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He had tenure, but like all serious professors he was ruled by the “publish or perish” dictum of academic life
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  the summons | Автор: admin | 13-08-2010, 08:53
He had tenure, but like all serious professors he was ruled by the “publish or perish” dictum of academic life.


He sat at his desk and shoved papers out of the way.


The envelope was addressed to Professor N. Ray Atlee, University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia. The e’s and o’s were smudged together. A new ribbon had been needed for a decade. The Judge didn’t believe in zip codes either.


The N was for Nathan, after the general, but few people knew it. One of their uglier fights had been over the son’s decision to drop Nathan altogether and plow through life simply as Ray.


The Judge’s letters were always sent to the law school, never to his son’s apartment in downtown Charlottesville. The Judge liked titles and important addresses, and he wanted folks in Clanton, even the postal workers, to know that his son was a professor of law. It was unnecessary. Ray had been teaching (and writing) for thirteen years, and those who mattered in Ford County knew it.


He opened the envelope and unfolded a single sheet of paper. It too was grandly embossed with the Judge’s name and former title and address, again minus the zip code. The old man probably had an unlimited supply of the stationery.


It was addressed to both Ray and his younger brother, Forrest, the only two offspring of a bad marriage that had ended in 1969 with the death of their mother. As always, the message was brief:


Please make arrangements to appear in my study on Sunday, May 7, at 5 P.M., to discuss the administration of my estate.

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