“That monk is a doddering fool.”
He remained bent over the microscope, speaking more to his Petri dish than the imbecile who had come to question him.
“Yes Doctor, but what you’re working on…”
“Will ensure Austria’s power for eternity.”
The man scoffed. He had heard of the scientist’s maniacal zeal. His mother had warned him that being intelligent was admirable and, if utilized properly, profitable but there came a point when it was nothing but a detriment. Genius was often followed by madness, she had said. Looking at the frenzied younger man, Dr. Rochenstein fully appreciated the wise woman his mother had been.
“The University,” he continued. “Needs more assurance of the potential success of your work.”
A bitter laugh resonated within the form hunched over the microscope. “You mean they would like to know when my work will begin repaying their generosity.”
It was not a question.
Everyone knew of the lavish expenses of the professor, but no one was certain of what the money was being spent on. There was gossip and speculation that perhaps he was building some great invention, but this was circulated only among those who did not know his particular field was biology.
(c) 2010 Gwenn Wright
Library of Congress