The U-DUB campus is beautiful in the spring. The rows of cherry blossoms are incomparable. Views of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier are breathtaking.
But not today.
Today is typical Seattle Gloom. Which makes the “school uniform” much easier to choose. Sure, I can pull off the “self-centered sorority chick in spring” chic, but I would rather not.
I reserve leg shaving for other occasions.
Layers, rain jacket (no umbrella), baseball cap with pony tail, stuffed backpack, transit pass and Starbucks cup, simple. I blend in with absolutely everyone. And with record high enrollment, I should virtually disappear.
I am fortunate that I can walk to the Link Light Rail station because the parking is a joke. Driving to UW from Sea-Tac is a bigger joke. So, I can sit back (or stand) and enjoy the ride.
Maggie meets me on campus and is immediately a sore thumb.
“Omygawd this is so exciting. Real undercover detective shit.”
Yep, just like Rockford.
“Just get me into the professor’s office, QUIETLY.”
As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Maggie has free reign in the Science Department. The heads of the Department have not yet designated Prof. Nickels as missing or even absent. So, her access has not been hindered.
His office is nothing as I expected. The man has taste. Warm woods and soft fabrics line the walls and furniture. His bookshelves are so organized I fully expect to find a Dewey decimal system.
Maggie spots his planner.
“He left his planner, it’s right here.”
“Who still uses those? Seems old fashioned.”
“Look around, he is old fashioned.”
For a man in his early 50’s, I’d call him a renaissance man.
“Ok, wow. This is pretty convenient. It’s open to last week.”
Maggie takes a good long look.
She seems confused.
“What, is something not right?”
“This doesn’t make any sense. This says he was going to be visiting the Granite Mountain Claim.”
“That is not right?”
“Well, no. He was researching Springer Chapel Mine.”
“So, maybe he did go there, and something happened, or he just hasn’t checked in?”
Tears started to well up in Maggie’s eyes.
“He has no grant for The Granite Mountain Claim research.”
“So, why is he there? Who DOES have that grant?”
She paused to control herself.