Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac
In the short time she had worked for Betsy, life for Charlie had been interesting. Still unable to get around with any kind of ease, Charlie was more than happy to sit behind the desk and take care of the hundreds of little things, that had been ignored by Betsy. She’d been stunned to discover that Betsy hadn’t even bothered to open a local bank account.
She had been shocked one day, to discover a past due statement buried with the stack of mail that had accumulated over a couple of weeks. She had scrambled for a few days putting the accounts in shape, so that the bills got paid on time, using local checks. She had gotten credit cards for use by the staff when charging for household items.
Just when it appeared that things were settling down, Betsy ran into the room and sat down on the stationary bike. The young woman had announced, “It’s time to get me enrolled in school.”
“Uh ... Okay,” Charlie replied.
“When will I be able to start?”
Charlie answered, “I have to find out the deadlines for applying, and arrange for all of the appropriate paperwork to get submitted. Then, if you are accepted, you’ll start at the beginning of the Fall or Spring semester.”
“Why can’t you just call up the president of the university and tell him I want to go to school there,” Betsy asked.
Charlie wasn’t entirely surprised by the question. Her discussions with the staff of the Carter Clan in Arizona had given her sufficient warning that family members tended to go directly to the point and not allow anything to get in their way. The challenge for the staff was to make sure that not very many things got in their way.
Charlie said, “Let me make some telephone calls, and get back to you.”
“Okay,” Betsy said, right before bolting out of the room.
Charlie went to the website and examined the web pages presenting the University’s application process. It looked like the earliest that Betsy could get into the school was nine months from now. A new term was about to start and it appeared that processing the application would take her into the next term.
She called the admissions office and got the generic answer that the application schedule was on the website and they couldn’t make exceptions for anyone. Of course, Charlie knew that organizations like that made exceptions on a regular basis. In the worst case, Betsy could show up at the president’s office, drop a ten million dollar check on his desk, and announce that she wanted to start school now, knowing full well that she would be able to do so.
Before going that route, she decided to call the department chair and find out if there were any ways to expedite the process. She knew that a little pressure from a Chair or a Dean could open doors. It took a little time for her to get past the department secretary and connected to the department chair, a man by the name of Professor Parrish.
Once she got him on the line, she said, “Hello, Professor Parrish. My name is Charlie Jones. I’m the secretary for Betsy Carter...”
He interrupted, “Betsy Carter? The Shark?”
“Uh ... I don’t know if she’s the shark,” Charlie replied.
“The Shark is a member of the Carter Clan,” he said.
“That’s Betsy,” Charlie said
“What can I do for her?” he asked excitedly.
Charlie said, “She wants to get doctorate at your university.”
“She wants to get her doctorate, here?”
There was a moment of silence and then he asked, “When is she hoping to start?”
“This coming semester,” Charlie answered bracing herself for a no.
“I didn’t notice an application from her,” Professor Parrish said.
Charlie said, “She hasn’t applied yet.”
“Oh. That’s a problem,” he said.
“I’m sure it is,” Charlie said.
“Let me make a couple of phone calls. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you,” Charlie said.
After hanging up, Charlie went back to the website, and started generating a checklist of what had to be done. From the student’s perspective it wasn’t that difficult to apply, although there were a few little things that had to be managed. There was a basic application form that had to be filled out. She’d have to arrange for transcripts from all of her previous schools to be sent to the university. Of course, she’d have to pay the application fee. Since money wasn’t an issue, she wouldn’t have to worry about any of the financial aid forms. Charlie had just finished generating the list when her phone rang.
She answered, “Carter residence. You’re speaking to Charlie Jones.”
“This Lou Parrish. We can conditionally admit Betsy as soon as she submits an application. We’ll convert her over to a regular student status, as soon as her application has been processed and accepted. There are no doubts that she’ll be accepted.”
“That’s good to hear,” Charlie said.
“If you submit the application online this afternoon, we can have her admitted by close of business,” he said.
“For the chance to have The Shark in our program, I’d move mountains. Every university in the world, if they study sharks, wants her. I’m not going to blow the chance to get her,” he said.
“I’ll get the application in,” Charlie said.
“Give me a call. I’ll make sure the folks over in the other office move on it,” he said.
“I’ll do that,” Charlie said.
“Great! I’ll clear out an office for her.”
“She’ll need an exercise bike, right?”
“Yes,” Charlie answered surprised by his knowledge of that little detail.
“No problem,” he said. “I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”
Charlie hung up the telephone, surprised by the conversation. She had gone into the process thinking that she’d have to twist some arms to get Betsy into the program. To find out that the university would move mountains based on Betsy’s reputation, was an interesting turn of events.
Betsy bounced into the room and asked, “Am I accepted yet?”
Charlie answered, “I just got off the phone with Professor Parrish...”
“You talked to Lou?”
