Chapter 1: Substitute for a week.
Ford substitutes for another professor during summer session and is greeted by a few new people.
The room was filled with students as Ford entered. A quick scan of the tiered seats told him he had a packed house for this one. Walking up to the podium he wondered why he needed to fill in for Dr. Reiner. The good doctor only gave him a few notes for the day and the Dean had insisted he teach the course. Oh well, he thought, It’s just for this week.
The class book and some notes had been left for him on the podium. He sighed as he read the cover, Intro to Geodes. Ford was a dimensional physicist not a geologist, why did he have to teach a class about jewels?
Browsing the notes briefly it outlined they were about to the point that he would talk about creation of crystals and quartz. Ford knew about that at least and was thankful for it. He looked up at his charges and noticed most were still conversing to themselves.
“Ahem.” He tried, waiting to see if there was a reaction. Nothing came of it so he spoke up. “AHEM.” Most of the voices died down and the attention turned to him. Satisfied he turned around and wrote his name on the board.
“Gentlemen and Ladies, my name is Stanford Pines. I will be your substitute this week while Dr. Reiner is out.” He wrote his name on the board. Realizing he only wrote Ford Pines he quickly scribbled Stan in front of his name. “You may all address me as Grun. . .” He cleared his throat, catching himself again. “Dr. Pines.”
Immediately a single hand in the front went up. Ford checked his seating roster. “Mr. Fenton is it? What is your question?”
Daniel Fenton was slumped over his desk staring at Ford, actually they all were to some degree. Ford figured the question already, just about every class he had asked this on the first day. Daniel finally spoke up.
“Um I don't mean to be rude but, Mr. Pines, do you have six fingers on your hand or am I just tired right now?” Ford smirked a little. At least this one was being a little polite with the question. Ford held up his hands and showed the class all six of his fingers on his hands.
“Yes, I do have Polydactyly. For those of you who slept through your advanced biology classes that means I have six fingers on each arm. There is nothing else unusual about that, I just have a bit of a finger up on you!” He said the joke, the same joke he made every time. Just like every other time it got more groans than laughs but it was his joke and he liked it. “Alright, if there are no further questions about me we can begin.”
Picking up the book he flipped to the page they were on. Quickly skimming it and refreshing himself he picked up the example quartz and began his lecture.
“Gems, Geodes, Jewels, and for those of you who rarely pay attention in class, pretty rocks. They form the basis for much of our system of economy for much of our history. This class we will talk about how these gems are made in the earth.”
Immediately a hand in the back rose up. He couldn’t see the person as they were blocked by the larger man in front of them so he glanced over at the seating chart.
“Yes. . . Ms. Maheswaran?” He looked at the note that Dr. Reiner had beside the roster. Seems she was an high school student taking college classes. Intellegent girl, Ford thought. The next note confused him. She’s obsessed with gems? He shrugged and waited for her question.
“Yes,” She said as she stood up. He got a good look at her, she did look young. If he had to guess she was only in her late teens, barely older than his niece back home. “What about the gems that come from outer space?”
Oh, that’s what he meant, Ford thought as he realized what the note meant. He laughed a little and this garnered a laugh from the rest of the class.
“Ms. Maheswaran, Gems only come from earth, we have no evidence of any earthbound gem coming from space, or at least none that we find occurring here.” Ford paused as a few thoughts crossed his mind. First he HAD encountered gems in his travels before that were not from earth but those were from different dimensions so he couldn’t count that. The second thought was more important though.
“I suppose there is an exception.” He waited for her to perk up. “There is a theory, now remember this is only a theory, that black diamonds come from space. The theory goes that they were created from the remains of stars going super nova. But that is all we know as of now, everything else, well those comes from earth.”
He waited for her to sit again, she was a bit disheartened he realized. Maybe he would pull her aside after class and tell her about some of the things he saw on the other side. Then again he realized that might not be the best thing to just tell someone the first time you meet them.
With no further interruptions Ford continued his class.
Chapter 2: The letter of introduction
How it all began that fateful day in Boston's Harbor District.
Ford looked over the e-mail again and again trying to confirm what he was reading. He was a bit flabbergasted at the contents. Stan sat by him reading the paper and drinking his coffee as the two of them were enjoying the morning at the café by the sea.
They had moored the Stan-O-War II in the Boston’s harbor district for the day had decided to eat at this local café as a treat. A hard year they’d had at sea but an enjoyable one. The brothers had caught up and most of the old issues had been ironed out. There was nothing like running around the world on an adventure to both settle old grudges and make new bonds.
Today, however, that had come to an end. Ford finally checked all of the locations he had detected anomalies off his list and Stan, as much as he enjoyed the adventure with his best brother, was a bit tired from the constant moving. Stan had already brought up going to California to meet up with the others and Ford even suggested to make it a family trip back to the falls. Both men loved the idea of seeing everyone again and, just before this morning, that had been the plan.
Today, however, that would all change. In his inbox this morning Ford had received a single email. Now Ford was smart, but he was a bit behind in the times, so when his niece had shown him how to use email he was ecstatic that he could communicate with them much faster than in the past. However as excited as he was he rarely received anything. The twins were always out at sea and, to be frank, he didn’t have a lot of friends back on the shore that’d mail him. Occasion mail from Mabel and even a few from Fiddleford (though Fiddleford had an uncanny knack for sending him, oh what did they call them again, memes?) came through but most of the time when he got signal the inbox would be empty.
The email he was so intent on today though was from a place he knew well. The seal at the top, while not elegant, did give him a sense of pride. The letter was from his alma mater, Backupsmore. The letter, from the new dean (who he didn’t recognize), told him that they had recently heard of his return and they had an open teaching position. They wondered if he would be able to help them fill the void they currently were experiencing in their physics department.
Ford already knew his answer. He knew what he wanted to do but as he looked up he saw his brother, now finished with the paper and looking out to the sea where their boat was docked with a longing gaze.
“Stanley.” He started, low and quiet, unsure of how to approach this with his brother.
Stan turned to face him smiling as he did. Ford realized he couldn’t recall a time he saw his brother this happy. He hoped it wouldn’t be the last and that this conversation wouldn’t undo everything they’ve built up the last year.
“What’ up?” Stan replied and took another sip of coffee.
“I was wondering what you thought about if we ended our adventure out there.” Stan’s brow furled at the comment, his grin dropping to a slight scowl. “Now hear me out. We’ve had a fun year so far and there is nothing I would do to ever take it back.”
“Look, if this is about the jerky I took from you then I said I’d buy you more!” Stan interjected.
Ford waved him off. “No, no, no. It’s not about the jerky.” Pausing a moment to figure out how he could best do this he came upon the conclusion that being blunt may actually be the best way. Offering up his laptop so Stan could read it he continued. “It’s this Stanley.”
Stan started to ready the letter, slowly taking in all of the details. Ford continued. “My old alma mater is offering me a teaching position. I know it’s sudden but. . . “ He cut himself off as Stan’s face became more solemn. Finally finished with the letter Stan closed the laptop and looked at his brother.
“So this is what you want to do instead of treasure hunt with your brother?”
The question hit hard but he knew it was coming. He had feared Stan would see this as a betrayal of sorts. All Ford could do was nod. Stan stayed silent for a moment before a big smile lit up his face.
“Ha, I knew you had it in you, you big nerd. My brother, the college professor!” Stan started laughing. Ford didn’t quite understand. He thought Stan would be mad but instead he was. . . happy?
“You know this means we won’t be able to continue our exploring?”
Stan slapped his knee. “Of course! I mean, it was fun while it lasted but we gotta take a break and this is the perfect break for you!” Stan pointed out to the bay. “I mean, we can always take her back out for the summer or something, maybe even bring the kids!”
Ford too looked out to the sea, he could barely make the top mast of the boats at the end of the harbor. Somewhere in the thicket of wood was his boat. Stan continued. “We’re not getting any younger, we at least I don’t think I am. Anyway, this is the perfect opportunity for you to use that brain of yours!”
“What about you? What are you going to do while I’m working?”
Stan thought about it for a moment, the a bigger smile came over him.
“You know, I was always thinking of making the Mystery Shack a global franchise. Maybe it’s time I expanded and added the Mystery Shack, college edition!”
Both men let out a long laugh at what Ford hoped was a joke. He wouldn’t realize until later that Stan was serious and that this would cause. . . issues. . . for him. But at the moment it didn’t matter. Ford was now set on a new path.
Soon, very soon, he would be Professor Pines (or as his students would come to lovingly call him, Professor Sixer).
