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June 30, 2019 @ 6:30 pm
After twenty years teaching in the frying pan of higher education, philosophy prof Xavier Mas Penoso (“Most Bashful”) leaps from the skillet, straight into the forest fire of his alma mater. Back in the 80s, Bellarmine Jesuit Preparatory School had taught him to analyze and synthesize in a school with little patience for slackers.
However, in the intervening thirty years, Bellarmine’s old school Jesuits have been supplanted by a new breed of media savvy priest, long on ambition, short on integrity. Style over substance has become standard operating procedure in a Viagratic bid to swell their coffers. Ever ready to sate the Jesuit appetite, status junky families fork over third world GDP’s to have their miscreants stalk off the assembly line, feral wolves in crested blue blazers.
When Xavier returns to teach philosophy to the senior class, he soon realizes the boys would rather have their colons cleansed by rabid ferrets than lead an examined life. Conventional teaching strategies and out-of-the-box approaches fail miserably.
Not a man to let shortcomings derail his vision of an iPad utopia, the principal, Father Suelto Gonzalez-Cañón, S.J. (Father Loose Cannon), leaves Xavier to fend for himself. As graduation approaches, Mas Penoso maintains the high standard he’d set from Day One, the seniors become increasingly belligerent, and the administration chooses to appease the students rather than support the teacher. In a school where volitional acts have no consequences, dispensing wisdom requires rocket-propelled grenades, a Kevlar helmet, and more holy water than The Exorcist.
About the Author:
Dr. Varela’s writing credits include Vortex to Virus, Myth to Meme: The Literary Evolution of Nihilism and Chaos in Modernism and Postmodernism, published in 2009 by VDM Verlag, as well as a number of book reviews for Bridges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Theology, Philosophy, History, and Science.
He received his doctoral degree in humanities from Florida State University in 2004. Dr. Varela lives in Miami, Florida. This is his first novel.