Tenure Trap

By Clifford Eberhardt

Chapter 1        

            Nelson sat on the couch in the part-kitchen, part-living room of his three room flat. He put his coffee on the side table, lit a cigarette and settled back to open the manila envelope he had received in the mail the day before from his friend, Horace King.  The envelope contained a cover letter stapled on top of several other documents.  On the top of the cover letter, attached by a paper clip, was a copy of a newspaper article from a local Boston newspaper.  Nelson separated the article from the other stapled documents and read aloud. 

Mayhem and murder at Lulane University

            Yesterday, five professors at Lulane University were killed and nine wounded when a disgruntle colleague opened fire with an automatic pistol upon other faculty members who belonged to what a university spokesman called the Faculty Senate.  Four of the wounded were listed in critical condition with the other five being in either fare or stable condition.
            Members of the faculty, who wished not to be identified, said that Dr. James Baker, a member of the Chemistry Department was very upset about not making tenure and took his frustrations out on his colleagues. It was well known that the Faculty Senate had accused Dr. Baker of falsifying his research.
            “Dr. Baker had been making threats ever since he was denied tenure last semester,” one professor said anonymously.  “I suspected that with all the fuss he made about being cheated out of tenure, something would happen.  But I never thought he’d go this far.”
            Eyewitnesses to the tragedy said Dr. Baker walked across campus wearing a raincoat.  “He walked very slow, shaking his head from side to side.  On several occasions he stopped and talked to himself, then headed for the Administration Building where the Faculty Senate was meeting to kick him off the faculty next fall semester,” said Paul Johns, a junior majoring in Political Science.  “After Dr. Baker went into the Administration Building, there were a number of gun shots... then there were screams, shouts for help and cries.  There were more shots and then everything got quiet.  The next thing I saw were people running out of the doors and taking cover.  Finally, Dr. Baker came out of the door with a big smile on his face, put the muzzle of the pistol under his chin and pulled the trigger.   It was just awful Johns said!”
            When asked what would make a professor go to this extreme, Dr. Larry Means, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences said,  “I don’t know what sent Dr. Baker off on the deep end.  We had a number of professors denied tenure this year and none of them went crazy.  Sure, we have a tough tenure-track, but that is to insure we always get and keep the best professors.  We pride ourselves as being the finest educational facility in this country.  And this tragedy with Dr. Baker will not hold this university back.
            “I think that sometimes professors take this tenure thing too far.  It is not worth killing for.  I liked Dr. Baker.  He was a good professional,” said Dr. Horace King, tenured professor at Luanne and president of the Faculty Senate.  “I also think that the Tenure Board has gone too far in denying some of the faculty members tenure, and that the track should be extended to six years instead of three.  Three years is just too short of a time to judge a good professor.”
            Dean Means further said that the university would have a memorial service Friday for the families of the professors who were killed.  He also said,  "We all at Lulane share the families loss.  They were all great professionals and dedicated educators who always gave of themselves and asked little of others.”
            University officials are withholding the name of the slain professors until after their funerals.  Dean Means also announced that Dr. Herbert Lancaster, the president of Lulane, will issue a statement about plans to hold a self-study to determine if there are problems with the universities tenure process. It would be disingenuous not to do so.

            “Damn! That’s some shit!”  Nelson thought aloud, after laying the article on the table.  “They got holes all through their work force.”
            Nelson picked up his coffee, blew on it and took a sip.   He took a long deep drag on his cigarette and laid it inside the ashtray. Next, he read the letter from his friend:
            “Dear Nelson, Here is the application and job description you asked me to send you last week.  I also added the article so you will know what you may be in for at Lulane.  It can be a trip up here if you buck the administration, but other than that, the pay is decent and it’s a good place to use as a mailing address. There are a number of openings they have to fill before August and there are two in the Communication Department; with your credentials you will be a natural for either one. 
            "I have been keeping up with your career since we left graduate school at Brinkley.  Those were the good old days when we thought we could save this world.  It appears that we fought a good fight but lost the war because the world is still the same, and in some cases worse.
            If you need me for a reference, let me know. I have a little pull around here.  If you are really interested in the position, get your application in as soon as possible.  Good luck my friend. And I look forward to seeing you soon.
            “Always a friend, Horace.

Nelson smiled after reading the letter from his friend.  He took another sip of coffee and another hit from the cigarette.  He blew the smoke through the sunrays coming through the window of his small, one bedroom flat in the Benson Hurst.  It was a long fall from his plush, Upper Manhattan apartment, to a rundown flat in South Brooklyn.  A fall from being one of the country's leading newspaper editors to being unemployed. The frustration of the past two years was hard for Nelson Bacardi editor. It was hard for him to accept writing a novel for a small commission in place of his six figure salary as edtior.

With the cigarette in the side of his mouth, Nelson folded the letter back and looked at the job announcement:
            Lulane University, Boston Massachusetts
            Academic Vacancy Announced
            The School of Arts and Sciences
            Department of Communication and Information Science
            1. Proposed Appointment to Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), or Lecturer
            2. Available for the Academic year 1993-94.
            3. Placement of salary schedule is dependent upon academic preparation and professional experience with salary rang between $45,000 and $125,000.
            4. Teaching load is 9 semester units with the rest of the time devoted to research and publishing.
            5. Course Level is primary graduate and upper division.
            6.  The successful candidate is expected to be able to teach courses in the following areas:  writing composition, writing mechanics, newspaper writing, advanced reporting, editing, media law, politics of media, news gathering, investigative reporting, feature writing, desktop publishing and editorial writing.  Additional responsibilities will involve working with faculty and students.  The exact assignment is dependent upon department needs.
            1. A Ph.D. in communication or fields related knowledge of journalism and writing a plus.  Successful candidate must have demonstrated ability in all areas of newspaper work and knowledge in the latest in computer technology.
            2. Successful candidate should have above average oral and written skills.
            General Information:

            Lulane University is a private Ivy League University in the city of Boston Massachusetts.  The current enrollment is approximately 5500 on a 400-acre campus.  The faculty is made up of some of the most honored scholars in the United States.  Among them are several Pulitzer Prize winners; five best selling authors and two Noble Prize winners: one in literature and one in chemistry.
            Send letter of application, resume, four letters of reference, salary history and academic transcripts in confidence to:
            Dr. Calvin Goodwell, Chair
            Department of Communication and Information Science
            100 University Square
            Boston, Massachusetts
            Filing Deadlines:
            To insure full consideration, applicants are encouraged to have all application information on file by July 10, 1993.
            Nelson finished reading the rest of the documents; drank the rest of his coffee and went to the bedroom and came back with his briefcase.   He opened the briefcase, put a large folder with large rubber bands around it inside and closed the top.  He then went the shower to get ready for his appointment with Dan Everett, his book agent and editor. And for Nelson, it would not be good news. He han't been back in New York since the libel sue that got him fired from the National Informer. Put simply, libel is a form of defamation expressed in writing that injures a person's reputation. If a newspaper knowingly publishes a false statement about  someone it' called overt malice.

Chapter 2

Nelson Barcardi; once an eminent investigative reporter; once an influential editor and co-publisher of one of the most powerful newspapers in the country, all-in-all, one of the leading powerbrokers in New York, in his heyday. Always the writer at heart, now, Nelson finds himself hustling out of his small bathroom into his smaller bedroom with a large towel wrapped around his waist, fresh from his morning shower.  The bedroom was cramped with a queen size bed, a full-length mirror, a bedside table and lamp with a chair next to the only window.  A desktop supported a Macintosh computer. 

Nelson stood in front of a full-length mirror looking at him.  Then he pulled the towel from around his waist and started to dry his hair.  He finished drying his hair and continued to stare at himself in the mirror.  He liked what he saw.  For a 42 year-old man, he was in pretty good shape he thought.                      

“Not bad,” he said smiling at him self. “Not bad at all.”

Nelson picked up a hairbrush, brushed his long, black hair to the back. He gathered the ends in a ponytail and wrapped a rubber band around it. This was more for convenience than style.  While Nelson had the experience of a man twice his age, he had the looks of a man much younger, much younger.  His 6 feet, 190 pound frame was in exact proportion.  His shoulders were broad and his waist small.  His legs were thick and long but not too long.  His face was a smooth, deep tan with a three-day growth of beard.  His square chin was accented by his dark gray eyes that sat perfectly in his head.

After a quick rub down with body oils, Nelson got dressed in a black turtleneck cotton shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and his favorite brown boots.  He walked over to the desk and picked up his witch, a gold Rolex President.  It was a quarter until eleven. The watch was the only thing he had to show for working seven years as editor of The National Informer.  He put the watch on and went into the kitchen, picked up his briefcase and left his apartment that was located above an antique shop.

As the summer sun beamed down, Nelson walked to Ocean Avenue to catch a cab to Howard Beach.  As he walked, he tried to flag down several cabs. 

“Hey, taxes!!” he yelled. 

But the cabs kept going.  When he got to Ocean Avenue he saw a cab parked on a side street.  As he approached the cab the driver pulled off.  He looked up the street and saw another cab.  He approached the cab and knocked on the window.

“Hey, you got a fare?”  The window came down and a black face peered out.  “I need to go the Howard Beach, you got a fare?”
            “No mon, I don got no fare... hop in,” the cab driver spoke in an accent that was either Jamaican or West Indian.  “Where’s ‘bout in Howard Beach?”

“You know where Cross Bay Marina is?

“I’ve heard of this place... this Cross Bay Marina.  Come, we’ll find it!”

Nelson opened the back door and slid into the cab.  “I think I remember how to get there,” he said as the cab pulled on Ocean Avenue headed to Howard Beach.  “If I remember correctly, it’s right off Cross Bay Boulevard.”

“I tink' I know dis' place.  Don' worry mon, I git you dere.”  The driver looked into the rearview mirror to get a better look at Nelson.  He could tell the driver was looking at him.  The driver’s brief glance now became a stare.  There was a long silence between him and Nelson when the driver asked, “You that editor mon.. is you?”  Yo' name is. . .  me and me wife watched yo’ trial.  I got it right on the tip of me tongue.  It’s, it’s. . .  I got it, you Nelson Bicadi.  That right, you that big editor fellow.  Ain’t that right, mon?

Nelson sat in shock that the cab driver had kept up with his legal fight he had had with International Pacific Insurance Brokers.

  “Yes, that’s me, but the name is Nelson Barcardi. . . Nelson Barcardi.”

“I thought that was you. . . I can’t wait to get home to tell me wife that I had Nelson Bicadi as a fare.  She’ll never believe this thing... no, no she won’t,” the cab driver said as he continued to look a Nelson in the mirror.

The cab driver was coming up on Cross Bay Boulevard when he suddenly spoke.

“Nobody tinks you got a fair trial from that jury. . . them people on that jury was blind as hell.  They couldn't see the truth for nothing”

“Thank you, I appreciate that.” Nelson felt flattered.
            “This is it mon...  the sign say Cross Bay Marina,” the driver said as the cab pulled to a stop.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Seventeen dollar and fifty cent.”“Keep it,” Nelson said after giving the driver a twenty. "Tink you, Mr. Bacadi."

As Nelson walked to the marina, he could see there were a number of boats cruising and sailing in the bay. He walked up the wooden dock past several yachts and came to the last boat in the last yacht.  It was called the Lucky Fish. The Lucky Fish was a fancy cruiser 50 ft luxury yacht with twin diesel motors.  When he saw the Lucky Fish, Nelson remembered how much he enjoyed his last visit on the boat. Dan loved that yacht like it was a person.

“Hey Dan. . . can I come aboard!  Anybody at home?”  Nelson yelled from the dock.  “Hey Dan, you in there?”

Dan Everett was a middle age man who a

ppeared wearing sunglasses, a Greek fisherman's hat, tennis shoes and shorts with no shirt.  He stood on the front deck and said,  "Hey Nelson, come on aboard... watch that gang plank."

Nelson walked across the narrow planks that lead to the yacht.

“Good to see you, Nelson.” Dan said, greeting him with the deference and respect he was used to showing Nelson.

"Thanks.  It’s good to be back on the Lucky Fish,” Nelson said as he climbed on board.  “Why are there so many boats in the bay. . .  I’ve never seen it this crowded, where did all these boats come from?”

“It’s always like this on the Fourth.  People bring boats from all over for the holiday.”
            “Damn!  I forgot all about the Fourth of July. I’ve been so into finishing this book that I lost track of time."  

“It’s the Fourth all day long, and I got a special lunch plan you, but first you got something for me, right?” Dan asked.

“Yeah, you know I got the manuscript.  I made the changes you suggested and I’m through with it. People love writers but writers hate to write. I refuse to do any more work on this book.  Here, it’s all yours.”  Nelson attempted to open the briefcase to give the manuscript to Dan's open hands.

“No! Not right here, let’s go down to the cabin,” Dan said as he led Nelson to the lower part of the yacht.  “Watch your head.  It's a low hatch, but we can talk in private.”

Nelson followed Dan to a large comfortable cabin.  Lucky Fish The Azimut 50, and Dan paid between $400,000 and $1.4 million for it. That was nothing for a billion publisher like Dan Everett.It had plenty of room for a full kitchen, a comfortable living area and a dinette right back of the inside helm.  Nelson placed the briefcase with the manuscrip of his book inside — on a desk in the cabin and took it out a big folder.

“Is that it?”  Dan asked me.

“Yeah, this is it.  Complete with all the changes you asked for,” Nelson handed the folder to Dan.  Dan took the two rubble bands off; opened the folder and started to read.  Nelson looked at Dan as he went quickly through the pages, and then I said, “I’ll go back on the deck while you read.  You can’t concentrate with me sitting here.”  Dan never looked up.

Nelson walked to the stern of the boat to gaze at the view across Jamaica Bay and all the boats.  He should have been feeling good about himself since he a completed his third novel.  The first two were still in rough draft but Dan kept on insisting that it was only a matter of time before Nelson would be a best-selling author.  He stood there gazing out across the bay as he waited for Dan.  He then stretched out on one of the comfortable lounges and closed his eyes, soaking up the sun.

