Warning: Post-TSbBS. Also not-betaed. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
But as he loaded the last box into the trunk of the Volvo, he looked back.
Loads of literature had warned against just such an act (he could think of sixteen different texts from twelve separate cultures alone), but fortunately, he didn't turn into a pillar of salt, nor did he see the smoke entwined ruins of a city laid to waste by sin.
As always, the university managed to look deceptively normal with its neatly manicured shrubbery, the snoozing students on the quads, and the gurgling splash of the fountain (and yes, he even managed to keep from wincing, this time.) No one paid him the slightest bit of attention, neither to sneer nor to shake their heads in pity. Not that he wanted to be run out by an angry, pitchfork waving mob, no, but it seemed culturally improper, somehow, that he, an alleged sinner, would be allowed to leave the community without some last rite of banishment. So where was the tar-and-feather committee? The university had kicked up such a fuss after his press conference that it could have easily drowned out the coming of the four apocalyptic horsemen - hell, it could've easily drowned out the four elephants of doom plus the eighteen hippos of unpleasantness. Who knew that the aftermath of an apocalypse could come so quietly?
Instead of a jeering gauntlet of red pen wielding academics, what awaited him were boxes, more boxes, and enough papers to cover the loft three times over. Yes, his very own scarlet "A", typed out in double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman. Otherwise, the fallout had created little debris. Fourteen years of college had condensed down to two carloads of books, papers, magazines, a half-broken brew pot, and a twenty-odd collection of exceedingly ugly drinking mugs. There was probably some form of symbolism inherent there, he thought, something about measuring out his life in coffee spoons and Bullwinkle cups.
"Ready to blow this merry-go-round?" he asked. A warm pat on the shoulder was his answer. With one more semi-sacrilegious look back at the not-so-ruined-ruins of his past, he shrugged and grinned. In the end, it wasn't about the symbolism inherent in his quiet Armageddon. It wasn't about what would be left behind - what could be left behind, by the carload or otherwise. So let them tar and feather me... or not, he thought. And let me look back, just once, after all. But just once, and no more. For it wasn't what he was walking away from, after all ... but what he'd be walking away with that mattered. "Let's go, Jim."
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