So apparently people liked the first one enough that I decided to make this a thing. Not sure how often I will update due to this being my secondary project but who knows?
These might not be in order (as this one is technically before the first) but then again, short episodic adventures often times are not.
Anyway, pure GF for the moment but as some have already figured out, the students at the college are anything but normal themselves.
Chapter 3: The book needs corrections
A student arrives at Fords office to discuss the textbook that Ford is using for one of his classes.
Ford saved his program and closed his laptop. Removing his glasses he gently rubbed the bridge of his nose. It had been three weeks since classes started and he began to write this book but he hadn’t made much progress.
Even though trans-dimensional physics was his forte he had hit a bit of a snag. He had already put down everything he could about his original portal and what effects it had gone through but he had purposely left out the part where he traveled through it.
Honestly who would have believed it? Most likely the review board would have thought he was trying to write some science fiction adventure with the things that happened on the other side. No, he needed to keep all of this technical. The problem was, knowing the different laws of physics in different dimensions meant that he had to remember which ones applied to this one.
A gentle rasp on his door broke this train of thought. Ford wasn’t expecting visitors today but then again, he always kept his door open to everyone but his Associate Dean. He took a moment to straighten his desk before he called the person in.
“The door’s unlocked, go ahead.”
Slowly opening he saw one of his students in his introductory physics class enter. A young redheaded teen, Summer was her name if he remembered correctly. Slipping in and closing the door behind her she looked around and took in the clutter that was his office.
“Ah, Ms. Smith what can I do for you?” Ford called out to her. “Please, take a seat, make yourself comfortable.”
Summer’s attention snapped to the older man as she looked for where he was motioning. The chair was covered in books and papers. Ford realized the predicament and quickly flipped around his desk to make the space more usable.
“Sorry about that. Here let’s try this again.”
Summer sat down in the seat as Ford retook his. Summer flipped her backpack open and pulled out her textbook. Ford noticed there were quite a few loose papers in her book. He figured she must be storing homework that way.
“Mr. Ford I wanted to talk with you about the textbook we are using.” Summer began to pull some of the lose pages out and flipping to the pages. “I’ve been talking with my Grandpa and he really doesn’t like this book. He took a bunch of notes and told me to give them to you and tell you you’re a. . . well, he told me to tell you something.”
Ford sighed. He hadn’t been the one to pick out the text book – another thing that the Associate Dean had done for him – but he figured since he hadn’t read through it all the way minor errors were possible.
“Alright Ms. Smith, let me see your Grandfather’s notes.”
Summer handed him the stack of papers and her text book. Ford started reading the notes. Most of them were mundane and distasteful. Some of the pages even had – he took a moment to smell the stain – alcohol stains on them. Surely whoever wrote these must be out of their mind.
The problem was, the more he read the book and the notes the more he realized that Summer’s Grandfather was on to something. Usually when Ford taught his class he would skim the name of the chapter and just teach it from memory, not normally reading the book for context. This however was telling.
Ford groaned when he realized what this meant. First, he would have to issue a large correction to the class when it came to what was in the book. Secondly he would have to talk to the Associate Dean and get him to get a correct textbook for future classes, possibly one that Ford could recommend to him.
“Summer, I hate to admit this but your Grandfather is absolutely right. There are glaring errors in this book. I can’t apologize enough for this. I will issue a correction immediately! Your Grandfather must be a brilliant man to notice all of these.”
Summer smiled. “Yea, Grandpa Ricks probably the smartest man on the planet.” She stood and gathered her bag and book.
“Oh really? I would love to meet him sometime. Sounds like we would get along swell.”
Summer made her way to the door and turned to reply. “I don’t know. He tends to not like other smart people around him. Plus he’s always drunk and going on adventures so I don’t think he has a lot of time.”
Ford shrugged. “Well if he is ever in the neighborhood I would love to shake his hand.”
Summer smiled as she opened the door. “Yea, I think he would love to shake your hand too.”
As she closed the door Ford slunk back into his chair. He picked up the notes that Summer had left and began looking at them again. His compliments were real, these weren’t things that someone who didn’t have at least a bit of background in science would have noticed but then again this was just a basic book. The things in here wouldn’t be hard to correct.
It wasn’t until Ford got the last page of the notes that his mind changed. While the writing was poor, and the language was foul, the notes the person wrote on here were indicative of a higher state of thought. Notes that, surprisingly enough to Ford, were on Dimensional Physics.
Flipping his laptop open and going into his calculations he began to compare. Several things were different but there was a sense of similarity to what Ford had come up with. Summer’s Grandfather, whoever he was, must have a background similar to Ford.
Now, more than ever, Ford wanted to meet this man!
Chapter 4: First Day Jitters
Ford takes the time to ready himself before his first class and gets some advice from the unlikely place.
Ford stared at himself in the mirror as he adjusted his bowtie for the fourth time. If he was a bundle of nerves on his first day like this what would that mean for the rest of the year? He quickly admonished himself for taking the blue bowtie instead of the red one.
Finally giving up he stood back to see his full self in the mirror again. For a moment he thought he saw Stan looking back at him. It might as well have been considering this was Stan’s old Mr. Mystery suit that he gave him as a present for finding a job. A quick whiff of the collar told him he needed to send this to the drycleaners again.
The smell, as he could best describe it, would be a mixture of fear, body odor, and – well – he wasn’t quite sure but it smelled like zombie goop. He could only guess what Stan did while in this thing and why he never properly sought to its cleanliness.
Content on his appearance in full he stepped back up the mirror and started playing with the bow tie again. Adjusting it by millimeters to the left, then to the right to compensate for his over adjustment the first time he started to become frustrated.
“Arg, why did I even wear this stupid thing?” He exclaimed out loud as he pulled off the tie. He already knew the reason though. While the sweaters Mabel knit for him were honestly the most comfortable things he had ever worn in the multiverse he didn’t feel them fitting for his new position. University Professor should wear something more elegant, more refined.
His attention was broken when he heard the toilet flush in the stall behind him. A moment later a young man, probably in his early twenties walked out to one of the other sinks and started to run the water. Ford attempted to pay the man no attention, hoping the man hadn’t heard is outburst, but to his luck it seemed that was not the case.
“You alright sir?” The man asked. Ford cringed as he realized he was caught. Finally acknowledging the young man Ford glanced to him.
“Yes, I’m fine. Just a little, oh what do they call them? Oh right, first day jitters.” Ford replied, controlling his tone as to not alarm the man.
The man finished washing his hand and pulled a towel from the dispenser. “Ah, first day huh? I remember my first day three years ago. I was quite a train wreck when that happened. My best friend got in to a better college than I did and my girlfriend ended up breaking up with me not long after too.”
“Oh my, I’m sorry to hear that.” Ford replied with concern.
“It’s okay. I learned one very important thing in my first week going here. Want to know what that is?”
Ford thought about it for a second then nodded.
“Just be yourself and everything will fall into place. If you try to be someone else, like a superhero modeled after a quail or something, you forget the things that are important to you.”
Ford contemplated the wisdom that he was receiving from someone probably a third of his age. He thought about who he really was and why he took this job in the first place. I’m here to teach those who want to learn, he finally realized for himself.
“That’s an amazing bit of wisdom you had there. What’s your name?” Ford asked.
“My names Funnie.” The man replied
“Well I’m sure it isn’t too bad. My name could be considered a bit funny too.”
“No, no, I mean my name is Funnie. Doug Funnie.” Doug smiled as he explained
“Oh! My apologies then. My name is Stanford Pines.” Ford smiled in return.
“Well Mr. Pines I hope you have a great first day.” Doug said as he made his way to the door. Stopping midway through he looked back at Ford and gave him a once over. “I would also recommend wearing something more comfortable next time, you look like a fish out of water if you get my drift. Maybe try unbuttoning the top buttons of your shirt for now or something?”
Ford started thinking to himself as Doug finally left the bathroom. Turning back to the mirror he looked at himself again. He started to replace his bowtie but stopped. Instead he pocketed it and reached up to unbutton his top buttons.
Looking back at himself one more time he smirked as he already felt a little more confident in his day. Turning for the door Ford was now ready to face his first class.
So if you've read all four and realized by this point I am actually doing these out of order. Not quite Momento or Pulp Fiction style but the bounce has a minor story implication.
At some point I may redo all of it an order them chronologically but then again these are supposed to be excerpts of his life (and later someone else's that I've decided to add) so we'll see.
