The Quest

Responding to Reena’s challenge #143, write based on above image.

Professors Morton and Stanley pored over the map, conferring earnestly on the possible whereabouts of Professor Livingstone.

” His last known coordinates were here, in this remote part of the jungle” intoned Stanley pointing with emphasis at the map. ” We need to find him before the government realizes he is no longer present at the university and cancel the grant money”.

Morton concurred ” $50 million in government research grants certainly adds prestige to the university. Despite Livingstone’s unique and theatrical flare for controversial behavior we need him”.

Morton continued ” The man is absolutely beyond belief. I recall the time I was holding forth in the staff room, pleased at receiving my 25th thousand Twitter follower. Livingstone had the audacity to chirp in with a fatuous remark concerning a celebrities dog shitting on the bed receiving 1.2 million likes and 600 thousand retweets. He had the cheek to imply it seemed to be about the level of discourse for most university professors. Of course I reminded him of my latest published dissertation on ” White fragility and counter cultural revolution in a gender neutral society as a pathway to reintroducing Marx and Foucault to topple the structure of consumerism and patriarchal tyranny in the next century”.

Professors Morton and Stanley continued their conversation in this vein till they concluded that they would book a flight to Livingstone’s last known destination and track him down for the good of the university.

So three weeks later we find our intrepid professors staggering into a village clearing in the jungle and spying Professor Livingstone standing in a semi circle with the villagers around a bonfire.

“Professor Livingstone, I presume” gasped Stanley reaching out his hand.

Livingstone, ignoring the hand, replied ” You can presume all you want, but please show some respect for the funeral service you are attending. I expect silence from both of you until the prayer service is complete”.

The group continued to watch the bonfire until the flames had subsided and all that was left of the funeral bier was ashes. A young female villager scooped up the ashes and placed them in a large cauldron bubbling nearby.

Livingston whispered softly to his compatriots ” Ceicu, was the tribal elder, 112 years old. We warned him about taking his 10th wife, but he refused to listen”.

The villagers urged the professors to take a seat around the bubbling cauldron and the young woman scooped the contents from the cauldron into bowls and passed them around. Stanley looked at the contents of his bowl with disgust noticing ashes floating among the pieces of fish and vegetables.

“I can’t eat this, it’s disgusting” said Stanley.

Livingstone, replied irritably ” You are honoring their village elder by consuming his body and spirit into your body, forget your academic sensibilities and eat”.

After the ceremonial meal was completed, Stanley and Morton took Livingstone aside, urging him to return to the university. Livingstone vehemently declined their invitation insisting he was quite happy living with the villagers and this is where he was meant to be at this particular moment in time.

“My value system has evolved ” Livingstone insisted ” I no longer measure my worth in dollars per year or the number of followers on social media, this is the simpler, more natural life that I have been searching for”.

So after three days of fruitlessly trying to persuade Professor Livingstone to return with them, Professors Morton and Stanley gave up the ghost and returned to their university, bemoaning the anticipated loss of the $50 million government grant.

Professor Livingstone, relaxed, sipping a rum punch, walking around the area with the village elder who was helping him to identify the various flora and fauna in the region.

Published by lensdailydiary

Born Stepney, London, England. Emigrated to Canada. Married, two children, six grandchildren. Retired. Conservative and cultural catholic. LOVE soccer. Tottenham Hotspur. Read historical and fantasy fiction..

12 thoughts on “The Quest

  1. Great use of names, Len. Morgan and Stanley. Stanley and Livingstone. I understand that when Stanley found Livingstone, Livingstone asked Stanley why he was there. Stanley said he was there to take Livingstone home. To which Livingstone said, I’m not ready.

    You’ve taken Livingstone’s reticence and made a wonderful romp with it, skewering pomposity in many forms along the way. Clever and cutting satire in well-crafted narrative. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Christopher. Glad you got the Stanley and Livingstone connection. I think we are both dating ourselves. Growing up I was hooked on the books of Rider Haggard and this was my whimsical take on his stories.


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