Sample 2: Simon meets Shannon
Meet Simon Magister
February 14. 2005
Simon Magister sat in a pint-sized office lined with bookshelves
stuffed with the classics of Romantic literature — Coleridge,
Goethe, Yeats, and, most notably, the late, great C. S. Lewis. A
clunky computer monitor dominated
and an overstuffed chair was crammed
between the cabinets where a visiting guest could sit. Visiting hours
were until noon, and, just now, a
hesitant knock came
at his door.
come right in," he said and swiveled his office chair around as
the door opened.
Macy, one of his brightest students, stood at the threshold. She wore
a Scottish plaid skirt and looked like a clerk for a federal judge,
with reddish tinted hair cut short and parted on the side. High
cheekbones gave her face a classic look. Marcie was the epitome of a
literature major at Bethlehem College.
Magister, do you have time? I need to talk to you." The usually
buoyant Marcie seemed downcast.
everything all right, Marcie?" Simon pulled out a board with
rounded corners from a bookshelf that served as a mini table. "I
just boiled some water. Do you want a cup of tea?"
up in the hinterlands of northern
Minnesota, he was a folksy-looking man, contrasted with a
suave sports jacket with leather patched elbows.
thank you, sir, I can't stay long." Then Marcie plopped down on
the cushy armchair. She looked as if she were about to cry.
Simon interrupted with a brighter note, "Marcie, I just finished
reading your latest essay. Very interesting. I liked it." From
his files, he pulled out her essay. On a scratch pad, Simon drew two
circles, slightly overlapping. “One circle represents Romanticism
and the other esoteric teachings.”
mean the Occult, Professor?” asked Marcie.
the two words mean hidden.” He then shaded the
with a colored pencil. "Do you see the convergence here? It's
like the Twilight Zone, where the visible and
nodded nervously and tried to change the subject. She hid her
fidgeting fingers behind a cushion.
gently persisted, "As Christians, you and I stand firmly in the
Romantic tradition and reject the Occult. But how does one deal with
the overlap? Let me read the introductory paragraph to your fine
If Romanticism and Occultism are two separate
entities, who was
William Blake: a Christian poet or an Occultist? Is there an
intersection? This paper will focus on what the two have in common.
Both see the universe saturated with impulses of intuitive feeling
and subjectivity. Both scorn notions of a cold, well-ordered world,
mechanically ruled by impersonal, objective reason. I contend that
conservative Christian scholarship finds this crossover embarrassing,
too close to the 'devil's playing field.' While there for all to see,
they sweep this complexity under the rug and pretend it doesn't
glad you like my essay, but..." Marcie's eyes flushed with
tears, "On page five, the part where it tells how Romanticism
and Occultism are two sides of the same coin..."
Simon handed a box of Kleenex to Marcie, who was now whimpering.
"Take it easy and tell me what's wrong."
blew her nose and dried her tears. "Thank you. The truth is
someone else wrote that part.” Marcie again started to cry. "I've
copied and pasted that in there. I know it was wrong, and I feel so
ashamed. I'm a plagiarist.”
leafed through the essay and found the transgression. Because he had
been so taken in by her themes, he had overlooked what was apparent.
She was one of his best students, and he chastised himself for
letting this discrepancy slip by. This was not
writing, and her paste-in was sloppy. It was his job to spot these
things, and he had failed.
looked at her with a stern eye. "Marcie, I need not tell you
that Bethlehem College has a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism.
Some who have been caught have been expelled from our school. I can't
deny that you disappoint me. With all your literary gifts, this is so
unlike you. Why?"
was under so much pressure... It was 3 AM..." She paused.
