He shook his head. Relieved, I started to get up.

'Do you know Mr. Haley in the English Department?' Barnum asked quickly.

I said I did, reluctantly sat back down. Fred Haley and I had shared a few beers.

'Mr. Haley tells me he's seen Dr. Kee before, in Korea,' Barnum continued. 'As you may know, Mr. Haley was a POW. He tells me that Kee-who was using a different name then-was an enemy interrogator in charge of the brainwashing program to which all the POWs were subjected. Apparently, this Kee had a reputation for brutality- psychological as well as physical.'

I was impressed. Fred Haley wasn't a man given to wild accusations: at least, he was no more paranoid than anyone else who has to live and work in New York City. On the other hand, as a former POW he'd have a very special ax to grind.

'It wouldn't be the first time a former enemy had come to work in the United States,' I said. 'Where would we have been without Wernher Von Braun? Kee could have changed his name to keep people from rattling the skeletons in his closet. Smathers certainly must know the background of his own associate. It's possible that everything's on the level.'

'I'm fully aware of that,' the Chancellor said, a note of impatience creeping into his voice. He crossed his legs quickly, nervously, then uncrossed them. 'As I said, I'm concerned with appearances. There's also the matter of the one-hundred-thousand-dollar yearly endowment Dr. Smathers receives for the academic chair he holds. That represents the entire budget for his department, including salaries. While it's true that a man of Dr. Smathers' proved administrative abilities is not normally expected to-'

'You think Smathers is embezzling funds?'

'On the contrary,' Barnum said wryly. 'It's more likely he's printing money; that's the only way I could explain the equipment deliveries and remodeling that are going on over at Marten Hall.'

'Doesn't the university audit Smathers' departmental budget?'

'Of course. But the audit covers only the money that the university provides directly, and the departmental budget is broken down into very broad categories. Frankly, our audit simply shows that Dr. Smathers is a very careful budgeter. Still, I wonder …' He paused and scratched his head, sighed. 'It's hard to criticize an administrator for providing more within his budget than he would seem capable of. But I'm convinced he has additional sources of funds, and I'm curious as to where the extra money is coming from.'

'What's he working on over there?'

'Frankly, I don't know; and I probably wouldn't understand it if I did know. Under the terms of his contract, he teaches one graduate seminar-which he's been doing brilliantly-and he has an absolutely free hand in research.'

'Why don't you just go over and see for yourself what he's up to?'

'Because it would look irregular. Obviously, one doesn't risk stepping on the toes of a Nobel Prize winner.' He licked his lips, and his gray eyes seemed to grow darker, more intense. 'Look, Dr. Frederickson; I wouldn't even care about these financial matters if it weren't for Dr. Kee's rather questionable background, and the. .'

'The rumors you won't tell me about,' I finished for him.

'Correct,' Barnum said with a quick nod.

I picked up my pencils and began tapping out a rhythm; it wasn't right, and I put the pencils aside again. 'Where did Smathers come from?'


'Harvard takes good care of its prizewinners, to say the least. It's hard for me to believe they wouldn't have matched any offer that was made to him. Why do you suppose they let him get away?'

Barnum's reply was a prolonged, eloquent silence. Rumors.

'What did he win his Nobel Prize for?'

'He did pioneering work in sensory deprivation. It seems Dr. Smathers is a leading authority in the field.'

'Sensory deprivation,' I said tentatively. 'That would be artificially taking away a man's senses-sight, sound, smell, touch, taste?'

'I believe that's correct.'

'To what purpose?'

'Apparently none, except to simply find out what happens. The first experiments were conducted to determine the effects. NASA was interested for a time because of the sensory deprivation that might be involved in interplanetary space travel. But they gave it up when it became evident that the experiments entailed too much risk for the volunteers; it seems you can actually induce psychosis.' Barnum paused and drew himself up in his chair. 'Well, Dr. Frederickson? Will you investigate Dr. Smathers for me?'

'I'll check out a few things and get back to you in a week or so.'

'Thank you,' he said, the curtness of his tone laced with relief. 'You'll need a retainer.'

I didn't want the job, didn't want the retainer; but I also didn't want to offend Barnum. The university had been good to me, and at the moment the Chancellor represented the university. I gave him a figure of two hundred and fifty dollars, then cut it in half when I saw he was writing out a personal check.

As soon as Barnum left I put the check in a drawer, picked up the phone and called a private investigator in Boston by the name of Winston Kellogg. I'd done some work-gratis-in New York for Kellogg on a few occasions, and it seemed a good time to cash in the IOU. I asked him to make some inquiries- nothing expensive-into Smathers' tenure at Harvard and let me know what he found out, if anything.

The phone rang while I was on my way out the door. I let it ring a few times, then went back and answered it. I was glad I had; it was Janet Monroe, a good friend. Janet was a nun, as well as a premier microbiologist. She was on indefinite leave from a small upstate Catholic college to develop special projects at the university.

'Mongo!' Janet breathed. 'There you are. I've been trying all morning to reach you here at the school. I thought I might have to resort to prayer.' It was one of her standard jokes, but now her voice had an odd ring to it. She sounded tense and breathless, as though she'd run a long distance.

'What's the matter, Janet?'

'Are you free around one this afternoon?'

I glanced at my watch; it was eleven. I was hoping to have a few words with Vincent Smathers, and maybe even wangle a tour of his facilities. It was a chore I wanted to get out of the way. 'For you, dear Sister, I'm free anytime. But can we make it one thirty?'

'One thirty will be fine,' Janet said quickly. 'We need to talk to someone we can trust.'


'Yes. There's someone I'd like you to speak with, if you will. Unfortunately, he's on a very tight schedule.'

'Who is it, Janet?'

There was a short pause. Then: 'I'd-rather you find out for yourself. Can we meet in my office?'

'Sure, Janet. See you later.'

'Thank you, Mongo. You're a dear, dear friend.' There was a plaintive note in her voice that was uncharacteristic of the strong, vivacious woman, and it made me uneasy.

After hanging up the phone I started out the door again, then hesitated and went back to my desk. I sat down and deliberately tapped and hummed my way through the remaining measures of the third movement. When I'd finished, I rolled up the pencils in the score and put it in the bottom of a filing cabinet. I hoped I was wrong, but I had a strong feeling it would be some time before I got to the fourth movement.

Chapter 2

I picked up a hot dog and soda from a Sabrett vendor and ate in the car on my way downtown to the university. I parked in my usual spot and headed across campus toward Marten Hall, an old building which housed the Psychology Department. It was hot and muggy, close to rain. It would be a good afternoon to nap, or lounge around in a dark piano bar listening to music with a woman. I'd spend the afternoon snooping. I wished Smathers

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