My next idea was to call the professor. I’ve been trying to keep the lines of communication open with him even though I suspect him. Of what I don’t know. Something. He hasn’t responded to me in a while. Now I know why. He’s in prison.
I called what used to be his office number, a woman transferred me to another woman who talked about Cornell’s great history and a bunch of other shit and how they’d sue me if I said anything bad about them. They thought I was a podcaster.
I couldn’t find anything online about what had happened so I called his wife. I don’t feel great about it. I also don’t feel great about lying and saying I was a former student of his. She rambled. I think she was on valium. She told me that the professor was in jail for stealing money from the university. A scam to do with admissions and endowments and donors. I couldn’t follow it.
She said a bunch of times “if he stole all that money where is it?” Her logic is a little off.
I hit shows in Fort Wayne, Dayton, Akron, Youngstown, and Erie on my way to Ithaca. Everything lined up so perfectly it makes me wonder. I should learn more about unintentional magic.
Once I was in the area I got a paper map and charted out the Ithaca Mystery Vortex as best I could. Not very good because magic zones don’t follow roads. I can feel what the professor was talking about the first time we met. These places of power would drive me insane if I stayed in them for too long.
It’s like a buzzing across your skin and the back of your head. I wonder if this if what it feels like when you’re a heroin addict. I should ask someone at my next show.
The professor’s wife is pretty upset about him being in jail. Not so upset that she didn’t take one look at me and ask “You were a student?” I should have stopped and bought a skirt. Or a shirt without a big hole in it.
I wonder what a typical medieval studies student at Cornell looks like. I’m imagining one of those LARP kids.
She wasn’t bothered enough by my squalid appearance to dissuade her from talk for a long time about how sad she is and how her husband was framed. I’m not good enough at talking to find an opening to say “So anyway, about your husband’s ghost business”. The best I could do is to ask if I could look around his office. I didn’t even have a lie ready for why I wanted to.
In movies people always write down critical things and leave them in drawers. The professor did have a day planner book with all his ghost appointments. That has to be because he’s old though. No one does that anymore.