The Old Dean, James G. Piatt
He gazed numbly at old tree limbs with withered leaves through iron bars covering his office window. Bars were symbols of his state of being, a lock in a link of chain wrapped around his mind. He pondered past decisions to elude another prison. He escaped from one intolerable cell only to find himself in one many times darker.
A small metal sign attached to his door denoted his esteemed position, Dean. His sterile cell was fitted with dirty, faded brown carpet and broken ivory Venetian blinds. He sat at a scarred metal desk and stared at dirty white walls soiled by time’s neglect. He was held prisoner to inane and mundane tasks and trivial goals. The gray evening turned ebony before his weary eyes. Black clouds covered the sky and his brain with a gloomy shroud of numbness. His only solace was an old ivory colored radio, softly playing Bach.
He had discovered that happiness and position were unrelated. Too many lives, as one once said, are lives of quiet desperation. Empty jobs and unfulfilled dreams are the outcome of deceitful and beguiling nightmares. Happy are they who, regardless of their position, enjoy the tasks set before them and look foreword each day to their work. Money, position, and status are false phantoms of reality.
He gazed upon the sunrise as he drove to work. Orange and pink clouds appeared, and a new day was born. Thoughts of better days passed briefly across his mind. He attempted to hold on to the image of hope. He knew the image would be driven away soon by a bully in a lofty position who demanded total subservience to accomplish his banal inanities.
His eyes gazed across the silent pastures in the distance. His mind sought to photograph the scene for future desperate hours in the market place of dull gray absurdity. The beautiful images always faded away during the pursuit of trivial tasks made large and ugly by an intolerant and despotic man.
His eyes stared at the dark road that took him home in the early hours of the morning. His mind strived to capture the essence of home and family as he tried to push the day of stressful and bitter work away from his conscious brain. Dark images of an arrogant bureaucratic and incompetent despot still clouded his mind with a gloomy dullness.
His mind thought toward tomorrow. His eyes struggled to capture the image of his ultimate escape. He hoped his mind would remember the image throughout his remaining days of meaningless tasks, boring work and the insane demands of a bureaucratic tormenter with a hollow soul.