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Within the seemingly pristine halls of academia lurks the seedy underbelly of financial aid and an English professor in Las Vegas who has bilked that system for many years in order to redistribute its wealth to students of a lower socioeconomic class. When the Great Basin Student Loan Corporation discovers Dr. Don Vendicarsi’s illegal means of obtaining student loans, they demand his presence at their Reno office. Fearing that his teaching career will end prematurely, Vendicarsi must ride to Reno to face off against the inscrutable loan board. Quentin Mann (a grad student whose self-described persona, Tall, Dark, and Handsome, comes out through his internal narrations) goes along for the ride, thinking that the trip is the perfect opportunity to force dissertation comments from Dr. Vendicarsi. Together they embark on a quixotic motorcycle road trip across Nevada where they encounter everyday Americana: a book burning cult, drugs, captivating women, and the Burning Man arts festival. Harried by the repeated phone calls from Great Basin and inspired by a demolitions expert at Burning Man, Vendicarsi ponders the ultimate definition of a teacher’s sacrifice by eradicating all records of student loan debt, while Quentin realizes that spending borrowed money on yet another degree is not what he needs to become a recognized author.

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