Theo's Thesis 2

If you have no idea what is going on in this story, asking me will benefit you in no way, because I do not know either. You can, however, check out part 1 if it makes you feel better.

It was Aaron who opened the door and bounded into Theo's office, closely followed by Steve. Theo noted at once that they didn't bear resemblance to each other in any way. Steve was on the heavier side and had short, sandy hair and glasses. Aaron was extremely energetic, and his every movement caused his brown hair to tumble into his eyes.
Uh, Theo, this is Aaron,” Steve said.
Hi!” Aaron smiled widely. “I'm ten. How old are you? You know, your office is really boring. It could use more posters. Maybe a few posters of hamburgers, Star Trek, and race cars. I really like race cars. Do you?”
Haha,” Steve laughed unconvincingly. “Aaron likes to talk.”
So I see,” Theo said. “Did you find your flight?”
Yes. We can leave in an hour,” Steve replied. “I brought some of Aaron's things with me; they're in the car.”
Ah, yes, of course,” Theo said. “I can follow you outside and we can transfer them to my car, unless you want to drop them off at my house.”
Which ever works for you,” Steve shrugged.
I was thinking of working for a little bit longer, so maybe if you put them in my car it will work best.”
Fine,” Steve said. Theo and Aaron followed him out into the hall.
I brought my comforter with me, the one with all of the race cars on it, though you know, most of those cars look pretty lame. If I was a race car driver, I would drive a cool car. You know, one with -”
Yes, Aaron,” Steve interrupted.
Dad, did you remember to pack my Star Trek movies? Not the fifth one; I really don't like that one because it's too confusing and lame, but I'm going to want some of them with me if I'm going to be stuck with a boring grad-student all day.”
Aaron!” Steve exclaimed, turning red with embarrassment.
You're right,” Theo said. “I am an extremely boring person. You'll need more than just Star Trek to help bear the tedium.” He grinned at Steve encouragingly.
Now look, Aaron,” Steve said sternly, “while I'm gone, you must remember to be polite. I'm going to be calling Theo to make sure you're being good.”
Yes, dad,” Aaron said humbly.
When they reached outside, the sun was already beginning to set. The sky was pale blue with a pink glow by the sinking sun. The sun itself shone golden, glinting off of cars in the parking lot. The air was growing chilly, so Steve and Theo worked quickly to transfer Aaron's things into Theo's car. By the time they had finished, the sky was growing dark, and a thin band of color with a rainbow gradient was all that was left of the sunset. Already, the planet Jupiter and several of the brighter stars were becoming visible nearby a full, yellow moon.
Now Aaron, don't talk off Theo's ears,” Steve reminded his son. “Theo is very busy working on his thesis, just like I am at home.”
Yes, dad. I know,” Aaron said. “When will you come back?”
As soon as I can,” Steve said. He hugged Aaron tightly, and squeezed Theo's arm. “Thanks again, Theo! I'll call you when I land in Florida and better know the state of things.”
Right. Have a safe trip.”
Aaron was silent as he watched his father pull away, but he smiled up at Theo as soon as the car was out of sight, and eagerly inquired about dinner.
I really like hamburgers, but I'll eat just about anything, so if you want Chinese food or something, I'm ok with that too.”
How kind of you,” Theo commented sarcastically as they entered the building again. “I hope you don't mind waiting a little bit, though, because I'm trying to finish up a few things before I go.”
Oh, that's ok,” Aaron said. “Do you have a computer I can use? I like looking up race cars and things online. My dad set up a racing simulator on our computer at home, and I like seeing if I can beat the other drivers in the simulator. Of course the other drivers are just computer-generated, but -”
I'm afraid I don't have any extra computers,” Theo admitted.
Shucks!” Aaron exclaimed. “This is turning out worse than I thought it would!”