Also, yes, apparently this is going to have more and more crossover characters (within reason, sorry guys Wander and the other non humans aren't going to make an appearance). But hey, that gives me lots of little things to use and, like with Doug, I'll try to keep as close to the creators visions as I can at the time.
Chapter 5: Summer session begins
Ford arrives just a summer session begins, ready to give the school his response.
Ford took a deep breath as he stood at the steps of the commons building. He let the nostalgia run through him as he smiled. He was finally back at his Alma Mater! Taking a look around he saw that the old campus had changed, a few of the older buildings were gone and in their place were more modern ones.
Taking a few steps down the stairs he glanced over to where the old chemistry building was. He smiled as he recalled the day that he and Fiddleford had pulled their, well for lack of a better word, stunt. They were both behind in homework due to another class forcing them to pull an all-nighter. Their only solution was to make a, well, solution that would act as an adhesive and turn that in to catch up on work.
The final outcome flashed across his mind as Ford gave a resounding oof. They made an adhesive all right, one so strong he wouldn’t find anything to surpass it until he went to Gravity Fall and found the alien stuff. The real problem wasn’t that they made it though, it was the fact that it was heat expansive and they didn’t realize that until the next morning when they tried to enter the classroom only to find that it had evaporated and that LITERALLY everything had been glued shut.
Thankfully they didn’t expel them that time. Honestly they could have considering the amount it cost to basically rebuild the room. The irony only came a week after the reconstruction finished they discovered that the glue they made dissolved in soap. So simple a solution that nobody thought of could have fixed a six figure repair bill and their grade, go figure. They ended up failing that class, not that they complained.
Continuing down the path Ford stopped in front of the cafeteria. Now that was a building that hadn’t changed. For a moment Ford was tempted to go in and see if they menu was the same too. He shuddered as he thought of the slop they tried to serve as “food” back in his day. He could only hope that things were better now, then again he figured he would just make his lunch most days so it wouldn’t be a problem.
Turning around and continuing he heard the ring of the schools bells. Ford checked his watch as the ring of some melody he never quite got the name of went on. It was nearly one, he figured this would be about the time that students had their first afternoon class. Then again it was summer session so most of the students in right now would either be high school students taking summer courses for credit or those working students who couldn’t take courses during the day.
Distracted by his watch Ford didn’t see the two teens running at him. He didn’t realize that the boy was distracted as he tried to keep up with the girl. He didn’t realize that the boy, not paying attention was on a perpendicular course to his own. He did realize that someone had run into him as he fell back on his rump as the person ran right into him.
“Oww!” He exclaimed as he hit the ground. Attention returned he looked over at the boy who had run into him. A young Hispanic boy, probably in his late teens, wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans was rubbing his head in pain after the collision, he too sitting on ground.
The boy looked up to see what he had hit and realized Ford was that roadblock. Quickly jumping to his feet the boy offered out his hand to the older man.
“I am so sorry!” The boy exclaimed. Ford smiled as he took the boys hand and helped himself him up.
Ford chuckled. “You’re alright; I may have been a bit distracted myself.”
“Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to hel…” The boy was cut off when the girl he was running after turned and shouted at him.
“MARCO! WE, NEED, TO, GO!” Ford took a glance at the young lady. She looked about the same age with long blond hair in the style that reminded him of his niece. She wore a long blue dress and had a pack on her side. She ran over to the two of them and grabbed the boy by the hoodie sleeve.
“Star, just a second. I ran into this guy, give me a chance to…”
She cut him off again. “We need to go now or were going to miss our first claaaaaaa…. Whaaaaat iiiiissssss thaaaaat!” She trailed off as she gazed at Ford’s hand, her eyes widening. She grabbed his’s hand and started turning it to get a better look at it. Finally trying to twist it in a way that it wasn’t meant to turn Ford yelped.
“Oww! Young lady please stop that!”
The girl looked up, her face giving away that she may not have realized that his hand was attached to a body. She quickly let go of his hand and jumped back.
“Oh, sorry sorry sorry sorry. I didn’t mean to… I mean I meant to look at it but I didn’t… Oh boy. I’m in trouble aren’t I?” She looked over to Marco for reassurance and he sighed.
“It’s alright. I have Polydactyly, see?” He held up his hands and wiggled his fingers. “It’s just a little thing that makes me weird, that’s all. All is forgiven if you are a little curious; this is a college after all.” He smirked. “Just try not to hurt the next thing you find interesting!”
“Now don’t you two have a class to get to?”
Both teens’ eyes widened and mouths gaped as they realized they were going to be late.
“Right, let’s go Star!”
The teens ran off in the direction of a new building Ford hadn’t seen before. He wondered what they taught in that one. He shrugged as he turned and made his way to the faculty administration building, ready to give his answer to the school.
Chapter 6: Formal Dinner
Just before the semester begins the teachers have a formal dinner to fraternize. Ford learns about a few of the other new teachers at Backupsmore.
The room’s was filled with quiet conversations and the sound of people eating as the dean tapped his glass in front of the microphone. Ford put down his salad fork and watched as Dean Lancer waited for the rest of the room to follow suit. Satisfied the dean set down the glass and straightened the papers of his prepared speech.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming this evening to our annual staff banquet. As many of you know I was placed as Dean of this school only last year. I know many of you may still have hesitations about a high school vice-principal becoming a dean but I swear on the many great novels that I will uphold the traditions that made this school great and advance those that make this school even better.”
“Oh, I bet you will Lancer!” Shouted a voice from the crowd.
“A Passage to India!” Lancer shouted. “Mr. Gregory please refrain from your jokes until I finish!”
A few in the room laughed at Dean Lancer’s odd habit of shouting books instead of curses. Ford would learn later from a student of his that this dated back to his days teaching high school.
Lancer cleared his throat so they would stop and continued his speech. “As many of you know from my acceptance speech that I intend to put us on the map the same way the Ivy League schools or West Coast Tech are. To that end and due in part to the retirement of many of our elder faculty, many of which have graced us here tonight.” He held out his arm to one of the back tables. A few older scholars waved to the rest.
“I have endeavored to find and hire the absolute best there is to replace them.” He motioned to two tables, including Ford’s. “Now many of you have had the chance to meet them already but don’t hesitate to mingle with them during tonight’s dinner.” Lancer looked over as the caterers started to roll carts in. “And with that, dinner is served!”
A round of applause swept the room as Lancer took his seat at the head table. Ford was eager for this meal, the salad they had as the first course was nice but he was never able to fill up on salads. As the servers worked their way around the tables Ford took a look at his new companions. Each setting had a nametag in front of it to help start the conversation and Ford took to memorizing the names to each person.
To his immediate left was an Asian man who looked to be in his mid to late thirties by the name of Dr. Chan. Beyond him was a redheaded woman who he guessed was in her fifties named Ms. Frizzle. Beside her a younger gentleman named Dr. Utonium was busy poking at his salad. Finally, just beside him, another man roughly his age was working on his phone. He leaned over and saw the nametag was a Dr. Quest.
He looked up and around one more time as the servers began placing the plates in front of him. There was actually one more chair at their table with the name tag of Professor Oak but unfortunately no one filled that chair.
Ford quickly caught himself drooling as the plate was placed in front of him. Steak au poivre prepared with filet mignon. He read the menu prior to coming several times thinking it was a joke. He had always wanted to try this ever since he and Stan had gone to Paris to close that Mobius loop anomaly. Sadly at the time they didn’t have the time for something so fancy so he had to do with beef jerky in au jus on the boat ride to the next anomaly. Once all the plates were down he dove in, savoring every moment.
Nary ten minutes had passed and Ford was finished with his steak. Content until the next course he decided it was time to strike up a conversation. Deciding the Ms. Frizzle was the friendliest looking candidate he started with her.
“So Ms. Frizzle.” He waited for her to look up and acknowledge him. The smile she gave him made him feel special in a way he hadn’t in a long time.
“Yes Dr. Pines?”
Ford chuckled. “Please, call me Stanford, or Ford for short. No need to be so formal at this, well, formal dinner.”
“In that case please call me Valerie”
Ford smiled back. “Very well Ms. Valerie. I was wondering what you taught here at Backupsmore?”
“The Ms. isn’t needed, just Valerie is fine.” Ford nodded. “To your question, I guess you could say I teach early education. Prior to this I used to teach fourth grade but a while ago my younger sister took over for me so when Dean Lancer called and asked if I would help bring up the next generation of teachers I jumped on the opportunity.”