“This is gold.  I mean it’s pure gold!”  Nelson was awakened by Dan's voice.  “I mean you stepped into this book Nelson.  I've gone through the first part and I love it.  Me, and the girls will have this manuscript into a screen script before you know it.  Nelson, let me take my hat off to you son, you did one fine job on this novel.”

“You like it..”

“Like is not the word.  I love it, Nelson!  I think it’s a masterpiece!”  Dan said and then gave Nelson a big hug.  “It’s time to celebrate.  I got everything ready for a nice lunch and cruise around the bay.  The girls promised to take care of every thing.  You met the twins haven’t you?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Nelson said.

“Oh, let me get them and introduce you.  They are on the bow, sunning,” Dan said as he walked forward with the two women.  Jilda! Gilda!  Hey y'all, Nelson is here!  Come on and meet my good friend.”

Dan came back from on the deck with two beautiful young women.  Both were in polka-dote bikinis and had deep suntans. They were beautiful and breathtaking malottes.
            “Nelson, meet Jilda and Gilda.  They work part-time for me doing editing.  I met them last month when I was at City College, and we've been friends ever since,” Dan said as Nelson exchanged handshakes.  “Jilda will be serving us while Gilda pilots the boat.”

“Where are we going?”

“We are just going to take a little cruise around Long Island Sound and back.  You'll love the view.  Come on, let’s have a seat at this little table, and you can tell me all about your plans for the next book while we wait for lunch.  I hope you can put up with broiled Lobster tail, Kobe steak cooked in a shatobrian, shrimp cocktail, fresh garden salad and freshly cooked French bread.”

The two menwalked over to a table near the side of the deck and Jilda followed. “Would you like some drinks?” She asked.

“Yeah, let's start with a little Polish vodka, it's in the freezer” Dan said. Get the Dom Pérignon for a chaser.

“Why Polish vodka?”

“It's the mildest and finest vodka you can buy.  When it's served chilled, it just like drinking ice water, no taste at all.  This stuff is too mild to be alcohol. Trust me, you’ll like it.” Dan assured.

Gilda came back to the table with a bottle of frozen Swedish vodka and two glasses.  She sat the bottle in a tub of ice and put two small glasses in front of them.

"Thanks, Gilda,”  Dan said as he poured vodka into both glasses. “You are going to like this.”

“Do you mind if I smoke?” Nelson asked.

“No, I don’t mind, but you should not.  Those things will kill you.”

“I only smoke when I have coffee in the morning and when I’m drinking alcohol.  Other than that, cigarettes make me sick.”

“You are the only person I know who has a habit like that.  You really don’t smoke, do you?”

“I smoke about a pack a week.”

“Let me make a toast to the greatest unpublished author in the country.  Will you drink to that?”

“Yeah, I’ll drink to that,” Nelson said as he turned his glass up in unison with Dan.

“What about another one?”  Dan asked.

“OK, I can go for another, that stuff is really smooth,” Nelson said as the diesel engines gave a deep throated rumble and idled for a few minuets.  Gilda unhooked the phone, water and electric lines and stood by to cast off as Jilda checked out the engines.  The deep throated rumble of the diesels picked up as the yacht rocked, backed up and slowly pulled into the Jamaica Bay headed for Long Island Sound.  “It must be nice, Dan, to live on a boat and just cruise up the bay for lunch.”

“It not like this all the time.  Most of the time it’s hard work editing other people’s bullshit.  It rare when I get a manuscript that I feel good about like the story you just wrote. I think your 'By Line,' will be on the bestsellers list before the year is out.  You did on good job on that book, Nelson.”

“I sure didn’t have to do much research; all I did was write about my early years with The National Informer.  All I did was tell how a news reporter will do just about anything to get a story, even murder.”

“It's damn good, but you make it sound so simple,” Dan said as he took another sip from his glass.  “Good writers have a way of doing that.”

“Doing what?”

“Making things sound simple.”

Nelson and Dan talked and drank vodka as the boat cruised under a clear sky with a mild summer breeze.  Dan reached over and touched a button and a buzzing noise could be heard in the cabin.

“Ready to eat, Nelson?”  He asked. 

“You ready for the food Mr. Everett?”  Gilda asked, popping up before Nelson could answer.

Yeah, bring the shrimp cocktail,” Dan said.  He looked at Nelson, “What’s your next book going to be about?  I can’t wait until you get started on it.  We’ll do what we did on the last one; I’ll pay your expenses while you write it and you give me first refusal.  But this time, I’ll be able to give you more expense money.  We got a deal?”

“I won’t be writing for a while.  I made other plans,” Nelson said.  “I’m trying to get a job teaching at a university.”

“You won’t be what!  You mean to tell me after all this, you won’t be writing.  You can’t stop writing what ever else you do, you can’t stop writing.”

“I got to get out of this city for my own good.  I need to find a new environment.  I feel empty inside.”

Gilda came back to the table with two large bowls half filled with crushed ice and a layer of boiled, peeled jumbo shrimp on top.  She put the bowls down and sat another bowl with cocktail sauce in the middle of the table.  She then set up a small table next to where they were sitting.  She left and when they were almost finished with their shrimp, she reappeared and placed a large tray of broiled Lobster tails on the small table.  The Lobster tails were neatly placed side by side in a circle around a silver bowl filled with melted butter.

“You can’t stop writing, Nelson.  Every minute you don’t write, you do the world a great injustice,” Dan said as he dipped a shrimp into the cocktail sauce, and popped it in his mouth biting off the tail and chewed with pleasure. The Kobe steak  was next.

Dan asked about his teachinf job. “Where do you plan to teach, Nelson?”

“I think I can get an appointment a Lulane University.  I need to get my application in by the end of this week.”

“That’s in Boston, right?  Didn’t they have some trouble a little while back . . . what was that?  I know I remember reading something about Lulane.:”

“They had a shooting at the university last semester.  That’s why they've got an opening.  Some professor got mad and shot up the place.  He killed five professors and wounded nine.”

“Why do you want to go there?  Doesn't sound like a very nice place.”

As the boat entered Long Island Sound, they finished off the shrimp cocktail and put a lobster tails on their plates. Jamaica Bay is an estuary on the southern portion of the western tip of Long Island, in the U.S. state of New York. The estuary is partially man-made, and partially natural.This was Nelson’s favorite so he was not shy as he forked the white meat out of the shell and put a big piece in the melted butter.

Nelson, I really hate to hear that you are not going to write another novel.  I guess the present I bought for you won’t be needed now.”

“What present?”

“I just bought you a little something to help with your writing, but since you won’t be writing, I guess you want be needing it now.”

“I didn't say I was never going to write again.  For the time being, I'm in the market for a job.  I need to get some money to help take care of my mother and help with the up keep of my ranch in Kentucky.  I’ll be going down there in a few days,” Nelson said as he ate more Lobster.  “I need to get down there before my brother runs the place in the ground.”

“So, I see you got your mind made up and I respect that.  I’ll give you your present before you leave and maybe if you find the time, you can use it.”

“What is it?”

“Just wait, you’ll see later.  Finish your Lobster and cube steak. . . I think we are heading back now,” Dan said  “Just wait and I’ll give it to you later.”

Gilda came back and cleaned up the table after they finished eating, and she brought back another pitcher of potato vodka.  Dan poured a glass of vodka, stood and motioned for Nelson follow him down to his cabin.  When they got to the small cabin, Dan opened a side closet and brought two boxes out.  Nelson could read the name on the boxes.  What he saw made him smile.

“An Apple Power Book.  I can’t believe you got me a Macintosh Power book... it’s the 180 too,” Nelson said as he opened the box.  “This is just what I wanted.  Thank you Dan!”

“I got me one too,” Dan responded.  “Like yours, mine has eight megs of RAM and a 250 mega byte hard disk.  It has an internal fax modem and all the software you need to do what ever you want.  I knew you would get a charge out of this.”

“You are right, I am getting a charge al right.”

elson put the computer back in the box and brought it back up on the middle deck where they were sitting.  After they sat back at the table, Dan pulled out his checkbook and wrote Nelson out a check.  He handed it to Nelson.

“That’s a commission on ‘By Line,’ you can expect more where that comes from, once I get this book into a movie script.”

“Dan, you don’t have to do this,” Nelson said as he looked at the twenty-five hundred dollars written on the check.  “But, you don’t know how badly I need this.  Since I left the Informer, I have not heard a word from Justine or her mother.  After I lost the suit, they left me out in the cold.”

“How is the appeal going?  You think you will get the judgment overturned on appeal?”

“Yeah, I feel good about the case, but that’s not doing me any good right now when the courts have all my assets tied up.  I can’t borrow a dime, and the Informer hasn’t given me a penny,” Nelson said with a little temper in his voice.  “I’m suppose to meet with Justine sometime this week to clear up all the loose ends I left at the paper.” Citing Judgments of -- Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Limited and Others. This appeal concerns the interaction between two fundamental rights: freedom of expression and protection of reputation. The context is newspaper discussion of a matter of political importance.

Stated in its simplest form, the newspaper's contention is that a libellous statement of fact made in the course of political discussion is free from liability if published in good faith. Liability arises only if the writer knew the statement was not true or if he made the statement recklessly, not caring whether it was true or false, or if he was actuated by personal spite or some other improper motive.

The events giving rise to these proceedings took place during a political crisis in New York in November 1991, and Nelson was forced to resign as editor of the National Informer for overt malice. Meaning that Nelson knew, and was recklessly, not caring whether it was true or false. He belived the writer who lied about his facts; much like Janet Cooke who won a 1981 Pulitzer Prize for a bogus story in The Post about an 8-year-old heroin addict named "Jimmy," then admitted after a lengthy interrogation that she had made it all up.   

“Well, Nelson it looks like we are close to Cross Bay Marina,” Dan said as the yacht slowed to a creep.  “You are going to have to keep in touch with me where ever you go.  We need to get together some time soon and talk over another story idea.  And if there is anything I can do for you, you just let me know.”         

“There is one more thing.”

“Name it!”

“I need a letter of reference sent to Lulane University.  You got a pencil?"


Nelson wrote down the university' address on a piece of paper and gave it to Dan.

“Is that all?”

“That’s all.”

The two men continued to talk as the boat slowly pulled back into its docking space.  They gave each other an embrace and Nelson left the Luck Fish, looking back at Dam as he walked out of sight with his computer under one arm and the briefcase in his hand. 

Chapter 3

Nelson sat at his favorite table in the French Grill, a popular eatery in Upper Manhattan. The French Grill was an up scale restaurant and only regulars like Nelson were able to violate its strict coat and tie dress code.  He looked at his watch; it was eight-thirty and the streetlights outside the restaurant were just coming on.  He was supposed to meet Justine for dinner at eight, and for the past half-hour he had waited. He had had four gin and tonic and two cigarettes as he waited.  The waiter came to the table and asked him if wanted another drink.
“No, I’ve had enough for right now.  Maybe after we eat.  Don’t forget to show Miss White to my table when she comes.”

“Certainly, Mr. Barcardi,” the waiter said.  Nelson lit another cigarette and finished off his drink.  Then he sat back to wait for Justine.  He thought back to the day he first met her and how from that day until the day the jury found him guilty of liable, what a familiar presence she was in his life. 

He had taught her how to report, write and edit.  A grin came over his face at the thought of taking a brash 21-year old college graduate and making a first class reporter out of her as she blossomed into quite a woman.  His thoughts were interrupted by a disturbance of chairs moving, people mumbling and he could feel a ripple of life in the French Grill.  He suspected it was Justine.  She had a way livening up a room when she entered, turning the men’s heads and creating envy in women. 

He turned and saw Justine talking to the waiter.  The waiter nodded in the direction of his table.  She then threw her head back in her traditional style and walked to the table.  Nelson crushed his cigarette out and watched as she came to the table and stood, waiting for him to get up.  She wore a short, black dress that revealed too much at the top and too much at the bottom.  He just sat and looked up at her.

“Are you going to ask me to sit down, Nelson?”

“Justine, you know how to sit.  If you think I’m going to stand and then bow before you can sit, you’ll be standing all through dinner.”

“Are you angry because I’m a little late?”

“I’m angry, but it’s not because you’re late. . . Justine, you’re always late.  That’s nothing to get angry over.”

“What are you angry about?” she asked sitting directly across from him.  “What have you got to be angry about Nelson, you got everything.”

“I’m not in the mood for any of your jokes, Justine.”

“Excuse me!  I just wanted to say something to cheer you up,” she said as she placed her purse in one of the empty chairs.  “Don’t be so down on me!  What have I done?”

Justine White was Nelson’s assistant on a number of high profile investigations. With several ideas going to the top.  Others say it was well known secret they were having an affair.

“Nothing, Justine . . . you haven’t done anything.  That’s the problem.”

Justine was silent for a moment, and then dropped her head as if she was sadden by what Nelson just said.  She was an attractive young woman in her late twenties and wore her red hair shoulder length.  She had light brown freckles that dotted her smooth face.  When she smiled, her perfect white teeth between full moist lips lit up her face.  She lifted her head, looked hard at Nelson with tears in her eyes and spoke in a broken voice.

“Nelson Barcardi, when everybody wrote you off, I stood by you!  When mother and the other members of the board wanted to fire you because they thought you had too much control over the paper, I was the one who stood up for you!  I was the one who stood by your side everyday of the trial, so don’t get an attitude with me!”

“But where were you after the trial?  Where were you when I really needed you the most!  Where were you, Justine!”  Nelson said loud enough to draw attention.  “I’ll tell you where you were!  You were out there trying to justify your association with me.  I know you Justine!”

“I don’t need this!  I can just get up and get the hell out of here and never see you again!”

“Do it!  I don’t give a damn!  You’ve done much worse!”

Justine jumped up and hurried to the door.

“Damn her anyhow, let her go.  I don’t need her, her mother or the paper,” Nelson thought and then looked up to see Justine back at the table.  “What do you want?”

“I came back for my purse.  But what I really want is to have a nice dinner with you.  A dinner without a fight,” she said in a tone that begged for Nelson’s affections.  “Can I enjoy your company without you beating up on me?”

“I’m sorry Justine.  Come on and sit down.  I just had to explode at somebody.  I’m sorry it was you.  Of all the asses at The National Informer, you are the last one who deserves my frustrations.”