"Forget the excuses; I did wrong and can do no other than
confess and hope you show me mercy."
at me," said Simon, as she lifted her weary head. He peered
directly into her eyes with concern.
sniffled. "My pastor and parents, my entire home church, look up
to me. They all think I'm going to Oxford, and I want that too. I've
let everybody down and am so ashamed."
a teacher, Simon had dealt with all forms of cheating, and Marcie was
wise by turning herself in. Those who get caught
severely punished. By confessing preemptively, she had placed herself
on a path to redemption.
said in a stern voice. "Even if I overlooked this deviation,
others will also be reading this paper. Someone could easily spot the
plagiarism, issue a complaint, and turn you over to a disciplinary
board where I have no say. They would pass judgment, and anything
Professor Humphrey sees this, he'll spot my plagiarism immediately.
He always reads my papers, looking for mistakes, and could abort my
entrance to Oxford with one stroke of his pen."
had been outspoken about her Oxford dreams, and department head Niles
Humphrey, a former Oxford don, was watching her closely. He had been
critical of her work in the past, and his quibbling eye was known to
hung her head in disgrace. "So what's going to happen to me,
reached over with her paper in his hand. "Here, take it, Marcie.
Make the necessary corrections and deliver it back to me by ten
tomorrow morning sharp. I have yet to pass it around, so no one else
needs to know."
anguish transformed into beams of joy. "Oh, thank you, Professor
Magister. You are so generous. Thank you."
reached across the desk and poured her tea as Marcie sighed with
glad to hear that's all cleared up, and you are on your way to
Oxford,” he said with a wink. “I'm sure you have learned your
lesson. Would you like to hear a story from my own studies at Oxford? ”
yes, Professor Magister, please. You are always entertaining.”
a grad student, I spent a few months at Oxford researching C. S.
Lewis's romantic writings. Back then, a younger Niles Humphrey was
still there as a tutor. You well know who Owen Barfield is?"
course. He's mentioned in Surprised by Joy."
Why he was one of Lewis' closest friends and a frequent Inkling—but
somewhat of an embarrassment in evangelical scholarship because of
his esoteric connections."
Inkling? Of course, I know about that.
But why is it that
nobody at this school ever talks about him? Professor Humphrey says
Barfield wasn't all that important, and he should know. As a young
student, he was one of Lewis's personal assistants and often sat in
on the Inklings when Barfield was attending. He said the two were
arguing all the time."
not all that important? In that autobiography you just mentioned,
Lewis called Barfield his second friend
wisest and best of my unofficial teachers."
must have missed that part."
to Lewis, a second friend is one who passionately
interests but has vastly different views. Thus, for example, Barfield
was also an ardent disciple of Rudolf Steiner, who was deeply
involved in the Occult. Did you know that?"
only heard that mentioned. Last semester, a student asked Professor
Humphrey about Steiner. He got flustered and changed the subject. I
guess that’s kind of touchy around here."
smiled. "Yes, and it fits right into the main theme of your
paper, and some find Occult themes threatening, so keep that in mind
as you clean up your moral lapse." "Yes, sir." Marcie
then whispered. “Young Niles Humphrey and Barfield didn’t like
each other much.”
You were telling me about your research at Oxford when we got
sidetracked. What happened next?"
yes, at the time, I was obsessed with Barfield and wanted to
penetrate his thoughts, hoping to uncover some hidden
Lewis's mind. So one weekend, without permission, I journeyed to
Belfast, where I searched for forgotten literary documents by tearing
up an older man’s attic, hoping to find a treasure that could
unlock the door. Ethan Dillon was kind enough to let me scavenge all
his dust-covered boxes. For two days, his grandchildren helped me
scour the attic and the bookshelves in the parlor."
you find anything?"
not. It was a wasted effort. The school found out and gave me ten
demerits. Barfield opened no windows to Lewis's soul. But every year,
more and more students are wont to try. I was young and foolish, and
only a few knew about my embarrassing effort. Kindly keep this to
lips are sealed," she said with a smile. "It's the least I
can do after showing me mercy. Again, thank you so much." She
paused to sip on her tea. "But if I had been you, an old man's
attic in Belfast would be the last place I would look."
see, back in 1975, someone discovered a never-before-seen
correspondence between Lewis and Barfield in this same attic. It
caused quite a stir at the time. But there was nothing more than the
usual banter between Lewis and Barfield, revealing nothing new. The
discovery was soon forgotten, but I fantasized about finding some new
revelation." Simon paused to think. "Ethan and his
grandchildren, whose names I forget, were very kind and helped me
and why do you suppose those letters got there in the first place?"
said that his father was once the gardener at the Lewis estate. He
must have put them there, but all who know the answer are now dead. I
hoped a new discovery might shed light on this case.”
was about to continue his story when there came a gentle knocking.