“Interesting, you must have had a very special way of teaching for the dean to call on you personally.”
She chuckled quietly. “Well, I won’t give away any secrets today but let’s say it was magical.”
Dr. Chan chuckled at her magical comment. Ford and Valerie turned to him with questioning looks. He quickly tired to explain himself.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean anything bad about that. You calling it magical just made me think of what I used to do.” Dr. Chan said. “Oh, and please call me Jackie.”
“Alright Jackie,” Valerie replied. “What is it that you did before you came here?”
Jackie sat back in seat and looked up, trying to best word his adventures in a way that they would not only understand but would be believable.
“I guess you could say I was an archeologist for many years. I worked mostly with Ancient Chinese artifacts. I spent much of that time running around the world with my niece and my uncle. After a while though we finished and when I decided to settle down the Dean called me and offered me a position in the history and archeology department so I took him up on it.”
“You brought your niece on that? How did she keep herself entertained? Most people would find archeology boring!” Ford stated.
“Oh there was plenty to keep her entertained, trust me. She may not have been the perfect little girl but she knew how to take care of herself.”
This perked up Professor Utonium. “Perfect little girls you say?”
The group shifted their attention to him.
“I used to have three perfect little girls. Oh, those were the days!” He smiled for a moment then slowly let it fade. “I miss those days.”
Ford raised his eyebrow. “What do you mean you miss them? Did they… pass away?”
“Oh, no no no.” Utonium jumped back, shocked. “I just meant they grew up.” He let out a worried laugh. “They all went off to college this year so I’ve got a bit of an empty next to go home to.”
“Oh dearie, that a good thing! It’s our job to make sure kids grow up to be the very best.” Valerie smiled.
“I know. I’m just lonely. It was a bit of a blow when they ended my tenure at the college I was teaching at so I count myself lucky that the Dean called me before they left. I’m not sure what would have happened if they went to college and I didn’t have a job.”
“That would be very bad.” Jackie agreed.
“In addition one of them happens to be going here so I still see her on occasion too! While I may now be the chemistry teacher instead of the quantum physics teacher I love the fact that this means I can see my little girl whenever I want!”
“At least you get to see your kid.” Dr. Quest put down his phone. “Mine won’t give me the time of the day right now.”
Ford slumped away from the man seated next to him. He really wanted to avoid starting any drama. Dr. Quest sighed and picked up his phone again.
“The boy started working for the UN two years ago! He never takes a break to see me anymore and now I hear he may be getting married? I don’t know where I went wrong with him. I took him all around the world, I gave him all sorts of adventures in the field and this is the thanks I get.”
Dr. Quest held up his phone for Ford to see. The text conversation on the screen was brief but it looked like the other person was giving only quick replies to Dr. Quests long text messages.
“I had hoped that when Dean Lancer gave me this job as a professor of political science that I would be able to take my mind off the boy but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.” Dr. Quest slouched back in his seat. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought this up here. My partner tells me I need to relax and let it go but I’m just having trouble.”
A few moments of silence were broken when Valerie turned to Ford.
“So Ford, we didn’t get to hear about you. What did you do before you came here and what are you teaching?” She asked.
Ford thought about it for a minute. Most of his companions were well educated but had regular lives. None of them would probably believe the adventures he had. Falling through a portal for 30 years, interdimensional demons, REAL magic and mystery, he couldn’t tell them any that. He would look like a mad man if he tried. He decided he would have to dumb it down a little, plus he had an ace up his sleeve.
“Well, actually this is the university I graduated from. After graduating I spent some time experimenting on some things and ended up in a sleepily little town in Oregon. A year ago though I ended up giving all that up to go exploring with my twin brother around the world. It just so happened that when we got back to the states the dean had been looking for a physics professor and since that was my expertise I ended up taking the job while I work on my book.”
The others gave nods at his mundane story. Ford breathed a sigh of relief as the others accepted it. He wasn’t lying but he did feel bad for holding back so much.
“Well then, how about we toast to new beginnings.” Jackie raised his glass.
“To new beginnings.” The others repeated as they raised their glasses and toasted around the table.
Several hours passed as the group conversed more on their past adventures and their hopes for the future. The more they spoke the more Ford opened up, though never as much to admit the fine details. By the end of the night as they exchanged goodbyes Ford walked home happy he had met so many good people, though it would be a while before he learned their real stories, and they his.
Chapter 7: Winter Break
The Twins come out to visit over Winter break and deliver some surprising news to Ford.
A light snow was falling as Ford cupped his mug for warmth. Blowing on it gently he took a sip allowing the warmth to fill him. He was sitting on the front steps of the cafeteria as Mabel was running around in the snow doing whatever she could think of. Dipper sat next to him enjoying his own cup of cocoa with his Grunkle.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go out there with her?” Ford asked as he nudged his nephew. Dipper only shook his head before taking another drink.
“No, I’ll let Mabel have her fun first. This is probably the first time she’s seen real snow.”
Ford cracked a smile as he looked back out at his niece making snow angels and excitedly laughing. The twins had come up for a few days during the winter break to see him. He thought it would have been a good idea to take them on a tour of the campus and show them around, maybe even convince them to attend once school was out. What Ford didn’t expect was the winter storm that hit that morning would drop a foot or more of snow on him.
Luckily for them no one had any place to be and as it turns out a few of the cafeteria workers had been in working on something at the time so they were snowed in too. When they found out what was happening Ford decided to hunker down until the plows did their thing before taking the kids back to his apartment. A big plus to that was the fact that the faculty lounge had a cocoa maker that worked perfectly for days like today.
Mabel jumped up from her third angel and ran over to Ford. She nearly slipped a few times on her way but with cat-like reflexes recovered each time she took a dip.
“Grunkle Ford! Come make snow angels with me!” She shouted excitedly as she tried to pull his arm.
Nearly spilling his mug he broke her tug. “Give me a second.” He put down his mug next to Dipper. “You sure you don’t want to join us?”
Dipper shook his head. Ford shrugged and walked down the steps to join his niece in the snow. It was starting to pile up, he realized. Nearly up to his ankle he strode over to a spot that would be off the walkway, hoping that the grass beneath would make the ground more stable, thankfully he was in luck and didn’t slip.
Mabel immediately jumped into another pile of snow and began to make another angel. Ford debated joining her before decided that since he didn’t have any snow gear on himself he would refrain. Thinking to himself he came upon another activity that they could do in the snow.
“Mabel, would you like to build a snowman?” He asked slyly. Her eyes widened as she jumped up and clasped her hands together.
“What’s that!” She excitedly asked.
“Well, to start we need to make three big balls of snow, each a little bigger than the last.”
Mabel nodded at the explanation and she was off rolling up the needed parts with Ford. They conversed as they worked together.
“So tell me, how are the two of you adjusting to high school.” Ford asked as she started the first part.
“Its super fun, I’ve got so many new friends now since our high school is WAY bigger than our middle school!” She smiled as she pushed around her slowly increasing ball of snow. “Everybody’s so nice and we have fun all the time!”
“So how are you doing with your academics?”
“My what?” Mabel asked.
“Your grades!” Dipper shouted from the stairs.
Mabel paused momentarily. “They’re fine.” She weakly replied. Ford could see Dipper give her a look as he jumped up and made his way over to them.
“Oh really, how were you doing in math class?” Dipper asked her.
Mabel cringed. “Hey, it’s not like I’m going to need math when I grow up.” She turned and pouted at Dipper. “Plus, how are you doing with Stacy?”
“I, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Dipper backed away blushing.
“Oh, really? You like her!” Mabel teased.
“No, I mean, yes, I mean, we just hang out a lot okay? It’s not like it was with Wendy or anything. She’s just a really good friend.”
“Dipper’s got a girlfriend. Dipper’s got a girlfriend.” She chanted.
“I do not!” Dipper shouted in return.
Ford couldn’t help but to laugh at their antics. It reminded him a lot of when Stan started dating that young Carla girl. He made a lot of fun of him at the time too.
His laughter caused the twins to stop to see what was wrong with him. After calming Ford couldn’t help but to smile.
“The two of your remind me so much of Stan and me when we were younger. Ah Stanley, I wonder how he’s doing right now?” Both of the kids gave him a confused look. “What is it?
“Grunkle Ford, don’t you see him?” Ford looked around thinking that maybe he missed something and Stanley was standing behind him. Content he wasn’t he gave Dipper a confused look.
“What are you talking about?” He asked.
“You didn’t know? Were staying with Grunkle Stan at this new Mystery Shack.” Mabel added.
