Ballpoint Pens and Socks

Jiggs stepped into the hallway along with the students and others who had been in his audience, and closed the door behind him.  A couple of the students approached, shook his hand  and, in subdued voices complimented him on his talk.  Off to his left, Jiggs first heard, then saw Beelzebeth approaching down the hall.  She had gotten off from her job at the bookstore at 1:30 and headed over to the Department of Biomathematics to hear at least some of his presentation.

"Hi Lovie... Wow!  Are you done already?  I had hoped to hear at least some of your presentation!  How long did you talk?"

"Just a few minutes..." 

"Hmmm...  Sounds like last night."

Jiggs glanced briefly at a couple of nearby students, then looked back at Beelzebeth.  His face reddened, and there was water in his eyes.

"Why so short?  I've seen your proposal about pollinating insects.  I thought your talk would be at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half."

"Professor  Kavalioŭ is discussing my proposal with the committee now.  My presentation wasn't about pollinating insects."

"What?  You put so much work into that proposal!

"I've discovered something much more important;  Ballpoint pens and socks!"  Those that were left of his students and colleagues began to drift away.

Just then, Professor Kavalioŭ opened the door and invited Jiggs back into the conference room and  closed the door.  The other members of his committee were talking very excitedly.   They motioned for Jiggs to take a seat.  He sat and faced his professors.  Professor  Kavalioŭ wanted to know how he had made this startling discovery.  Jiggs recounted the morning's events with Beelzebeth's inability to sort the socks that she had laundered.

One of his committee members, Dr. Marković spoke up, "Mr. Foonman, the government of Outer Farbania is in the midst of a crisis.  Our industry is producing far too many socks and not nearly enough ballpoint pens... not to mention the umbrella situation.  The Directorate of Critical Household Goods is offering a five million Ḱlupie grant for research aimed at resolving that imbalance.  Are you interested?

Jiggs was astonished.  "Of course!  I'll start work tomorrow."

The committee exchanged pleased looks with  one another and, one by one congratulated Jiggs,

The day was done.

The End

3 comments about this story Feed