1965-05-19 - The American Education System: A Lecture with Monsters
Summary: A group of students, or prospective ones get learned about how terrible their education system is from the monsters.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
morbius adam jennifer-walters amber halgrim jebediah 


Evening settles over Friday, and the library's pace seems to pick up rather than drop off. In this gigantic structure, Halgrim has found himself a table in the Ancient History section, and is busy with two stacks of papers and a red pen. There's also a few books on the desk with him, and a well-worn, black, leather work bag. Every now and then he pauses to sigh, mutter, and mark up a page of the stapled sheets he's reading over.

Adam is lurking near Halgrim, because it's important he be there in case Halgrim has one of his 'episodes'. If you accused the old monster of hanging out in a library because he misses being around people sometimes, he would deny it with a passion. He's only visible as a giant cloak with a deep hood that hides his awful face. Surprisingly, he lurks quite successfully without being overly noticeable, but hey, it's New York, there's Thor and the Hulk and all kinds of weirdoes. A nine-foot-tall cloak isn't that odd, overall.

Amber politely removes her Stetson as she crosses the threshold into the Library, tucking it under her arm as she pauses just far enough inside the building to let traffic flow. "Okay, now.", she says, pulling a piece of paper out of the pocket of her denim jacket and peers at it. "Professor wants me to read the followin'…..Why in hell he didn't give me books that's in /our/ library, nobody knows.", she mutters to herself. "Shit, this is gonna take /forever/…", she sighs as she realizes the truly immense size of the building.

"Four hundred and fifty … … four hundred sixty…… sixty… point… point five…" Jen Walters is preceded by the click of her stylish heels as she walks out from between the stacks. She frequently refers to a piece of paper in her hand, comparing it to the indexing numbers on the aisle endcaps. She looks more than a little out of place, wearing a sharp, tailored skirtsuit. She hangs two lefts and disappears into another set of stacks, fingers trailing along the books as she skims over the spines.

"Four sixty point five," she mumbles, with a little triumphant tone of voice. She pulls down a book and glances at the cover— "Classical Sanskrit Translations." Book in hand, she walks over to the tables near the odd duo (not paying either the slightest bit of attention) and settles into a heavy old oak chair, which creaks alarmingly but holds. She crosses her legs under the desk and sets the book on the edge of the table so she can dig out a steno pad and pearl-capped Mont Blanc pen. She shifts a little and bumps the underside of the table, which makes the entire thing jump and bounce.

"Oops. Sorry," she whispers, at the glances of consternation from the other patrons.

Jebediah has hit the library, mostly because he needs to study up for his entrance exam if he does decide to go to college after all at the urging of his brothers and his boss. The problem is that Jeb doesn't like reading or writing or studying or learning, in general because it's incredibly difficult. Every time he comes here, he winds up in the art section because that's far more interesting, but the art part of getting in, Jebediah's got that down. It's the… everything else part that he needs to study for. Jebediah listens to the lady's woes about her professor and worries his lower lip. "Well, miss, that'd be easy and they don't want anythin' about learnin' to be easy. It's an adventure, rahgt?" He teases.

He finds a face he recognizes while he wanders around aimlessly, and nearby that familiar face is a nine foot tall cloak that he also thinks he might recognize. "Mister Halgrim!" He calls out, much to everyone in the library's displeasure because Jebediah never observes the rule about being quiet.

Halgrim sighs again and waves the stapled papers at Adam. "It's unconscionable that they're sent to college with this understanding of written comprehension," he says, his voice low but urgent. He's frustrated enough that his Swedish accent is stronger than usual. "This kind of thing they should be taught in Grundskola, they shouldn't need to learn it in Uni—" He stops with a start as Jen bumps the table, but as nothing makes a bid for the floor he says, "Not to worry." And stops there, because his name has just been called out loud enough to be heard clear over in Special Collection. Despite this announcement, he says, "Jebediah, how are you," as quietly and warmly as possible. Probably he hopes to lead by example, or, something like that.