“He’s a great guy. I had forgotten that he worked there. It’s going to be fun working with him again,” Betsy said brightly.
“You know him?”
“He visited our lab when I was working on my Masters.”
“Well, I’ve got to get your application filled out, and I’ll need some information from you,” Charlie said.
“Call up Mary Gold. She’s got copies of all my school stuff filed away somewhere. She can fill out the application for you,” Betsy said.
“I’ll do that,” Charlie said.
“I’ll be back in a bit to find out how things are going,” Betsy said while running out of the office.
“Someone needs to prescribe some sedatives for that girl,” Charlie muttered, but as soon as the words were out of her mouth, a cold chill ran down her spine. She shivered and looked around.
Charlie called Mary Gold and filled her in on the discussion with the university. Thirty minutes later, Mary Gold called back to let her know that the application had been submitted. Ten minutes later, the admissions office called to let her know that the application had been received, and that Betsy was admitted as a probationary student. Five minutes later, her phone rang again.
Picking up the phone, Charlie said, “Carter residence. This is Charlie Jones.”
Professor Parrish said, “Betsy has been accepted. The Provost is having a meet and greet for all of the new graduate students, tonight. Betsy is invited to attend.”
“I’ll let her know,” Charlie said. “I’m sure she would like to attend.”
“It starts at 7:00. I’ll send you an email with directions on where to go,” he said.
She had no sooner hung up when Betsy popped into the room and asked, “Is it done?”
“Yes. There’s a meet and greet with the Provost, tonight, at 7:00,” Charlie said.
“Do I have to go?”
“It would be a good idea,” Charlie said. “They went to a lot of trouble to get you into the program so quickly.”
Betsy wrinkled her face and said, “I hate cocktail parties. You’re supposed to stand there and chat about nothing, with people you don’t know or like. Have you ever seen me do that ‘stand there’ bit?”
“That could be a problem,” Charlie said.
Charlie said, “You should probably do it, anyway. You might want to stop and see Professor Parrish, to thank him for all of his help in getting you admitted.”
Provost Newcome, Dean Whitaker, and Professor Parrish were standing together in the club room, watching the handful of new doctoral students talking nervously with each other. It was kind of sad to watch. The students were all strangers to each other, and would probably remain that way for most of their time at the university. The conversations were stilted and awkward.
Provost Newcome asked, “Where’s your special student?”
“She’s not here, yet.”
“She is coming, isn’t she?”
“Yes. She stopped in my office earlier, and we chatted a bit about her research goals. She mentioned that she didn’t have an outfit appropriate for a cocktail party and had to swing by a store to pick up one,” Professor Parrish answered.
“I would hardly call this a cocktail party,” Dean Whitaker said.
“I explained to her that a pantsuit would be appropriate. She still had to swing by a store since all of her clothes were at home.”
The Provost said, “That exercise machine over in the corner kind of ruins the atmosphere.”
“I had it brought here,” Professor Parrish said sheepishly.
“For Ms. Carter to use while she’s here,” Professor Parrish answered a little uneasily. It was going to be very difficult to explain until after they had met her.
“What on earth for?”
“She’s a little energetic. You’ll see what I mean when she gets here.”
Provost Newcome said, “Talk about a little energetic. You’ll never believe what I saw when I was walking across the campus earlier.”
“I saw a young woman doing one handed cartwheels all of the way from the parking lot over to student center. She then did somersaults up the stairs. Can you believe that?”
“Yes,” Professor Parrish said. “I think I know that particular student.”
Betsy entered the room walking very stiffly. She was holding her face tight. Anyone who knew her, could tell that she was trying not to bounce around or run. Anyone who didn’t know her, would assume that she was performing a very poorly executed parody of Frankenstein’s monster.
Professor Parrish pointed to her and said, “There she is.”
“Is she okay?” the Dean asked.
“She’s okay. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.”
Betsy made it to where Professor Parrish was standing. In a tight, very controlled voice, she said, “Hello ... Professor ... Parrish.”
“I had them bring an exercise bike for you. It’s right over there in the corner,” Professor Parrish said.
Betsy jumped up in the air, landed, she picked him up, hugged him, kissed him on the cheeks, set him down, and then said, “Thank you!”
Before he had a chance to respond, she was running to the exercise bike.
Weakly he said, “You’re welcome.”
Very amused, the Dean said, “I’ve never been greeted by a student like that.”
“Neither have I,” the Provost said with a smile.
Professor Parrish said, “Let’s go over there, and I’ll introduce you.”
“We might as well,” the Provost said.
Once they reached the exercise bike, Professor Parrish said, “Betsy, I’d like you to meet Provost Newcome and Dean Whitaker.”
“Nice to meet you,” Betsy said.
“Gentleman, this is Betsy ‘The Shark’ Carter. As you are aware, she just joined our Marine Studies program as a doctoral student.”