“I understand how you feel.  I really do Nelson.  I was hurt more than you think.  The last six months have taken a lot out of me.  I really missed you and you never tried to contact me.  I went by your apartment and you had moved out.  I didn’t know what to do.”

“Forget it. Let’s just forget it,” he said as Justine sat back down. “You want a drink before dinner?”

“Yeah.  What are you drinking?”

“Gin and tonic.”

“How many have you had?

“A few.”

“You’ve had more than a few.  I can tell.  You probably don’t need another drink . . . have you eaten yet?”

“No.  I’ve been waiting on you.”

“Oh, I'm so sorry you had to wait.  I had a meeting with the bankers and it ran much longer than I thought.  I really wanted to see you Nelson and I wouldn’t have missed this moment for the world.”

Nelson smiled as the waiter came back to their table.

“What can I get for you Mr. Barcardi?”

“Bring me another gin and tonic.  What will you have Justine?”      

“I’ll take a martini straight up, no olive.  Just one more for him.  And we will be ready to order dinner next.”

“Is that all, Miss White?”

“Yes, for right now . . . thank you.”

Nelson and Justine sat looking at each other, not saying a word.  Their trances were only broken when the waiter came back to the table with their drinks.

“Here’s the martini for you Miss White and the gin and soda for you, Mr. Barcardi . . . just let me know when you and Miss White are ready to order,” the waiter placed two menus on the table.

“Thank you.  Come back in ten minutes, we’ll be ready,” Nelson said.

“Nelson, I been trying for six months to get in touch with you.  It seemed like you just left the planet,” Justine said.  “You really had me worried about you . . . why didn’t you get in touch with me before now?”

“I tried.  After the trial I tried to contact you at you home and at the Informer.  But somebody was always there to cut me off.  When International Pacific Insurance executed the judgment, they took everything that was in my name.  All the money in my bank accounts, my car, my house in Long Island . . . what else?  Yeah, those creeps even tried to take the ranch I bought for my mother and father, before he died.  But they couldn’t get that because it was in my father’s name and when he died it went to my mother,” Nelson was almost snarling.  “Yeah, they thought they were going to get my horse ranch but they couldn’t touch it.”

“Where have you been living?"

 “I’ve been living in Benson Hurst.”

“Benson Hurst!  What are you doing living down there?”

“It’s the only thing I could afford.  And I couldn’t afford that.  Dan Everett has been paying the rent and keeping me in money while I did a novel.  He paid to keep me up for the past six months and I gave him first right of refusal on the book.”

“Oh, so that’s what you've been doing.  You’ve been writing a book.  What’s it about?  Tell me the story Nelson?”

“You wouldn’t be interested in this story.  It's about reporters who’ll do anything for a story.  You know how you used to be before you grew up?”

“It’s not about use, is it?  Nelson, you didn’t write and expose us did you?”

“No!  It’s not about betrayal, it’s about murder,” Nelson said but then checked himself.  “I didn’t mean that.  You didn’t deserve that.”

“Forget it Nelson.  I’m used to taking things I don’t deserve from you.”

“I’m not trying to give you a hard time.  Justine, you know how I felt about the paper.  I think your mother gave me the shaft, not because I lost the suite but she wanted you away from me.”

They were still talking and sipping their drinks when the waiter came back and asked if they were ready to order.

“Have you decided what you want, Justine?” Nelson asked.

“Yes, I will have the Blackened Sole and spinach with cheese sauce and the wilted salad.”

“What kind of dressing do you want for your salad, Miss White?”

“Oil and vinegar.”

“Will that be all?”

“Yes,” Justine said and gave the menu back to the waiter.

“What will you have, Mr. Barcardi?”

“Hum . . . give me the Prime Rib.  Make sure it’s the crisp part on the outside.  I don’t won’t the inside cut.”

“Right Mr. Barcardi, I know how you like it.  What else with that?”

“Give me the broccoli in butter sauce . . . and a baked potato with sour cream.”

“Anything to drink?”

“Tea.  Two teas.”

“Is that all say?”

“Yeah, that’s all,” Nelson said and gave his menu back to the waiter.

“Thank you, sir . . . I’ll be back soon with your order.”

Nelson looked at Justine and smiled, “How are things at the paper?”

“Things couldn’t be better to hear my mother tell it, but I think the paper lost its heart and soul when you left . . . most people feel that way.  But as long as we are making money and the advertiser are happy, mother and the board think the paper is a success.” Mom hated my affair with you.

“How is the circulation?”

“It’s up . . . we still have the readers that you brought to the paper, and the readers who said they would never read the Informer until you left.  Nelson, you left us in good shape, but mother will never admit it.”

“Have you heard anything about the appeal?”

“The last time I talked with lawyers, they needed to get in touch with you to sign some papers.  Have you been in touch with them?”

“No, I haven’t heard from anybody since I left.  Did they get the papers off?”

“Yeah, but I had to sign your name.”

“Good . . . I sure can’t afford to let those bastards off the hook with a $5 million judgment against me.  I can’t let that stand.”

“Everybody thinks that you brought it own yourself, Nelson, going after Pacific International was a big mistake.  They are just too powerful,” Justine said sipping her martini.  “The word was out; they planned to spend as much as it took to bring you and the Informer down.  Nelson, you should have backed off . . . you made them too angry when you accused them of consumer fraud and never provided your sources.”

“I was right to protect my sources, if they wanted to remain anonymous.  The judge was wrong to rule that the chairman of Pacific International was a private person, and those are the grounds for appeal.  I hope the attorneys make that point in their brief.”

“The last time I talked with them, they felt good about a reversal, but it will take time.  In the meantime, you need to get away and let things cool off more.  A year or so after the appeal, you can start right back where you left off at the paper.  But let me know where you are this time.”

Before Nelson could respond, the waiter brought their order.  He carried a big silver tray over his right shoulder and placed the tray on a small setup table he carried in his right hand.

“Here are the salads,” he said placing two large bowls filled with garden salad in front of them.  “Oil and vinegar for the lady and French dressing for Mr. Barcardi.  Will there be anything else, sir?”

“No, this is fine.”

“I will be back with your food in a few.”

Nelson poured the dressing over his salad, took his napkin and put it in his lap.  They both were eating when he said, “I’m never coming back to the paper.”

“You’re what?”

“I said, I’m never coming back to the paper.  I got other plans I’m working on now.  And the paper is not a part of them,” he said as he started to eat.  “I need a new life.  I need to meet new people.  I just have a need to go somewhere else.  This town has had it with me and I have had it with this town.”

“What do you plan to do?”

“I’m applying for a position on the faculty at Lulane University.  I sent my application off yesterday and hope to go for an interview in a couple of weeks for an interview.”

“What about us?”

Nelson was silent.

“Don’t pull that death and dumb routine on me Nelson Barcardi.  What about us?”

“We could never have a life together as long as your mother is in the picture.  You know how your mother feels about me, and you know how I feel about her.  Oil and water will never mix, and neither you nor I deserve a situation like that.  You need to stay with your mother and the paper and I need to live.”

After they finished their salads, the waiter removed the salad bowls and set their entrees down.

“The Blackened Sole and spinach with cheese sauce for Miss White,” the waiter said as he placed the plate of food in front of Justine.  “And Prime Rib for Mr. Barcardi . . . the outside cut.  Here’s your baked potato and broccoli with butter sauce.”

Then waiter stood at attention, and asked, “Will there be anything else, sir?”

“Not for me.  What about you, Justine?”

“I’m fine.”

“That’s it, thank you.”

“If you need anything, just give me a call,” When the waiter turned and left the table Justine was ready to go.

“What are you immediate plans Nelson?”

“Well, next week I’m going to Kentucky to see my mother, and take care of some business at the ranch.  My brother has let the place go to the dogs since my father died.  I need to go and get that straighten out, then hopefully it's off to Boston.”

“So you really have your mind made up? I know you going to keep in touch.  I know I mean that much to you"

“You know I will.”

They sat silently through their meal.  The waiter came back to the table and asked if they wanted desert.”

“I’ve had enough.  Do you want anything else, Justine?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Could you bring the bill?”  Nelson asked the waiter.  “We are ready to go.”

“Certainly, Mr. Barcardi.” The waiter said

“That was nice.  It reminded me of old times.  Nelson, I’m going to miss you — I really am.”

“I’m going to miss you too.”

The waiter came back with the bill and gives it to Nelson.  Nelson looked at the bill and gave it to Justine.  Without a glance at the bill she reached for her purse; opened it and gave a credit card to the waiter.

“Add ten dollars for yourself,” Justine told the waiter.

“Thank you, Miss White.”

“Oh, that reminds me.  This is for you Nelson,” she said taking a blue moneybag from her purse.  “This is half of what you salary was.  Pacific International tried to take it but I told them that you had received your salary in advance.  It took me all day to get the money up.  I had to do it behind mother’s back.  But it’s your money anyway . . . you earned it and more.”

“Thank you Justine.  You don’t know how much I need this. You’ll never know what this means to me,” Nelson said as she handed him the moneybag.

“Be careful with that, that’s a lot of money.”

“Don’t worry, nobody will get their hands on this.”

The waiter came back for Justine's signature.

“Thanks, and have a good night,” the waiter said and left.

Nelson looked at his watch.  It was ten-thirty. 

“Are you about ready to go?”  He asked. “I'll walk you to your car.”

“That would be nice.  Do you need a lift home?”

“No, I’ll get a cab.” he said.

“You sure?” she asked as they both got up and headed for the doors.

“I’m parked right down the street.”

When they reached her red Lexus, Nelson walked her to the driver’s side of the car.  She unlocked the door, got inside, started the car and rolled down the window.

“You sure you don’t need a ride?”

“No, I can make it from here.  But wait, I do need one thing.”

“What’s that?

“I need you to get your mother to write me a letter of reference to Lulane. "Nelson”, you will get a position?" It's open everything's open Nelson answered

“She’ll never do it, but don’t worry . . . I’ll write it and sign her name like I do everything else.  Whom do you want me to send it to?”

Nelson pulled a pencil from his coat pocket and wrote the address on the back of a book of matches.

“Here, send it to this address.”

Justine took the book of matches and asked, “Nelson are you sure you want to do this? By the way I got a position as teaching assistant at All Saints Catholic School. That's Not far from Lulane.” Really? Nelson thought, how odd that is.

“I’m sure.”

“What about one last fling for old times,” Justine asked holding his hand.

“That wouldn’t be right . . . then I’ll never leave.  I want this to be clean.  You know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” she said and then carefully let his hand go. “I’ll get this letter off first thing.”

“Thanks for everything, Justine.  You’re a true friend,” he said.  She rolled up the window and pulled off.  Nelson watched as she drove out of sight.

Chapter 4 

Nelson was waiting anxiously in his apartment on the cab to take him to the airport.  As he sat, he thought through his trip to Kentucky, he looked through the legal papers which was given to him on a foreclosure of property the paper owns and gaven him as a bonus. It was 2500 acres of prime land, worth over $20 million.  It was no good to Nelson because it was tied up in court.  Nelson had picked up this habit of simulating almost everything that had any future event he would encounter in his mind, from his experience as a journalist and editor, which gave him keen insight on most things. To his common sense, which he saw as clairvoyance...  He saw the cab and that the trip to Kennedy Airport would be a short one if the cab driver took Shore Parkway to Nassau Expressway that led right to the airport.  Since he had reservation, he would only have to pay for his ticket and check his luggage.  The flight from New York would leave at eleven-forty five that morning and arrive in Lexington at three that afternoon.  His brother would pick him up and they would argue on the thirty-minute ride to the ranch. Charles has a drug problem, they call it ICE.

Then, the cab blew and Nelson was on his way home. 

The flight was non eventful, and as has surmised, he was standing in front of the airport waiting on his brother. He looked at his witch: it was ten until four.  He knew Charles was coming but not when.

“Charles is always late,” he thought, standing beside his luggage.  “He’s my brother, but I swear he can’t do anything right.”

He thought about his mother, and how tough it’s been for her since his father died.  Her bout with beast cancer had taken a lot out of her and since his older brother had come to the ranch to help take care of her, instead of getting better she had gotten worse.  Nelson knew not to be too hard on his brother since Charles felt their father had always favored Nelson over him when they were growing up as children in West Virginia. 

No matter what, he was committed to not arguing with his brother.  A few more minutes passed and Nelson could see what he thought was the white pick-up truck he had bought his father before he died.  As the truck got closer, he was certain it was Charles.  The truck pulled up and made a sudden stop.  It was Charles. He got out of the tuck and left the engine running.  Nelson wanted to talk to his brother about hid drug recovery.

“Damn Nelson, it’s good to see you, boy,” Charles said as they gave each other a brief embrace.  “How have you been? Momma can’t wait to see you.  She’s resting right now from that chemo, but other than that she’s doin’ all right.”

“How are things going at the ranch?”  Nelson asked as he loaded his luggage in the back of the truck.  To keep from getting into an argument, he purposely didn’t ask Charles why he was late. They got into the truck and Charles took off so fast that the sound of the tires echoed through the outside of the terminal. 

Once they were on their way, Nelson noticed how dirty the truck was inside: beer cans all over the floor, fast food bags on the seat and the truck looked like it hadn’t been washed since it was new.  Nelson could hardly hold his anger about Charles' disregard of the truck.  He sat in silence as Charles drove to I-75 that took them to the ranch. 

“Slow up, Charles.  I want to get to the ranch alive.  You don’t have to drive that fast.”  But, he speeded up.  Nelson sat in silence biting his bottom lip.

When they got to I-75 south, Nelson knew that it would be only minutes and they would be at the ranch.  Once the truck was on the freeway, Charles pulled out a bottle of whisky and turned it up.  Nelson looked over at his brother and bit harder on his bottom lip. 

“Wanna hit?” Charles aaked Nelson.

“No, I don’t want a hit, and you shouldn’t be drinking while you are driving this truck.  The insurance is high enough already.”

“A little nip won’t hurt nothin’,” Charles said as he got the speed up to 95 miles per hour.  “What’s wrong with you Nelson.  That education you got, got you too stiff.  Loosen up and enjoy life.”

