The long night had ended. Alex smiled again as he looked at the announcement that Carl was retiring. At long last the man’s oppressive and downward spiral policies for the history department would be over.
Alex looked up at the knock on his door. Rebecca Pullman stood there with a grin on her face.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You pressured him to retire.”
“I didn’t do—”
“Okay, knock off the plausible deniability.”
“Let’s just leave it at him retiring. I think it will be good for him and for the department.”
“So are you going to run for chair?”
Alex blinked. “Me? I would make a horrible choice for chair. The admins would fire me in a heartbeat.”
“Well, maybe if you weren’t so intent on burning witches at the stake. . . .”
Alex shook his head. “That’s not it. It’s the constant grief I would give them over policies. I don’t give up, you know that.”
“I do. And you’re right. So what do you think about me running for chair?”
“Your position regarding witch burnings,” he smiled.
“I can’t argue with the fact that your student evaluations are higher than anyone else’s, and your classes are always full. Carl wouldn’t admit it, but your methodology works for a large number of students. But there are other considerations. You do have a large number of complaints against you from other faculty, especially from other departments.”
“Plebeians,” Alex dismissed.
“A few too many raids, right?”
“But I have built communities with other departments. Ted Bowers in physics loves me.”
“But the athletic department is tired of Pearl Harbor reenactments using water balloons dropped from drones over the school pool.”
“The point is that there is a line that goes too far. You could do a little more to make the life of the chair easier, you know.”
“That doesn’t sound any fun at all.”
“Better than someone behaving like Carl.”
“Fair point. Listen, I’ll try and moderate some of what I do, but I put the students first.”
“And as long as you do that, I’ll have your back.”
“Then you’ve got my vote.” He stuck out his hand.
They shook on it.