Posted by: stillironic | January 11, 2010

South of the Border University—15

A Moment of Silence

After the crash, Gregor went over in his mind whether he could somehow have averted the tragedy. Lily told him to stop blaming himself. He had nothing to feel guilty about, had actually warned Roscoe that a speeding ice floe could prove risky.

“Ice floes drift, you told him that,” Lily said.

And, she added, it was perfectly normal for him to feel relief that Roscoe was out of his life for good. Gregor said she was right. What he didn’t tell her was that his guilt stemmed from satisfaction, delight even, that Roscoe had been punished—was still being punished—for being such a bastard.

“Roscoe was actually Izzard’s fault, though,” Gregor said. “He created the beast.”

“And now he’s paying for it,” Lily added.

Clarence Izzard, found not competent to stand trial for attempted murder, was confined to a psychiatric institution for at least one year. His wife Blanche, who was filing for divorce, said publicly that she’d rather have him confined to the bottom of the Pee Dee River permanently. Friends, however, persuaded her that having him committed to Trillium Hall, a private facility, would make it much more likely that he would someday be able to make amends for his actions.

Roscoe himself now suffered from permanent brain damage as a result of his head injuries. Shortly after the accident, Mrs. Roland Roscoe took her husband back to East Rutherford, New Jersey, their hometown. A report from her confirmed that he remained comatose. She also requested that people stop contacting her about a rumor that he’d started smoking again.

Roscoe’s persistent vegetative state left the university flummoxed over what appropriate action it should take to recognize if not honor a fallen colleague. Provost Scissors, now the highest-ranking official at Iceberg, refused to take a position; nonacademic issues, he claimed, were not under his purview.

After consultation, various deans suggested a remembrance ceremony since Roscoe wasn’t quite dead enough for a memorial service. However, because no one knew what such a ceremony entailed, a task force was appointed to find out and research alternatives. After months of debate, the task force issued a formal report recommending a moment of silence. But then the school year ended and the matter was tabled.

Lily heard through the grapevine that six weeks after the Roscoes left for East Rutherford Mrs. Roscoe had begun seeing other men. Subsequently, her husband began to live in a rest home. She’d learned first hand that nothing was more of a turnoff to a new date than to find someone in the back room in a coma and drooling.

In the meantime, Mrs. Roscoe filed a civil lawsuit against Izzard for attempted wrongful death. Fearing that Clarence’s resources would be drained before the divorce was final, Blanche Izzard moved her husband into the state’s overcrowded, and mold-infested, insane asylum.

© 2010 by Virginia Gerhart

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