You mind if I ask, the student says, what this is all about? He takes a long drag, a Parliament that crackles between his fingers, waits for me to respond.

I don't. Exhale.

I've seen this Professor around campus, he continues. He's a odd-looking fellow, isn't he, with those big suspenders and a caterpillar mustache?

I nod.

What are you doing breaking into his place? Guy's a fucking hack; university put him on an ice floe years ago. Steadfast dipso. What could possibly be so interesting about him?

His eyes burrow around me with an earnest curiosity.

If I wished to discuss it, I say as I stand, I would have gone somewhere else; and I shake the student's hand, watch him unlock the locks, and I depart.