Papa Knows Best
By Jaxx Steele
Dominick "Papa" Pappas is a handsome, young photography teacher at Indiana University given to impulsive behavior and an overwhelming passion for his craft.
Professor Bradley Louis teaches philosophy at the college and has the reputation of being the sternest and most unsocial of all the teachers on campus.
When Papa first lays eyes on Professor Louis it's love at first sight. Professor Louis is handsome, intelligent, and twenty years his senior. When Papa approaches him, the professor turns away his advances, claiming they have nothing in common and belong to two different generations.Can Papa convince him otherwise or will Professor Louis’ theory on May-December relationships prevail?
The waitress returned with Ben’s lunch and they ate quietly. Papa continued to look over at Professor Louis to keep up with his progress. When Papa finished the half burger and the few cold fries that were left on his plate, he wiped his mouth and stood up abruptly.
“Where are you going?” Ben asked with his mouth full.
He picked up his camera. “I’m going to ask permission to use the pictures I took of Professor Louis, like you said. He’s almost done and I have a class in half an hour. So it’s now or never, right?”
Papa walked away before Ben could swallow and talk him out of the move he now deemed stupid as he stood in front of the man trying to find his voice.
Professor Louis looked up at Papa over his glasses. Papa continued to stand there mute for several long seconds until Professor Louis leaned back in his chair, wiped his mouth, and held out his hands gesturing toward him.
“Well, are you just going to stand there watching me eat or did you actually have a reason for coming over here?”
Papa’s lips moved, but no words came out, then suddenly the audio connection to his brain returned and blurted out, “My pictures!”
Professor Louis raised an eyebrow. “Eh? How’s that again?”
Papa cleared his throat and tried again. “Mind if I sit?” he asked as he pulled out the chair and sat down.
A smirk showed on Professor Louis’ lips and his eyes glistened with amusement. “Obviously not. What can I do for you? Are you a student?”
“What? No, no, I’m not a student. I’m a teacher.”
“Is that right?”
“Yes, my name is Dominick Pappas. I teach photography here,” he said and held out his hand. ”I came from another school and—”
Professor Louis shook his hand and leaned on the table, cutting him off. “Yes, yes, that’s quite the tale. What does all that have to do with me?”
“Oh, yes, well, as a photographer I take lots of pictures, you know.”
“Really?” Professor Louis said with false astonishment, muffling a laugh. “One would never have guessed.”
Papa paused, staring at the professor for a moment, then sent a look to his friend, who was peeking at them from behind the menu Papa had earlier. He took a breath before addressing the professor again.
“Yes, well, I did have a reason for coming over here. I took a few pictures of you and I wanted—“
Professor Louis’ face no longer appeared amused. He straightened up in his chair and held Papa in place with a stern look. “You did what? When?” he asked crisply.
“I, uh, well, while you were eating,” Papa answered in almost a whisper.
Professor Louis pressed his lips into a thin line and then pushed his chair back abruptly. “You did what?” His voice still held its crispness. “You had no permission to do so. I don’t know you and I don’t like my picture taken. That’s three reasons for not doing what you did. You will erase those pictures from your camera immediately, and I don’t want to see them anywhere. Is that understood?” He snatched his jacket off the chair and his ticket from the table. “Good day to you, photography teacher,” he said ending their conversation, and walked away.
Papa watched him as he paid for his meal at the register and left the restaurant without making even the smallest backward glance. He left the chair and returned to the table with Ben.
“Well, that went well.”