Predictably, someone hisses at Jeb to shush. It's not Adam, though, who comes looming out of the dimmer light between the stacks like a great white swimming out of the ocean dark. Hood still up, because he'd cause a panic if it was down. "Jebediah Guthrie," he murmurs, and looks at the young woman Jeb is speaking to. "Your friend?" Jen really captures his attention, though. She is huge and green and somehow gets away with it. "Fraulein," he says to her, with a dip of his head.

Amber's face lights up a little at the sound of a friendly accent. "Heh, I had adventures, sir.", she replies to Jebediah in her purring, Southwest Texas twang. "Ain't none of 'em involved this much pokin' about a library.", she snerks. "'Scuse me, sir.", she adds, nodding politely. "I'm a /groundskeeper/, for cryin' out loud." she grumbles as she starts trying to figure out where to start looking for the long list of books on her sheet. "That bald sumbitch's gonna be givin' me exams, next thing I know."
Adam's approach gives her pause for a moment, what with all of the 'Phantom of the Opera' shenannigans. "Nosir, we just met."

Jen's obligated to look /up/ at Adam, which… doesn't happen often. Her immaculate brows climb towards her hairline. A few wisps of dark moss-green hair escape her otherwise neat bun, framing her face. "Uh… guten abend," she says, struggling to dredge up some limited and badly accented German. Still, she flashes a friendly smile. Not one easily intimidated, size or not, it seems.

She watches the big cloaked figure trudging towards the noisy newcomers, a little warily. He's /big/. Big enough that he doesn't have any trouble with traffic. She glances at Halgrim. "Is Little Red Riding Hood with you?" she inquires of Halgrim, tilting her head minutely at Adam's back.

"You definitely ain't gotta call me 'sir'." Jeb says to the lady, smiling widely when he hears her accent. "Hey! You have an accent too! You ain't from here neither." His excited tone means that he's still being far louder than he's supposed to be in a library, probably indicating how often Jeb is in a library. "Yeah, no, Ah don't know her, but she's pretty /cool/ already," He says pointedly using the word that Adam is such a fan of. "These /are/ my friends though, miss. That guy talkin' real quiet for some reason, he's Mister Halgrim and the really tall one, he's Mister Adam. I do not know the big green lady but Ah would like to!" Because she's large. And green. Which are some of Jeb's favorite things.

Not having had a proper look at Jen before, Halgrim double-takes when she speaks to him. He's equal parts fascination and wariness as he replies to her, saying, "Yes, we're here together." He gestures at the stacks of paper. "I'm grading papers and he's providing a friendly ear to my complaints about the current status of written instruction in the States." His accent's less Swedish now and more 'Scandanavian who's spoken at length with native English speakers'. He gives Jeb a pointed look. "I'm speaking quietly, Jebediah, because this is a library and it's the sort of thing you're supposed to do." He glances up at the high ceilings and enormous windows. "Of course, the architecture doesn't make that easy," he adds.

People do tend to give Adam a wide berth. Nobody gets the sense that they really want a look under that cloak. "No, you cannot trouble me," he says, in his own curious accent…is it German, or English, or maybe a German speaker who learned English in London? "You need not fear that. My name is Adam." He bows to Amber, old-world polite.

Amber says, "Sir's my default for men as I don't know.", Amber replies with a smile and diffident shrug. "Though, you might oughta dial it down a bit.", she adds, nodding in the direction of the increasingly irritated looks Jebediah's volume is getting from their fellow patrons. "More 'Sunday worship nursery', less 'Oklahoma range in a hailstorm', just a suggestion.", she winks.
"Just here to do some extra-credit work, sir.", she says to Adam, nodding politely. "Not lookin' to cause any troubles.""

Jen's accustomed to people goggling at her— a bit of sideye gets ignored, but at Jeb's exclamatory statement in her direction, she fixes him with a level look and a tip of the brow. His antics do not seem to be amusing her overmuch. In the distance, there's a shuffling of books and a looming presence moving through the stacks. A Librarian, it seems, is prowling for the source of the noise.

"Jeeze-ow," she mutters at Halgrim, speaking so quietly her voice doesn't carry to the two country folks and Adam. "Did your friend just come in off the hay truck, or do they not have libraries in Oklahoma?" She's somehow writing while she speaks, hand moving almost independently of her mouth. She must be a heck of a multitasker.