“If you don’t slow down, you nor I are going to have a life,” he said in as tolerant a voice he could find.  “Well you please slow up?  You are driving too fast!”

It was a quarter past five when the truck came off the freeway a turned on the side road that lead to the ranch.  Nelson could see the bright red roof of the barn, as he got closer to the ranch.  He reminded himself how lucky he was to have such a find spread.  He had bought the place five years ago as a present to his parents. 

He got the 160-acre ranch at an auction for a steal.  Two hundred thousand for a horse ranch with a five-bed room split-level house, two fifteen stable barns, six prized racehorses and a fleet of three trucks and six horse trailers.  He had all of this, on 160 acres of the best blue grass in the State of Kentucky.

“It’s good to be back.  Can I see momma?”  Nelson asked as the truck pulled up in front of the house.”  Where is she?

“She’s asleep now.  Every time she takes that chemotherapy, she goes to sleep.

“I want to take look around after I get my things unpacked.  Where is everybody?  Where are the hands?”  Nelson asked, unloading his luggage from the back of the truck.  “I had to lay everybody off ‘cause we got short on money.  They’ll be back as soon as I can give ‘em  a payday.”

“How come the ranch is short on money when there was enough money to keep this place going for six months?  Where has the money gone?”  Nelson asked carrying his bags into the house and at the same time looking back over his shoulder at Charles.  “What has been going on around here?” Nelson asked.

“Nothing has been goin’ on ‘round here.  We just ran outta money.  What’s so hard to understand about that?”

“What so hard to understand, is what happened to the money when there was more than enough money to keep this place going. . .  that’s what so hard to understand!”

“Now, there you go again. . . I can’t never do nothin' right by your standards,”  Charles said as he slammed the truck door behind him.

“Forget it Charles, I'm going to my room and get unpacked and get into some jeans.  I want to get a look at the horses first thing.  I can’t wait to see Hopeless Cause . . . We should be about ready to get stud fees from him.  Give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready to check things out.” Charles turned quickly away and walked to the kitchen and got a beer out of the refrigerator.

Nelson went to his room and shut the door.  He was proud of himself for not blowing-up at his older brother, but it took some doing.  A number of times since they left the airport, he wanted to explode.

“Are you ready to take a walk?”  Nelson asked, coming from his room, dressed in blue jeans, cowboy boots and a white T-shirt. "Nelson!  Where are you going?" You ready.

“Yeah, I’m ready.  You got dressed quick.”

“There's not much to getting into these things. Let’s go,” Nelson said as he stepped out on the porch of his large split-level house. “We have to start making this place pay for itself.”

“Where you wanna go first?”

“Let’s go to the barn to see the horses.  Who has been taking care of the horses since the hands left?”

“I been doin’ everything ‘round here . . . nobody but me.”

When they got to the barn the doors were off the hinges, paint was peeling everywhere, horse dung was piled up in all the stables and everything looked a mess.  As they walked the length of the barn, passing each stable, Nelson shook his head in disbelief at the how run down the ranch had become.  But he still kept is cool.

“We got to get some help around here to clean this place.”

“I sure do need some help,” Charles said as he walked side by side with his brother.

When they reached the end stable Nelson looked around like he had lost something and

asked, “Where is Hopeless Cause?  Where did you put Hopeless?” Charles didn’t answer.

“Did you hear me?  Where is Hopeless Cause?”  Nelson said, his anger beginning to show.  “Where is my horse?”

There was a moment of silence and Charles finally answered, “I needed money to get momma’s prescription filled.  I had to hock Hopeless Cause to get the money.”

“You what! You mean to tell me you hocked a twenty thousand dollar stud horse!  Are you crazy?”  Nelson was shouting at top of his voice. “You stupid son of a bitch.  Who did you hock it to?  Hopeless Cause is our meal ticket fool, and you hocked him.  Who got him?”

Charles didn’t speak.

“I asked who got him?”  He asked in a rage and started for Charles.  “Are you going to tell me, or am I going to beat it out of you!”

“The Clayton ranch got him.  I hocked it to Mike Clayton.  He said I could get the horse back any time I get the thousand dollars.  Hopeless Cause is in good hands.”

“You stupid asshole! How is my horse in good hands when you hocked it to another rancher?  I got a good mind to run your crazy ass back to West Virginia with the rest of those backwoods hicks.  I see why dad never wanted you around here.  You are just a fuckup... a stupid fuckup.”  Nelson clinched his fists, gave Charles a cold look, turned and walked away cursing.  “I just be damned"

The next morning Nelson woke up even angrier than the day before.  He knew not to mention what Charles had done to his mother while she was fixing breakfast.  She would only make excuses for him like always.  He quickly put on his housecoat on and went to the kitchen to greet his mother.

“Good morning Momma.  What are you doing up fixing breakfast?  I ought to be serving you in bed,” Nelson said as he walked up behind his mother who was standing at the stove cooking eggs.  “Momma, I missed you.  Give a big kiss.”

“Oh Nelson, I missed you too. We haven’t heard from you in months?  Son, where have you been?  You just keep your poor mom worried.  I hate that I was too weak to see you yesterday when you came in, but I had my treatment last week and I been in bed ever since.”  Nelson and his mother hugged each other for over a minute as tears came from their eyes.  “Let me get these eggs off and put you some hotcakes on.  I got your favorite... hotcakes, scramble eggs and beacon.”

“Momma, it seems like years since I’ve eaten my favorite breakfast.  Too much saturated fat will kill you.  I swore off eating those killer breakfasts long ago.”

“Come on, this ain’t gone kill you.  We been eating like this all our life and it ain’t killed me.”

“But, what about dad?” Nelson asked.

“It ain't killed him either, what killed your father was workin’ in them West Virginia coal mines since he was a li’l boy.  Black lung killed your father,” she said while preparing his breakfast. 

“You just sit right down and tell me all about what's been happening with you and I’ll have your breakfast ready in just a minute.”

“What do you want to know, Momma?”

“First, I wanna know if you are back at the ranch for good?  After your father died, you promised that you would be back to help with the ranch.”

“No momma.  I’m not here to stay.”

“Nelson you been single too long.  You need to came back and settle down, get married and raise a family.

“Momma, I probably won’t ever get married, and it will be a long time before I settle down.  I hoping for another teaching job"

“What about the ranch?” she asked

“The ranch is in such a mess.  I need to stay as long as I can, and then I need to run that damn Charles back to the country,” he said not being able to hold hid anger.  Then, his mother sat a plate of hotcakes in front of him at the table.  “How he let this place get in such bad shape, I just don’t understand.  Dad would have run him off long ago.  In fact, dad didn’t allow him to set foot on this place . . . now, I see why.”

“Don’t be so hard on your brother.  He means well but he never got over your father sending you to California to live with your uncle and making him work in the coalmines.  I don’t think Charles will ever get over that.”

“That doesn't give him the reason to be so sorry.  Nothing gives a person a reason to be that sorry,” Nelson said as he poured the thick syrup over the pancakes.  “I've got to go over to the Clayton’s ranch and get Hopeless Cause and then to the bank and check the account.  Momma, you signed all the checks, so how come the ranch ran out of money when there was more than enough to get by on?”

“Charles was keeping up with it, all I did was signed the checks.  I didn’t know what he was doing with the money,

“Its not that bad but we have to cut back because if I get this job, it won’t pay anywhere near what I was making at the Informer.  We've got to turn this into a profitable ranch.  It only takes a little work and discipline.”

“You ain't gonna send your brother back to West Virginia, are you Nelson?" 

"I don’t know.  Why do you ask that?”

“I heard y'all arguing last night . . . I thought I was going to have to get up and break you two up.”

“It was nothing.  Just a misunderstanding.”

“A misunderstanding my foot, y’all were arguing over that horse, Hopeless Cause.  Nelson, you got to be patient with your brother, he don’t mean no harm.”

“He doesn't mean any good either.”

“Nelson, don’t talk about your brother like that.  He don’t mean no harm.”

“Momma, I bought this place for you and dad to enjoy, and now it doesn’t look like the same place.  If Charles were just half the son to you, I wouldn’t have any problems.  But it seems like he gets a kick out of tearing down what I have tried to build up.”

Nelson talked to his mother for most of that morning.  After lunch, he went to pick up Hopeless Cause from the Clayton Ranch.   And a few hours later he was sitting in front of the banker talking about making a deposit.

“It's good to see you Nelson.  Are you back for good?” The banker asked.

“No. I’m just here for a couple of weeks to get the ranch back on track.”

 “How is your mother? I'm sorry to her about the cancer.”

“She's doing better.”

“What can I do for you today?”

“I’ll be here for a week or so, and need to get some work done at the ranch, so I need to know what the balance looks like.”

“The account is overdrawn.  You need to make a deposit.”

“How much overdrawn?”

“Only a few hundred dollars, but the ranch has had an overdraft for over a month.  I know you didn’t want me to let your brother get too far in debt, so I stopped all checks,” the banker explained.  “He came down here last week wanting more Money"

“You were right to not cash it.  He doesn’t know the value of money,” Nelson said.  “I’m going to make a deposit but I need some kind of trust account for the bank to monitor.  Do you have something like that?”

“Sure, we have a checking/savings account that puts a certain amount in the checking each month and not a penny more" That s what I want" Nelson said.

“As soon as you make my deposit. That's what I want”

Nelson opened the moneybag that Justine had given him and dumped the contents on the banker’s desk.  It was $175,000.

“This is $175,000, do you want all this in the account Mr. Barcardi?”

“Yeah, and I also have a check I need to cash too.”

“Yes sir.  Let me make out a deposit slip,” Thde banker said, in shocked from all the money.  “I’ll be right back with your receipt.”

The banher went back to the back of his office and came back eith the receipt.

“Will there be anything else Mr. Barcardi?” he said as he gave Nelson the receipt.

“Yeah, there is one more thing.  I need to make sure the money in the checking account is used for running the ranch.  How can I do that?”

“If you make out a monthly budget, I can make sure all of the budgeted items are paid by check for no more than the budgeted amount without your permission.  That way, you can keep up with the finances of the ranch where ever you are,” the banker explained.  “We do this as part of our service for a number of customers who live out of state.  They just make out a budget, and we will take care of the rest.”

“That sounds like a good idea.  I think I’ll try it.  I’ll get you a budget before I go back to New York.”  Nelson stood, shook the banker’s hand and left the bank.

For the rest of that week and the next, Nelson spent each day cleaning and fixing up around the ranch. He avoided Charles whenever he could, and hired back the two ranch hands and overseer.  After he was satisfied that the ranch was in good hands, and that his mother's health was getting better, he took a flight back to New York.

Chapter 5


Nelson was up at five the next morning after he had gotten back from Kentucky.  He was going over the past two weeks of mail that had piled up.  One letter got his attention: it was address to Dr. Barcardi and had a Lulane University’s letterhead.  Nelson anxiously opened the letter and read it:        

Dear Dr. Barcardi,

Congratulation, you are among the three finalists for the position of Associate Professor of Communication at Lulane University.  The next step in filling this position is the interview process.  Each candidate will have an interview in room 206 of the Administration Building.  Your interview is scheduled for Tuesday July 26, 1993 at 10:30 A.M.  If you have any conflict with the time or date, get back with me and I will reschedule your interview. 
Pamela Jones, Senior Secretary . . . 462-1010.

“All right!”  He said as he put the letter to the side and began to open the other mail.  “Oh Lord July the 26th, that’s today.  The interview is today.”

Nelson jumped from the table and hurried into his small bedroom to check the time.  He picked up his watch from the computer desk.  It was six o’clock and the calendar showed the date July26.  Nelson rushed to the bathroom and turned on the shower.  He went back into is room to get a towel and while he bathed and dressed, he made plans.

“I need to get to Penn Station to catch an early AMTRAK to Boston.  Damn, I would have missed this if I had stayed gone there another day.  Let me get ready and get out of here.”  He was talking to him self.

Nelson had bathed, dressed and was out on the street at 6:30 and flagged down a cab.  One stopped and Nelson gets in.

“Take me to Penn Station.  I got to get the AMTRAK to Boston.”

“You can’t get a train out this early from Penn.  But there is a 7:30 train going to Boston from Grand Central Station.  You want that?” The driver asked.

“Yeah, can you make it in time?”

“Sure, we got plenty of time,” the driver said and pulled off.

The train rocked, rumbled and roared as it traveled north to Boston.  When the train reached the Boston depot, Nelson along with the many other commuters filed off the train in different directions.  As he walked out with his briefcase in his hand, Nelson saw a line of cabs waiting for the commuters.  He approached one and asked the driver, “I need to get to Lulane University, you know where that is?”

“Sho’ do . . . it’s over near the Old Corner Book store.  We can go from here to Cambridge Street to Court Street and you’ll be right there.  You wanna go?” The driver asked.

“Yeah, I need to be there before ten-thirty.”

“If you got there now you would be late.  You need to get there in a hurry, hop in.”

In less than ten minutes the cab was pulling up in front of the campus.  He paid the driver and walked up through an arch shaped entrance on to the ivy covered, classic brick campus. 

“I’m looking for the Administration Building, could you help me?”  Nelson asked a female student who walked by.

“You see that building with the big bell tower, that’s it,” 


While Nelson walked across he was impressed with the beauty of the campus.  The Administration Building was an old Gothic architectural designed surround by newer buildings with Neogothic designs.  The old complemented the new architecture and made the 200-acre campus the jewel of the Ivy Ledge.  He entered the building and took the elevator to the second floor.  He walked down the hall to room 206: it was the presidend’s 'Office.  Nelson paused for a minute at the door before going in, “Why would they be having a job interview in the presidends' office,” he thought.

He turned the doorknob, opened the door and walked in.  Right at the office entrance sat a desk with a middle-aged woman behind it.  He walked to the desk and announced himself.

“Good morning, I'm Nelson Barcardi.  I had a job interview at 10:30, but I’m late,” he said as he looked at his watch to check the time.  “I had a time getting a train here from New York.  Am I too late for my interview?”

