Economics 101, a Novel, ch_03 -- Introducing Karel to Bobbie, and Vice Versa

[JMR20170204: The second draft of this chapter is here:]

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

The characterizations start here, with Bobbie:

The previous chapter, telling us more about Karel, is here:

[JMR201605181926: Can't believe I pointed to chapter eleven instead of chapter ten.]
If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:


We saw Karel talking with Professor Macvittie, but we didn't see Bobbie talking with the professor.  And we didn't see Karel and Bobbie getting together and discussing things, we only saw the result.

So, how did Karel and Bobbie end up making each others' acquaintance?


A few days before classes began, Bobbie was seated in Professor MacVittie's office discussing her preliminary plans for her doctoral thesis.

"I see you want to spend some time observing and interviewing islanders on-location."

"That's right."


"We'll have to look a bit carefully at arranging the fieldwork. I'm not sure we can promise anything. We may have to ask you to adjust your fieldwork those plans."


"I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess."

"Would you be interested in working with another student who is planning his thesis in a similar area?"


"Uh, yes. His planned thesis is in island economics. I'm thinking you would find quite a bit that you could cooperate on."

"You're not trying to set me up with this guy, are you?"

"We don't play games like that with students' lives."

Bobbie was not looking convinced.

"I haven't talked with him about it yet, I thought I'd suggest it to you, and only mention it to him if you agreed."

"May I ask his name?"

"Karel Pratt. He"

"He was a football player here about five years ago."

"You know him?"


"Football is another of your interests?"

"Football is applied choreography. But my mother showed me a newspaper article about him a month or so ago. It seems that football players with advanced degrees are a rarity."

"He has a bachelor's in physics and a master's in engineering, played football as a walk-on player."

"So he has a wide range of interests, too."

"You could meet in my office, if you'd feel more comfortable about it."

"I'd rather not meet him where he knows he has to behave himself. If he's interested, he can contact me, and we can work out whether we'll work together from there."

"So it's okay if I mention this to him, the next time I see him?"


"Sure." "Oh, sure, I guess."

"I'll be talking with him on the first day of classes{, and I'll suggest it to him then}.{"}


After visiting with Professor MacVittie on the first day of classes [JMR201605241744: (which we read about in the framing story in chapter 00) ] Karel went to his first class, a graduate-level cross-discipline survey of education theories and topics.

As he entered the lecture room, Karel looked for a seat at the front. PhD candidates were expected to show leadership, and he rightly assumed that the professors who would approve his thesis and candidacy would not perceive sitting in the back as showing leadership.

Whether the supervising professors would be right in such perception is a separate topic of consideration, which we will set aside.

As he moved to the front, he greeted students he knew, and also some he hadn't yet met. Choosing a seat slightly to the left of center, he laughed silently to himself at the spurious, but accurate, potential political interpretation of his choice of seat.

Shortly, a petite, very pretty blonde came up and excused herself. "Is this seat taken?" If you called her a blonde bombshell, not many people would have disagreed. She, herself, would have been among those who disagreed, of course.

"No, no. Go ahead."

"I'm Kristie Person, by the way," she said as she sat down. "I'm in the Master's program in education."

"Hi. Karel Pratt. Pre-Phd, Anthropology. So this course is in your primary field?"

"Yes. I'm coming in from a bachezlor's bachelor's in PE, so my professors told me to take the survey class."

"I see."

"Karel, so nice to see you here." Karel recognized the voice behind him.

"Dan, you made it." Karel turned and nodded to his friend.

"Well, introduce me to your friend!" Dan said as he sat down on the other side of Kristie.

"I just met her, myself. Kristine Pierson. Right?"

Kristie looked a bit non-plussed. "Sort of. My name is Kristine, but everyone calls me Kristie. And Person and Pierson are sort of the same name in Sweden."

Karel grinned sheepishly. "Sorry about that."

"You'll have to forgive my friend. He can be a little clumsy sometimes. Dan Claymount. Karel and I used to play football together. He was much less clumsy on the football field."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence."

"Oh, that's right. I remember now. Dan was the quarterback five years ago, and you were the running back who made all the big plays."

"He sure was." Dan concurred with Kristie's memory.

"No, I wasn't. Coach saved me to mix things up when we got stuck. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't."

"You're just being modest. I watched a lot of your games."

"Well, so you are a fan of the school's football program, I take it?"

"Yes! Football is one of my favorite sports!"

One of the professors stood up then and greeted the students.

"Welcome, to this year's graduate survey in education topics. I'm Professor Donival. Please check your schedules to be sure you are in the right place." And he proceeded to explain the syllabus and the planned assignments.

And all of the students in the room busied themselves taking notes.

After about ten minutes, Professor Donival shifted from the course outline to the material for first lecture.

After another ten minutes, Karel became aware that the seat to his left was now occupied, and he looked over and nodded to the woman sitting there, then turned back to the blackboard, forgetting for a moment to breath. Mentally shaking himself, he deliberately returned his focus to the lecture.

At the end of the lecture, Karel turned again to his left. "I have notes from the first twenty minutes, if you'd like to copy them," he offered, opening to the first page in his notebook.

"Thanks. That would be nice," she said, and started copying. We missed her reaction when she sat down by Karel, but when she read Karel's name on the notebook, she was thinking to herself something like, "Of course it would be."

"You could copy my notes back at the apartment, Bobbie," Kristie was being helpful.

"You two are roommates?" Dan asked.

"Yes, actually. If you don't have time, Karel, ...," Bobbie said, feeling, but not showing a bit of surprise at how easy it felt to say his name.

"No problem. Get it while it's fresh."

"Well, are you going to introduce me, Karel?" Dan prompted.

"Oh. Bobbie Whitmer, meet Dan Claymount. He and I were on the football team about five years ago. Should I tell her what you are doing your masters work in, Dan?" Karel was anything but surprised at how pleasant it felt to say her name.

"Underwater basketweaving," Dan replied.

Bobbie looked up, amused. "Sports education, with a coaching emphasis."

"How did you know?"

"Read your mind. Karel's mind is not as transparent."

"I see." Dan clearly did not see. For him, not being sure of his position was a rare thing, both on the football field and off, and he felt himself rising to the challenge. "Say, is anyone going to the opening social tonight?"

"Maybe we can make it a foursome?" Kristie was also rising to the challenge.

What Bobbie and Karel were thinking at this point would be hard to say. For separate reasons, they had learned to go with the flow in social situations, waiting for opening gambits to play out before deciding which way to move.

"Sounds good. What do you think, Bobbie?"

"Why not?"

I should note that this is not Brigham Young University. It may seem like it is in some ways, but there are significant historical and policy differences.

I was confused and thought it was Eunice Clark Young University, but that would be where Bobbie received her bachelors in nursing.

Maybe this is Orson Hyde University. Yeah. That's right, now that I check. Orson Pratt University would be too, uhm, all-in-the-family. It's definitely Orson Hyde University. Maybe.

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

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