Jebediah frowns when Halgrim tries to correct him. "Well, they got libraries but Ah didn't frequent 'em, no, Ah'm only here now because there's like an entrance exam for college Ah gotta pass, and Ah don't remember nothin' about the readin' or the writin'." He admits /quieter/, not quite the volume you're meant to use in a library but he's getting there at least. "Or the math, but nothin' Ah'm supposed to be studyin' is interestin' at all." He kicks his foot. "And it's Kentucky, Ah came from Kentucky, Miss." Because it /matters/ Jen.

"He's just easily excited," Halgrim says to Jen, as if Jeb were about ten years younger than he is. Or maybe once you get over 40 everyone under 20 might as well be 10; or it could be the students whose papers he's grading have finally gotten to him. He raises his eyebrows at Amber and Jeb both. "Well, do you need help finding anything?" He waves a hand at the stacks. "This and the University library are practically my second home, truth be told."

Adam stands very still, like a huge weird statue, while all this goes on. Then he says, in his voice that's like a double bass cello trying to whisper, "I will teach you," to Jeb. "And you as well, should you wish it," to Amber. "Professor Lindqvist has much to do. The state of education in your country is execrable."

"Amber Mueller.", Amber says, extending her hand to the very big, and very polite man before her. "Pleased to meetcha, sir.", she smiles politely, voice kept determinedly down.
"And I've been in many a library, ma'am.", she adds, just a touch louder, for Jennifer's benefit. "Just not one this big.", she winks. Hulking, athletic, green-skinned woman? Yeah, it's new for her, but she's learned it's impolite to make a fuss about it.
"Kentucky, heh, San Angelo, Texas, on my part.", she says to Jebediah. he young woman perks up an Halgrim's offer. "Was wonderin' where the philosophy section might be, sir. Could ya point me in a direction?"

"Wow, you two /really/ don't like the education system here," Jen observes of Halgrim, a little wryly. "Any particular reason for that, or is it just the end of the semester and you're on grading duty?" she inquires. It's hard to miss the signs of a weary end-of-semester instructor, though the giant pile of papers is a pretty clear giveaway.

At the retorts from Jed and Amber, she makes a vague gesture of concession— they seem to be well in hand with Adam, and at least they're keeping their voices down. "Of course. My mistake," she remarks politely, flickering a smile at the duo.

"Is that one word you said in another language, Mister Adam? Ex..Exec.. You know the one, the last one you said. Or is that English?" Jebediah asks sincerely and scowls at Halgrim when he refers to Jeb as if he were a small child or an easily excitable puppy, like that sentence came after Jeb piddled on the floor. He crosses his arms to let Halgrim really know just how offended he was by this statement and then /pointedly/ starts whispering but to Halgrim. He gets the silent treatment now. How dare he.

"It's nice to meet you, Miss Amber," He says and then turns to Adam. "You would teach me? It might be real frustratin', Mister Adam, but Ah could pay you for it." And then to Jen because Jebediah has to make a point not to talk to Halgrim so he knows he's not being talked to. "It's alright, ma'am."

Halgrim gives Jeb a smile that's half amusement and half apology. He says to Amber, "You're in luck, Ms. Mueller," using a proper German pronunciation of her name, "the Philosophy section is right over here." He gestures at a tall series of stacks near their current location. "There might be other texts scattered in more specific collections, though; for example Jewish Studies is on the third floor, and any philosophies written about that topic are there." He glances at Adam, curious about this budding arrangement with Jeb, but turns back to Jen.

"Oh, I have to grade all of my own assignmentsI've no teaching assistants," he says. "But there's also a distinct lack of early training in logic and writing here. I think you refer to it as high schoolthey seem to come out of it under-prepared for what's expected of them afterward. And that's unfortunate." He clears his throat. "For them and myself."

Adam's frowning under that hood. "Pay me? What would I do with money?" Honest question here. "No, do not pay me. We are friends, yes? That is how I will teach you. As a friend."

Amber is starting to lose the plot, though all polite responses are met with the appropriate nods and smiles. Don't go makin' a scene, now. "Nice to meet you too, sirs." she says to both Adam and Jebediah. "Thank you kindly, sir.", she nods to Halgrim. "I've got a lot to get through."