“No Dr. Barcardi, they’ve been waiting for you.  We thought something had happened but we didn’t know what.  But you are not too late; they are still back in Dr. Lancaster’s office.  Let me call back there to let them know you are here.”

The secretary picked up the phone receiver, dialed a number and waited for a few seconds.

“Dr. Lancaster, Dr. Barcardi is here for his interview,” she paused and then said.  “OK, I’ll tell him . . . Dr. Barcardi, Dr. Lancaster said they’ll be with you in a minute.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“You can have a seat . . . would you like me to get you some coffee?”

“No, thank you.  I’m fine.”  Nelson took a seat in a chair sitting against the wall across from the secretary’s desk.  As he sat waiting, he tried to avoid looking at the secretary as she stared at him.  Her staring made Nelson uneasy.  He could see that he was the focus of all her attention, but he refused to make eye contact.  Then her phone rang.  She picked it up and listened.

“Yes sir, I’ll send him back right now,” she said and hung up the phone.  “Dr. Barcardi, you can go back now."

She got up and led him down a hall to the last office on the right.

“Thank you,” he said.

Nelson gave a light tap on the door and then opened it and saw a very large polished desk with a small, neatly dressed, gray-headed man sitting behind it in a large leather chair.  Nelson looked to his left, and there sat a middle-aged man, sloppily dressed in a pair of black pants with a white shirt unevenly tucked around his waist. Sitting next to him was a younger man who stood up to greet him.  They both were sitting across from the man at the big desk, who Nelson figured was the president.

“I’m Dr. Goodwell, the chairman of the department, and it’s my pleasure to meet you Dr. Barcardi,” the man who stood to greet him said.

“Have a seat Dr. Barcardi,” came from the man behind the desk.  “I’m Dr. Lancaster, president of Lulane University.  We thought you had stood us up, please have a seat.”

“No, it’s not that . . . I just missed my train,” Nelson said.

The sloppily dressed man stood and extended his hand, “I’m Paul Means, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.” Nelson sat in a chair reserved for him between the two men who sat across from the president. “It’s good to meet you Dean Means.”

Dr. Lancaster picked up a folder.  “You have some impressive credentials Dr. Barcardi.”


“I see you graduated at the top of your doctoral class at Brinkley . . . you are also Phi Beta Kappa.  A number of our faculty graduated from Brinkley, and are Phi Beta Kappa.”

“I owe a lot to Brinkley . . . I got a quality education there,” Nelson said.

“I see you spent five years at Southeastern University.  What did you do there?”

“Well, when I left I was a full professor.  I taught on the graduate level, and did research in computer application for the Mass. media.”

“What did you teach?” Dr. Lancaster asked 

“Writing composition, media law and a media technology course that the department offered.”

“What happened at The Informer? You really exposed a lot of corruption in the Big Apple.  I thought you did a great job at taking a weekly rag like The Informer and turning it into a mainstream newspaper,” Dr. Goodwell said, interrupting Dr. Lancaster, as he sat on the edge of his chair trying to get Nelson's attention.  “I remember when you did the series on the drug lords in New York and said that you would reveal their names in the final article.  I mean, you had this whole country waiting on that paper.  Quite frankly, I thought they would put a hit on you.”

“Well, it was a little pushy and dangerous, but things got settled behind the scenes and the mob let me off,” Nelson said with a big grin on his face.

“What happened at The Informer?  Everybody kept up with your case in the news . . . but in your own words, what happened?”

“It’s hard for me to say.  Some said I got to big and wouldn’t listen to anybody.  Some said that powerful people were ready to do anything to get me out of the way.  I think I out lived my usefulness.  I always believed that there is an art to knowing when to leave.  I think I just didn't know when to leave.”

“Do you think you are ready to go back into the classroom?” Dr. Lancaster asked,  “It’s not like being the editor of The Informer, and it certainly doesn't pay like The Informer.”

"Right now, I am more interested in being effective in society rather than commenting or criticizing it.  I feel like I have a lot of experience to relate to young people and I am ready to commit.

“That's what I wanted to hear and we need to fill this position.  If we accept your application, how soon can you start?”  Dr. Goodwell asked.

“I can start immediately."

“OK, any more question. . . Dean Means, do you need to ask Dr. Barcardi anything else?” Dr. Lancaster asked.


“Dr. Goodwell, you have any more questions?”


“Well Dr. Barcardi, that’s it.  We have two more people to interview, and we will be getting back to you in a few days and let you know our decision.”

"That's all."

"Yes, that's all."

“Thank you for considering me and I'm very sorry I was late,” Nelson said, stood and walked out.

“What do you guys think?”  Dr. Lancaster asked after Nelson left the room.  “Paul, what do you think?”

“I think he is good, but he brings some baggage with the law suit and all.  I’ll reserve my opinion of Dr. Barcardi until w

“Dr. Goodwell, what do you think?”

“I would hire him today if it were left up to me.  He’s got what we need, and I think he is a real scholar.  We need people like Nelson Barcardi around here.”


“I like him too but we’ll see.  Let’s get some lunch.”     

Chapter 6      

It had been a little over two weeks since Nelson’s interview for the position at Lulane.  The August 1, dead line for filing the position had passed, and Nelson felt certain that he had been overlooked for the job.  He was fed up with New York and was planning to go back to his ranch in Kentucky and continue his job search.  He had packed and sent his books, old Macintosh computer and other personal items to Kentucky the week before.  All that was left were his clothes and the Powerbook that Dan had given him.  He had promised the landlord that he would be out by the first of the month. Nelson was going over some papers from the lawsuit when his phone rings.  He picked it up.


“Could I speak to Dr. Barcardi?”  A voice asked.

“This is he.”

“Dr. Barcardi, this is Dr. Goodwell at Lulane.”

“Oh hello, Dr. Goodwell!”  Nelson said with great anticipation.  “How are you, it’s good to head from you.”

“I wanted to get in touch with you earlier but we just made the decision about the position yesterday.  It’s yours if you are still interested.” Nelson paused for a moment.

“Sure, I’m still interested.  When do I start?”


“Can you be in my office Monday morning at nine for a brief orientation?”

“Yes, I can be there.”

“Good.  My office is on the second floor of the Communications building . . . it’s right across from the Administration building, where you had your interview,” Dr. Goodwell said.   “I’ll fill you in on your contract and we can put you to work when you get here.”

“Thank you, Dr. Goodwell.  I’ll see you Monday morning.”


“Great.  I’ll see you then.  You have a nice weekend.”

“You too,” Nelson said and hung up the phone.          

Nelson stood, smiled, took a deep breath and said, “All right!  I’m on my way to Boston!”

He decided not to waste any more time in New York.  He wanted to be in Boston by the weekend so he could check things out and start looking for a place to live.  That day would be all the time he needed to finish packing and square up with the landlord and by Saturday morning he could be in Boston.  That very thought was enough to motivate him to hurry and get packed.

The weather was very hot that Saturday morning as Nelson boarded the train.  He slept all through the three-hour trip, and had to be awakened by the porter when the train pulled into the Boston train station.“Sir . . . Sir!  We're is in Boston.  Sir!  We're in Boston!”  The porter said tugging on Nelson’s shoulder.              “Hum. . . hum. . . we are in Boston already?”  he asked stretching his arms.  “I must have slept all the way.”

“You did sir.  Do you need help with your bags?”

“Yes, and I need to find a hotel for a few days.  It needs to be in walking distance to Lulane University.  Can you help me with that?”

“I can’t but any of the cab driver will be able to help you.  Just ask ‘em  and they’ll fix you right up.”   “Give me your baggage checks and  I’ll get them and meet you out front,” the porter said.

Nelson left the train and waited in the lobby for the porter.  He came with the luggage and they went out side. The porter loaded the luggage into a cab and Nelson was off to a new city and a new job.

“You said you wanted to get in walking distance to Lulane University.  You can’t get any closer than this,” the cab driver said as the cab pulled up to a third rate motel.  “It ain’t the best in town but it’s close to Lulane.  You want it?”

“Yes, I want it,”  Nelson said getting out of the cab.  “Wait while I get a room and I’ll be right back.”

Nelson came back to the cab with a room key, paid the driver, unloaded his luggage and went to his room. That weekend he did a lot of thinking about his new position and how much of a change it would from the fast life of a big time newspaper editor. Sunday night Nelson spent most of his time fooling with the Powerbook and going over old course outlines and syllabus he used when he taught at Southeastern. 

He had gone to the campus several times the day before and was well familiar with the campus layout and exactly where the Communications building was located.he campus was empty when Nelson reported to work that Monday morning.   Except for an occasional maintenance man working on the outside of a building or an office worker carrying papers from one building to another; Lulane was a ghost town.  It was a quarter to nine when he entered the Communications building and went upstairs to Dr. Goodwill’s office.   The front part of the office was a reception area with a desk in the center and chairs lined along the walls.  Back of the desk was an open corridor with two other offices, a bathroom and a storage room.  One of the offices was labeled Dr. Goodwell, Department Chairman and the other Faculty Conference Room.

Behind the desk sat the secretary, a very striking young Black woman.  Nelson walked over to her and before he could announce himself she spoke, “ Good morning, can I help you?“Yes, I’m Dr. Barcardi and I have a meeting with Dr. Goodwell at nine.”

Upon hearing his name the young woman stood and extended her hand and said, “It my pleasure Dr. Barcardi.  Everybody around here is excited about you coming to Lulane.  I hope you like it here.”

“I think I will,” he said as he shook the young woman’s hand.  “I think I will.”

“By the way, my name is Pamela Jones, I’m Dr. Goodwill’s secretary.  He is in his office and is expecting you.  Let me go tell him you are here,” she said walking to Dr. Goodwill’s door.  “I’ll be right back.”

Nelson couldn’t help but notice how attractive Pam was. When she returned from the office, she when back to her desk.

"Dr. Goodwell will be right out, just have a seat," she said with a big smile.

“Thank you,” he replied and took a seat in one of the chairs lined up around the walls.  “May I call you Pam?”

“Yes, everybody does.”

“Thanks Pam.”

“You are welcome,” she said as she continued to smile at him.  “Did you have a hard time finding the campus?”

“No, not really.  I been on campus before . . . when I had my interview for this position.”

They both smiled for a moment, then the door to the office opened.”“Good to see you again Dr. Barcardi.  I see you found everything all right,” Dr. Goodwell said and walked over to greet Nelson.  Nelson stood and they shook hands. “Come on back and let’s get started.  Miss Jones hold all my calls.”

“Yes sir, Dr. Goodwell.”

“Have a seat Dr. Barcardi.”  Dr. Goodwell said after they reached his office. He then motioned toward a chair.

“How was your trip?”

“It was OK.”

“Where are you staying?”

“At a little hotel close to the university.”

“I took the liberty to ask one of the faculty members to put you up until you can find a place.”

“That won't be necessary . . . I’ll just stay at the hotel until I find a place.  It’s within walking distance and I won't have an excuse for not getting to class on time.”

“I’ve already asked Dr. Winston if she would put you up and she's been expecting you.  It wouldn’t want hurt her feelings if you didn't accept her offer.  You’ve heard of Sylvia Winston, haven't you?”

“No.  Should I know her?”“I think so.  She's just one of the leading novelist in this country today.  Her latest novel has been on the bestsellers list for three months.  We have a number of distinguished faculty members.  But Dr. Winston is the best known,” Dr. Goodwell said with pride.  “Our president is a Noble Prize winner.  Lulane has three other Noble Prize winners... one in chemistry and two from the math department.”

“Oh, yeah . . . I read about that some where.”

“We are very proud of our faculty members.  They bring high prestige to this place,” he said to Nelson.  “That’s why I wouldn’t want to hurt Sylvia’s feeling . . . she done so much for the department and the university.  Plus she lives in a nice place in Cambridge.”

“No problem . . . I’ll stay there until I find a place.”

“Thank you Dr. Barcardi, you won’t regret it.  If you ever need transportation, we have a motor pool just for faculty and administrators.  Nobody ever uses it because of the paper work.”

“How much paper work is there to check out a car?”

“Signing your name and keeping up with the miles,”

Dr. Goodwell replied and Nelson laughed.

“I’m expecting Dr. Winston shortly.  I also asked her to show you around campus.  So, we need to get down to business,” Dr. Goodwell said and picked up a class schedule from his desk.  “I’m not going to work you too hard this semester . . . you will only be teaching two class this Fall.”

“Thank you for the consideration.  What two classes do you have in mind?’

“Writing composition and media law.  It was on you resume that you taught the same at Southeastern.”

“Yes, I did.”

“So you won’t have any trouble with that.”

“As a matter of fact, I have my old notes. What is the schedule?”

“Composition is at 10:45 A.M. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  And media law is Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 P.M.  Both classes are graduate level and you can set your own time to advise students.”

“What about the contract?”

“It's a continuing contract for three years.  If you don’t make tenure, the contract will not be renewed for the forth year,” he said and handed Nelson the contract.  “With your experience, we decided to pay you at the top range: $125,000 a year . . . total medical coverage.  As you can see Lulane has good benefits.”

“I see.”

“Your office is on this floor.  If you go out of the reception area, it’s the third office down the hall to your right . . . room 210.  I had it cleaned out last week.”


“We have a tight schedule this week with registration and all.  Classes start Monday.  You have the Faculty Senate to go to tomorrow, and we’ll have our first department meeting Thursday.  Do you have any questions Dr. Barcardi?”

“Yes, I have one or two.”

“OK, go ahead.”

“Why is the tenure track so short. I know some places where it's five years"

“It was the policy when I came to Lulane, but as I understand it, the three year track is to allow the administration to recruit and keep the best.”

“Where will my classes be taught?”

“Most of the classes in our department are taught in this building, either on this floor or the first floor.”

“And Dr. Winston, you're sure she won’t mind my staying with her for a few days?”

“No.  She’s glad to do it.  She should be out front now.  She offered to show you around campus.  Let me see.”  He picked up the phone and dial. “Miss Jones is Dr. Winston out there? No she answered. 

“Dr. Winston called and said she would be late because her book signing has been delayed this morning. “ Pam said.

“Is there any thing else you need to know Nelson.”

“I can’t think of anything right now.”

