and the DNA
by Jeffrey Ross
Alexandra was in a serious conundrum. He was
staring at a manila mailing envelope resting on
the card table in his small living room.
About twenty minutes ago, he had opened the
envelope and removed the book inside.
Dr. Fritz Alexandra, PhD, had undergone a
complete emotional turnaround in the last few
Old Fritz had been quite pleased to receive the
signed copy of a detective novel. Two weeks ago,
he had ordered the text directly from the author,
and she had been kind
enough to sign the copy.
But the confident bachelor psychology professor
had been greatly affected by seeing her signature
and her printed address on the envelope.
His elation at receiving the book and seeing her
handwritten and special encouraging words on the
second page (Best Wishes) suddenly
This emotional downturn occurred when he picked
up the slightly-torn envelope and held it over
the small recycle bin in his kitchen.
Aghast, the professor realized the authors
DNA must be somewhere on the envelope. The
postage was metered, true, so she did not affix
But she must have handled the package, and she
surely opened the book to sign it. Ahgg!
The good doctor was too fond of her, too close to
her through her stories, to toss out her DNA. He
had seen her picture. She was beautiful, poised,
The thought of her DNA heading off to a recycling
plant in Des Moines or Davenport was just too
much for him.
He sat back on a folding chair, alarmed at his
obsession. Still struggling with his feelings, he
looked closely at the book, and saw no special or
He waved it under his nosebut smelled no
perfume. (He only detected paper and ink aromas.).
Frantic, he looked for a lock of hair, or a
business card, or
a scribbled phone number. Nothing. Significantly,
he found no lip stick smudges.
Agitated, he lunged for a 24-ounce tall-boy beer
and drank it in fifteen seconds.
Next, he peered inside the envelope, hoping to
find any, any at all, message or sign. Nothing.
He drank another beerand fished around in a
desk drawer for a pack of Pall Malls.
Lighting two, he inhaled deeply, and felt better.
Gaining his mental footing once again, his
empiricist-self compromised. Tomorrow, he would
buy an 8 x 11 picture frame
with a glass cover and preserve her DNA forever.
He felt better after thinking about the envelope
preserved within the picture frame, and the
able to go to bed. But he placed the sacred
envelope on his night stand and stared happily at
her address while finishing his smokes.
Finally, convinced her DNA was to be safely
archived, the prof was able to fall asleep. Good
thing, too. Tomorrow he was going to have a big
Dr. Alexandra was beginning a lecture series at
the college How to Tell if Your
Relationship is Healthyand he really
needed some rest.