Work Header

Academe: Four Conversations the Jones Boys Had about Education and One They Didn’t

Work Text:


Henry Jones sat on his floor with his four year old son. He held out a block and gave it to the boy.

“Junior, what color is this?”

The boy looked up at him and said, “Green.”

“Good. Now, en français.”

“Verte,” Junior replied.

“Bon. Latin.”


“Viridis,” Henry corrected.

The boy threw the block to the floor.

“Junior, you will not throw your toys.”

“I don’t want to play colors.”

“We are not playing. This is important. You need to learn this.”


“Because knowing many languages will help you in life.”


“Because not everyone speaks the same language and you want to be able to talk to all of them.”


“Because they have good stories to tell you.”

“Can’t they just tell me in English?”

“No, most people can only speak their own languages.”

“Why? Didn’t their daddies teach them?”

“Yes, but not languages. They learned what they need to know. You learn what you need.”

“I don’t need Latin.”

“Yes, Junior, yes you do.”



Short List

“The University of Chicago?”

Indiana did his best to stand his ground as his father’s voice rose. He would not be dissuaded. “Yes, it has a good archaeology program. I think it is the best choice.”

“You think, Junior; you think?” Henry Jones insisted. “This doesn’t seem to be something someone who thought things through would say.”

“I have thought this through, sir.”

“We have worked your whole life to provide you with a thorough education which any institution would deem exemplary and you decide to go to the University of Chicago when you can go to Princeton, or Harvard, or Oxford. Why would you sell yourself short, Junior?”

“I’m not selling myself short. I’m going to the best place for me.”

“The best place?”

“Yes sir, Princeton, Harvard, and Oxford would be good if I wanted to pursue literature like you, but I do not. I am going to be an archaeologist,” Indy smirked.

“So you can go dig up the world? What will that do?”

“It will tell us if you are right about the medieval world, if you are right about the Grail.” He knew he could win this if he just made the point correctly. “Literature is speculation; archaeology is proof. I’m going to learn how to get that proof from people who know how and not from people who sit in their ivy-covered halls, never venturing out to test their theories.”

“Write me a thousand word essay on why the University of Chicago is better than Oxford and we’ll see.”


Short Round

After the boy went outside, Henry turned to his son and remonstrated him, “You cannot tell me that you just let him drive your car.”

“Why not?” Indiana’s obstinacy was in full force.

“There are such things as child labor laws, Junior. You know the importance of education. You cannot take an orphan boy, a clearly gifted boy, and keep him from getting a proper education.”

His resolve cracking somewhat, Indy justified, “Short Round wouldn’t do well in a traditional educational environment.”

“That’s an excuse,” his father corrected. “With proper discipline, he could grow accustomed to school. An old friend of mine is the headmaster of a school in England that would suit him well. You will send the boy to the school.”

Indy scoffed, “He’s lost his whole family; I’m the only person he’s got and you want me to send him away?”

“Yes, with the rate you are going, this boy might be the only chance I get at grandchildren and my grandchild will have a proper education.”


Or Perish

After they had managed to get Marcus back on track and keep him from leading them into the middle of the desert, something began to bother Henry Jones, Sr.

“Junior,” he said.

“Yes, sir.”

“Junior, you said this sort of thing happened to you all the time.”

Indy merely squinted.

“It was my impression that archaeology was about proof.”


“Do you ever bring back proof, carefully recorded proof?”

“Yes, but it’s hard when people are trying to kill you.”

“If you don’t have carefully recorded proof, how on Earth do you publish?”

“I don’t actually publish that often.”

“And your department doesn’t mind?”

“I bring things in for Marcus’ museum. He doesn’t seem to mind.”

“But how do you participate in your field? Do you go to conferences or do you just fight Nazis?”

“It’s surprising how often fighting Nazis comes up in archaeology.”

“It’s surprising that you manage to hang on to your tenure. How often do you actually teach your classes?”

“I make it to at least seventy-five percent of them.”

“Junior, your students are paying to learn and you are short changing them.”

Indiana wanted to get annoyed; he felt his normal rebellious flair coursing through his veins, but resisted. He could not fight with his father this soon after almost losing him. “You’re right, Dad,” he said. “I’ll make sure I teach every class.”



Junior was wearing the face he wore when he did something wrong. It was the look he got when he stole a cookie or forgot his homework. Henry knew that something was wrong. He’d heard about Junior’s losing his job, but knew he’d managed to get it back. Henry was about to ask Junior what he’d done when the boy walked in the door and he knew.


Indiana snapped to attention. “Yes, sir.”

Mutt laughed. Somehow, Indiana Jones had just become a ten year old.

“Junior, I assume that since you have never introduced me to this boy before that you have done something of which I cannot be proud.”


“This boy—”

“Mutt,” the boy supplied for himself.

Henry sighed, “Mutt here is the spitting image of your mother.”

“I do not look like a girl.”

“She was a beautiful woman,” Henry said, “and you are lucky to have her nose. Now Junior, I know you have trouble resisting your more carnal urges, but to abandon this boy’s mother.”

“Dad, wait now, I.”

“Junior, there is no excuse.”

“But Marion—”

Henry squinted his eyes, “Don’t tell me that you left your old mentor’s daughter unmarried and pregnant.”

“I didn’t know she was pregnant, Dad, and I had to go—”

“What? What was so important?”

Mutt smiled, “Yeah, old man, what was so important.”

“I was recruited by the OSS. I had to go help with the war.”

Mutt perked up, “You were in the OSS?”

“Of course he was. Now, let me look at you, boy. Mutt, is it?” Henry asked with some distaste.

“Technically, it’s Henry.”

“Alright, Henry, how old are you now?”

“How old are you?”

“Older than I look. Where are you going to school?”

“School wasn’t for me. I—”

“You are a Jones and Joneses prize their educations.”

“Technically, I’m a Williams.”

“Is that what it says on your birth certificate?”


“What does it say?”

“Henry Walton Jones III”

“So you are a Jones and Joneses go to university. I cannot believe that your mother would allow you to drop out.”

“She didn’t have a choice in it. She sent me to fancy schools but it didn’t take.”

“Oh I see. You’re one of those young men who have everything, but wish they didn’t, so they throw their whole lives away. Well, we are not going to stand for that young man. Your brother is an archaeologist.”

Mutt started, glaring accusingly at Indiana, “I have a brother?”

“He’s adopted,” Indy explained. “Nguyen is at Berkeley. We sent him to boarding school. He’ll be home for Christmas. You’ll like him.”

“But that’s not the point,” said Henry. “You will go to university.”

“School’s not for me. I just want to fix motorcycles.”

“Right, we’ll send him to school for engineering. He can design motorcycles.”

“No, no. I’m not going to school.”

Both elder Joneses turned to him and said, “Yes you are.”