“Well good.  And welcome to Lulane University.  For any office supplies or if you have any question I can’t answer just ask Miss Jones.”  Dr. Goodwell stood and extended his hand.

“OK Dr. Goodwell, I can find my way out.  Thank you for you time.”  Nelson went back to the reception area and found Pam standing at her desk waiting for him.

Pam was on the phone talking to Dr. Winston,  and when she hung up the phone, she looked at Nelson saying, “Dr. Winston is coming, but she asked me to show you around until until she gets back on campus.
“Dr. Barcardi, are you ready for me to show you around?”  Pam smiled and moved toward the door,  still smiling.

“All right.  Where are we going first?”  He asked and smiled back.  Nelson hadn’t smiled in a long time, and the thought of this young black woman showing him around made him feel good. 

“We can just take a walk to the library and that will give you a good look at everything,” Pam said as she opened the door.  “People have been talking about you when the word got around that you had applied for a position at Lulane.”

“Hum. Oh yeah.  Good are bad?"  Nelson asked as they walked side by side as they up the stairs to the library.

“They were all good things,” she said as she looked at him. Her warm smile was contagious, changing Nelson's usual stoic features.

“I never heard of you until some of the faculty members were talking about what a great editor they thought you were.”

“Well that is all in the past and now I’am here to live the quite life.”

“I hope you don't mean to be too quiet. We have a lot of great people in the department. But, we could use a few bright lights. This is the Science Building,” Pam said sounding like a tour guide.  “You know, we have two Noble Prize winners who work in there.”

Nelson was silent as she continued to talk.

“Over there is the Gymnasium.  Lulane made it to the conference playoffs last year.”  As they walked around the campus Nelson noticed that the few people who were on campus seemed to stare at them as they approached.  “Over there are the men's and women's dormitories, and that tall dorm is coed.”

“How long have you been working here?”  Nelson asked Pam.

Pam looked at him, “I’ve been here going on eight years.  That’s a long time ain’t it?”

“Not really.  Not if you like what you are doing.  But how did a nice girl like you get in a place like this?”

“I’am lucky I guess,” she said as the smile on here face turned to a concerned look.  “I first came here on a job training program when I finished high school.  I took two years of secretarial training and they gave me a position as a clerk typist in the Biology Department and when this position came open I applied for it and been here ever since.”

“So you’ve been in the department for about five years?"

“Or a little longer.”

“Where do you live?”

“I live with my mother and my sister in West Roxbury.”

“I’ve heard of Roxbury but I don’t know where it is.”

“And you don’t want to know.”

“Why is that?”

“Take my word for it, you don’t want to know anything about Roxbury,” she stopped and pointed. “Over there is the new library under construction.  It will hold over fifty thousands volumes and that's the end of your guided campus tour. " Pam explined.

"Hope you enjoyed it,” she said, laughing. "Now, we can get back, Dr. Winston should be there by now."

On the way back they laughed at each other’s jokes and acted as if they were long time friends.  People continued to look hard at them as they walked together, and they joked about that.  When they reached the office they where still laughing and joking.  When Nelson opened the door for Pam and they walked into the reception area a tall, slender very attractive blond woman in her mid-thirties was standing in the center of the reception area talking with Dr. Goodwell. 

Pam immediately stopped talking and hurried to her desk under a hard stare from the well dressed blond.

“Dr. Barcardi, this is Dr. Sylvia Winston.  The faculty member I was telling you about,” Dr. Goodwell announced.

"We've been waiting for for you."

Chapter 7 

“Thank you again, Dr. Winston, for putting me up until I find a place.”          

“Don’t mention it.  And please, just call me Sylvia.”

“Well thank you Sylvia,” Nelson said as he sat in the passenger’s seat of her green 93 Jaguar coupe headed north on Mass. Ave. toward the Cambridge suburb.  “Also, let me congratulate you for your book being on the best sellers list.  I think that is exceptional.”

 “Thank you, I appreciated that,” Sylvia responded, looking briefly at Nelson with a smile, as she drove.  “So who is Nelson Barcardi?  Tell me something about yourself.  What have you been doing since you left The Informer?"  

 "Well it’s not much to tell . . . not much you all ready don’t know.  I’m not married, never has been.  I love teaching when there’s nothing exciting to do.  And that’s about it. “ He replied. For the last six months since I left The Informer,  I’ve been working on the appeal from the liable suit against me.”

“How is that going?”

“It going.  All the paper work has been filed and the attorneys are working on the briefs.  I think if case law is applied, as I understand it,  I can’t lose.  But I thought that I would win before the jury trial.”

Sylvia turned off Mass. Ave. and continued to a posh residential area.  The Jaguar took a few turns and then came to a large house with a  big steel gated fence.  Sylvia reached for a remote control device and clicked it.  The big steel gate opened.  As  the Jaguar drive through the gate, it closed behind us.

“What do you think about Lulane so far?”

“I think I well like it.” He said.

“Good.  I hope so, we need good professors.”  She then parked the car in front of this big two-story mansion with seven pillars across a wide porch.  “Here we are.  I’m having the guesthouse cleaned, but for now you can stay in one the extra bedrooms in the main house.  Do you need me to help you with your bags?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.  You have done too much all ready.  Sylvia you are being more than nice.”
            “Think nothing of it,” she said as she walked to the front door to open it.  “You sure you don’t need any help?”

“Thank you.  I can make it.”

Nelson entered a small vestibule of the house that opened on an oversize living area with fourteen foot ceilings, apricot walls with gloss white trim and all white furniture placed carefully on a forest green, deep plush carpet. Sylvia stepped behind and whet to a gleaming mahogany bar and began fixing drinks.  

“Can I get you a drink?”  Sylvia asked as Nelson stood with his bags on the carpet, looking around the room.  “You can just leave your things there and I’ll show you to your room later.”

“This is a very nice place, very well done.”

“Thank you.  To me it’s just home.” Sylvia said.

“You have some home here.  Do you live here alone?”

“Yes, for now . . . but I’m always looking for the right man to share this with,” she said looking at Nelson.  “What can I get for you Nelson?”

“I'll have a Scotch on the rocks,” he said as he joined her at the bar.

“I think we can handle that,” she said as she opened a bottle of Johnny Walker Black, poured it over a glass of ice and handed it to him  “Here's to you, Nelson Barcardi, and may you have a good tenure at Lulane.”

“I’ll buy that,” he said and touched his glass to hers and took a long sip of his drink. “Haaa, the first drink always goes down hard.  Do you mind if I smoke?”

“No, go ahead.  Do you want another Scotch?”

“Sure do.”  Nelson lit a cigarette, drained his drink as he sat on one of the three bar stools.  “How long have you been at Lulane?”

“This makes my sixth year,” she answered as she poured him another drink.

Sylvia came around from behind the bar, sat down on a stool between them and turned to face him.  As she crossed her long shapely legs her dress rose to a very high level up her thighs.  He tried not to notice but this beautiful sight got his attention.

“Nelson tell me more about yourself.  I heard so much about you,  yet, you say there’s not much to know.  You ran one of the most influential weekly newspapers in this country.  I know there’s something to tell about that.  You are a good looking single man, and surely there’s a story behind that.”

“Well, some say I took a rag and turned it into a respected medium, but I say I turned The National Informer into a social cause and then lost my war for justice.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I took that paper and turned it into an advocate of social justice, and the social injustice that I was able to destroy for others with the paper,  ended up doing me in and I couldn’t use the paper to save myself,” he answered as he sipped his drink. “That’s the paradox!”

“Couldn’t you go to another paper and do the same thing?”

“Yeah, I guess I could, but you reach and level of ultimate frustration when you work to make things better for people and the people your help the most don’t have the conscience to know that you are even doing them.  Of course I got the satisfaction of sending a corrupt politician to prison and exposing some of these sick institutions, but it's better to have the people you are really working for,  appreciate what you are doing.”

Sylvia sat quietly as she listened to him.  It had been often said that Nelson talked too much after a couple of drinks.

“What has happened to the paper since you left?”

“They are doing better than ever.  I taught several people there how to write and edit, so they're handle the paper very well.  They are really better off now that I’m gone . . . I accumulated too much unwanted baggage in the seven years I was there.  Too many important people hated me.  Too many people wanted to see me destroyed.  Either I wrote something about them or their family, friends or all the above.”

“I didn’t know things were that bad.” He said with remorse.

“Things were bad all right,” Nelson said as he poured another drink from the Scotch bottle Sylvia had left on the bar.  “Yeah, there are a lot of people who wanted to see me get it, and cheered  Pacific International for winning a liable suit against me.”

“You talk like your past experiences have turned you bitter,” Sylvia said in a soft voice as she moved to the bar stool next very close to Nelson.  “Are you in Boston so you can just forget about the past and develop a new life here at Lulane?”

“That's about right,” he said as he felt her soft breast gently brush his shoulder as she reached for her glass she left on the bar.  “I, I think you or right.  But I’ve had too much to drink and I’m going to need to get my things unpacked and get some early rest if I’m going to be fit for my first day on the job.  It’s a delight to talk to you Sylvia.” He said knowing she more than flirting with him. 

“You never did say why you are still single,” she said as placed a hand on his arm.  “What’s your problem?”

“No problem with me. It just that no woman can put up with me for over two days.  And I’m really not the marrying kind.  At least not now.”  Nelson slid off the stool.  “Could you point me to the guest room and I'll get my things unpacked”

“OK, if you are tired,” she said.  “Follow me, it’s right down this hall.”

He picked up some of his luggage and followed her to a room larger than his whole apartment in Benson Hurst.  It had its own bath, two king size beds and plenty of closet space.

“Thank you,” he said after he entered the room.  “I think this is big enough.”

Sylvia laughed and said as she nothing left, “I going to call out for some Chinese food, you want some?”

“I’m fine for now, but you enjoy yourself, and I'll see you in the morning

Chapter 8

Nelson sat quietly in the passenger’s seat as the green Jaguar speed down Mass. Ave. back to Boston. Sylvia drove much too fast for him but he dared not complain since she had been nice enough to let him stay at her home and chauffeuring him to work.

As the morning sun came through the front window, Nelson turned away from the glare briefly only to notice that Sylvia had the skirt to her gray silk suite way above her knees. The sunrays bounced off her long legs. She had a beautiful set of legs and was not bashful about showing them to him.

“She’s showing her legs again. I bet that’s how she catches all her men with those big pretty legs,” Nelson thought while looking at her legs from a side-glance. “She’s hot . . . I can tell and she really is an attractive woman. Not too big in the breast, and a firm body. All I have to do is say yes and we're in bed. But, damn it, women like Sylvia are bad news because they always think they are worth more than you can give them.”

“Why so quiet this morning Nelson?”

“I’m just thinking.”

“What you thinking about?”
“I’m just day dreaming.”

“What about?” she asked in a harmless way.

He was silent but said to himself, “Does she think I’ll just tell her what’s on my mind?”

“You seem concerned about something, everything will be alright,” she said as she patted him on the leg with a gesture of concern. “Just leave everything up to me.”

“Thank you Sylvia, you’ve done enough. You’ve been too nice.”

“I want to do more.”

Nelson looked at her with discontentment in his eyes.

“Sylvia, you really don’t have to do all this.”

“But, I want to.”

Nelson was concerned about Sylvia's over-protection. He had seen it in too many women, and it always spelled trouble.

"Do you think I'll be accepted by the other faculty members? You know it have a while since I was in the classroom."

“Yes, it will be all right.”

“What is the Faculty Senate all about?” Nelson asked as they walked to Women’s Building.

“It like a union for faculty members at universities that don’t have an organized union. But our Faculty Senate is much more. It’s the heart of the university. Even the president is a member.”

“Will he be there for the opening?”

“Who? Dr. Lancaster? He’s never there for the opening of the Senate. If he’s in town, he may come around for an evening session.”

When they got to the Women’s Building, there was this slightly over weight, middle-aged woman with streaks of gray running through her jet-black hair.

“Nelson Barcardi, meet Gloria Hendricks. Gloria is a full, tenured professor in the History Department, and she is the chairman of the Tenure Board,” Sylvia said looking at her friend. She then turned to Nelson and said.

“Gloria this is Nelson Barcardi, he’s the newest faculty member in the Communication’s Department. We’ll be working together.”

“It’s my honor to meet you Dr. Barcardi. I’ve heard so much about you. We are fortunate to have you at Lulane,” Gloria said.

“I’m glad to be here.”

“Let’s hurry before we are late for the opening of the Senate,” Sylvia said as they walked across campus to the Administration Building.

Faculty members were filing into the amphitheater that was used for the meeting of the Faculty Senate. The amphitheater also doubled as a classroom and held a capacity of 250. Lulane University faculty members took up nearly all the seats. They found three seats together and Nelson found himself setting between Sylvia and Gloria.

After a few minutes most of the faculty had found seats and a women walked to the small platform that sat in the center of the horseshoe design seating. Nelson and the two women sat at the end of one leg of the horseshoe looking seating directly across the podium at the other leg.

“Good morning! ” the woman announced from the platform. “Good morning faculty members! Welcome to the 1993-94 opening session of the Faculty Senate at Lulane University.”

The large group became quiet and listened to the speaker. As she talked, Nelson became aware of his discomfort at sitting between these two women. He began to fidget.

“Fall registration is up, our pay is up, and we have a new library under construction. When you look at the future of our great university, the future looks bright. But there are very few bright futures with out some tragedies in the past. And certainly Lulane has had its tragedies, but none will equal what happened in this very place last year. As we all know and lament, we lost five members of the Lulane family to one of our sick family members.

Five of the nine faculty members are back on the job and the other four are still under the doctor. Before we get into the opening session of our senate, I would like everyone to pause for a minute of silence in memory of our fallen colleagues. Let’s have a moment of silence.”

“I don’t think it was that much of a tragedy. The only tragedy was that too many bullets went into the wall,” Gloria said in a whisper to Sylvia as she stretched her head past Nelson to talk. “There are too many that pretend to be scholars at Lulane, and poor old Dr. Baker missed them, but thank God he shot himself.”
Sylvia snickered in a low tone as a quizzical look came across Nelson’s face.

