Protocol Six: Episode Four

Protocol Six: Episode Four
by Alan Augustson
20 February 2017

David mustered one more shake-and-smile. “Hello again, sir. Thanks for your insights earlier.”

If he had hoped to disarm Frontrow with that, he was quickly disappointed. “Oh, anytime,” he beamed, very self-satisfied. “I take it you’ve applied for a position here? How do you like your chances?”

“No worse than anyone else’s,” smiled David, choosing the diplomatic answer, even while calling himself a chicken-shit for not handing him his ass.

“You do know this institution subscribes almost religiously to such as Milton Friedman? What parts of his work, and his colleagues’, do you think you can overturn?”

David was getting tired and sensed a loss of composure in the mail. But he wasn’t completely out of ammunition, either. “I find no fault with Professor Friedman. Only that too many people accept his as the best of all possible worlds. I don’t think he really meant to condemn humanity. He and I see the same forces at work, and we’re on more-or-less the same page as to the direction those forces are pushing us. There’s not much short of a revolution that’ll change the course. But, revolutions do happen, even apart from the bloody kind.”

He felt a hand on his shoulder from behind, and the other men’s eyebrows raised so sharply that they nearly had hairlines again. Coming about, there was Punk Chick with a smile.

“Hey!” she exclaimed. “I was looking everywhere for you. I liked the presentation.”

David decided to play along; suspecting she knew he needed a rescue but not knowing why she’d care. “You found me, and thanks,” he grinned.

“David, who’s your friend?” Ellis was either taken in or playing along. Didn’t really matter which.

“Lorelei,” she offered quickly, saving David from having to drag it out of her. With a playful grin, she offered a hand to the Dean, limp-wristed as if she expected him to kiss it. “Enchante.”

Ellis diverted her into a proper handshake, but with a warm smile. Frontrow, apparently hoping for his own shot, was completely ignored and had to develop a sudden fascination with the state of his fingernails.

Ellis fought a snicker at the crash-and-burn, and smiled wryly at the two. “Well, David, it appears you have plans. I’m going to get a fourth whiskey and rejoice that I live within walking distance. Very nice to meet you, Lorelei.”

She took her charge’s elbow and gently whisked him away. “Don’t panic,” she said. “Michael sent me to pick you up. Although I confess it was fun watching you squirm. He’s about to go on; thought you’d like a lift to the theater.”

David chuckled. “Ah. Wow. For a second I thought I was gonna be the guest of honor at a Molotov Cocktail party. But honestly, I’m not sure I feel up to going out. It’s been a hard day– well, several hard days.”

“He thought you might say that. And I have orders to handcuff and abduct you if necessary.” Lorelei faced him, grinning, “Wanna test me?”

“Do you think you can?” offered David playfully, in response to which Lorelei produced a pair of regulation cuffs, dangled from her index finger. She smirked triumphantly, and the tip of her tongue just touched her upper lip.

“No further questions, Your Honor,” he said, genuinely impressed. “Lead on.”

Lorelei giggled, and twirled the cuffs around her finger as she strutted ahead.

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