Being an adjunct professor, as Carl and the three other professors he shares an office with are, is kind of a pit. They work insanely long hours, teaching and grading, before they even get to spend time on their own research. It’s a largely thankless job, and it pays miserably. And they rarely get the opportunity for a tenure-track job, like the one Carl has — we’ve fudged that a little.
In our short story, Carl, our protagonist, is trying to navigate a relationship with Phil — who is both Carl’s student, and nearly two decades older than Carl — while navigating his own prospects for tenure. Just before the story opens, Carl’s had his tenure hearing before his faculty committee, and is now just waiting, impatiently and increasingly frantically, for word on whether he has tenure — and a job — or not.
But in the world of academia, in the US at least, a career spent as an adjunct, without ever getting the opportunity for tenure — i.e., adjunct hell — is an increasing reality for post-doctoral students. And the trials and tribulations of that life — the misery of the hours, the frustration of the bureaucracy, the annoyance of the really obnoxious libertarian Carl’s forced to share an office with — makes for a good backdrop on which to paint our story of May/December relationships, and highly dubious professional choices.
Excerpt from Adjunct Hell
“So apparently your classmates have a betting pool going,” Carl says as soon as Phil picks up the phone.
“Yes. About whether and when the old dude with the crush is going to get with the professor.”
Phil makes a strangled noise. It takes Carl a moment to realize he’s laughing.
“It’s not funny!” Carl protests.
“I’m still waiting on my boss to tell me whether or not my colleagues hate me and whether I, you know, still have a job. The last thing I need is rumors about me and a student…” Carl trails off in despair.
“It’s a school. Do you have any idea how many rumors are flying around? Or how many professors are banging their students?”
Carl collapses face down on his bed and makes a pitiful noise into the phone.
“Look, I know this is making you crazy,” Phil says soothingly. “But whatever it is has been done, and if they wanted you gone, you’d know. There is also absolutely nothing you can do about it right now. So,” he says, and Carl can just picture him settling more comfortably in his bed, in which they have not spent nearly enough time together. “Tell me about the rest of your day.”
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Other titles by Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae
Young Love, Old Hearts
A Supposed Crimes Anthology
Editor: C. E. Case
Stories by: A. M. Leibowitz, Adrian J. Smith, Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese, Geonn Cannon, Helena Maeve, Kassandra Lea, Lela E. Buis, Ralph Greco Jr., & Stacy O’Steen
Everyone hears “He’s too young for you.” “She’s too old for you.” Not between these pages. This anthology crosses the age gap with nine enchanting stories of cross-generational relationships. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are heartbreaking. One is downright murderous. The protagonists are gay men or women searching for true love or trying out what’s right in front of them.
Verso and Recto by Geonn Cannon
Discovering their mutual love of reading leads a literature student and her professor to take a step neither of them expected.
A Blizzard’s Blow by Adrian J. Smith
Lollie dashes from the house in the middle of a blizzard in search of something she’s not sure she’ll find, but she hopes to never again see the same cold, blank stare Kimberley gave her.
Slice by Ralph Greco Jr.
When Germane relinquishes her more-than-slight kinky relationship with Lila to begin a new one with younger A.J., she finds a flirty, fun and wholly different “Slice” of life opening up for her.
That December by Lela E. Buis
Celia finds that older women and the politics of genetic engineering aren’t what they seem.
The Arrangement by Helena Maeve
When he is summoned into his Dom’s study after a mutually satisfying scene, Cyril knows he’s in for something worse than the play they normally get up to.
New York Minute by Stacy O’Steen
Stuck in his depressing hometown for far too long, Colton jumps at the chance to return to his beloved New York City. But when some odd coincidences click into place, he needs to find the truth hidden in the lies.
The Artist as an Old Man by A. M. Leibowitz
1985 is a big year for Kenny Anderson. Sent to interview artist Aaron Rubenstein, making a grand reappearance after a three-year absence, Kenny digs beneath the surface to understand Aaron’s life—and maybe his own.
Adjunct Hell by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese
Phil may be in his 50s, but he’s still a student, and the fact that Carl—who’s barely 30—is dating him would bad enough even if Carl wasn’t waiting for good news from the tenure committee.
Say You Do by Kassandra Lea
Keegan Bancroft is hoping to avoid a complete meltdown before his date. But there’s something he really wants to ask Richard.
About the Publisher
Supposed Crimes, LLC publishes fiction and poetry primarily featuring lesbian characters and themes. The focus is on genre fiction–Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Action–rather than just romance. That’s how we set ourselves apart from our competitors. Our characters happen to love women and kick ass.
“Supposed crimes” refers to the idea that homosexuality is outlawed, and that our authors are being subversive by writing. As times change this becomes more tongue-in-cheek, but can still apply broadly to our culture. Christians writing lesbians and men writing lesbians are also subversive ideas in this industry, and we promote people bending the rules.