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The Professor and the DNA
by Jeffrey Ross

Professor Alexandra was in a serious conundrum. He was staring at a manila mailing envelope resting on the card table in his small living room.
About twenty minutes ago, he had opened the envelope and removed the book inside.
Dr. Fritz Alexandra, PhD, had undergone a complete emotional turnaround in the last few moments.
Old Fritz had been quite pleased to receive the signed copy of a detective novel. Two weeks ago, he had ordered the text directly from the author, and she had been kind
enough to sign the copy.
But the confident bachelor psychology professor had been greatly affected by seeing her signature and her printed address on the envelope.
His elation at receiving the book and seeing her handwritten and special encouraging words on the second page (“Best Wishes”) suddenly vanished.
This emotional downturn occurred when he picked up the slightly-torn envelope and held it over the small recycle bin in his kitchen.
Aghast, the professor realized the author’s DNA must be somewhere on the envelope. The postage was metered, true, so she did not affix any stamps.
But she must have handled the package, and she surely opened the book to sign it. Ahgg!
The good doctor was too fond of her, too close to her through her stories, to toss out her DNA. He had seen her picture. She was beautiful, poised, and sophisticated.
The thought of her DNA heading off to a recycling plant in Des Moines or Davenport was just too much for him.
He sat back on a folding chair, alarmed at his obsession. Still struggling with his feelings, he looked closely at the book, and saw no special or cryptic messages.
He waved it under his nose—but smelled no perfume. (He only detected paper and ink aromas.). Frantic, he looked for a lock of hair, or a business card, or
a scribbled phone number. Nothing. Significantly, he found no lip stick smudges.
Agitated, he lunged for a 24-ounce tall-boy beer and drank it in fifteen seconds.
Next, he peered inside the envelope, hoping to find any, any at all, message or sign. Nothing. He drank another beer—and fished around in a desk drawer for a pack of Pall Malls.
Lighting two, he inhaled deeply, and felt better.
Gaining his mental footing once again, his empiricist-self compromised. Tomorrow, he would buy an 8 x 11 picture frame
with a glass cover and preserve her DNA forever.
He felt better after thinking about the envelope preserved within the picture frame, and the professor was
able to go to bed. But he placed the sacred envelope on his night stand and stared happily at her address while finishing his smokes.
Finally, convinced her DNA was to be safely archived, the prof was able to fall asleep. Good thing, too. Tomorrow he was going to have a big day.
Dr. Alexandra was beginning a lecture series at the college— “How to Tell if Your Relationship is Healthy”—and he really needed some rest.