins performing academic surgery, gutting out a young hopeful academics hours of hard work. What was once a paper is now a mass of X's and slashes and personal brands of productive criticism for this wide eyed student to sternly look over. After a few more hours of slicing through term papers, Peterson decides to call it a night.