James looked at the top shelf of the professor's chaotic floor-to-ceiling bookcase. "What's that I see up there? A photo album, perhaps?"
"No," the professor replied. " It's merely something that in every conceivable respect resembles an album, but in fact is not."
"Allow me to be the judge of that," James said.
"If you insist."
"These are of your son?"
"A military man."
"Right. Bobby took Navy ROTC, then after graduation got a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marines."
"This is an interesting picture."
"Thanks. Bobby was getting ready for the annual ROTC ball at the Hilton…"
"…and of course he was quite taken with Sophie, his very first serious girlfriend."
"Turned out she was a big mistake."
"This fellow, Joe, who was Bobby's best friend, also was quite taken with Sophie."
"Joe began a secret campaign to steal her away."
"So much for friendship, eh?"
"Treachery is everywhere, you can't ever get away from it. Joe put some serious moves on Sophie during the ROTC parade."
"Is that Bobby in the color guard?"
"No, he's in that group down the road. Anyway, Bobby caught a glimpse of them on the sidewalk as he marched with his fellow cadets. Joe and Sophie were locked in an embrace, kissing. Joe's idea, obviously."
"That's Bobby, fourth from far left. He told me later that he wanted to punch Joe in the mouth right there. But of course he wouldn't break ranks."
"So Bobby served as an officer in the Marines?"
"Yes, and he had the great good fortune of being between wars. Never saw combat. Made captain before he left the service to take a high paying job with a defense contractor in San Diego."
"Isn't it? Sometimes there ARE happy endings."