New Mystery Shack, Ford though, What are they talking about?
The confused look was all it took for the kids to realize that Ford didn’t know what they were talking about.
“Grunkle Ford didn’t our parents tell you we were staying with Grunkle Stan?” Dipper asked.
To Fords recollection they hadn’t said that. All he got was an address where they would be staying. For all he knew that was the address of a hotel or relative he didn’t know about. Apparently it was the latter, just not in the way he expected.
Then it dawned on him. Stan being around and not talking to him was odd but something he could accept, he was always busy after all. What he was having trouble with was the whole concept of a new Mystery Shack somewhere nearby.
Ford ruffled thorough his pocked and pulled out his wallet and phone. Pulling the address that the kids’ parents had given him he quickly put it into his phones GPS. His jaw dropped when he saw where this was.
It was only a few blocks from campus. Ford couldn’t believe it. Stan had set up a new Mystery Shack a stone’s throw from where he worked! All of a sudden Ford had a bad feeling about all this!
So I got to thinking about the order thing again. While writing these will probably always be an out of order ordeal would people be interested if I made a "First Chapter" that acted as an index to the rest, possibly even giving dates to the events so they are less ambiguous that I could keep updated with entry? I would be interested to hear what everyone has to say about that I the comments.
And as always, thanks for reading!
Chapter 8: The TAs
Ford is asked to take on a pair of grad students by Dean Lancer.
“Dr. Pines!” Dean Lancer called out to Ford as he was walking down the hallway. Classes were back in session after winter quarter and Ford was anxious to get back to work after that wild December with his brother, niece, and nephew. “Dr. Pines a moment of you time!”
Ford stopped and turned to see Dean Lancer making his way to him from an adjacent hallway. Waiting for the Dean to reach him and catch his breath Ford stood his ground. Finally wiping the sweat from his brow Dean Lancer continued.
“Dr. Pines do you have a moment to discuss something?” Lancer asked.
Ford nodded and motioned for them to keep walking. “I do but I really need to get to my first class. Mind if we walk as we talk?”
Dean Lancer began to walk along side Ford as they continued down the hallway, occasional student passing them.
“Right, I wanted to ask if you gave that proposal I sent you any thought?”
Ford thought to himself. He had seen several proposals come his way recently. It wasn’t easy putting his finger on which one. First there was that new club proposal that he dismissed as a waste of time. Then there was something about a new committee on fashion and culture at the school that Ford was mildly interested in but realized he would probably be the last one to be productive in that. A few more here and there went through his head but none of them he could recall had Dean Lancer’s name attached to it.
“I’m sorry Dean Lancer, I can’t recall the one you’re referencing.” He replied as they rounded a corner.
“Oh, I see. I guess you’ve been a busy man haven’t you?” Ford cocked an eyebrow. He wasn’t sure if Lancer was being snide or was serious. “Anyway what we were wanting you to do was take on a few TA’s for your department while they finish their graduate programs here at the school.”
“Oh!” Ford exclaimed. He remembered the email now. Actually he remembered deleting it without reading it fully as he thought it was a scam of some sort. “The one where I was personally requested?”
Lancer nodded. “Yes, the two students seemed to be adamant on having you for their doctorate mentor. Hold up one moment.” The two of them stopped as Dean Lancer leaned over and took a drink at a nearby fountain. Refreshed he rejoined Ford and they continued. “I know it seems like a lot to take on two students your first year but I think you’ll like these ones.”
“What makes you say that?”
"Both are highly intelligent; scoring some of the highest grades I’ve ever seen.” Ford perked up. “In addition, those twins have some of the wildest ideas I’ve ever seen. Some of the inventions on their resume, while some were failures, are some of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Ford stopped. Lancer turned to give him a curious look. “Dean Lancer, you had my curiosity at intelligent. Now you have my attention.”
“Does that mean you’ll do it?”
Ford nodded with a smile on his face. The thought of seeing not one but two people with weird ideas caused the scientist in him to go mad with anticipation.
“Great Gatsby that excellent. I’ll have them set up a meeting in your office at once! I can tell you Dr. Ford you’re work will put is on the map yet!”
With that Lancer turned and hurried away to make the meeting. Ford smiled as he turned to the door of his classroom. This meeting was going to be a wild one if what Lancer said was true.
The small café near campus was picked to be the interview location. Ford chose it not only for the nice atmosphere but for the fact that he may or may not have fallen in love with the particular blend of coffee they had here. Whatever it was this was a nice and cozy location to meet his new teaching assistants.
He flipped through the dossier that Lancer had given him. While it was a little sparse on personal information the list of achievements was outstanding. Ford almost hoped that he was about to meet a younger version of himself. Or him selves should he say since each twin boasted a impressive array of talents if this paperwork was to be believed.
“Dr. Pines?” A young voice called out behind him. Turning around to see who called his name he was met with a pair of young girls. Standing to greet them he got a good look at them. Both were Redheads with longer hair, one sporting curls and the other straight. Both wore hair accessories, one was a star and the other a moon, which matched the shirts they were wearing. What surprise Ford was that neither looked like they were old enough to drive yet.
Not wanting to make this awkward Ford cleared his throat. “Ah yes, I’m Stanford Pines, nice to meet you.” He offered his hand to greet them. Each took a turn shaking it and introducing themselves.
“I’m Mary Test.” The one with the Moon said.
“I’m Susan, also a Test.” The one with the Star added.
Ford motioned to the table. “Please sit, I’ve ordered a small something to start us off but feel free to order what you’d like.”
The girls took their place at the table and looked over the menu. After ordering a coffee and cake set each Ford got down to business.
“So tell me, why did you seek me out as you mentor?” Ford asked as he clasped his hands together and placed them on the table.
Without hesitation Mary excitedly shouted. “Because you’re the weirdest professor we’ve ever heard of!”
Before Ford could react to her response her sister knocked her on the head. “Mary! What are you doing! Don’t mess this up.”
Mary laughed. “Sorry.”
Sighing Susan attempted to clarify. “Dr. Pines, we read the articles you put out recently and realized that your ideas are way beyond that of what we could find back home. Where we were studying was great but we want to find someone with the absolute best scientific mind and you’re it.”
Ford thought back. During the last semester he did pen a few articles for scientific journals about the things he had seen and done when he was “away”, plus a few others on the portal design and weirdness coefficient, but he wasn’t sure any of them had been published yet.
“And the way you talked about how magic would interplay with the technology was intriguing.” Mary added.
“Mary! What did I tell you? Those were just analogies to the almost magical nature of science.” Susan quipped at her sister.
Ford gulped and looked away. Actually he knew exactly which one they had read. He almost didn’t want to admit it but Mary was right with how she read it. He really was talking about how magic interacted with his tech. He decided it was best to change the subject.
“Right, so besides me why did you decide to come to Backupsmore? Why not try someplace like West Coast Tech? This school isn’t exactly known for its ultra high standards on science and technology. You’ll have to work twice as hard to get where you need to be here.” He asked, trying to relate the experiences he had in the past.
The twins stopped and looked at him for a moment, to him an uncomfortably long moment. The stare was broken when the server arrived with their cakes and coffee. As they ate Ford could tell they were thinking hard about a response. They stayed silent and other than a few glances at each other they didn’t break from slowly eating the cake slices.
Finally they both finished and placed the forks down on the plates. Sipping the coffee in unison they looked back at Ford and gave their response.
“Because sometimes to get the knowledge you seek you have to go to the weirdest of places.” Mary started.
“And there you find things that only the most intuitive of scientists can explain. Realities that can only exist in a lab with a proper mentor.” Susan finished.
Ford waited to see if they had anything else to say. When it seemed they didn’t he decided to throw one last thing in the mix to test their resolve.
“If you work under me I’m going to work you like dogs. You may be in a lab for weeks never seeing the sun or your loved ones. By the end of this you may hate science more than you hate your worst enemy. Do you really think you can handle that?”
Without hesitation and in unison both sisters replied. “Yes!”
Ford cracked a smile and looked down to the dossier again. “Alright then. You start next week. 10am, my office. I’ll have your teaching schedules and lab work ready by then.”
Both girls eyes widened and smiles developed from ear to ear.
“That’s exactly what I mean.” He closed the dossier and put some money on the table as he stood. “Now if you will excuse me I have some final paperwork to fill out in order to get my new TAs.”
Walking away he didn’t see the girls jump up and grab each other’s hands as they jumped with joy. Then again he didn’t have to look because he could hear them shouting in joy for the next three blocks.
