Wilfred’s Other Job

Dear Kathy,

Greetings from the grid.  That’s what the W looks like since our dear corner of campus started having some serious electricity issues.  A recent electrical spike sent our computer system into a frenzy, erasing all our appointments for the day and locking out both Sallie and Sabrina….not a good day in the tutoring center.  So, to fully repair all electrical weirdness, our facilities crew decided to reengineer the wiring on 3rd floor.  With all the ceiling tiles are down and the multi-colored wires exposed, the hallways look a little like the spaceship in Alien.

And yes, this does lead to a Wilfred story.  Wilfred’s latest escapade began before the electrical troubles last week.   I walked into work to find Wilfred standing on a filing cabinet removing pencils from the ceiling tiles.  Evidently, he, Marcos, and Dexter decided to try out some pencil trajectory myth they saw on Mythbusters.  Using Mythbusters as an excuse did not save them from a lecture.  While Marcos and Dexter looked sufficiently repentant, Wilfred ignored me and pushed through the upper tiles.  “Eureka!” he cried and disappeared into the ceiling.

He now routinely crawls through that ceiling corner and wanders through the building, above the electrical wiring and through the air ducts.

But now Wilfred is as happy as a lark without ceiling tiles to impede his access in and out of his private tunnels.  He uses them most often to visit the library.  Says it’s too boring to go on foot.  “After all,” he routinely informs me, “going to the library deserves to be dramatic.”

Yesterday morning he came in strangely silent.  He even walked past the donuts without taking one.  That’s when we knew something was wrong.  “What’s going on, Wilfred?” Dexter said.

Wilfred let down a loud sigh and said, “My motorcycle is out of commission.  I had to ride the bus again today.  And you know how much I despise public transportation since I contracted this wretched cold.  Now I’ll have to walk to work and all the fencing students will be without help!”

“Wilfred,” Spencer said absently, “you haven’t had a single fencing student since you started tutoring.”

Wilfred waved away the objection and slumped into his chair.  “Oh the CIA will not be happy about this.”

Since I started working with Wilfred, I’ve learned that sometimes I just shouldn’t ask questions.  Marcos hasn’t yet learned this lesson.  “What did you say about the CIA?”

“I work for the CIA,” Wilfred declared as if it was the most natural thing in the world.  “You’ve always heard about how the CIA has a file on everyone, right?  Well, they can’t have actual agents everywhere spying on everyone.  That’s what entry-level agents like me do–report on the common peasantry of the good ole’ U.S.A.”

Spencer put down his magazine.  “Wilfred, you’re a fencing tutor with a penchant for computer hacking–”

“That was not hacking!” Wilfred interjected.

“With a penchant for computer hacking,” Spencer repeated.  “How did you get hired by the CIA?”

Wilfred launched into another story and, since he’s nearly as long-winded as I am, I’ll spare you most of it.  But the synopsis is that after the CIA discovered he had the secret of cold fusion, they hired him hoping he would help out their scientists.  (He still hasn’t explained the whole cold fusion thing and I consider it better to not ask.)  Evidently the motorcycle is part of his standard CIA equipment.

As he finished his story, he sighed again.  “I’m just a tutor to help with extra expenses.  Some day I’ll be a full-fledged CIA agent.  But until my motorcycle’s repaired, I’ll be walking to and from work.  720i  Graham Place seems a long, long way away.”

“Graham Place?” Dexter frowned.  “Isn’t that where you live, Marbles?”

Every inch of me wanted to say “No”–that I lived anywhere but Graham Place.  Before I could answer, Wilfred leaped up.  “You do!  Why this is perfect.  We can carpool.”

And what could I do?  Be an ogre and say, “No!  I don’t want to save the planet by carpooling!”  Well…I decided against being an ogre.

That’s why I’m dashing off this garrulous letter to you now.  I’m about to leave my house to pick up Wilfred.  I now carpool with an invisible guy who lives at an imaginary address.

If I don’t contact you within 2 weeks, come looking for me.  Forget about the spectrum of craziness–bythattime, I’llprobably have gone officially insane.  The things I do to cut down on carbon emissions.

Your eco-friendly,

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