The shield of night slowly slipped away leaving Kraus shivering against the furies of dawn. With the coming of dawn he once again felt the intense loneliness swinging inside him like a great bronze clapper about to ring in his demise. Kraus resisted getting out of bed as it meant he would be forced to deal with the horrid situation as he called the upcoming marriage of his mother, a widow the past twenty years, to Carl Chen a not-so-much younger Chinese man. The couple met at the university where Kraus, his mother and late father worked. Choking on his triple hatreds of the man’s youth and ethnicity as well as the perceived infidelity of his mother to his father’s memory, Kraus had railed against the betrothal to anyone in earshot and thus had alienated his limited social sphere in a pattern similar to blast-zone analysis charts drawn up for nuclear war scenarios. The only people who would still speak to him for any length of time were the forlorn antique idiosyncratic dregs of academia who capably clenched their teeth in public whenever matters of race were discussed, but who privately ranted against any social advancement of non-Caucasians. This cloaked sub-group of the History and Anthropology Departments, including a couple of Kraus’ father’s former colleagues, surreptitiously met in a smoky basement office on alternating Thursday afternoons over cups of stout tea and day old donuts swiped from the Department’s common kitchen area. To them Kraus was a cause célèbre known to their clique simply as that poor bastard.