“Look who’s coming in! Look, Gloria, over there. Mrs. Tacky Dresser herself. Will you look at that ugly dress with those loud colored flowers. That’s just a disgrace to look and dress ugly,” Sylvia said leaning forward to look at Gloria. Good thing she was on sabbatical this time last year, because I’m sure old Dr. Baker would have had the decency to put her out of her misery.”

Both women laughed as they looked at the woman who was coming through the door.

Nelson was amazed that two seemingly, intelligent, professional women would be carrying on this conversation. He focused his attention on the woman on the platform, who by now had started back speaking.

“Next, Dr. White will give us a report on promotions and tenure for the last academic year,” she announced as a man with a clipboard of papers replaced her and stood before the Faculty Senate to speak.

As he spoke, Sylvia and Gloria continued to mock their colleagues. Nelson sat in amazement and then Gloria said, “Now here comes Dr. Liquor Bottle himself. He looked up and saw his friend Horace come and take a seat directly on the other side. After a few minutes Nelson tied to catch Horace’s eye but he never looked in his direction.

“I bet he’s heavy headed now, drunk. He never comes to the Faculty Senate sober,” Sylvia said while Nelson continued to get Horace's attention. “Dr. Horace King is a disgrace to this university, and it’s certainly a disgrace that he is the president of the Faculty Senate.”

“The only reason the administration puts up with him is because of Affirmative Action. He’s one of our token blacks and it's heard to get a token these days,” Gloria said and they both laughed. “Token blacks don’t need tenure at Lulane all they need is Affirmative Action.”

“Excuse me ladies, I think I see an old class mate. Let me go speak to him,” Nelson said, stood up and moved between the seats past Sylvia across to the other side of the amphitheater where Horace was sitting. He recognized Nelson as he approached and the two briefly embraced and he sat down next to Horace, directly in view of Sylvia and Gloria.

The speaker was making his final remarks, and then the woman introduced the next speaker. “Next, the chief of security will come forth and tell us the new security measures that will be put in place to prevent another tragedy like what happened last year.”

Nelson and Horace were oblivious to what the speaker was saying; they were engrossed in a conversation about old times.

“Oh, my good Nelson, it’s been a long time! How have you been, man you, you look good. Hot damn, I heard you got the position. But, I didn’t now how to contact you. Man, you haven’t changed a bit. You look just like you did over fifteen years ago when we were at Brinkley,” Horace said as they talked as if nothing else was going on around them. “When did you get here?”
“I got here yesterday.”

“Oh yeah . . . have you had a tour of the campus?”

“Yeah, some what. But I got a lot to learn.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll show you the ropes. By the way, where are you staying?”
“For now, with one of the professors in the department.”


“Dr. Winston,” Nelson said and then looked over to where Sylvia and Gloria were sitting. Both of them had their eyes on him. “Do you know Dr. Sylvia Winston?”

“Yeah, I know of her. Everybody knows of her. She got a book on the bestseller list.” Now both Nelson and Horace were looking in the direction of Sylvia and Gloria. “That’s her over there with Dr. Hendricks. Those two are as tight as a virgin.”

“Yeah, they seem to be.”

“Sylvia, do you think he is telling Horace what we said?”

“I don’t think Nelson is not the type to do that, but I don’t care, it’s true.”

“I think you have a thing for Dr. Barcardi. Confess Sylvia, what did you do with that man in your house last night? Did you seduce him or did he seduce you. I know seduction was on the menu.”

“I’m sorry professor, your conclusion doesn't follow from the facts. Fact one, Nelson is a nice person. Fact two, he’s been in Boston only two days. And fact three, I don’t know what he thinks about me,” she said smiling at Nelson. “Our relationship for now is purely professional. And I like it that way.”

Nelson and Horace continued to talk about old times and looking periodically at Sylvia and Gloria.

“How long you plan to stay with Dr. Winston. It looks like a good arrangement for now.”

“Looks are often misleading. I need to find my on place as soon a possible. I don’t think I could stay over there a week.”

“Nelson, it will take over a week to get a fine woman like that in bed. I don’t know how long it will take you to get some of her book royalties.”

“I’m not into that type of thing. I wouldn't have a woman because of what she has. She’ll always use it to try to control,” he smiling at Sylvia. “Furthermore, I’m not up for a relationship with a woman now anyway. I need to find a place so I can be by myself. I need time to reflect on the past seven years.”

“You look the same but you are not the same. The Nelson I knew back at Brinkley would have a woman like Dr. Winston eating out of his hand and enjoying it.”

“Things change Horace . . . people change, and I have certainly changed in fifteen years.”
The speaker finished his report, and the final speaker was introduced.

“After the charge from the president to the Faculty Senate, we will break for lunch and be back here at two-thirty. So at this time, I will call on Dr. Horace King; Horace was the only black faculty member a Lulane; President of the Faculty Senate to give us our charge for the 1993-94 academic year,” the woman said, waiting on Horace to come to the platform.

“Horace, she’s waiting on you.”

“Oh shit! I’m so caught up with seeing you again, giving the charge slipped my mind. Nelson, get with me before you leave and let’s make plans to go out for a drink this weekend, OK? Let me get up there,” Horace said to Nelson, then stood and walked to the platform.

Horace stood on the platform looking at Nelson. Then he began to speak.

“Fools, nitwits, enemies and friends: it is my disgust per usual to welcome you back to Lulane University. We stand at the threshold of knowledge; we are not simply the keepers of knowledge but the dispensers of knowledge, as such, we should endeavor to be more approachable and less arrogant, we must have scholarship and less quackery, and more concern for others and less envy among ourselves.

As we morn the tragedy that took place here last year, we must learn from it, and should ask ourselves what could we have done to prevent it,” Horace went on.... “This is an institution of learning, and more than any thing we should learn from what happened, but we won't. Hopefully, our action will change and this august university will never have to experience tragedy again, but it will.”

Nelson got very amused and amazed at the way Horace was talking to his colleagues. So much so, that he had to leave the amphitheater to compose himself. He was still chuckling when he got out side. As he walked towards the Communication’s Building, still amused, he noticed the person walking a few yards ahead of him. Unmistakable, it was Pam he knew that body anywhere. He walked faster to catch up to her.

“Slow down Pam, you are walking too fast.” asked slowing up. “Did you get settled in with Dr. Winston?”
“Something like that. But I’ll be looking for my own place next week,” he said catching up. “Where are you on your way to?”

“I just left the Administration’s Building and now I’m on my way to the personnel office to pick up the faculty contracts.”

“Is mine in the bunch?”


“I’d like to see it before I go to lunch. Do you mind if I walk with you?”
“Not at all.”

It took several minutes for them to walk over to the personnel office and back to the Communication’s Building. But before they could reach the building Nelson could see that Sylvia and Gloria were waiting for him in front of her car.

“Here he comes Sylvia. It looks like the secretary is beating you time,” Gloria said with a grin on her face. “You better move quickly or he’ll be gone.”

“I’m not worried about that.”

Nelson and Pam reach the building. Pam went inside and he walked over to the Jaguar.

“We were just wondering where you went,” Sylvia said. “We were on our way to lunch, you want to go? It’s on me.”

“Sure, why not.”

All three got into the car and drove off.

Chapter 9

Nelson sat quietly as Sylvia drove to her house in Cambridge.  The first week at Lulane had gone well.  Sylvia had been an angel.  She had done everything a woman could possibly do to get his affections.  She had been heaven sent when it came to showing him around Boston.  She was making plans for him to stay in her guesthouse, and even offered him the brand new Ferrari that her publisher had given her when her book hit the bestsellers list. 

All of this made it more difficult to tell her that he wouldn’t need the guesthouse after all.  With the help of Horace, he had found an apartment in Boston.  The last thing he wanted to do was to hurt the feelings of a person who had been so nice to him.

“Why are you so quite Nelson?”  She asked, looking at him with a smile.  “You want to go out to dinner and celebrate completing your first week of work at Lulane?  I know this little Italian place that has the best pasta in the state.  I’m treating.”

“Sylvia, I don’t know how much more you can do for me.’  You’ve treated me so nice that you make me feel guilty.  I would love to go out for dinner, but I promised Horace that I would go out with him and have a few drinks and talk about old times at Barkley,” he said not, wanting to offend her. “Maybe we can do something tomorrow.”  

“Tomorrow is Saturday and I have to go to two book signings . . . maybe you can come with me.”

“I would feel out of place at your book signing.”

“How did you like your first week at Lulane?”

“Thanks to you, it went well,” he said trying to look as sincere as he could.  “Sylvia I don’t know how I can ever repay you for your kindness and friendship.

“I enjoy having you around.  I think I will just die when you find your own place.”  Now was a good opening to tell her about the apartment, he though. “I just won't worry about you leaving, I’ll just enjoy your company while you here.”

The Jaguar pulled up in front and they both got out and went into the house.  Sylvia went straight to the bar.

“You want me to fix you a drink?”

“No thank you, I’ll save my drinking until later.  If I start now, when Horace comes I’ll be too drunk to go,” he said as he followed her over to the bar.  “I’m going to take a little nap before I get dressed.  Horace is supposed to pick me up at nine.”

“Thank you again Sylvia,” he said and went to the guest room.

After his nap, Nelson was dressed and ready for a night on the town when he heard Horace beep the horn.

With his gray sports jacket draped over his left arm, Nelson made his way to the front door. Sylvia was on the porch opening the gate to let Horace in. As Nelson walked on the porch, the car pulled up and stopped.

“Well, I’m gone . . . don’t wait up,” he said to Sylvia as she looked into his eyes with a sadness that had him feeling guilty.

“Will you be all right?” Nelson asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“I’ll see you in the morning, then.”

Sylvia stood in front of her big house waving bye to the car as it moved around the drive and out of the gate.  She went back into the house leaving the gate open.

“I see that you and Dr. Winston are getting along pretty well.  Boy, with her looks and money, she’ll make any man a good catch.  Even you, Nelson.”

“She’s as sweet as she can be to me, but I didn’t come to Boston to marry Sylvia Winston.  I came to Boston to make a new start not start a family,” Nelson said as he looked straight ahead.  “I think her offer to let me stay there is more than I’m worth, but it’s not what I want.  I still want to look at that apartment complex you were telling me about the other day.”

“That’s no problem.  There are always vacancies because the cost is so steep, and it’s very exclusive,” Horace said and looked at him, but Nelson continued to look straight ahead.  “I think you will like this club I’m taking you to.”

“Oh yeah, what’s it called?”

“The Blue Note.  It’s a place where most of the black professional hang out.  It’s located in West Roxbury, a rough part of Boston, but the security help keep down the trouble,” Horace said. “Friday is all night Happy Hour.  All the drinks are two for one.  Everybody who is somebody will be here tonight.  The music is great, I think you’ll like it.”

Nelson sat quietly.  The car stopped in front of a large single story building that was surrounded by a huge parking lot filled with cars. People streaming from all directions ended up in a long line at the front entrance of The Blue Note.  They got out the car and took their place in the line.  Once they were in line, the line moved quickly and Nelson and Horace were inside surrounded by hundreds of people.  Horace was familiar with the club.  He zigzagged through the crowd as Nelson trailed in tow.  As soon as they were seated a waitress came and took their order.

“What can I get for you gentlemen?”

“What are you having, Nelson?  I’ll start with an appetizer of Jack Denials straight.”

“Give me scotch on ice.”

“Is that all?” The waitress asked.

“Yes, for right now,” Horace said.  “And let me underline the ‘right now.’

“You can help yourself to the free buffet,” the waitress added.

Horace went to the buffet line while Nelson stayed at the table.  The flashing lights were making him dizzy, the music was loud and bad, and the place was much too crowded.  As the light flicked faster and the music got louder, Nelson concerns were how would he get out of the place in case of a fire.  He could see no exit, only a crowded entrance.  He was the only white person in the place, except for a few young looking, white girls who stood out to him because they were with black men.

“You get the Scotch and your friend gets the Jack,” the waitress announced as she placed the four drinks on the table.

“That will be seven-fifty,” she said and Horace gave her a hundred and told her to keep the change. “Thank you sir, thank you very much.”

Horace left the table to go to the buffet line, as Nelson witched the partygoers.   Horace returned quickly.

"Want some of this?" he asked, placing the food in front of Nelson. "You need to put something on you stomach before you start drinking.”

“Too late, I’ve downed one of my drinks already.”

“How do you like this club?  It’s a jumping place.”

“Yeah, it's jumping all right.  I don’t see how they can get anybody else in here, but people are still coming through the door,” Nelson asked Horace, “How they do that?”

“How they do what?”

“How do they keep letting people in when there is no place to sit?”

“Money may man, they do it for money.  They are not about to turn anybody away.”

“Why is the music so loud?  You can barely hear yourself talk.”

“You don’t come here to talk Nelson, you come here to dance and have fun.”

“I thought all blacks had good rhythm.  These black are dancing worse than whites.  Blacks having rhythm must be a myth.”

“Blacks having rhythm is not a myth.  The average black can dance.  These are not your average blacks.  These blacks are what we call wanna-bes.  They are stiff on the dance floor and can’t cut loose because they want to be white.”

“You are kidding.”

“No I’m not.  The biggest problem with the black race in this country is that they measure their own standards for success by white standards, and not what’s good for them and their kind.”

“Why is that?” Nelson asked trying to talk above the music. “Why do professional blacks think that their success is linked to white people’s approval?”

“You tell me, you white”

Their conversation was interrupted by a disturbance that caused both men to look in the direction of the ruckus.  It was hard for them to see from the seats, but a very well dressed man with several gold chains around his neck had knocked another man down and stood over him with his shoe pressed on the man’s neck until the club’s bouncers came to hustle him off the floor and out of the club.

“What happened?” Horace asked a man who had just left the area of disturbance.  “What’s going on over there?”

“Neroy just downed a sucker who was bugging his lady.  You don’t mess with Neroy’s women. . . you don’t even ask them to dance.  That’s all the dude did was ask her to dance, and he had to pay the price for his ignorance,” the man said as he briefly paused at their table

“Who is Neroy?”  Nelson asked.

“Who knows?”