Through the door's frosted glass, one could see the colored
silhouette of someone wishing to enter.
visitors?" quipped Marcie.
another student," said Simon and added with a whisper. "Let's
hope this one only wants an extension on an essay." He looked at
his watch. "My visitation period ended a half-hour ago. When
will students learn to respect my time? This had better be
knocking continued, only louder, more desperate. The blurry face of a
woman was now visible.
winced, "Perhaps I should go. I've got lots of rewriting to do."
wait. Perhaps someone only wants to deliver a paper."
walked over to the door without opening it, saying, "I'm having
a conference with another student right now. Please come back
tomorrow? And please come before noon.”
shrill female voice cried out with a heavy Irish accent. "I'm
here to talk to Professor Simon Magister."
“Uff, who may that be?” Simon gingerly opened the door. At the
entrance stood a petite young woman in Gothic clothes. Her raven
jeans were with threaded holes, revealing dark tights, while, under a
jet-black studded jacket, she wore an ebony polo shirt stenciled with
a yellow Celtic cross dripping with blood. A silver piercing hung
from her brow, and a row of studs outlined the ridge of her left ear.
Simon hadn't seen a spectacle like this since his days back on the
Marcie flinched, “Professor, do you know this girl?"
Simon turned to the new visitor, "Can I help you?"
you remember me?" she asked.
stood up and faced the uninvited guest. "Why should he? You're
obviously not a student here."
Gothic girl snapped back, “Who cares what you think?"
hey.” Simon positioned himself in between the two young women.
“Let's keep it civil." Then, he turned to the Irish girl.
"Look, and whoever you are, these office hours are reserved for
pulled a calling card from his pocket. "If you are an aspiring
writer, I’ve stopped endorsing novels long ago. Here, take this and
write me an email. I promise to read it and reply. But I'm sorry,
you'll have to go now."
the young woman stood her ground and cried out with her defiant Irish
accent: "I am Shannon Dillon, granddaughter of the late Ethan
Dillon from Belfast, Northern Ireland."
Simon Meets Shannon
trembled. He gasped and pulled the young woman into his office,
scanning the hallways to make sure no one was watching.
said a startled Marcie. "Weren't we just talking about..."
that was something else. Marcie, perhaps you should come back
tomorrow. Let me deal with this."
his Belfast story to Marcie, Simon had skipped over how Tutor
Humphrey tried to get him expelled. Niles Humphrey was now his
department head, and the arrival of this Irish girl could rekindle
Humphrey’s ire. Why had he told Marcie about this foolish caper—and
at the worst time possible? Like a distant ghost, his forgotten past
had suddenly reappeared.
there some grandchildren..."
interrupted Simon, pointing to the papers in her hand. "You've
got work to do, and I need not say more. You should be in your dorm
right now?" What if Marcie tells others and Humphrey gets wind?
He tapped his forefinger on his lips without saying sh-sh, asking for
her silence. "Tomorrow, I'll talk with Professor Humphrey about
that recommendation letter to Oxford ."
Marcie paused and then whispered, "Okay, I get it." She
zipped her lips shut with her fingers and winked. “Just be careful,
stuck her head out the door until Marcie was out of sight. "I
guess we won't see that lass again today," she smiled. "What's
all the secrecy about?"
mind." Simon pulled his mysterious visitor back into his office
and closed the door with the occupied sign displayed. "In case
you don't know, this is a Christian college, and your language is
inappropriate." He turned on the radio so no one nearby could
grinned mischievously and plopped down in Simon's armchair with her
leather bookbag at her feet. "I think that Marcie-girl likes
blushed, "So you are someone I once met in Belfast long ago.
