Farnoll College Tales

Synopsis

Farnoll is a huge planet with beautiful scenery and warm weather. It is a popular vacation spot for the very wealthy, offering luxury hotels and casinos.

Farnoll College is an American institution that offers a work/study program. Students travel to Farnoll to work in the resorts, and they study for their college degrees in their spare time.

In 2114 the Farnoll College Dean of Admissions offered a $50,000 prize for the best story about a student's experiences before, during, and after his or her attendance at the college. The English Department selected ten finalists, and these are included for the contest's judges. The tales include stories of poverty, family and marriage troubles, prostitution, and bankruptcy. Some graduates enjoy success and others are burdened by their degrees. One man tells how he ran the College's interplanetary communications system while working on his degree.


Sample Pages

Roderick's Tale
In July of 2094, I received a notice from the College of William and Mary that my presence on campus would no longer be tolerated. The Registrar sent me a brief letter, with a copy to my father, reminding me of my failings in both my freshman and my sophomore years, in both my electives and my required courses.

This was no suspension for just a semester. There was no hope. It was very final.

That evening the dreaded message came from my father. I was to report to his home in Charlottesville , Virginia , within twenty-four hours.

"What have you been doing?" he thundered. "I have paid much, much more than I could afford for two years, and I have nothing to show for it! You have been booted out! This will be a stain on your record for the rest of your life!"

My stepmother quietly slipped away.

"Martha," he roared, "come back! I want you to hear every word that is said."

"Not now, Derwin," she said, poking her head back into the room. "This is between you and Roddy."

"Between me and Roddy, like hell! Your earnings went into this catastrophe, too. You haven't had a new car in six years, and you aren't likely to get one for another six. We signed these loan papers together, expecting to be repaid when Roderick entered a profession." He paced around like a hungry cat and wiped his forehead nearly every minute with a very wet handkerchief.

"I'm not much of a student," I sighed.

"Wine, women, and song!" Father cried. "That's the problem with you! I had to supervise you very strictly while you went to high school, but I never thought I would need to oversee your activities at college. I thought I was paying these deans to do that!"

He hesitated and finally asked, "Have you told your mother?"

"Not yet. Was waiting to see what you would advise," I admitted.

"Get to work!" he yelled. "That's my advice! Then, maybe you can find some college that will take you as an evening student. If you have any money left for your tuition after repaying your stepmother and me for the last two disastrous years!"

He took a couple of deep breaths. Finally, he glared at me and hissed, "Now, get out of here. I don't want to see you again until you have made something of yourself."

I walked out of the room and went to my bedroom. I packed the clothes that were still there and a few family photographs. As I went to the back door to go to my car, my stepmother said, "I'm so sorry, Roddy. He's just upset. Maybe he'll feel better tomorrow."

"He made his wishes rather plain," I said. "I'd better skedaddle."

"Here, take this," she said, pressing some folding money into my hand. "It's my rainy day fund."

I nodded, kissed her on the cheek, and walked out the door.

I sat in my car, trying to think what to do and where to go. I realized I needed to call my mother, and I dialed her number.

Mother's answering machine recognized my telephone and I heard her greeting for me. "Roddy, I'm in Paris this week with Jimmy. Just leave a message and I'll call you soon."

I tried to keep the tone light. "Mother, William and Mary have let me go, so I am between engagements. Resting, sort of. On the beach. I'll call you with my relocation news soon. Love, love, love."

I started the car and drove out of the driveway. I had no idea where I would go. All my worldly goods were stuffed into the car, so I knew I would have the right clothes for my next adventure.

Near the center of the town was a Motel 6. It had left its light on for me. "Welcome" flashed at me as I drove by, and I pulled into the parking lot.

"Just yourself?" the clerk asked. "Just for the one night?"

I took two suitcases into the room and hung up my clothes. I counted my money. I had $2,500 in my stepmother's rainy day fund, $156.03 in my checking account, $297.15 in available credit on my credit card, and $47.27 in my pocket. The Motel 6 wanted $26.95 per night.

I was hungry, and I walked next door to the Denny's for a BLT and fries. Of course, the B was tofu, but the sandwich was very filling and the waitress was friendly. I took a piece of apple pie to go.

On the way out of the restaurant, I checked the bulletin board for a vacant rental unit. People were selling purebred dogs and housecleaning services, but nobody had a room to rent.

One large poster on the bulletin board attracted my attention. It read, "Earn your college degree at Farnoll, no matter what your situation."


 
 
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