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In 2003, Ryan Banks entered the University of the Plains, where he studied Sociology under a distinguished professor and decided to stay for a Master's degree. After completion of the degree, uncertain about pursuing his doctorate, he remained employed with the university in an administrative capacity. After a few years, he was permitted to teach undergraduate writing courses and in the ensuing decades rose to an administrative rank of Associate Provost for Programs and Special Initiatives. In 2023 he married a doctoral student named Harriet Lowe, and they lived together in subsidized university housing, serving as dorm parents for undergraduates for several years, until Harriet died suddenly of ovarian cancer at the age of 53. Ryan went to pieces, but the Provost office refused to let him go. Instead, he was promoted into positions with increasingly abstract titles until his absent-mindedness could no longer do any harm to the university structure. He was given an office on the fourth floor of a tower named for a long-dead professor of English literature. And he spent the final years of his life toiling on a book that was never published about 9/11. He died in 2075, leaving behind a modest legacy of programs that allowed students to study abroad in several countries, volunteer in local community organizations, and develop inter-institutional partnerships in the social sciences with a prestigious college in New England. He left his pension to the University of the Plains.


Elmo the Cat was hit by a car. He was such a sweet little guy too. I waited outside the house for my sister to get home and stared at the clouds from our porch. When she got there, she saw me sitting on the porch and said, "Oh no what happened?" And I told her.


Martha and Joseph Prendergast hosted the hospital fundraiser in their home, every year. One year, Dr. Wasserman showed up drunk with a much younger woman. Wasserman had come to New Rochelle to experiment with new cardiac techniques, said to prolong the lives of unfortunates with unexplained forms of heart disease. The younger woman, clearly also intoxicated and hanging on Wasserman's arm as if to remain tethered to the ground, nevertheless charmed the crowd. They looked, indeed, handsome in each other's company. When it came time for Wasserman to give remarks to the donors, all of whom seemed glad to have the excuse to stare at the pair, he was gracious and thanked the Prendergasts. "Without their support -- without Martha and Joseph, if I may -- not only would hte cardiac practice likely not be thriving," and he paused for effect,"but I believe that the hospital would be a second class operation across all of its floors." When everyone left for the evening, they sat on the couch, surrounded by the plates and glasses. "Did you think she was pretty?" Joseph asked. "Yes," Martha said. And they sat there, not worrying more about Dr. Wasserman, or the younger woman, or the money. They sat and waited, letting their thoughts drift.

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