Were you the one with all the pesky questions?"
that was my little brother.”
it was. What was his name again?"
was long ago," said Simon, "and my memory is foggy. I
remember you being a child yourself."
you wish," said Shannon, "Robert was nine, but I was a
teenager, thirteen years old. So, that's how you remember me, a
scrawny little brat?"
not fair. I'm sorry, but you weren't a lasting memory. Recollections
are only now beginning to stir..."
I was too young to understand why you were there.
thought you were a Unionist spy."
in the Troubles, my father taught me that all Protestants were the
enemy. But not Grandpa Ethan; he liked you in that his father had
been a gardener at Little Lea when C. S. Lewis was a little boy."
Shannon's face grimaced in grief. "My grandfather and brother
Robert are dead now, both murdered. Did you know that?"
I did but only in passing. The Oxford
a short notice last
November about Ethan Dillon's tragic death. That's all I
I'm so sorry for your loss."
filled the room. Memories of Ethan and his grandchildren were coming
back as he had forgotten Shannon's help in the attic and joking
around with little Robert. Simon placed a comforting hand on
squirmed and pushed his hand away. The grief in her eyes was
overwhelming. "It was an American that killed them!"
sharpened scissors lay on a shelf near where Shannon sat. Simon took
hold of a large, nearby book and held it in a ready position, just in
knew your grandfather only from my short visit, and that's hardly
anything," he said, trying to be calm. "You all were very
kind, but to be honest, until you stood here before me just now, I
had forgotten about you completely. I'm sorry, but what else can I
What I want is your help."
least let me tell you my story. Please."
looked at his watch. "I'm due for a lunch appointment, so you've
got less than an hour." Perhaps this little lie would give her
time to speak and be gone.
Shannon picked up her backpack from the floor, loosened the leather
straps, and set it on her lap. "All my life, as a Catholic,"
she said slowly, "I've detested my family's association with the
protestant figure of C. S. Lewis. Why? Because I support the
Republican struggle for freedom. That may be unfair, but that was
reality. For the freedom-loving Catholics like my father, the Lewis
legacy was another symbol of the Royalist occupation of my homeland.
All this babble about a few musty pieces of paper in my grandfather's
attic was just more loyalist posturing."
why then are you here?"
were unlike other Protestants, filled with awe and wonder as to what
you might find. Grandfather saw you in the true
spirit of C.
S. Lewis and gave you full access to his treasured library. You were
meek and unassuming. Your enchantment spilled over on me, and I was
mesmerized." She blushed. "And with you…."
Shannon paused to wince as one about to cry. "All this sounds
unconnected, and you must think I'm unhinged."
leaned toward Shannon. "Nobody knows how those letters got
there. I tried once to uncover more, but, as you know, there was
nothing to be found. You are my witness. You haven't answered my
question; why are you here?"
must find out how and why those C. S. Lewis letters ended up in
said, no one knows, and those who knew have passed away. It was a
long time ago, Shannon; it's a mystery. Leave it at that."
not listening. I don't mean those letters found years ago. That all
happened before I was born."
what are you talking about?"
is a new document, which Robert and I discovered under the attic
floorboards last September, the night my grandfather and brother were
murdered. Burglars came to steal them, and things got out of hand.
And now I need your help.”
leaned in closer to Shannon. “New documents found in your
grandfather's attic? Are you kidding? After we tore the place apart?
