Reunion at university av.., p.1
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       Reunion at University Avenue, p.1
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           Kenneth Kerns
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Reunion at University Avenue
REUNION AT UNIVERSITY AVENUE

 

  Copyright Information

  © 2005, 2008, 2013 by Kenneth Kerns.

  All rights are reserved.

  This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real characters or incidents is purely coincidental.

  Dedication

  For my friends and coworkers, who encouraged me throughout this process to keep at it and enjoyed watching me sweat through it all. I also want to thank and dedicate this book to the University of Florida for the three years of my life that gave inspiration to this novel.

  Chapter One

  ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a group of prominent college students who were noticed by the state leadership in Florida as people to watch. They created a Student Government for this group and tapped them with the best jobs, the best spouses, and the best lives, one could hope for after they left college. This group fulfilled their destiny by taking power in the state. However, they developed an unusual but reasonable desire to perpetuate their influence. They, in turn, drew into their circle the next generation of student leaders, by giving them the power to control Homecoming at the largest university in the state.

  To ensure that future leaders could be identified early and this power could be consolidated, the circle publicly promoted their strength in networking among those most obsessed with their meaningless resumes – freshmen. They quickly assumed control of the largest organizations and reigned in the campus student government.

  As the generations went by, with more wealth and power and opportunity than they had any reason to deserve in their adult careers, the circle’s membership grew complacent. Their public image faded as the old Solid South confronted civil rights and the sexual revolution. Florida became a two-party state, at a time when most of the circle had been Dixiecrats. Forced to regroup, they retained enough influence and money to put ambitious and talented members into power regardless of the party label, but could no longer put a mindless anybody into office.

  On campus, unlike statewide, their influence continued unabated once they accepted the reforms of the 1960s and brought diversity to their ranks. Every year, active members of the circle selected the new inductees. Every year, the new inductees came from the ranks of student government and other perpetual student organizations. And every year, elections for student leadership were rigged by the student groups, all of whom dared to vote as a single block, amassing thousands of votes just by donning their brightly-colored shirts and smiling widely at unsuspecting students who would find that this circle had no real opposition.

  And why would they? Every student leader wanted to be tapped for the glory the circle promised and frequently delivered. Why risk the circle’s wrath by opposing the political “party” the old guard backed when it was just as easy to go along with it?

  Over the years, the circle got creative. Sometimes they changed the name of their party. Other times, they would publicly split into two during an election and get into passionate disagreements for all to see. Yet, it was nothing but a façade put on to avoid the threat of democratic competition, as both sides would reunite after the election to deliver the spoils and induct new members to their circle.

  Finally, a small but determined group challenged the status quo. In their eyes, not enough women, minorities, or liberals, were included in the ranks of the influential, and the rampant corruption needed to end. They lost every election as expected, but pressed on in the hope that the circle would widen itself to include a more representative selection of the student body. But the demographics of a college campus dictated that this rebellion would be short lived unless they recruited a next generation of their own.

  Unfortunately, only one of them recognized this fait accompli. An idealist, he would never give up the fight against elitism. His specific ideas, ranging from the mundane to the radical, gave the circle pause. They were unsure what exactly he was doing to their campus government and to the enduring power they held over it.

  In the end, the circle decided that the one truism to their activities should work on him as well. It was the very reason for their long-running success. It might take work, and it might take deception. It might even take a belated tapping. Once accomplished, however, it would solve all of their problems.

  After all, after a century of guarding terrible secrets and perfecting hardball tactics, they believed fervently in one simple fact. No matter what it took, no matter how long they tried, anyone could be brought into The Circle.

  Even Mike Adams.

 

  Chapter Two

 
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