Amber starts going through the stacks of the Philosophy section. "Being an' Nothin'ness….", she mutters to herself. "Well, that's a simple damn question, you here are ain't ya? C'mon, Professor Xavier, gimme somethin' hard…".

"I don't know. I did all right, I think," Jen remarks of Halgrim. "Of course, some schools are better than others. But that's true all over the world. You get children who graduate unable to do sums in some places, or who learn a limited version of history in others. I came out of the Los Angeles school systems, and I wasn't the only one to make it through law school that way, either. It's not /all/ rich WASPs at Harvard, y'know," she says with a wry expression.

Jen finishes up her notes and sets her cap on her pen, and makes sure nothing's going to spill inside her neat leather satchel, busying herself with preparing to leave. "Try not to let it get you down too much," she tells Halgrim. "There are definitely more ways of being smart beyond rhetoric and composition."

What is all the racket? It's rude to keep your hat on in a public building like this, but some may argue that a bit of social rudeness may be warranted in this case. Amber's Stetson vanishes down the stacks in philosophy and a dark fedora appears from around the corner. Not yet the douchebag's hat, though it is a touch antiquated since JFK (gods rest his soul) encouraged the nation to stop wearing them, but eh, American fashion. Am I right?

Morbius keeps his chin inclined forward, peering around from just below the brim of his hat, elongated ears tucked into the article of clothing. He pauses a few tall shelves down, curiously happening upon this group at the tables. What…is happening here? Identifying a good many of the individuals there, he hangs onto a book loosely in a pale hand with a curious cock of his head to the side. Strolling forward, cautiously, as if somehow afraid to startle the gathering.

"You would use it to buy food and services? We are friends, Mister Adam, Ah already told you that, friends don't use their friends, right? But if you really just wanna because you're a good friend, then Ah can accept that, until you get frustrated, when you get frustrated then Ah'll start payin' you." Jeb offers, looking at Halgrim and then looking away immediately when he sees he's smiling at him. Nope, still giving him the cold shoulder, he had a point to make. He also can't understand a damn word any of them are saying. Rhetoric and composition.

When Morbius arrives, it shatters Jeb's attempt to make a point with Halgrim that he can be quiet by very excitedly and /loudly/ greeting him with a cheerful "Mister Morbius!" All the monsters in one place! This is Jeb's favorite night ever!

Halgrim murmurs something under his breath in Swedish as Amber heads into the Philosophy books. He considers Jen as she prepares to leave, and says, "For certainbut just because there's a problem in a variety of places, even globally, doesn't mean we can't lament it where we find it, and ask it be improved." He blinks, confused, when she says 'WASP'. "I'm not sure I know what a 'wasp' would be in this context," he says, carefully, like he's aware he doesn't understand the word she's used. Is he imagining large, flying, stinging insects zooming around Boston and casting the visual aside as implausible? Who knows, lately. He shakes his head. "But, it's not about being smart. The ability to express oneself, verbally or written, is like many other skillsit's something one can learn, if one applies oneself—if one is given the time, and encouragement, and direction." He's probably going to go on like this, except Jeb is proving Halgrim right, and Halgrim's mouth snaps shut and he jolts a little in his seat.

"Just a euphemism for the idle rich," Jen assures Halgrim. "But I'll leave you to your work. Take care," she offers. She shoulders her satchel and pushes her chair in, gathering her book up in one hand. She flashes a smile at the little crowd and mouths an 'excuse me' as she passes through the edge of their group. The tall woman drops her book on the 'returns' rack and heads out, heels clicking as she goes.

Adam despite appearances still has half an eye on Halgrim, and when he startles—he moves fast. Telling him something, also in Swedish, and an…enormous hand, corpse white, with charming rot green highlights, emerges from the cloak and sets itself on the man's shoulder.