This is news, indeed. Tell me more.”
e-er Professor, you're not listening. The man who pulled the trigger
is an American who might be in this area. I need your scholarly
expertise to help track him down and bring him to justice."
hunch is that your literary skills can lead me to the stolen
documents, which leads me to the killer.”
is a matter for the authorities. Contact the police as I can't
don't need the police. I am a trained militia fighter and
intend to kill the slayer myself." Shannon pointed her
forefinger at Simon's forehead, lifted her thumb, and made it come
down hard. “Pow.”
Simon's jaw dropped. "What in heaven's name are you talking
about? That's delusional."
sat back in the overstuffed chair. “Alright, perhaps I was a bit
“Please, let me start from the beginning.”
Shannon reached in her book bag and pulled out a newspaper. The
headline read: ELDERLY BELFAST MAN AND GRANDSON SHOT DEAD. "The
media suspected sectarian violence. But because of the Good Friday
Agreement in 1998, it didn't make sense. Also, Granddad was a
non-partisan; though he was Catholic, Protestants respected him. So
the police concluded that their deaths were from a robbery that got
out of hand, which is partially true."
"Mistaken identity, perhaps?"
"Hardly. When Grandfather foolishly pulled out a hidden gun, the
robbers panicked and shot first with a bullet to his head. He died
instantly. No doubt, they were there for the documents and, at first,
meant us no harm. But this was no mistaken identity."
"How could you possibly have known that an American shot them?
“His accent was a giveaway.”
Who told you that?”
“I was there and saw them killed with my own
eyes. I am the sole
told Simon how she and her brother accidentally uncovered the
documents, how her grandfather called the Oxford Scholar Group
and the mysterious men who came to steal them.
the attic floorboards," said Simon wistfully. "That's about
the only place we didn't look." He then
sorry, you lost family members. How unkind of me. The documents are
nothing. I'm sorry."
sniffled and rubbed her tear-less eyes. "It's okay. Thanks for
you must remember, finding new documents was my dream," said
Simon. "Beyond your personal tragedy, there's been a new
literary discovery. So what are you telling me? How come only you
seem to know?"
a few know, my family, the robbers, and a few at Queens College. But
nobody's talking; everything has gone underground. The perpetrators
must have mafia connections. The leader of this band, however, was an
American. It was he who pulled the trigger. I saw it myself and lie
not. They tried to kill me, too, but I escaped." Shannon sat up
and looked straight into Simon's eyes, telling him how she fled to
the basement and escaped. "I'm the lone witness, and for that,
my life is in danger. Besides the killers, no one knows who did this
but me, my father, and Uncle Conner. That is until today. Now you
didn't you go to the police with this?"
you kidding me? The Belfast Constabulary is mostly Unionist! They
used to search our car at night with guns and flashlights while
Robert and I huddled terrorized in the back seat. We were just kids,
must have been horrific. But still, you can live in the past — I'm
serious. Don't let enmity stand in the way of justice. Dear girl,
it's still not too late."
call me girl!" Shannon snapped.
There was a pause and then an opportunity.
I..." Simon began, "can I ask you about the folder you
any of these hidden letters written by C. S. Lewis?"
only got a glance, but Grandfather got a closer look, and he said,
distinctly, that they were from C. S. Lewis."
but he could have been wrong. In such matters, a full-fledged Lewis
scholar would only say that after much scrutiny and with consensus by
all I know. I wasn't present when Grandfather called the Oxford
Scholars at Queens
He must have said something to convince them of something important.
The big question is, who could have so quickly arranged for intruders
to come and steal the documents?"
not the Oxford scholars."
maybe not." added Shannon, "But, for sure, one of them was
a kind of double agent with contact with Ulster renegades?"
said he called Queen’s College, so they knew about the discovery
for sure. No one else knew. Everything happened in one day. Who else
could it be? "
sighed. "I know them to be good people and have worked with them
in the past. It's hard to believe."
only needs to be one traitor among them."
rubbed his chin. "But why?"
stuttered as if wanting to speak.
you have any more secrets?" asked Simon.
one more," she replied. "I didn't see the papers, but I
caught a glimpse of the outside cover, on which was a mystic-looking
How did it look?"
again reached into her bag and pulled out an old book, The
Rosicrucian Wizards. "This was Grandfather Ethan's copy."
