Thanks to the vast resources of his family Dr. Ernst Walderseeberger was able to flounder around in the water of academia for over two decades. It wasn’t until he reached his mid-forties that he was able to pull himself out of the morass of career stagnation and find himself a place in the spotlight on the prestigious stage of academics.
Unfortunately, this more distinguished era of Ernst’s career was to be far shorter than his quest for glory had been. He stood tall on a wobbling pedestal of esteem believing with a religious zeal he would never topple off into that eternal abyss where obsolete modes of thinking are discarded to be forever forgotten along with the people who propagated them. The influential and now aged patrons the doctor owed his career to were also collectively standing on the edge of their graves, and as they fell, they were pulling an era into the cold ground after them.
Ernst was a robust man. He stood over six feet tall, and his bare shaped body pushed his clothes to the very limit of the fabrics endurance. His bulbous head was bald, and his upper lip was covered with a shaggy grey mustache that left him vaguely resembling a walrus.
He strutted through the hallway with a croissant in his hand. Whenever he took a bite of the pastry golden brown flakes would shower down from his mouth onto the floor.
He greeted his underlings politely and they made reciprocated with proper deference. He saw a young woman waiting outside his office door. Ernst finished the last bite of his croissant and brushed the crumbs off his hand.
“Can I help you, young lady?” He asked somewhat out of breath.
She gave an elated smile. “Doctor Walderseeberger my name’s Victoria Balmoral.”
Ernst lowered his voice “Well it’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said before kissing the lady’s hand.
“I’m studying political science at the university,” she explained, “and I just wanted to say after attending your lecture last week I’m beginning to understand how illustrious France could so tragically denigrate into the chaos of republicanism.”
“Ah, yes you see as descendants of Gauls the Frenchman's eyes tend to be closer together making them more suited for predatory behavior,” Ernst explained.
“Exactly!” Victoria beamed. “That’s how they ended up with such a radical parliament. There are too many foxes in the hen house!”
“Exactly right my dear,” Ernst agreed.
“I have always been interested in researching politics through different theoretical frameworks,” said Victoria. “It amazes me how something as simple as physiology could alter the destiny of an entire people.”
“Ah, well if that interests you then perhaps we can discuss these ideas further. Maybe over dinner?” suggested Ernst.
Victoria seemed surprised. “That sounds lovely,” she said after a moment. “Oh forgive me, but I really must be going.” she blurted. “ I have a lecture to attend this afternoon. Good day professor.”
She hastily took her leave. “Where can I find you later?” Ernst asked.
“I know where your office is,” she called back
Ernst licked his lips as he watched Victoria walk away.
Frederick, the Doctor’s University, appointed secretary greeted Ernst as he walked into the office.
“Good day Doctor Walderseeberger,” he chirped.
“Glorious day today isn’t it Frederick?” Ernst said boisterously.
“It certainly is Doctor,” concurred Frederick. “Doctor Walderseeberger the univer-
“Oh, before I forget,” Ernst interrupted. “A colleague of mine said I could use his box at the theatre tonight but unfortunately Elizabeth, and I can't attend. Would you like to go instead?”
“That’s very generous of you!” Fredrick said gratefully.
“Yes, yes,” Ernst said dismissively.”Maybe you can take that girl you’ve been seeing. What was her name again?”
“Victoria, she studies political science at the university,” said Frederick.
Ernst squinted his eyes, “Oh,” he said nonchalantly.
“Doctor I was going to tell you Chancellor Goldblatt is waiting in your office,” said Frederick.
Ernst paused, “Do you know why?” he asked in a whisper.
Frederick shook his head. Ernst rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. “Alright then wish me luck.”
Leon Goldblatt had been president of the university for just under a year. He was the first Jewish leader of a university in the history of the country. Which depending on how one looked at it was either an honor or a death sentence. As the university's star phrenologist Ernst and the Chancellor didn’t always see eye to eye.
Goldblatt wasn’t physically imposing. He was short, somewhat paunchy and wore large glasses that exasperated his beady eyes, but he still carried himself with confidence. Despite the abuse heaped on him by reactionary elements in the press and the mountain of death threats Goldblatt made it clear no only would he not step down he was more than willing to face his enemies challenges undaunted.
He was looking out the office window shrouded in the brilliant rays of the spring sun. “Chancellor Goldblatt,” Ernst greeted as he shut the door behind him.
“Doctor Walderseeberger,” Goldblatt said with a formal tone.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” Ernst asked.
The Chancellor stepped away from the window and clasped his hands behind his back. “Well, Doctor I will be blunt with you. The board and I have some serious concerns about the quality of your curriculum.”
“What about my curriculum?” Ernst asked with mild irritation.
Goldblatt took a paper off the desk. “This for example,” he said holding up the paper. He pushed his glasses up before he read the title. “Blunted horns, understanding the topography of the Semitic scalp.”
Ernst was quiet. “Well, I suppose it has a ring to it,” Goldblatt said as he dropped it into the wastebasket.
“I do apologize if the material offends you Chancellor but phrenology is my field of expertise, and with all due respect I’m obliged to lecture on the scientific findings as they are.”
Goldblatt stepped up to the gigantic professor and looked him dead in the eye. “Doctor Walderseeberger science is the search for universal truth. It is not an ideological whore for you to pimp out to the highest bidder!” he said sharply.
“I’m afraid it’s time we go our separate ways.”
“You’re dismissing me?” Ernst gasped.
“Doctor me and my family were forced to flee across the continent because of poison like this and I will not accept it being taught in the university while I am in charge.”
“Well isn’t this just typical?” hiss Ernst. “I always knew the universities were under attack by the Zionist element!” Ernst thundered.
The chancellor was unmoved. “Please vacate the premises by the of the day,” he said without a hint of emotion. He turned his back to the disgraced professor and walked out of the office. Ernst lumbered after him.
“That’s fine! Banish me from this intellectual garbage heap! I’ll be just fine!” He roared. “Remember good sir; the truth is irrepressible! One day I’ll go down in history as the man who put down the whole Zionist conspiracy! Also, you have the lower jaw of a serial rapist!”
Frederick rushed to his former master’s side. “I’m terribly sorry Doctor is there anything I can do for you?”
“Shut up Frederick,” Ernst barked. “You and your whore can forget about the damn theater!”
Glory is fleeting. Ernst Walderseeberger had stumbled into it after years of clawing in the dark, but all too soon his time had passed, and he could do nothing but fade into eternal obscurity as the world left him behind for good.