Chapter 9: Favor from an old Friend
Ford gets a call but from whom?
Ford was walking the commons when his phone rang. Pulling it out he didn’t recognize the number but he realized the area code was Oregon. Deciding to give the caller a shot he picked up.
“Stanford Pines. May I ask whom I’m speaking to?” He said into the receiver.
“Hot Diggity it worked!” Ford heard the voice on the other end respond, abet distantly. He recognized the voice, it sounded like Fiddleford McGucket, one of his oldest friends from Gravity Falls.
“Fiddleford? Is that you? You sound so far away.”
He could hear rummaging in the background. A few clangs and clacks later he could clearly hear his old friend again.
“Ford is that you?” McGucket asked again.
“Yes, it’s me. Where are you calling from, it sounds like you’re running around in a trash compactor.”
“Oh that’s in here too. I had to convert a lot of things in the junkyard to get this to work!”
“Get what to work?” Ford asked confused. What was his old friend doing?
“I converted all of these parts to make a device that could call you!”
“Wait a minute. You converted a bunch of parts to make… a phone? Fiddleford you could just buy one of those at a store in town!”
“Oh.” He paused. “Welp, nothing I can do about that now.”
Ford could only shake his head at what he imagined was a massive over engineered contraption that probably had the receiver and speaker much too far apart to be of any real use. The thing probably weighted a metric ton and was the size of a small van.
“Anyway, what did you need Fiddleford?”
“Oh right! The thing! Ya see Ford, I’ve got this uncle from back down south, well I guess he’s a real California boy now, anyway he wants to invest some money in a charitable cause.”
“And? I’m sure there are plenty of charities that would take a donation from your family.”
“You don’t understand Ford. He wants to make a large donation. Like one that could really do some good for the right people.”
Ford listened. Money, oh how he hated it. There were several dimensions that were past the use of currency to get what people needed. Other at least had a better system. He sighed.
“Alright, and what do you want me to do?”
“Well ya see I told him about the school we went to. I think I can get him to donate there but he’ll be needing a good person to show him why. Seeing as how I’m stuck here for now I thought you might be able to do it.”
Ford mulled the question over. Schmoozing with, if Fiddleford was actually telling the truth, a rich donor might not be too bad, and the extra money would help to expand the programs that were struggling to get off the floor. He figured it wouldn’t be too bad considering he knew Fiddleford for years and being his friend would probably give him a leg up.
“Alright, I’ll do it. Send me the detail of when they are coming and I’ll make the time for them.”
“Er, well you see they’re driving there now.”
“Wait? Right now? As in today?”
“Oh no. I mean they left today for the school. They’ll be there in a week or so, give or take Granny’s mood. If she rides on top the whole way they may have to make a few stops. I’ll try to give you a heads up when they’re almost there.”
Rides up top? Ford asked himself. What am I getting myself in to? Is all of his family as off kilter as he is now?
Ford shrugged it off. “Alright, well I’ll be here when they are so just let me know the time and I’ll give them a good show.”
“Sure thing. I’ll keep in touch!”
“One last thing. Fiddleford…”
“Please have someone get you a real phone.”
Hanging up Ford looked around. He wasn’t sure what he really just agree too but if a wealthy donor can help the college out then he’ll do his best to make it happen.
If you are squinting and asking yourself if I am about to introduce THEM, then yes, yes I am. I'm an old timey sorta fella and I'm not specifically going to limit myself on who I use for this. Those four are coming...
Anyway, I had to take a little break to write the season half for my other work (Gravity Falls - Just Left of Center) which started its second half of the season yesterday. Check it out if you want something I've done a bit more... constructed. I was my first jump back into writing so the early episodes of it may be a bit... underwhelming, but it gets much better as you go on.
Anyway, hope you enjoy this setup for later. Happy to hear any comments anyone might have as I love talking with people!
Chapter 10: Will to open the door
Ford stands at the gateway into his future, but can he muster the courage to cross it?
The metal knob was cool to the touch as Ford stood there before the door to his destiny. He couldn’t make himself open it quite yet though as he went over his thoughts again.
‘It’s okay, you’ve gone over this in your head a million times’ He thought to himself. ‘Just remember what that young man said in the restroom. Be yourself and everything will be just fine.’
He tried to will himself to himself to turn the knob but still couldn’t seem to do it. Back and forth he went, just barely turning it and then letting it go.
“You can do this Ford, I can do this.” He mumbled to himself under his breath.
He still couldn’t bring himself to do it when a sudden tap on shoulder alerted him to the presence of another. Flipping around he noticed a gathering of a few students behind him, waiting for him to move on.
“Um, excuse me. We gotta get in there for our class.” One of the students said as they all looked at him.
Stepping back he motioned for them to go ahead. Rubbing the back of his neck as they made their way in he caught the door just before it closed.
‘Well at least you don’t have turn the knob now.’ He though. He took one last deep breath before pushing the door open and walking in. Looking down he made his way straight to the dais. Dropping his books down on the lectern he looked up. Roughly 20 or so students now had their eyes on him, burning gazes staring right into his soul.
Fear and panic washed over him as he realized that this was it. All of these young minds were now his to bring to enlightenment or disenchantment. A cold sweat started to run down his forehead.
Just be yourself and everything will fall into place.
Those words sounded through his mind.
If you try to be someone else, like a superhero modeled after a quail or something, you forget the things that are important to you
He still didn’t get the quail part but the words stung him. Be yourself, that’s all you can do. If the kids are here to learn he can only do his best to help them do so.
Closing his eyes Ford took a deep breath.
‘Just be yourself.’ He though. ‘Everything will work out.’
Opening them again he looked back at his students with determination. He was finally ready.
“Umm, excuse me?” Someone called out from his side.
Looking over he saw Dr. Reiner, the Geology teacher. Ford gave him a confused look.
“Professor Ford, what are you doing in here?” Dr. Reiner asked.
Ford flipped around and looked at the board. Intro to Geology was scribbled on the board. Ford’s face turned beat red as he realized the mistake he made.
“I believe your class is the one right across the hall in 122.” Dr. Reiner finished.
The students began to chuckle. Dr. Reiner slapped his hand down on the lectern and gave them a stern look.
Leaning in he whispered to Ford. “First day jitters?”
Ford nodded quietly.
Chuckling a little he continued to whisper. “Don’t worry about it. You should have seen the first day that Professor Keld got here. I’ll have to tell you about it some time. You should probably get to your class before they think you ran away.”
Dr. Reiner winked as he patted Ford on the shoulder.
“Thank you for that message Professor Ford.” Dr. Reiner said, loud enough so his class could hear his voice. “Everyone this is Professor Ford, our new physics teacher. He stopped by to pass along a message to me and I’d like to take a quick moment to introduce him to all of you.”
Several hands shot up.
“Sorry folks. He won’t have time for questions; he has his own class to teach.” Turning back to Ford he took his hand and shook. “Thank you very much for stopping by and giving me that message. We’ll have to talk more about it in the future.”
“R, Right. My pleasure.” Ford stammered.
Dr. Reiner motioned him to the door and Ford gathered his things and took his leave.
He let his back lean on the door once he was outside. He couldn’t believe that he made such a dumb mistake on his first day.
“Dr. Reiner eh?” Ford said quietly as he crossed the hall and entered his classroom. “I guess I owe him one.”
Indeed, in the future Dr. Reiner would collect when he asks Ford to substitute from him during the next summer. After that, the two would become close friends, confidants, and allies… For a time.
Told you there is some sort of story to this... We're just not far enough yet for the pieces to all fit it.
If you're wondering if you are going to see what happens beyond that door then you only need wait a little longer. The actual first day will eventually finish but before that there are other stores to tell.
Chapter 11: What to do about nothing
Ford meets his brother to discuss Stan's new Mystery Shack.
Stanley Pines pulled up a chair as Ford read the morning paper. They hadn’t spoken since Ford found out about Stan making a new Mystery shack not far from the university. Funny thing was Ford wasn’t really sure how he didn’t notice. When Ford dropped the kids off at the new shack he quickly realized he drove by it every day, he just never paid it any attention.
Stan rubbed his hands and placed them under the table where the space heater was to warm them up. It was early January and Ford chose the same café where they had first found out about his potential job.
“How can you stand this?” Stan asked as he watched his breath freeze before his eyes. “It’s like twenty below, why are we outside?”
