It took a court order, but finally the superintendent relented and let two men in to the apartment. God! Did it stink in the dingy 3rd floor walkup apartment. By the looks of it, the furnishing hadn’t been changed since the turn of the century. It was all faded velvet and heavy looking, as if the fabric held the years like weights. Through the parlor carpet a walkway from the door to the kitchen had warn the carpet thread bare. Newspapers were strewn all over the parlor save for the old Victorian high back chair that must have been Dr. Olsen’s favorite. All the other furniture has been used for storage of some kind. The divan was covered in big, reference library size books. Glancing at a few of them they appeared to be in fact stolen from the library.

The kitchen showed less clutter, but what was there was worse. A cardboard take out container of Thai food was oozing some brown gunk down the slope of the sink and into the drain. The hundred or so flies that were buzzing to get out of the sealed windows must have gotten fat on the thick green liquid that had once had been peanut sauce. Everyone beat a hasty retreat back into the parlor.

“Where do you think the doctor got off to?” said the super in his think Brooklyn accent. The two other men ignored him. The taller man simply nodded to he shorter, and he trod down the hall to the single bedroom and bath. He returned a moment later shaking his head.

The taller man had collected the pile of unread mail that had accumulated beneath the door slot of the apartment. He was a bit taken aback by the amount of mail a single man can receive in 6 weeks. Of the 200 pieces of mail, only 3 looked personal. The rest were sales flyers, or periodicals or outright junk mail. The three letters were all post marked during the right time frame, and all bore the return address of the Institute. Bingo. They were all here. The taller man waved them so the shorter man could see that he had them all.

The shorter man reached into his jacket and produced a 100 dollar bill and handed it to the superintendent thanking him for his time and that they’d let themselves out when finished. He hurried the super out the door, latching it behind him over the super’s protests.

“Do you think he knew?”

“How could he. These all came after he disappeared.” The taller man opened the oldest of the three letters and scanned it before passing it over to his colleague who began to read it aloud:

“January 12,
Dr. Michael Olson,

Having failed to reach you via telephone or through regular university channels it is our wish to inform you via letter that your work “Temporal Jumps in Linier Time” has been nominated for the MacArthur Genius grant. If you wish to be considered for this prestigious honor, please respond by February 28 of this year.”

The taller man looked at the shorter, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Perhaps Dr. Olson was more of a genius than anyone thought?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.