(C) Copyright Curious Cognitive Content (CCC) - November 2010


Theo's Thesis 1

 I promised you that if I finished my story for NaNo WriMo this year, I would consider posting it here. Sadly, I did not get that far in my story, and left off at something like 7,000 words, but I decided to post the beginning of it anyways, and maybe that will motivate me to finish it....
Anyhow, here is part 1. Since it is a first draft I am afraid that some of it may not be parsed right, or have simple errors that need editing and/or research, so any comments or constructive criticism you would like to offer will be greatly appreciated. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it!

The sunlight filtered in through the shade in the window, creating linear shadows across Theo's desk. He was poring over an article for the third time, trying to comprehend the meaning of the information written in it. He sighed and ran his fingers through his dark, wavy hair. There was a slight tap at the door, and Theo looked up to see his friend Mark at the door.
Hi, Theo! Mind if I come in?” the young man asked, walking into the small room without waiting for an answer.
Oh, hullo, Mark! What is it?” Theo began to put his pen down, but it dropped from his hand and fell on the floor.
Mark grinned. “You've been studying again, haven't you?”
Uh, yes,” Theo said. “How can you tell?”
You always get clumsy when your mind is on other things,” Mark replied. He reached down to pick up Theo's pen, and stood up quickly with a grimace on his face and a half-eaten sandwich in his hand.
Oh, sorry,” Theo laughed, taking the sandwich from Mark. It slipped through his fingers and fell to the floor again, the peanut butter and jelly spilling out.
Mark shook his head hopelessly. “Theo, are you alright?”
Um, yeah, why wouldn't I be?” Theo asked.
You've been acting more and more...distant lately. Me and the guys tried calling you five times last night, and you never picked up the phone,” Mark said.
I was out grocery shopping and I forgot to take my phone with me.”
Look, I can believe that you were busy. I can even believe that you were out shopping at 11:00 at night. But seriously, it feels like you're avoiding us, because it hasn't just been an occasional night – it's been every night for the past 365 days! Or is it months by now?” Mark sighed.
Mark,” Theo said, looking at him pityingly. “You know how much I love hanging out with you and the guys. We've always been best friends, haven't we?”
Or used to,” Mark said sullenly.
Nothing's changed – on my part,” Theo said. “I've just been so busy, that-”
Busy with what, Theo?” Mark asked. “I know you're working on your doctorate, but heck, Theo, we all are! Steve and Paul are both in mathematics, and I'm going for English literature. Can biology be all that different?”
Theo looked at him strangely. “Biology is very different from English literature.”
Theo!” Mark was perplexed. “You missed the point entirely! If the rest of us can juggle a doctorate and still have a life on the side, so can you, right? Get a life, Theo!”
Theo sighed and ran his finger along the edge of one of his books. For a little while, he was quiet, staring at the floor. “I'm trying Mark,” he said at last. “This paper is turning out much harder than anything I ever anticipated.”
Mark was about to retort, but he caught something in Theo's voice that made him stop and bite his tongue. He looked up sharply and studied Theo's pale face.
Come on, Theo,” he said, “You didn't expect your thesis to be easy, did you?”
Theo shrugged. “Easier,” he said. He sighed and pulled his laptop open for Mark to read the email that had just arrived.
Your advisor's retiring?” Mark asked incredulously.
He's been battling cancer ever since last fall,” Theo explained. “I guess he decided that he just couldn't go on with his work.”
But Theo, you'll have to get a new advisor right while you're in the middle of your work!” Mark protested.
I know that,” Theo said. “Now you know part of what's been bothering me.”
I'm sorry,” Mark sighed. He put his hand on Theo's shoulder. “Let me know how things turn out, ok? And if me or the guys can do anything to help you out, just shoot us an email or call us up. It would be good to know every once in a while that you're still alive.”
Oh, I wouldn't worry,” Theo grinned. “If you don't see my obituary in the newspaper, then you'll know I'm still breathing.”
He watched Mark leave the room, then turned back to his work, a frown settling in his forehead.

