The Colossal Heads

Professor Falk tossed the term paper onto his desk. He sighed a mixture of fatigue and defeat.

"Mr. Joyner," he exhaled quietly. "This is not a fiction writing class. This is an anthropology class."

"But that's not fiction," Robert Joyner objected.

Professor Falk removed his eyeglasses. He dug into the crook of his left eye with his right thumb.

The student insisted: "It's a theory."

"It is a fiction, Mr. Joyner."

"What's the difference? All theories are just fictions in the beginning. Then they're proved and everyone starts calling them theories. This is just a theory that hasn't been proved yet. Yet. Yet is the operative word."

"Mr. Joyner..."

"You said yourself they have not been explained. I'm quoting you explicitly when I write there that the ultimate origin and context of the colossal heads is not known. Look, all the pock marks are signs of armed attacks by the Olmec laborers. The expressions on the big faces are supremely telling. It's resignation. Can't you see it? The heads are in repose, probably even death!"

"I read your paper, Mr. Joyner. There is no need to repeat it to me."

"You egotistical academics have a prejudice against what is not known!"

Professor Falk turned down the corners of his mouth. Carefully he reset his glasses upon his wide nose. The professor kept his gaze firm but a detectable note of conciliation tinged his voice when he answered: "There is no need to become upset, Mr. Joyner."

"What do you mean? You called my theory a fiction. I spent two weeks researching and thinking through all this. But what offends me most is how you all close your big heads to the unknown. Look, someone has to come along and stick his neck out once in awhile. Everyone calls him a fool then. But then he's proved right and everyone calls him a genius and starts schmoozing him. You're all prejudiced against mythology. You accept some of Homer as possible and throw out the rest because the Titans don't exist anymore. They died, you know. Medusa and the rest just died. They weren't immortals. It's all written down. Don't you see? You believe in dinosaurs because you have physical proof, don't you? Well, I've brought to you physical proof of a race of giants. These are their remains. These six-foot heads are their heads. They were giants made of basalt. They were born molten from the womb of a Veracruz volcano. This is what happened. After attacking and killing the giants, the Olmecs chipped off their heads for ritual purposes. This happens in the Pacific islands, too. It's possible my theory applies to Easter Island, also. You can find parallels for all of my proofs. You just have to know what to look for and keep an open mind. Someday you will be made famous by this idea because I'm sure you're going to steal it and call it your own. When you're famous you'll remember me. I'm right. And you're all bigoted against mythological peoples that actually existed. These big heads prove a race of giants lived in Mexico thousands of years ago."

Robert Joyner broke off his tirade then with a superior nod of the brow. He began his complaint flushing and strident. Now he finished it patronizingly stern--a father lecturing a child. Throughout, Professor Falk sat statue-like, chin in hand, considering. The professor weathered Robert's contentions impassively.

"You are a very creative young man, Mr. Joyner."

Robert met the professor's stoic eyes. The fiery student set his jaw proudly, in challenge. "It is a theory," he crisply pronounced.

"In fact," the professor continued smoothly. "I think your paper has merit in its effort and its word choice and in the extraordinary lengths of logic it goes through to bring your varied arguments and evidence into a seeming consistency. It certainly is the work of an intelligent mind."

But suddenly the harshness of Robert's jaw softened. But suddenly the keen sharpness of Robert's countenance bloomed into warmth. All anger vented from Robert Joyner now. He wilted. Robert gazed on Professor Falk with adoring approval. Robert grinned an open-mouthed grin. He glowed.

"But, Mr. Joyner..." the professor furthered. And professor Falk leaned now toward Robert confidingly, in a comradely way. "I'm afraid that if I allow you to continue in this vein you will present to me next a paper defending the idea that the original Mayans were extraterrestrials who descended to populate the Yucatan peninsula from flying saucers."

Robert Joyner furrowed his brow suspiciously. With profound gravity he probed his newfound intelligence for appropriate response. Then, in a studied air, one both aghast and aloof, Robert erupted, "No! People don't actually believe that, do they?!" His eyes swam, incredulous. He goggled at Professor Falk.

"I'm afraid some do."

And Robert Joyner, the scholar in him now offended, twitched his big head into stiff unmitigated negation. With summary disdain, he barked, "Imbeciles!"

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John Dishwasher

The Colossal Heads

colossal olmec head