"Jebediah Guthrie," Morbius full names Jeb, and though his greeting is quiet, it possesses a certain carriage with it that demands notice and order. An elongated hand lifts and his thumb and forefinger hold themselves an inch apart. "Library voice, please." His attention moves and turns, following Jennifer in the wake of her clicking heels. He can't possibly be checking her out, right? That would be preposterous. And still there he is, not so subtly rubbernecking over his shoulder briefly before turning to the remaining trio. Quietly sliding the book he was holding onto to the table top, his voice remains subdued, "Gentlemen. I see you've met young Jebediah. I'm not surprised. He's an enthusiastic one, though." His attention shifts toward Jeb. "A library is not the place I'd normally expect to see you."

"Ah met Mister Adam and Mister Halgrim on my own, Mister Morbius." And this, for the record, is quiet, because Morbius said /please/. "They are my friends now, Ah've decided and Adam already agreed to the terms of bein' my friend." Jeb blushes when Morbius points out that Jebediah would not normally be found in a library. This makes him look down at his feet, embarrassed enough to talk to his feet. "Ah do come here to look at the art books so when Ah make /you/ stuff, it's from the Greek artist Ah done told you about and Ah was just tellin' Mister Adam, Ah'm really thinkin' about goin' to school, but you gotta pass an entrance exam and Ah'm not exactly what anyone would describe as bright. You go to a library when you wanna study."

Halgrim takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. The brittleness that had settled over him dissipates, and he holds up one of his hands, saying something to Adam in Swedish. He runs that hand over his face. "I'm fine," he says, in English now. "I just need to…finish these papers and get, several, good night's sleep. Nothing the summer break won't fix. Less, teaching then, more busy work." He nods a greeting at Morbius, and can't hide his smile as he gains a partner in educating Jeb in proper library etiquette. His smile turns a little regretful, though, when Jeb looks down. "I'm sure you're perfectly bright, Jebediah. As I was saying to the, ah, young green woman who just left, it's all about being given the right environment to learn in."

Adam gives Halgrim a little pat, as if he's bread that Adam isn't sure is done, and lets him be. "Doctor," he says to Morbius. And kind of gives him an odd look. Morbius was checking out the huge green lady. Well, so was he, but that's different. "Jebediah is regrettably enthusiastic when it comes to our sort." Is…that a joke? Did he make a joke? He did. He's even smiling, not that anybody wants to see it.

"I never claimed you were bad at making friends, boy," Morbius remarks peaceably, trying to mollify the young man. "Quite the opposite, in fact. I said I wasn't surprised at all." The reminder over the works of art that Jeb creates is given a gentle nod as well, either not quite noticing the way he looks down at his shuffling feet or ignoring the pointed cue. "Yes, I remember. You've told me how hard you've worked on your pieces. The research involved. It served you well; your work is wonderful. I only meant that I normally find you at the restaurant." Red eyes flick upward toward the professor while he tries to make up for the blow to Jeb's ego. "Oh. Yes. I wasn't insinuating you weren't bright, Jebediah."

"Professor Halgrim. It's good to see you again." No offense to his other half but…let's be honest. In a library…ehhh. "Adam, always a pleasure. Regrettably enthusiastic." His own bulging lips curve upward, humored. The good doctor bows his head to hide the resulting smile. But hey! At least he has lips this time. That's an improvement from his last meeting with Jeb. "Yes. But he gives us all hope. Have you seen his work?" An elongated hand uncoils and reaches out to clasp Jeb's shoulder in encouragement. "He's a talented man in his own right. What sort of school are you entering? What will be on the exam?" The last to Jeb once more.

"The enivronment, Mister Halgrim?" Jeb asks, considering that statement and rubbing the back of his neck. "Well, Ah think maybe my environment was bad then, Ah skipped a lot of school to avoid gettin' beat up anymore until my mama caught me and gave me a helluva a lickin' and made me more scared of her than Ah was of any bullies, which Ah should have been more scared of her in this first place if Ah /was/ bright." Jeb explains, still rather embarrassed and shy to be telling them all this. "Ah was going to go to school for my art, the entrance exam has English and stuff on it too because apparently that's still required for yer degree even if yer only goin' to be drawin'."

"/And/," Jeb adds fixing them all with a /look/. "There ain't nothin' about me /regrettably nothin'/. Everyone else who don't like you, they are the ones that have regretable feelin's." And he makes sure they all get a wag of his finger. "Yer all amazin'!"