“The chill gives a person the ability to think with clarity. Plus, the cold never bothered me anyway.” Ford responded as he folded up the paper and put it down. “Seeing as you’re a bit of a hothead I figured this would even you out.”
“I’m a hot headdddd?” Stan’s teeth clattered as he shivered. “What about you? You’re the one who up and decided to go back to school!”
“I teach school Stanley,” Ford rolled his eyes. “There is a big difference.”
“Whatever.” Stan slid under the table more to try to get more of the soothing warmth.
Ford looked at his brother and sighed. “We can go inside if you really want.”
Stan shook his head and drew in for more warmth.
“Now you’re just being stubborn.” Ford stood up. “I’m going inside to get another coffee, stay out here if you want but I’ll be inside.”
He grabbed the paper and his now empty mug and walked in. Taking it to the counter for a refill he heard the bell on the door ring as his brother made his way in. Ford nodded over to another table that he left the paper on and Stan took a seat there. Coffee refilled he rejoined his brother.
“So, when were you going to tell me?” Ford asked as he took a sip.
“Tell you what?”
“About the new Mystery Shack.”
Stan shrugged. “I don’t know, probably this summer or something. Up until December we were still building the inside. The museum was done first so we opened for business in September but most of the other rooms still needed finished.”
Ford put his mug down. While he didn’t step inside he did recall the shack looked much like his house back in Oregon, well the way Stan converted it that is.
“It really took that long to build a bunch of bedrooms?” Ford cocked his eyebrow as he asked the question.
“Oh no, the bedrooms were done lickey split, it was all other rooms.”
“Done by August.”
“Then what took so long?”
“The lab and portal room in the basement.” Stan explained. “The dig out took a while, then the construction was extended due to some problems with the zoning.”
“Oh, that makes sense.” Ford took a drink of his coffee. A second later he spit it back out all over Stan. “You built the portal room?!”
Stan wiped the coffee off his face, thankfully Ford was drinking a cold brew or he would have been angrier.
“I wanted it to be the same as back home. Plus I figured once it was done it could be you home away from home.”
Ford facepalmed. “The last thing I want to do is remember stuff like that. Stanley I’m a teacher now, not a mad scientist!”
“Oh, sorry.” Stan apologized.
Ford sighed again. “Its fine, you couldn’t have known. Here.” He offered Stan a napkin to help get the last of the coffee off of him. “So how is the shack doing?”
Stan paused his wiping for a second, quickly finishing he put the napkin down gently.
“Well truth be told, not good. People around here just aren’t in to the weird like back home.” He looked out the window at the bay. “Most of the people who came through just weren’t buying. At this rate I’m not going to make it another year.”
Ford reached out and took his brothers hand. “I’m sorry Stanley. If there is anything I can do…”
“Man, so close to the university and nothing I can do to capitalize on that.” Stan snapped, narrowing his eyes. He turned his gaze back to his brother. “You have any ideas?”
Ford thought about it. “Hmm, not much that the university would do with a place like yours. Maybe a fraternity but…”
“What’s what?” Ford looked around to see if Stan was looking at something. He realized Stan was looking at him.
“A fraternity.” Stan elaborated.
“Oh, um, I suppose you would know them as frat houses.” Stan looked more confused so Ford paused to try to think of a reference. Landing on one he gave it a shot. “Do you remember that old movie Beast Abode? How about Retribution of the Geeks?”
Stan eyes lit up. “You mean those!”
“Yes. If the university were to do anything around campus it would probably be that.” Ford looked out the window at the bay. “But that would never happen. You’d need a charter, plus a list of students with similar interests to join, finally at Backupsmore you would need a teacher to act as an advisor and an adult to act as the leader of the fraternity.”
“Uh huh.” Stan nodded.
Ford looked back at him. “But that would never happen. As far as I know the school is full on fraternities right now.” He paused. “Maybe they could have one more but getting the needed things would take more that you have.”
“Right.” Stan nodded.
“Sorry I brought it up. Well I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Ford concluded.
“Oh I will, I will.” Stan smirked as he began to form a plan.
Chapter 12: What are friends for?
It's time for Ford to grade some midterms!
Ford rubbed the bridge of his nose as he was forced to make another red mark on the paper. It was spring now and that meant midterms. His first class had handed theirs in just this morning and he was taking his lunch with a stack of papers with the intention to grade them.
“We went over this four times in class. I have trouble believing you missed it each time.” He mumbled to himself as he added another mark.
“Midterms?” A friendly voice asked him
Looking up he saw Valerie Frizzle, one of his comrades and early education instructor. Ford nodded.
“Yes, my Physics 121 class turned them in this morning and unfortunately it’s not looking good.”
“Oh no!” She said as she took the seat next to him. “Is it really that bad?”
Ford sighed. It really wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t good either. He was more than halfway done grading and only three of his thirty students had scored A’s. There was a decent mixture of B’s and C’s which was good but he what worried him was the four F’s he had to dole out.
“No, I suppose I’m overreacting a bit to it.” He said held up the stack of failures. “Just a few I will need to speak to about alternative learning plans.”
“Well that’s good of you. Not many teachers would go so far out of their way to try to make sure every student succeeds. You’re doing a wonderful job with this Ford. I give you an A+.” Valerie patted Ford’s hand as he put down the papers.
“Well it is our job to make sure our students succeed!” Ford smiled. Valerie always knew something to say to bring Ford out of his ruts. “So how are you’re students doing?”
She beamed at him. “I can’t believe how wonderful they all are. They are all so eager to learn, so eager to teach. If I known that I could do this years ago I would have passed on my job to my sister much earlier!”
Ford chuckled. “Well I’m glad you’re happy!”
She joined in on his chuckling as another person approached the table and sat with them.
“Benton! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.” Valerie called out to the man who picked up the sandwich on his tray. “How have you been?”
Benton stopped short of taking a bite and lowered his sandwich. “I’ve been alright. Son still won’t give me the time of day and my partner’s been cranky lately but all in all it’s been fairly normal.”
“Oh.” Valerie replied.
Ford watched as the smile on Valerie’s face started to wane. Trying to clear the mood Ford cleared his throat.
“So, how are you students doing? Any future political adventurers?” Ford tried to ask as Benton took a bite of his sandwich.
He let his gaze wander as he thought while chewing. Swallowing he replied. “Well, none that I would say were much like me and my boy but a few have a bit of promise for something a just short of that.”
“That’s good to hear! We were just talking about midterms and…” Ford started but Benton cut him off.
“And surely none of them would be like my partner and I.” He grumbled as he put his sandwich down. “I don’t know what to do. We keep fighting over Jonny. I want to go out and see my boy and he just wants to let him be.”
“I um…” Ford tried to interject.
“I know he loves him as much as I do, we raised him together after all. His whole ‘wait and see’ attitude makes me so frustrated. I just want to be a part of my boy’s life but he’s content to just live and let live.”
“Well have you…” Ford tried again.
“And even then he barely talks to me when were home about other things. I feel like we’re disconnecting. I’m worried that he’s losing interest in our relationship. I want to do something but I just don’t know what to do.”
“Why don’t you take him on a nice dinner date and talk it out.” Valerie finally interjected, cutting Benton off before he could continue.
Benton looked at Valerie for a second before shaking his head. “I’ve tried to invite him out but he declines. He always has some excuse about something he’s doing for the government, or for the agency, or some training course he needs to teach.” Benton dropped his head and looked at his sandwich. “I know he really does have to do those things. I think the only way I could get him to come out would be on a formal dinner.”
“So why don’t you invite him on one?” Valerie asked. “Make it a double date of sorts with coworkers. That way you have people around you who can help to get your partner to come.”
“Hmm, that might work, but who could I invite? I barely know anyone here and none of them are couples.”
“How about Ford and me?” She asked. Ford looked at her surprised. She returned his gaze. “We could come as the other couple for the evening. Then, when you two are ready to be alone we’ll both come up with an excuse to leave.”
“Are you sure about this?” Ford asked as Benton seemed to mull it over.
“Why not? It’s not like you’re a terrible person to be around Ford. Were friends and this is something that friends do for each other.”
Ford thought about it himself. This idea of a double date was intriguing as he hasn’t really dated much in his life. Even if it was just for a friend’s benefit it would be a valuable life experience. He nodded to Valerie. “Alright I’ll do it,” He turned to Benton, “so long as you will have us.”
Benton smiled. “Yes! Thank you both! I’ll set up the date and time and forward the info to the both of you!” He stood up excited. “I need to call Race right now and see when he is available.” He started to dial the phone but stopped and took a deep breath. “No, first I need to calm down. I know, I’ll call him from my office, that way I’ve got the walk to calm down.”
