Saturday night, as international relations professor George Witter sat in his leather armchair sipping a 12 year old red wine and watched one of the first copies of his book about the anarchistic nature of the international system slowly be devoured by the flame in his fire place, he began to think about the insignificance of it all. “Ohh, whats the use?” exclaimed Witter dramatically as he threw the rest of the bottle into the fire place. The bottle shattered, and the flame intensified as the alcohol burned only long enough to brighten the side of his face as a single tear repelled down his cheek.
Watching the scene unfold from my perch I knew, as keeper of night and price of the shadows, that this man’s well-being was my responsibility. It was also the only potentially dangerous thing I had seen all night, being that DPS does a pretty good job of keeping the streets safe. As my smoke bomb created a cloud of deception I leapt from the roof I was on onto a slightly lower portion of the roof, then to a fire escape. As I entered Witters apartment through an unlocked window it became clear that Professor Witter was only endangering himself. My vigilante/ street reporter instincts took over and I began to talk him down by asking his story.
Pills in hand, the street light coming through the slats in his blinds illuminating his face, Witter looked up at me and said, “These kids… they respect me less than someone who makes a guest appearance on ‘Glee’ respects their career. They laugh at me. They call out to each other in the middle of lecture about who in class is hooking up that week, they play on their computers and iTablets or whatever…” I interrupted him, still standing with the window at my back creating a silhouette around me but masking any other defining features, and said, “Pretending like you don’t know what it’s called doesn’t make you sound above it, it makes you sound clueless and pathetic, no wonder they don’t respect you.” He looked at me surprised and hurt, he stuttered, “ohh umm ok, yea they play on their iPads. But they laugh at me, all the time, even when I try to depict the seriousness of the issues happening in the Middle East. That’s not the worst part though, they can laugh at me, the bad part is that I know I deserve it. I don’t deserve their respect that’s why they laugh, they can sense it.” As he fell back into the depression of his thoughts I quickly used the skills and reflexes I had honed in my self defense class this semester to knock the deadly pills out of his hand.
Proud of myself for completely fixing the situation I stood heroically, only the whites of my intense eyes visible to Witter. Apparently still depressed Witter kept talking, sobbing now, he said, “I thought this divorce would change things. I used to pour my derision onto anything the kids did, I’d expose every weakness, however carefully they were hidden by the kids. I only did it though to make up for the fact that they all knew when I got home at night my fat and psychopathic wife would thrash me within inches of my life. I needed to make a change, not just for me but for my students, but now I think maybe I made the wrong decision, I mean I know she hit me but she loved me.” As Witter looked up all he saw was a puff of smoke and realized he was alone. He looked down and said, “Maybe I really only deserve as much respect as Matt Bomer, John Stamos, Gwyneth Paltrow, or any of the other stars that made guest appearances on Glee.”
Proud of a civic duty well done I hung my vigilante costume and went out in my reporter clothes the next day. I stood outside Professor Witters class as it ended and asked the giggly group of students in the back what was so funny and why they didn’t respect their teacher. One of the students responded saying, “It’s not that he’s funny, the internet is, also I hear his wife beats him.” As they walked away I heard one of them say, “Man professor Witter is such a Matt Bomer post Glee appearance.”