Professor Elliot rapped his knuckles on Chad Becker’s dorm room.
A few moments passed. A young man’s voice answered. “Who is it?”
Professor Elliot was surprised that anyone had answered. He’d planned to pick the lock and was just making sure no one was in the room first. “Chad?”
“Chad’s not here, man.”
Whoever was talking on the other side of the door, the professor doubted it was a person who was old enough to get the inadvertent Cheech and Chong reference. Even so, the educator persisted.
“I know that,” Professor Lambert said.
“Chad’s dead, man,” the voice said.
“I’m aware,” Professor Lambert said.
“Then why are you wasting my time asking questions you already know the answers to?” the voice asked.
Professor Lambert grew increasingly frustrated. “I’m not…you just…startled me is all. I didn’t think anyone would be in Chad’s room.”
“Because Chad’s dead man,” the voice said.
“Yes,” the professor said. “We’ve established that.”
“Well,” the voice said. “Why’d you come looking for Chad if you knew he was dead?”
“I didn’t come looking for Chad,” the professor said. “I came for…look…are you taking over Chad’s um…business affairs?”
“Maybe,” the voice said. “Who’s asking?”
Professor Lambert looked around to see if anyone was watching him. Seeing no one, he carried on. “Who’s asking me?”
“No man,” the voice said. “I’m asking you who you are.”
“I know,” Professor Lambert. “And I am, in turn, asking who you are.”
“I’m not telling, man,” the voice said. “You sound like a narc.”
“I’m not a narc,” Professor Lambert said.
“You sound old, man,” the voice said. “So old you must have sold out to the man a long time ago.”
“I did,” Professor Lambert said. “Sooner or later we all do but that’s neither here nor there. Do you have the stuff?”
“What stuff?” the voice asked.
“Don’t play dumb with me!” the professor said. “Open this door. I want to see your stuff!”
“Sir,” the voice said. “I don’t swing that way…”
The professor gave up on the conversation. He put his hand on the knob, planning on turning it in vain but to his surprise, the knob turned and the door opened. The professor found himself staring face to face with Paul, the frat’s Beermeister.
“Paul Keneally!” the professor said as he shut the door behind him. “I should have known it was you.”
Paul panicked and began to sweat profusely. “Professor Lambert! What a pleasant surprise.”
“Knock it off,” Professor Lambert said. “Where’s the stash?”
“Stash?” Paul asked.
“I’m not here to bust you, son,” Professor Lambert said. “I just need some Supersonic Chronic?”
“Supersonic Chronic?” Paul asked. “What’s that? I only put wholesome, organic foods in my body.”
“Don’t bullshit me, boy,” the professor said. “I know you’re holding.”
“Holding?” Paul asked. “What is this, ‘holding’ you speak of? I’m just a simple country boy from Kansas, sir.”
“Look kid,” the professor said. “If the school was trying to do you in, do you really think they’d send me?”
Paul looked the professor over, taking in the frazzled side and back head hair, the stained lab coat, the wrinkly shirt that looked like it hadn’t been changed in days. “I guess not.”
The Beermeister opened up Chad’s closet to reveal a virtual black market marijuana dispensary. Hundreds of perfectly organized glass jars, each filled with a different strain of green herb, all labeled meticulously. “Cincinnati Brain Fart.” “Dragon Bite.” “Mental Disarray.” “Kookaburra Candy.” “Mellow Madness.” “The Kushtastic Voyage.”
“I think he’s all out of Supersonic Chronic,” Paul said.
“Aw, Hell’s Bells!” the professor lamented. “Fine. Just hit me up with a half pound of Minnesota Mud Bud.”
Paul grabbed the jar and began dumping its contents into a plastic baggy. He then handed the illicit substance to the professor. “Three hundred.”
“Dollars?” the professor asked.
“No,” Paul replied. “Back rubs. Of course, dollars.”
“That’s highway robbery,” the professor said. “Look Paul, Chad and I used to have a sort of…arrangement.”
“I do not want to hear about whatever creepy sex stuff you and Chad were into,” Paul said.
“Sex stuff?” Professor Lambert said. “No. I would flunk Chad out of my class again and again and in exchange, he’d sell me top notch ganja at a discount price.”
“Yeah, well,” Paul said. “Chad’s not here, anymore, man. And as his best friend, I have inherited his supply.”
“Two hundred,” the professor said. “And I’ll flunk you too if you want.”
“I don’t want,” Paul said. “And why the hell would anyone want to flunk?”
“Oh, you know Chad,” the professor said. “He just wanted his happy go lucky college days to never end. The only problem is you have to be a complete and total dumb ass drooling mongoloid to flunk out of a two-year community college, so he’d give me cheap weed, I’d fail him on his exams and bada bing, bada boom, his parents would pay for another semester.”
“That’s messed up,” Paul said.
“And now that deal can be yours,” Professor Lambert said.
“No thanks,” Paul said. “It’s been my lifelong dream to graduate from a two-year community college within two years. I’m the pride and joy of my family for even trying to achieve such a miraculous feat. I’m not going to throw it all away with six months to go.”
The Professor pulled out his wallet and counted out some bills into Paul’s waiting hand. “Fine! One hundred…two hundred…three hundred. I hope you choke on it, you lousy grifter.”
Paul handed over the baggy full of bud. “Pleasure doing business with you, Professor. I never knew you were a pot head.”
“Oh, son,” Professor Lambert said. “If you’d risen so high only to fall as low as I have, you’d need a little recreational therapy to get you through the day. Trust me.”
The professor tucked the baggy into the inner pocket of his lab coat. “So how the hell did Paul die on the toilet anyway?”
“I dunno,” Paul said.
“He strain too hard and blow himself up?” the professor asked.
“Maybe,” Paul said. “All I know is I was waiting outside when I heard these loud animal sounds…”
“Animal sounds, you say?”
“Yeah,” Paul said. “Like a big roar. And then I walked into the bathroom and a bunch of girls Paul was hitting on were pinned under a section of the stall wall. The bathroom was flooded, the toilet was broken, and Paul, or what was left of him, was all over the walls.”
“Did you help the girls?” the professor asked.
“Shit no,” Paul said. “I got the hell out of there. You think I’m going to stand around waiting to get killed too?”
The professor shook his head. “Well, I’ve never been one to judge others.”
“Weirdest part was the bite marks,” Paul said.
“Bite marks?” the professor asked.
“All over the door,” Paul said. “The news says some crazy guy is running around murdering people on the toilet but…I don’t now any man with teeth that big.”
The professor’s face turned milk white. “Did you tell the cops about this?”
“Hell no,” Paul said. “I never say shit to cops unless I have to.”
The professor stood in the middle of the dorm room, lost in thought.
“Something wrong?” Paul asked.
The professor patted the young man on the shoulder, then exited the room. “No. Thanks for the stuff.”