A Good Life
Book 2:
The Lily Trilogy
William Cobb
Synopsis:

A small college in the 70’s. The women’s movement is warily catching hold; still, Lily’s promotion to tenure track, catches her off-guard. Brasfield, her mentor explains: “They promoted you because you make their gonads tingle.” “But I’m a scholar!” Lily counters. Folly and intrigue ensue as Lily takes on the males.



ISBN: 978-1-60489-255-0 Trade Paper, $18.95        Sale $9.50

ISBN: 978-1-60489-256-7, Hardcover, $25.95           Sale $13

Binding
About the Author:
William Cobb is the author of seven novels, including the critically acclaimed A Walk Through Fire, plus his recent memoir, Captain Billy’s Troopers, William Cobb now gives us the second installment of his comedic Lily Trilogy, following Pomp and Circumstance.
 
Excerpt from Book:

Chapter One

 

Lily Putnam, Assistant Professor of English at Lakewood College, in her second year of teaching, was assigned to the Yancey Lecture Committee.  The Yancey Lectures were held every other year, funded by a generous endowment from Mrs. Willimena Loundes Yancey, Class of ’29, who had been married and widowed five times, each time to a wealthier husband, so she was left extremely well off.  Mrs. Yancey never attended the lectures, but they were her legacy to the college.  The endowment was plush, so the college was able to attract well known, even renowned scholars, from the major universities or even the Ivies. 

        Lily had been a lowly instructor her first year, and in a move at the end of the academic year that surprised her greatly, she was promoted to Assistant Professor and put on a tenure track.

        “There must be some catch,” she had said to her friend Brasfield Finch, who was the Writer-in-Residence at Lakewood.

        “There is no catch, Lily,” he had said, “they are all men. They promoted you because you make their gonads tingle.”

        “How do you think that makes me feel?” she asked.  “I’m a scholar.  I don’t want to be promoted on my looks.”

        “Come now, Lily,” Finch said, “you can’t change the way you look.  Oh I suppose you could get yourself up as a bag lady, but that’s not your style.  Just take advantage of what the Creator, should there be such a thing, gave you.  You know you are beautiful and sexy.”

        “But that’s not all I am,” she said, pouting.

        “No, and anybody with any sense—that, of course does not extend to the administration of this institution—knows that. So quit worrying about it and enjoy being a professor.”

        Assistant Professor,” she said.

        Brasfield Finch was also a member of the Yancey Lecture Committee.  He dressed in what Willow Behn, another senior member of the department—and a mentor of Lily’s—called his “uniform”:  scuffed boots, faded jeans, a denim work shirt and a worn corduroy vest.  He sported a beard that was famous in academic circles all over the state of Florida.  It was overgrown and bushy, so long that it hung down to his belly, and he tied the end in a point with a piece of colorful string.  His thinning hair hung down in ringlets to his shoulders.  Finch had published a couple of moderately successful novels early in his career; they didn’t sell well but they garnered some positive reviews in Publishers’ Weekly and Kirkus.  Since then he had published a few short stories, all in small journals.  He had been working on a new novel for years; Lily had read two chapters of it and thought it his very best work.

        “I think this year we should invite someone in Kinesiology,” Lillian Lallo, who was co-chairperson of the Yancey Committee, said.  They were meeting in the seminar room on third floor Comer.

        Brasfield Finch snorted.  “A glorified P. E. teacher?” he asked.  “I think not.”

        “Well then, someone from the business world,” Lillian, who was a member of the business department, said.

        “We are not a corporation, Lillian,” Finch said, “we are an institution of higher learning.  We do not need the greedy tarnish of the corporate world.”

        “Mr. Finch,” Lillian said, “you are a very difficult man.”

        “So I’ve been told,” he said.

        Lily looked on this exchange with amusement.  She adored the older man, so much so that she had had a fling with him the previous year.  He had a lot of gray in his hair and beard, but he was still more than potent in his sexual apparatus, which had pleased Lily immensely.  He had broken off their fling himself. 

“You need a younger man, Lily, not an old fart like me,” he’d said.

“But…” she had protested. 

“Listen to me, Lily,” he’d said, “trust me.” 

“But there’s really no one,” she’d said.

Lily had looked over the group of new hires this fall.  One man, new in the physics department, seemed promising; she had gone out with him shortly before classes had started.  He had made no move toward her at all and had smoothly rebuffed any moves she made.  She wondered if her gaydar had let her down.  The rest of the men were either married or seemed soft and wimpy, not to her taste at all.  There was one attractive woman, new in the history department, who set off strong vibes in Lily’s bisexual gaydar.  Lily had flirted with her at the new faculty reception at Flower Hill, the president’s residence on campus, but had not gotten much response.  Lily suspected that Paulette Jefferson, the dean’s butch wife—who also taught in history—had already gotten to her.

        “I think,” Finch said, “with the amount of the stipend, we could get a first rate scholar from Yale or Harvard.  Or we could get a writer of renown.”

        Now it was Lillian Lallo’s time to snort.  Really Mr Finch,” she said, obviously remembering and referring to the disaster of the previous spring, when the college had invited Lenora Hart, one of America’s most beloved writers, author of the classic To Lynch a Wild Duck, and she had made a drunken spectacle of herself.  So much so that the episode, when Hart was the speaker at the annual Senior Day convocation, had put the president of the college, John W. Stegall, III, in the hospital suffering from high anxiety and tension; he had insisted that he was having a heart attack, but that had been a false alarm.  “Surely you don’t want to have another writer!” Lallo went on.

        “Why not?” Finch asked.  “I warned John—I warned everybody—about Hart.  Nobody would listen to me.  Not every writer is like that.”

        “I have had recommended to me this writer Pat Conroy and this poet, James Dickey,” Shari Bulgarski from the music department put in.  “But l understand that they both drink and are of dubious morals.”

“Dickey is a poet.  I was talking about a real writer,” Finch said, “a writer of fiction, like Conroy.”

        “And like you I suppose,” Bulgarski said sarcastically.

        “Yes.  And like Charles Dickens and William Faulkner.  At any rate, I know both those gentlemen, Conroy and Dickey—unfortunately I was born too late to know Chuck and Bill—and you are right.  Like most penman, they partake of the corn.  The last time the three of us were together we drank three quarts of Wild Turkey and ate several bottles of green olives stuffed with anchovies.  We shucked and ate four big bags of raw oysters, into the night.  It was a fun—and extremely literary—evening.”

        “Ugh!” Bulgarski said.

        “Mr. Finch,” Lillian Lallo said, “I am interested in neither your choice of food and beverages nor your drunken friends.  Thank you.”

        “You’re welcome,” said Finch.

        “And Toni Morrison,” Lily interjected.  “She’s a fiction writer!”  It was the first thing she had said in the meeting. Morrison was the subject of Lily’s uncompleted dissertation.

        “Yes!  Perhaps we could invite Ms Morrison,” Finch said enthusiastically.