Turning to the two at the table one last time he smiled again and ran off out of the cafeteria. Ford turned back to Valerie who was standing up and stretching.
“I suppose I’ll see you then Ford.” She smiled as she made her way out. Turning just before she existed she shouted one last thing to him. “Oh, and go easy on the ones who need the help, there’s usually a reason they do.”
Alone again Ford turned back to the paper he was grading and started again but stopped shortly. “Huh,” he noted out loud, “I think that’s the first time I’ve seen Benton smile.”
Chapter 13: The bonds that make us stronger
Susan Test has her first day of student teaching.
“And in conclusion that is how we can use the Resonance Frequency of Advanced Particle Synthesis to enhance the molecular cohesion of any standard bond.” Susan finished as she closed her book.
A few students in the stands clapped, as did Ford, as she proudly smiled and started gathering the papers she had scattered on the podium. Turning to Ford she smiled.
“So, how did I do?” She asked, no longer speaking loud enough to project into the stands.
Ford stood from the chair he was setting on just to the side of the dais where he had observed Susan’s first session teaching one of his classes. Approaching the podium himself Ford shook his flattened hand from side to side.
“Well for a first time I would say you didn’t do too badly.” He turned to look at the audience. “You even managed to keep a few of them awake too.”
Susan looked up to the stands and noticed that, indeed, a quite a few students had dozed off and were now being woken by their fellow students as the rest shuffled out.
“Um, I guess it’s just over their heads.”
“Well yes, I suppose that would be over entry level students heads.” Ford sighed. “Susan, did you read the email I sent you this morning with today’s lesson plan on it?”
“Umm… Susan told me the gist of it.”
“And what did she tell you?”
Susan shrank back. “That we should teach something that we like?”
Ford sighed again. She was half right at least. His instructions were to have the girls teach one of his introductory classes and pick a topic from the book that they were interested in and give it a go. He did not, however, tell them to ‘teach whatever they wanted.’
“Well, I guess I can’t fault you if that is what she told you.” Ford replied as he picked up his notebook and flipped to the most recent page. “I suppose I’ll have to chalk this one up to an error in communication. I’ll need to figure out how to make up for lost time though. I wonder, should I…”
Ford began writing notes down as he flipped back and forth between earlier pages. He had kept records on how he taught each class the first time and going through and modifying said notes and plans was his way of teaching himself how to teach. Dr. Reiner had, after the first week, recommended this method in order for him to better optimize his time in the coming years.
“Alright, I’ll just move that lecture and we should be able to make everything work without any further issues.”
“I’m really sorry Dr. Pines.” Susan said.
“No, it’s fine. If I failed to properly communicate what I needed from you then it was simply a failure on my part, one that I will need to correct for next time.” Snapping the notebook shut with one hand Ford smiled at the young girl. “We learn from our failures, you must always remember that!”
Susan nodded as she quickly pulled out her phone and made a note about finding a better way to communicate with Dr. Ford. Putting her phone away she returned to gathering her things.
“Here, let me help you.” Ford moved to assist her in gathering what could potentially be a framework for a new thesis on the subject.
“You don’t have to.” She replied as she hurried her pace.
“No, I insist.” Ford retorted as he picked up a big stack of papers. Smiling as he handed them over to his ward she gave a meek smile and what he could almost make out as a ‘thank you’ as she scurried out of the classroom.
Susan no longer present Ford pulled out another, hidden, notebook he had kept. Opening it up he went to an entry he had created for Susan Test.
‘The girl shows incredible aptitude for science. Even if she were teaching in the wrong class I couldn’t help but to feel like she is decades further in her studies than a person her age should have been. Dean Lancer was right to leave her in my care, in a few years she may become one of the top scientists in the world.
‘I have to wonder, based on her penchant for hard science if she would be interested in assisting me with my book. While the nature of it can be at times whimsical there is a good deal that I think that she could learn from, in addition she might very well give me a new insight into what has been causing my hang up on the project.
‘I will continue to have her teach low level classes for a while, if only to get her to understand the nuances that I have learned about teaching. It may not take her long though so I expect that if she stays with me through next year she will be teaching my intermediate if not my advanced courses in no time.’
Ford dotted the period and closed the book, quickly replacing it into his coat just in time for Mary to peek her head through the doorway.
“Dr. Pines? Are you already in here?” She asked as she looked through the room for him.
“Over here!” Ford called out.
Seeing him by the podium she quickly ran in with a stack of papers and books as large as the one that Susan had before. Ford couldn’t help but to smile as she approached. It was her turn to teach a class and Ford was excited to see if both sisters shared the aptitude for science that he did!
It is only at midnight, 5 hours after you post a story that you realize you just wrote about the wrong twin... I really need to go watch Johnny Test again.
Chapter 14: The Relatives are coming to Town
Fiddleford's "Uncle" arrives. A short introduction before Ford offically starts the tour.
The loud bang of a combustion engine back firing alerted Ford to the presence of another vehicle in the parking lot. Looking up from the journal he was writing in he noticed the oddest thing. A older vehicle, open topped, much like he used to see in his early textbooks from when cars were first introduced was driving toward him. That wasn’t even the oddest thing about it though. On top of the car was a chair strapped onto some luggage, and on top of that and elderly woman sat laughing at the sound the car just made.
“What on earth… Fiddleford, what kind of relatives do you have?” Ford asked himself as the car drove up and parked in the spot next to his.
In addition to the old woman hopping out of the car was a man who looked roughly around Ford’s age, a young lady and another young man. Approaching the car Ford called out to make himself known.
“Mr. Clampett?” Ford called out to the driver, hoping he was wrong.
The driver took off his tall brimmed hat and offered out his hand to Ford as he approached.
“J.D Clampett the name but please, call me Jed.” With a big smile on his face he took Fords hand and shook it. Pausing for a moment when he realized Ford had an extra finger on him the smile grew and he shook it even harder. “You must be Stanford Pines. My nephew Fiddleford told me all about you.”
“Indeed, but please, call me Ford.”
“Well I mighty appreciate that. This here’s my kin.” He motioned over to the young woman. “This is Elle May, my daughter…”
Elle May offered out her hand and Ford shook it.
“This is my nephew Jethro Bodine...”
“Howdy!” Jethro said as he took Fords hand and shook it.
“And finally this is my mother in law Daisy May Moses, but everyone just calls her Granny.”
“Pleasure to meet you ma’am.” Ford said as she offered his hand out to her. She eyed him up and down before taking his hand and a shaking it wildly.
“I bet it is.” She replied snidely.
Recovering from the beating his hand just took Ford decided to ask Jed a question.
“Forgive me for asking but why is it that you’re interesting in this college. It doesn’t seem like…”
“Like what?” Jed asked as he cocked his head to the side slightly, his tone hesitant to the question.
“Well I just wondered if you were only here due to Fiddleford.” Ford said, recovering from what could have been a big slip up. “I know family is a precious thing but what you’re talking about doing its taking it far further than most people.”
Jed smiled. “Aww shucks. Kin is what makes this world go round. Besides, Ol Fidds tell me about this place all the time and about how you helped him out all those years ago. Ain’t nothing to give a little back now.”
“I… I wasn’t aware Fiddleford spoke with anyone about his past. At least not for a while.” Ford said as he turned around.
It was surprising that Fiddleford had kept in contact with anyone considering his condition for years. Ford knew his relationship with his wife had ended poorly and the fact that he and his son barely spoke for years made him think that he hadn’t spoken on good terms with anyone. So this came as a surprise that Jed seemed to be excited for him.
To Ford, what Fiddleford was to do trying right now was tantamount to a betrayal, not on Fiddleford’s part but his own. Fiddleford had every reason to hate Ford yet he was always there for him. That hurt Ford as he was never this good of a friend back.
Ford sighed, for now, Ford would have to put those feelings to the side. He had a job to do and he intended to do it. Ford turned back to his guests.
“Alright, with that settled I suppose I should give you a tour while we talk about the programs here. If you’ll follow me this way we can begin in the science labs.”
Ford motioned for the group to follow, and with that the tour began.
So this is going to be an interesting story line snippet. I have to tone Granny back a little and use her movie version more than her TV as, due to the time (2000's instead of early 20th century) some of her old mannerisms and "ideals" might not come up as much.
Anyway, hi-jinks will ensue as expected. Feel free to take a gander at what might happen with the four of them visiting.