Neroy was the biggest criminal and drug dealer in Boston. He was over six feet tall, jet black, had a big scar on the forehead of his large baldhead, and hand muscles like a man who worked-out every day.  He controlled West Roxbury, and he and his lieutenant were sitting at a table not far from where they were sitting.  The lights flicked on and off so fast against the dark background that it was impossible for Nelson to see Neroy’s table where one his lieutenant was talking to Neroy.   


“Damn Neroy, you downed that sucker-ass nigger with one blow. “I told the nigger not to come over here asking her to dance.  If the nigger wanted to dance, he shouldda brought his own woman.  Don’t be tryin' to hit on my woman.  Ain’t that right, Pam.”

“That’s right Neroy but he didn’t mean no harm.”

“I didn’t mean no harm either.  I didn’t bring you here to be bugged by every goddamn nigger who wanna try and make a catch.”

Meanwhile, Nelson and Horace continued to drink, and Nelson continued to complain.

“This place gives me the willies.  I just can’t help but think what would happened if this place caught on fire with all these people in here.  I don’t see any way out.  We all will go up in a big barbecue.”

“You can’t think like that and enjoy yourself Nelson.  Chill out and relax.”  Nelson just shook his head.

The music got louder as the dance floor got more crowded.  The flicking lights didn’t seem to have an effect on anybody but Nelson as he casually looked towards Neroy's table and saw him talking to some woman.

“What are you looking at Pam?  You lost something over at that table?”  Neroy asked.  “You know them? I’ve caught you looking over there several times.”

“I thought I did.  It looks like that new professor that was hired in the department I work in.  But it couldn’t be him . . . he wouldn’t never come to a place like this.”

“What you mean, a place like this?”

“Well, he was a big time editor in New York, and I wouldn’t expect to see him here, but it looks just like him,” Pam said as she continued to look over at their table.  “The black man looks like Dr. King, a black faculty member at Lulane University.”

Pam had to be sure so she excused herself from the table to go to the ladies room.  As she walked passed the other tables, wearing a white mini dress that would make any boyfriend feel insecure, heads turned like being blown by a wind.  She made it a point to pass by Nelson's table and the closer she got, it became obvious that it was Nelson.  As she passed the table she slowed enough to make sure he saw her, and then she smiled at Nelson and continued to the ladies room.

“Was that Pamela Jones, the secretary in your department?”  Horace asked.  Nelson did not answer. His eyes, like the rest, followed her as she walked passed.  “Hey! Hey!  Nelson, wasn’t that Pam Jones who works in your department?”

“Oh what?”

“Wasn’t that Pamela Jones who works in your department?”

“Yeah . . . yeah . . . yeah, I think so.  It sure looked like her.  But what would she be doing in a place like this?”

“She’s black ain’t she?  This is a black club.”


Pam spent a few minutes in the ladies room before she came back out.  This time as she passed their table she stopped and made her presence known.        

“Dr. Barcardi I thought that was you.  What are you doing in here?”  Pam asked as she leaned over to talk above the loud music.  “How are you Dr. King?”

Nelson didn’t speak.  Pam was the last person he expected to see in his night on the town.  He was thrown for a loop by the fact that she was there, not to mention her exotic appearance.

“Dr. Barcardi!  Dr. Barcardi, you in there?  I asked, what are you doing in here?”

“I was thinking about asking you the same thing.” Nelson said.

“I come in here all the time with my boyfriend, Neroy.”   Nelson and Horace looked at each other very quickly. Horace turned to Pam and asked.

“Neroy, is your boyfriend?”

“Yeah, y’all know Neroy?”

“No, we just heard about him,” Horace said.

“Dr. Barcardi you still didn't tell me what you are doing in here.”

“It’s obvious . . . I’ll follow a friend anywhere.”

“So, Dr. King is showing you around the black community.”

“Something like that,”  Horace said.  “You better get back to your boyfriend, we heard about what happened to the last guy Neroy came into contact with over you.”

“He deserved it!” Pam said to Horace, and then turned back to Nelson.  “Dr. Barcardi how did your first week a Lulane go?”

“Just fine.”  He then asked.  “Can I buy you a drink?”

“No thank you, I’m with my friends . . . maybe another time,” Pam said to Nelson.  “I got to get back.  I'll see you Monday Dr. Barcardi.”

“You can just call me Nelson.”

“Man what you talking about, she's gone.”

Over at Neroy's table, he was sitting back taking the whole scene in.  When Pam got back, he went off.

“Bitch, you gone dis’ me like this!!”

“But he work. . .”

“I don’t give a fuck who he is. You with me and you better act like it!”  Neroy said and jerked her by the arm, pulling Pam down in the chair.  “Shut your damn mouth up.  I don’t won’t to here another word outta you.  You hear?”

Every eye in the place was on Neroy.

“What you mother fuckers looking at?”  He yelled and then everybody turned away.  “Don’t none of you mother fuckers in here be staring at me.”

Horace and Nelson stared at each other as Neroy stared at them.

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Horace suggested in a whisper.  “I don’t want any part of that Neroy.”

“Is he still looking over here?” Nelson asked.

“Yeah.  And he’s looking real mean.  We need to find another club."

"I'm right behind you," Nelson said.

Chapter 10        

The faculty lounge in the cafeteria rumbled with activity.  It had become a ritual at Lulane for the faculty members to meet for breakfast on the first day of classes.  Nelson and Sylvia sat at a small table drinking coffee and eating bagels.  He had chosen that morning to tell her he had good prospects for an apartment.  Horace had assured him of a place, and his only problem was how to tell Sylvia without hurting her feelings.

“Nelson, you are mighty quite this morning.  I thought for sure you would be quizzing me about how the first day of classes would be,” she said trying to get his attention out of what she thought was a day dream.

“Have you done a course outline or a syllabus for your classes.  By the way, what classes are you teaching?   I didn’t see your name in the course schedule, then I realized that you were hired after the fall classes were set.”

“I got media law is at 10:45 A.M. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  And composition on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 3:30 P.M.  Both classes are on the graduate level, and Dr. Goodwell didn’t burden me with but 6 hours.”

“How do you like it so far?”

“I like it just fine.”

“Well, that good . . . that calls for a celebrations.  Let me take you out to dinner tonight?”

“Oh, I'm sorry Sylvia, Horace is purpose to come by and take me to look at this apartment . . . “ it slipped out, and before he knew it he had told her of his plan to move. 

“Yeah,  I’m going with Horace to some apartments he knows about.  He said I could be in there by next week.”

“Are you leaving so soon?  I at least thought you would stay a little while since I went through all the trouble to get the guest house ready,” she said trying to make eye contact. 

“You could have told me you would be staying only a few days and I would have stopped the work on the guest house.”

“I just found out about the apartment last night.”

“What’s wrong with staying at the guest house?  Or is it me?”  Sylvia asked, her voice cracking slightly.  “It me, right?”

“No that not it.  I think you are a very beautiful and nice person.  I’m a lucky man to have such a wonderful person to want to put herself out for me,” he said in his most reassuring voice.

“There is no reason for me to not like you, as sweet as you have been to me.  I just need my own place . . . I can’t explain it.  I have this great need to be alone.”

There was a long silence between them.

“What about lunch?”

“That’s a bet.”

Nelson’s first class was two doors down from his office in room 204.  The classroom had five rows of seats with a small desk in front of each seat for the students to write on.  Each row had five seats.  In front of the first row of seats was a big wooden desk to the side of the desk was a wooden podium.  Behind the desk on the wall was a black board.  The opposite wall from the black board was lined with windows, each covered by a long blind.

It was 10:30 when Nelson entered the classroom.   Six students were all ready in the room.  Two were in a conversation and the other four just sat at their desks.  Nelson pulled the chair from behind the big desk and sat facing the class putting his papers in order.  One-by-one student’s trickled into the class. 

Nelson looked at his watch: it was 10:45.  He decided to wait an extra ten minutes before he started the class to give everyone an opportunity to come in.  There were one or two last stragglers and approximately 11 o’clock, he stood up, walked around and sat on the front of the desk.  The class was an array of different races. 

There were several Asians, blacks, Latinos and the rest whites.  The women out numbered the men by two to one.

“Good morning class, I’m Nelson Barcardi.  But you can call me Dr. Barcardi,” he said as a joke and got a few laughs.  “For those of you who may be in the wrong class, this is Advance Media Law.  The course number is 509 . . . check your registration to make sure you signed up for this class.  I’ll have an official roll Wednesday, but in the mean time I’d like to pass around this tablet for you to put your names and Social Security Numbers on it.   It will serve as our first day's roll."

“So you want forget, again my name is Nelson Barcardi, and this class is Advanced Media Law.”  Then he went to the black board and wrote his name and the name of the class.  “The book for this class is called Media and the Law by France Hillary. It's in the book store.”

“How much is it?”  A student asked.

“I think it’s thirty-one dollars.”

He walked from the black board and sat again on the edge of the desk.

“This class hopefully will give you some insight into how case law, not the First Amendment to the US. Constitution, lays out the safeguards for freedom of the press.  We will learn that state liable and slander laws have made freedom of the press not so absolute.  Freedom of the press doesn’t give you the right to destroy a person’s career; freedom of the press doesn’t give you the right to distort the facts to sell papers, and it doesn’t give you the right to not search for the truth in everything."

“We will study cases like 'Sullivan Vs.  The Times' and what that case means.  We will look at 'Garrison Vs.The State of Louisiana' and what it means as far as who is a public figure.  We’ll research what the Court means about malice, and how the plaintiff can prove malice.  Hopefully, this media law class will serve as a reminder that the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to yell fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire.  We’ll look at the basic difference between liable and slander.  And the legal distinction the Court makes.” 

Nelson stopped his lecturing for a moment and asked, “Are there any questions?"

There was no immediate response from the class, and then a hand was raised in the back of the room.  It was a white female student.

“OK, you got a question back there?”

“Are you the same Nelson Barcardi that was the editor of The National Informer?”

Nelson was silent for a moment, and answered, “Yes, that’s me.  Did you keep up with my case in the news last year?”

“Did I ever.  We were assigned to watch it every day on CNN for our reporting class.  The whole class felt that the jury was wrong.”

“Thank you.  I felt they were wrong too, that’s why I’m appealing,” he explained.  “Not so much for myself, but to protect the Forth Estate.  The freedom of the press is too important to let a jury decision like that stand.”

“Dr. Barcardi, how can you talk to us about liable suites when you have just been sued?  It seems a bit hypocritical on your part, doesn’t it?” Nelson was shocked at the question.  And he shot back at that student, both straight and hard.

“The jury decision against me was presumption not fact, and I think the appeal process will vindicate me from all liable charges.  Furthermore, it is my humble opinion that if you, my dear student, ever become a journalist and end up never being sued in your career, I would say you had a dull career!”

The class applauded and the student dropped her head.

“There will be three assignments that you are expected to complete.  First, there is a research paper on any topic you chose pertaining to media law.  Next, I want you to give an oral report on the research paper.   And third, I want you to read the book. Start with the first two chapters.  The next time we meet, I’ll have a course out line and we will discuss the first two chapters of the book.”

Nelson talked a little longer on the course content and what he expected from the class.  After he dismissed the class, he went straight to his office to read the first two chapters and create an outline for the class.

It was 1:30 before Nelson realized that he had worked through lunch.  He dropped everything and went to the main office.  He wanted to see if Sylvia was there.  He knew she would think ill of him if he missed their lunch engagement.

“Hey Pam... have you seem Dr. Winston?”

“She waited here for you over an hour,”  Pam answered.  “Then she left and said that she was going to meet Dr. Hendricks.”

“How long has she been gone?”

“About twenty minutes.”

“Did she say where she was going?”

“No, not to me.”

“I'll just be damned.  I know she thinks I’m an unthankful bastard.”


“Oh, nothing . . . I was just talking to myself.”

“Dr. Barcardi, I want to apologize for the other night.  Neroy didn’t mean nothing.  He just acts a little jealous when it comes to me.  I told him he don’t have to, but he just does.”

“Well, I hadn’t given it a second thought because I know you didn’t have anything to do with what happened Friday night.  You are the last person I would blame,”  he said as they made eye contact.  “To show I have no ill feelings, let me buy you lunch Pam.  Have you had lunch?”

“No, not yet.  I was waiting for Dr. Goodwell to get back from lunch.”

“Can’t you lock the office and we’ll walk over to the cafeteria for a quick bite.  Can you do that?”

“I guess so, I’ll tell Dr. Goodwell I was showing you around.  He won't mind that.”  

“OK, let’s go.  Lunch is on me

  They quickly walked to the cafeteria and went into the faculty lounge.

“I’m not suppose to eat in the faculty lounge,” Pam said.  “Its for faculty only.”

“Don’t worry, you are with me.  Nobody in here cares about that kind of thing.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.  If anybody says anything, you are just showing me around.”

They went through the line and carried their trays to a table.  Before they were seated, Nelson saw Sylvia and Gloria setting near by.

“I just be damn . . . there’s Dr. Winston over there,” he said.

They took the food off the trays, put it on the table, and Nelson took their trays to a rack. On his way back to, he stopped by Sylvia’s table.

“Sylvia I just missed you.  I got caught up working on a course outline and was late getting to the office.  So Pam and I decided to go to lunch together.

That's perfectly fine with me," Sylvia said with a grim face.

Nelson couldn't believe that Sylvia was upset.

 “Nelson Barcardi is a dirty no good . . . don’t let me say it.  I don’t want to have anything else to do with him.  He's not going to treat me like I’m some rag doll,” she said to Gloria.

Nelson could not eat.  He was concerned with what Sylvia was thinking about him.

“Is she mad at you?”  Pam asked after came back to their table.

“You could say that.  But she just doesn’t understand.”

“Does she like you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.  Does she want you for her man?”

“I guess so, but I’m not interested in any woman right now.”

“Here she comes,” Pam suddenly said.  “Dr. Barcardi, she coming over here.”

“Nelson, I’m leaving campus early, you will need to get you a ride,” Sylvia said with fire in her eyes, turned and quickly walked away.

Nelson just sat there, slack jawed.    

           What's next? 11, 12, 13, 14, 15