Steve was cheerfully contemplating his next paragraph. He was explaining the Galileo-Einstein field equation, and was was feeling quite pleased with the results. He took a huge bite out of his donut and bemoaned the fact that it was too small. His large coffee cup was empty, too. Maybe it was time to stop by the cafe again. He heaved himself out of his chair and picked up his jacket.
Alpha Cafe was a newly established coffee shop only two blocks away from Steve's office. The front of the shop had huge windows with short, green curtains, and a huge sign that read, “our pi is beta than most!” Best of all, it served fresh donuts and coffee daily.
Steve stepped inside the cafe and breathed the smells in deeply. He studied the different kinds of donuts before finally deciding on the biggest, a giant chocolate one with vanilla frosting. He took a large bite out of it and was just beginning to chew when his phone rang loudly. Several customers eyed him with annoyance as he rummaged through his pockets, searching for it.
Hi,” he said, flipping it open quickly the moment he held it in his hands.
Steve?” a worried voice said at the other end.
Angie! What's wrong?” Steve asked, stuffing the rest of his donut into his pocket, and walking rapidly to where he had parked his car.
Look, I just received a call from your parents. Your Grampa has been taken to the hospital, and they're not sure what's wrong with him. They want us to fly down as soon as we can,” Angie said, her voice breaking as she spoke.
I'm on my way home right this moment. Don't worry, honey! You start looking up flights to Florida.”
But, Steve,” Angie said, “Who will watch Aaron? We can't possibly take him with us!”
We can...uh.... Aaron's growing up. He'll be alright,” Steve stammered.
He'll be alright, maybe, but he won't be happy. And at any rate, he's still in school.... Oh, Steve, it won't work!”
Steve sighed audibly. “I'll be there as soon as I can, honey. Meanwhile, I'll start thinking about who we can get to babysit....”

The door slammed open so hard that a poster fell off the wall. Theo looked up in amazement as Steve burst into the room.
What on Earth...?”
Theo!” Steve exclaimed. “I was hoping I'd find you here!”
I'm here. What's going on?” Theo asked, watching him with wary eyes.
Oh, Theo, I'm at my wits end!” Steve said. “Look, can you do me a favor?”
Um, I don't know.”
My grandfather's in the ICU down in Florida, and we have no idea what's going on with him. Me and Angie have to fly down as soon as possible, and we need someone to watch Aaron for us. Please, Theo!” Steve begged as he saw Theo begin to shake his head. “I've called Mark and Paul, and I can't get a hold of either of them. You're the only one I can get right now!”
Steve, I don't know how to take care of children!” Theo protested. “I wish I could help you out, but-”
Come on, Theo! You're my last hope!”
Theo sighed and studied his pen thoughtfully. “How long would I have to watch him?”
Two days maybe? I won't really know until I get down there,” Steve replied regretfully. “Look, I'll call you when I get to Florida, and if it will be longer than two days, I'm sure I can arrange for someone else to watch him. Please?”
Ok,” Theo shrugged. “I'll watch Aaron for you for a little while – but just until you can find someone else.”
Oh, thanks a million, Theo!” Steve exclaimed, shaking his friend's hand hardily. “I'll drop Aaron off, and oh! You'll need my phone number!”
Steve, I have your phone number!”
Oh, uh, right,” Steve said, acting flustered. “Um, just call me if you have any questions, ok?” Steve turned to leave the room, but stopped at the door as Theo called him back. “Something wrong?”
No, I'm just.... I'm sorry about your grandfather. I hope everything turns out alright.”
Thanks, Theo,” Steve smiled. He closed the door quietly behind him.
Now what have I done?” Theo put his head in his hands and tried think clearly. His mind could now longer comprehend the papers before him (if it ever could). Instead of meditating on the delicate process of RNA copying DNA, he found himself wondering how in the world he was to care for a 10-year-old in the midst of his mounting concerns about his data....

(C) Copyright Curious Cognitive Content (CCC) - November 2010