“Dr. Blake! Dr. Blake!”
Ben turned, distracted by the loud and persistent bid for his attention. Through the throng of students milling the hallway, he spied a head of brown hair ducking and weaving in his direction. He was unable to stifle the sigh that heaved through his chest. The term was over. His long-overdue sabbatical was about to begin. The only thing he had left to do was turn in final grades. The last thing he wanted was another drawn-out conversation with a student begging to make up for a bad grade.
When he turned back, Dr. Sanderson was smiling kindly at him. He was the only other professor in the OEC department who was under the age of eighty, although he was still a good forty years older than Ben.
“You do so keep them engaged in the subject, Blake,” Dr. Sanderson said, patting him gently on the shoulder. “We’ll miss you next year. Enjoy your sabbatical.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Ben replied, but the older man was already walking away, surrendering him to the demands of the students who were always clamoring for his attention.
It was unusual. Old Earth Cultures wasn’t considered a particularly sexy topic. Most students took the courses because the classes were considered easy, not interesting. The professors were all as old and dry as the topic, all, that is, except for Ben. He was not only young—far younger than any other professor on campus—he worked hard to bring his subject to life. Each term, he planned every week’s outfit in advance. He generally stuck with 20th and 21st century Old Earth. Even then, he had thus far never run out of ideas for something new. There were so many different cultures, so many different social strati, so many different professions, that he wondered if he would ever get through them all before he retired.
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