“All of us are making sacrifices, guys”
Chancellor Gary May sits in his office at the top of Mrak Hall. He stands next to his window and looks across the courtyard leading to Shields Library. He rubs his forehead and talks into his phone. He is on a conference call.
“We’ve been putting it off for so long, everyone,” May says. “I think it’s time to call it quits.”
“Please, Gary, reconsider,” begs a woman on the other end of the line. “People’s ways of life are at stake here.”
“No,” he asserts. “We haven’t met in weeks because of the virus. And our campaign is losing momentum… Guys, I’m calling off our D&D game,” he declares.
The conference call erupts with a chorus of voices. Some are panicked, others are angry.
“Be reasonable, guys — I don’t even remember my character anymore.” May throws his hands up in frustration.
“That’s not true! You were a Dwarf Sorcerer named Garrus Maerun!” calls out Professor Edward (William) Tavernetti. “How could you forget it? ‘Garrus Maerun.’ That’s just your name.”
“He was a throwaway character,” May insists. “Look guys, this campaign means the world to me. I just don’t see any way we can meet with all the COVID stuff going on. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves.”
“We could always try doing it over Skype…”
May punches the wall in his office. “YOU KNOW THAT’S NOT THE SAME.” He is breathing heavily. The phone call is silent. Over the phone, a gentle sobbing can be heard.
“I…oh god, Enderle, I…” May starts.
“Now you’ve done it,” scoffs Provost Ralph J. Hexter. “You made Enderle cry.”
May stands speechless at his window. One by one, members of the conference call hang up. His mouth hangs open and then stiffens shut. When the last of them leave the call, he stares into his reflection for a long time.
May sits down at his desk and loosens his tie. He picks up a framed picture next to his desktop. In the frame, UC Davis staff and professors sit around a dinner table in costumes as their D&D characters. Professor Bryan Enderle wears elf ears and holds a gnarled wizard’s staff. Across the table, Linda Katehi mimes a casting of “magic missile” at him. May sits at the head of the table dressed as cleric. The picture is dated 1991.
May sinks into his chair and sighs deeply. “What do I do?” he thinks to himself. He exhales and opens up his Gmail account. “Maybe if I write an email about it I’ll feel better.”
Written by: Matthew Simons — firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)