By Dog Wronger
Members of the Washington College and Chestertown communities expressed shock last Tuesday when it was discovered that Barbara and Richard Gillin had allegedly fled the country in possession of thousands of dollars earmarked for the Kiplin Hall Summer Program.
Friends expressed concern when the couple were not seen for several days, and investigators were asked to visit their home. They found no signs of foul play, but it was clear the house had been uninhabited for several days by either the Gillins or their young dog, Kiplin. Several days later, College administration discovered that the program funds were also missing.
Police suspect the couple has fled the country and is “enjoying a tropical retirement somewhere,” Officer A. Laird Tenision said. “They were probably waiting until Kiplin was potty trained before they could leave the country.”
“It just goes to show you can’t trust anyone,” a source close to the WC administration said. “If a guy’s the longest serving member of the faculty here, you would think you could expect some stability after 40-some odd years,” he said, referring to Richard Gillin’s long record of employment with the College. “But no, it looks like it was all an elaborate long con.”
College administration searched Dr. Gillin’s on-campus office for clues to his wheareabouts, but found only a message scribbled on a piece of notebook paper. It read, “’Fold him in rest, O pitying clime! / Give back his wasted strength again; / Soothe, with thy endless summer time, / His winter-wearied heart and brain’ No hard feelings everyone, but we really needed a vacation.”
Some wonder how they could have missed the signs leading up to such a drastic departure. “I guess I noticed things were a little weird when Dr. Gillin started wearing Hawaiian shirts to class everyday instead of his usual snazzy attire,” sophomore Shelli Kiets said. “I feel almost responsible now for not speaking up. One time I asked him what our final would be like for the semester and he replied, ‘Oh, it’ll be like a tropical breeze.’ Looking back now, it all makes sense.”
Connie Kubla, owner of local hair salon Pleasure Domes, was equally unsuspicious when Barbara Gillin came in last week asking for “’something tropical, like maybe could I do a yarn hair wrap or a henna tattoo?’ I just thought she was looking to spice up her look for spring,” she said.
Insurance should cover the lost funds for students who hoped to attend the Kiplin Hall Summer Program. At this time, police have no official leads as to the couple’s whereabouts.
Senior Kohl Ridge claims to have seen the fugitive pair while on her spring break trip studying architecture in Cuba. “They were salsa dancing at this club, even the dog. I was really confused, so I went to go say, hi but they went outside and zoomed away in this red convertible. I swear the dog winked at me as they left,” he said.
However, police believe this account has no validity. “Do not pay attention to this strange vision,” Tenision said.
Professor of English at WC Dr. Jane Houston is not so sure. “I have looked up the verse that Richard left in his office, and it seems to be from a poem titled ‘Dr. Kane in Cuba’ by Elizabeth H. Whittier. Perhaps he and Barbara are in Cuba after all. Regardless, I don’t think we should bother them. Just let Richard leave his tenure—I mean his worries, behind.” Sad!
By Dog Wronger