“Evie”, Dr Hillier said confidently, skilfully masking his ignorance towards the identity of the girl sat in his office, “I am grateful you have chosen to write on a subject close to my heart” he proceeded to lie.
Hillier had read several dissertations on this subject in the past two years alone. His mind had become bloated with regurgitated theories on how the roots of the famous statement could be traced to the cold war paranoia of the 1950’s. Most of these dissertations took the same angle, and Hillier expected little else from this one.
“I think I’ve chosen a subject that will give me some leeway to cover a number of themes” asserted Evie, catching Hillier off guard with her sudden enthusiasm. He only wished that it could be reciprocated.
“Well, there is plenty to go at with that title” he replied. Dr Hillier had become used to communicating in platitudes with his students. There were a collection of stock responses that could be applied to almost any one on one situation such as this. Hillier scrolled through the pages, ignoring the content, although feigning an air of concentration. He noted that Evie had pasted in a photograph of Tom Hayden, half way through page four. Hayden, the celebrated creator of the Port Huron statement was stood at a lecturn, delivering a polemical speech, presumably to a gathering of students and activists. The photograph, which due to a trick of light had given Hayden an ethereal halo, stirred something within Hillier, who was reminded of his sexual awakening in the late 1960’s.
“Have you ever been involved in any non-violent direct action Evie?”,quizzed the plotting academic.
“No Dr Hillier”, she responded, “The closest i’ve ever been to anything like that is the opening of the New Years sales at Primark”. Evie thought that Dr Hillier seemed rather flat, sat alone in his colourless office, and that a little joke might brighten up his day. She felt intrigued but mildly tired by this ageing man who had stood up and talked at her for a few hours a week over the past two years.
Dr Hillier barely acknowledged the wisecrack, although his head throbbed with a myriad of thoughts triggered by the comment. Fucking Primark. Who does she think she is? Mentioning the non-acceptable face of modern consumerism in response to a question about civil disobedience. I’ll give her fucking Primark, the mindless little tart, he raged.
“Well, I really think that if you are going to succeed with this important piece of work, it would be really good for you to get involved with something similar. It would really give your work a fresh perspective if you can link it into the methods of protest used by action groups today. I can guarantee if you could somehow introduce a documentary angle to the piece you ought to score highly”
“And don’t forget”, continued Hillier, his plan festering, “This is a piece of work that constitutes almost 30% of your final grade...If you go that extra mile to make it stand out you could come out with a first class degree”.
Whilst saying this, Hillier had been checking Evie Baird’s previous module grades on his pupil tracker. Typically average he thought to himself. Another burden on the tax payer, winging through higher education because her parent’s would be disappointed if she didn’t, but with no real contribution to make to academia. She will probably end up in a bookshop, or administrating for a charity he ruminated internally.
“Oh really?” replied Evie, her voice going up phonetically at the end of the question, in the manner so often used by middle class students, that Hillier had grown to despise;
“Yes”, Hillier responded, “So, I propose you get involved with something, albeit on a one off basis, just for research purposes”
“Well”, continued Evie, “My parents are very keen for me to do well, particularly as my older brother graduated with a first two years ago...I’m not sure what I would like to do after, but I understand that with a good degree I will have a host of choices”
She seems a sensible girl, thought Hillier. It’s a shame for her that she landed me as her tutor. Given the right sort of nurture she could go much further. Her grades left a little to be desired, but a shove in the right direction and he could have a diamond on his hands. He felt that he was coming towards the end of his time at the University and that this might be a good opportunity to truly give something of himself back to the student body.
“No doubt Evie, I’m sure they can see the potential in you like the rest of us...Now, I’ve had a quick look through what you have written so far and you are going down the right lines. You just need to bring it to life a bit...”
Hillier clicked on the browser on his desktop and selected a website from his favourites list. Freedom Resistance were a local collective of assorted ex-hippies, squatters and rave casualties. Their reputation in anarchist circles had been secured due to a number of heated clashes with authority in the early 90’s.
He had detected an eagerness to please in the mannerisms of his new charge. That combined with his own growing loneliness and lack of satisfaction with life in general had sharpened his mind to the opportunity that had presented itself to him. In a moment of clarity he resolved to ring everything he could out of the situation. From the corner of his eye he noted a handful of crows flitting about threateningly on a grass verge outside the office.
”Are you aware of an organisation called Freedom Resistance?” quizzed Hillier;
“No, I’m not” replied Evie, somewhat over-confidently;
Hillier considered that the plan he was incubating may not be as easy to execute as he hoped;
“Well, like the students of Kent State in the sixties, these folks are all about direct action…they protest regularly on a variety of issues from animal rights to the arms trade”
…keep it general he though to himself, no need to delve into anything detailed. Hillier was fully aware that core members of the collective were scrutinised closely by the secret services, but any hint of real danger might alarm the unsuspecting undergraduate….
“They are organising a demonstration in 3 weeks by the looks of this. A march against Islamaphobia. It would be an interesting experience for you I think. You could also incorporate a brief account of the event into your dissertation. I can assure you that particularly good scores are given to dissertation pieces that can somehow bring together ideas from the past with evidence of their legacy in the present”
Hillier felt he had laid suitable bait, and that it was only a matter of time before temptation on the part of his prey took hold.
The persuasion of his authority had worked wonders. Now he had the perfect opportunity with which to seal the retirement package of his own making. He would of course willingly accept the sizeable pension and endless offerings of unneccessesary token gifts.
But this Evie had arrived at the right time. He would ensure that this chance to strike one back against the opposite sex would not be missed.
Evie Baird was lucky in a way Hillier proposed to himself. Not only would he see her through to the intellectual scrapyard of post-graduate life with a decent final grade, but she would experience the heady, hypnotic prowess of a Hillier seduction.
“So, Tuesday 15th April?” Evie interrupted, un-knowingly;
“Yes”, replied Hillier, masking his own internal dialogues expertly, “Meet me at 9.30am, by the war memorial on Chasegate”
“OK, and you are sure this will be of benefit to me?” purred Evie, demurely “After all, I have a lot of work on with other modules and generally I am very busy at the moment”
“Of course” said Hillier, “Stick with me and you will do fine” he assured her emptily, both of them concurring to a liaison that was pregnant with malignant possibility.
Higher Education (2)
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