"Tack," Halgrim says to Adam, and settles back in the old oak chair, making himself as comfortable as one can in such a thing. He tilts his head at Morbius, and considers Jeb with new eyes, particularly as Jeb details his unfortunate schooling experiences. "Thst's a shame, Jebediah, and I'm sorry to hear you had to endure that." His reaction to being called amazing is to glance away and toy with his pen. By way of avoiding that topic completely, he says, "I'm sure there's nothing on this exam you can't learn."

"You're an artist, Jebediah Guthrie?" Adam's contrabass murmur is pleased, although he's just a hooded cloak at the moment. "You must show me your work, as Dr. Morbius says." He tips his head just slightly when Jeb explains his trouble with school. "A trial," he remarks, but no more. As far as he's concerned, people without terrible childhoods are in the vast minority. "Yes, you can learn. I shall teach you."

The exchange between Adam and Halgrim noted with a beat of sobering attention. Rather than pry, he comfortably shifts back to Jeb and his scholarly issues. "Likewise, my young friend. Though there might be some individuals with small minds and loud mouths who would disagree, you're likewise amazing." Not about to get into that argument in the differences between monsterkind and mutantkind, Morbius isn't about to die on that hill. "Yes, with some assistance, I'm sure you can learn whatever you need to to pass the exam."

Adam's volunteering may surprise him a bit, but it's a gratified surprise. Morbius nods his approval. "Excellent. And yes, I have one of his pieces in my room. I'll show it to you some time. There's another at—have you been to Mister Petropoulos' restaurant? Saganaki?" The last name and the restaurant's name spoken with the proper and natural accent to Morbius and Lambert's mother tongue. "He is a fantastic young man of our sort with a sanctuary in back of his restaurant. He will also have a piece of Jebediah's if I am not mistaken."

"Speaking of mutual friends and the like, I have someone who would like to meet you, Professor, and your associate," Morbius inclines his head toward Halgrim, red eyes peering at him from beneath the rim of his hat. "A linguist. I thought that perhaps it would help your associate with some of his communication problems. We may be able to build a bridge to him." Fishing for Halgrim's thoughts on the matter without trying to stress him out too much.

Jeb smiles at Halgrim, having raised his silent treatment on the man for now. "Thank you, Mister Halgrim, Ah'm glad you think so and with Adam helping me, Ah'm sure Ah can learn anythin'. Ah was thinkin' of askin' my brother's friend to help me with math." He puts friend in there last minute before he gives away that he and Elmo are on friendly terms because Morbius was aware that his brother was datin' Elmo and he doesn't want to make Morbius angry with him because of that knowledge.

Jebediah smiles when Morbius starts talking up his artwork and Adam wants to see it. "Yeah, Ah have another one for Morbius, Ah've just finished it recently. Ah do wood burning with my eyes and Ah like to draw. You put it in your room, Mister Morbius?" Jeb's eyes practically sparkle the way he looks at Morbius when he says that. "Ah'll make you somethin', Mister Adam, and you too Mister Halgrim, and Ah'll bring my sketchbook when you help teach me things, Mister Adam."

He backs up when they start talking about things that weren't about him, having the decency to be quiet then, at least.

Halgrim raises his eyebrows at Morbius. "Saganaki?" he says, not quite able to match the accent, but it's close. "Yes Adam showed me there the other night. I'd no idea that was Jebediah's work I was seeing." He says to Jeb, "It was all very well done. Of course I'd be flattered to receive anything from you, but you've no doubt plenty to do already." He eyes Morbius curiously, maybe thinking to ask about the origins of Morbius' mastery of 'Saganaki', but chooses not to, or opts to focus on the other topic instead. He purses his lips, and glances at Adam. "I'm not opposed, but I'm wondering how we would…produce my tenant without any danger to this linguist. Unless he has other talents which would keep him safe."

Adam actually shifts, cloak stirring. He's been made uncomfortable. "Thank you, Jebediah. I fear I have nowhere to store or display such a gift. I have no…home." Halgrim's troubles are indeed a safe topic, and he quiets down to listen to what Morbius has to say.

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