She gave it to Simon while telling how she had stumbled on this text
as a child.
the cover, and you'll find a tinted picture beneath a sheet of wax
paper." Simon gasped as he stared at a dull green cross, laced
with stalks of pale red roses and, in the cross-section, a watchful
yellow eye beaming with ashen rays. Two coiled snakes at the base,
breathing a dull orange-like fire.
God," Simon gasped. He took the book and leafed through its
pages. "This is a rare book, indeed."
you familiar with this symbol?"
the so-called symbol of the Ipsissimus, the secret highest level
within the now-defunct Occultic Order of the Silver Dawn.
believe these legends go back to King Solomon himself, literally. The
symbol you showed me in the Silver Dawn was very influential, and
many believed it to have supernatural powers. I, for one, am looking
forward to reading this book. May I borrow it?"
yours to keep if you want it. But what does it all mean? I've never
heard of the Silver Dawn."
Silver Dawn was an obscure Rosicrucian order founded in 1892 by Colin
Baxter after getting kicked out of the better-known order called The
Golden Dawn." Simon paused and sighed. "It's too
complicated to explain now. Shannon, for me, a symbol like this shows
how Romanticism intersects with many Christian esoteric movements
like the Silver Dawn. Some of these guys were in and out of the
Inklings, and Lewis knew them well.
Rumors say that Charles
Williams was a secret member of the Silver Dawn. Personally, I don't
believe such gossip, but don't get me started about all the crazy
talk about this stuff. Why are you showing me this book and this
already told you, but you weren't listening. It was stenciled on the
folder we found in the attic.” Shannon took the book and held the
picture close to Simon's face. “This is the same emblem we found
under the floorboards. I saw it myself."
hands began to quiver as he took the book back into his hands. "Are
you knew about this book when I visited you in Belfast? Why didn't
you say something?"
didn't ask, so how could I know? You're the expert."
watched Simon wistfully page through the book.
tried to move her chair closer to Simon and then whispered, "Do
you know who Georgie Warner is, I mean, was?”
looked up, aghast, "What? Why do you ask?" He rolled his
office chair away from her as far as he could.
reached into her bag and pulled out some computer printouts from the
Milwaukee Journal. The headline and
emboldened text spoke of
the car accident that killed the Bethlehem student near Holy Hill.
and where is Holy Hill?” asked Shannon.
Hill is an area north of Milwaukee. It surrounds a religious shrine
by the same name. It's a beautiful wooded area and a popular tourist
back in Belfast, we were combing the internet, looking for clues. By
chance, my father stumbled on the bizarre C. S.
websites run by fundamentalist Christians. Perhaps they were the
robbers, though we have no proof. One hyper-link led to another and
seemed to connect all this Narnia-witch-talk to the death of Georgie
Warner. He was a student here at Bethlehem College, wasn't he,
yes, he was." Simon could see a conspiracy mind at work and did
not like how Shannon was leading the questions.
believe his death is somehow linked to the robbery at my
grandfather's place, which ended tragically. Like I said, your
scholarly expertise could lead me to my goal."
outrageous. According to the police report, it was an accident."
hit-and-run car accident," she added.
much media speculation, the police suddenly dropped the investigation
it was. Indeed, though the police never found the driver, the police
still see it as an accident.” He pointed to the
her hand. “It says so right there.”
think otherwise," she replied. "One thing I learned in life
is that zealotry has no boundaries. And you know more than you dare
"And who's 'we.'"
father, my Uncle Conner,” she paused, “and Patrick.”
my father's contact here in America. You'll be meeting him soon.”
what you think. Not me.”
continued, "By the way, want to know how I found out about you?”
browsing through the different pages on your school's website, my
eyes fell upon a certain name and picture of a teacher who once
ransacked my grandfather's attic. It was you. Everything’s
connected, and that's why I'm sitting in your office now."
