I still don’t remember exactly how I made it back from the Tick-Tock to my tiny bunk in my shabby domitory room on the campus of Western Michigan University.
The last event I can recall clearly is admirably holding up my end of a Karaoke duet of Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light. The other half was sung by a redheaded spitfire who went by the name of “Sassy”, who though well into her seventies could still put many a woman in her sixties to shame.
As I said, how I got back remains a mystery, although the next morning Father Ã“ Fhlannchaidh, the Jesuit professor with whom I shared a bathroom, regarded me with new esteem.
“Boy-o, ye had a bit of it last night,” he said in his nearly unintelligible brogue, the veins in his nose throbbing in time to the pounding in my temples, “and ye have a voice on ye. That was as fine a version of Danny Boy as I’ve heard.”
I nodded my thanks to the old sot and headed out the door to drink as much of that terrible coffee as I could stomach.
It was Saturday, and the presentation of my paper, â€œCultural Semiotics, Semi(n)ology and Semiotics: scientia omnis aut est de signis aut de rebus significatis: Text, Textuality and Semiosisâ€, was scheduled for the first afternoon session, which meant that I would have the morning to recover.
In the cafeteria I was ambushed again by an excessively cheery Professor Sally from North Dakota. The woman must have her lair near the coffee urn.
“Good morning, Professor Korncrake. It’s nice to see you again.”
“It’s von Korncrake. As in Herr Professor Doktor von Korncrake.” My head hurt. It was all I could do to keep from dashing my coffee into this drab’s face.
But the woman was indominatable, her response was to laugh merrily.
“Well, Boethius, we won’t stand on formality. Just call me Sally.”
And so began another day in America.
Tomorrow, dear readers, I shall continue this story.