I knew who Georgie Warner was, but so did everyone else on campus. He
was sort of an anti-celebrity, but I had never met him. I swear."
you know anything about how he died?"
Simon lied. “The police's investigation turned up nothing. It was
an event that shocked the entire school, but now everyone wants to
move on. It's all in the public record, and you can read it
yourself." Simon again pointed to the papers in her hand, hoping
his body language was in sync.
I know what it says, but from the look on your face, you must know
more. So what are you hiding from me?"
you calling me a liar? Listen, how does one empathize with the
traumatic events you’ve gone through? But all that you say sounds
like a conspiracy. I agree; there are people out there, extreme
fundamentalist zealots, who would stop at nothing to prove that C.S.
Lewis was an Occultist and a witch. They think he
demonically inspired when writing
his Narnia tales." Simon heaved a great
they are a tiny fringe, lunatics, idiots without distinction with
their tiny, delusional sects belching out conspiracies, right and
left. No one at this school pays them any mind, nor should they. Nor
should you. My God, why are we wasting time talking about them?"
Georgie believed them; it only takes one to set off a bomb. Are there
Christians who would kill for such a document, Simon?" she
asked. "That is if such a one existed."
get it, drum-beaters can provoke people to do dreadful things, and I
know a little about your conflicts back home. I’ve read about the
blood-vengeance-killings between rival gangs."
the mass shooting here in America?"
turned aside, "Point taken, but we’re talking about you and
I said, I suspect that Georgie Warner was murdered last year after
calling C. S. Lewis a witch. Perhaps someone killed him because he
knew too much..."
know where your fantastical ideas are coming from," he said.
"There's a whole subculture of fringe fundamentalist Christians
that believe that stuff, and you've been reading their websites. I've
read them too. A falsely perceived conspiracy has as much power as
one that is true. I have studied C. S. Lewis all my
and will never buy those lies. If these documents ever become public,
Lewis will be completely exonerated. Mark my words."
mansplaining from the professor," said
if you are wrong, and Lewis was a secret Occultist? Try to imagine
was not an Occultist, but if so..." Simon paused to choose his
words carefully, "then his entire image would be shattered for
thousands of Christians who feel his iconic eminence. For the secular
culture, C. S. Lewis would still be a great Romantic thinker, but for
Christians, his legacy would join the likes of Madame Blavatsky. My
career at this evangelical school will be in tatters."
you can agree that you have an investment preserving the status quo.
Well, I don't."
that's not going to happen. I assure you 100%.” Simon paused and
reviewed Shannon's outfit. “Shannon, not to change the subject, but
can I ask you a personal question.”
with the Gothic garb?”
in mourning,” she said. “Haven’t you ever worn black?”
your grandfather and brother or something else?"
you must know, I have yet to cry since my grandfather and brother’s
murder," she said. "Dressing like this is the only way I
can deal with it."
there was silence between them, and then Simon looked at his watch.
“Listen, I have already missed my lunch appointment. Let me call
you a cab.” He picked up the phone. “You do have a place to
friends are putting me up at some lady's place near Mitchell Park.
Did you think I wanted to sleep at your place? And I know you were
lying about that lunch appointment. But that's okay."
flustered Simon fumbled with the phone while calling a taxi. He then
walked the young woman to the campus edge, fearing that Marcie might
be spying on him.
climbed into the waiting cab and waved her cell phone at Simon.
"Thank you, I will call soon.”
looked closely at the screen. “Hey, that's my private telephone
you have a cell phone?”
and I don't intend to buy one. All my students have one. They're just
not so old. We meet again in a couple of days, then?”
no, we won't," Simon said. But the window between
had been rolled shut, and Shannon pretended not to hear.
she rolled it open a little again. "Oh, and Happy Valentine's
Day. I bet you forgot."
cab drove off and disappeared into the city traffic. Shannon was
gone, and Simon sighed with relief.
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