Cindy fidgeted nervously and applied lip gloss before finally knocking on the door of Professor Craig Rollins. Cindy had taken courses with the esteemed professor before, but always got a bit tingly in the presence of such an iconic academic figure. Dr. Rollins’ work on black holes was the basis of much of the current academic work on the subject.

Dr. Rollins’ head popped up at the sound of the knock.

“Oh … it’s Cindy, right? About your thesis?”

“Yes, Dr. Rollins,” squeaked Cindy. “My advisor, Dr. Miller, thought that you might be able to help me find some resources.”

“Could we possibly discuss this over a sandwich? I’m absolutely famished.”

“Sure, Dr. Rollins. Whatever works for you.”

“Please, call me Craig.”

“OK, Dr. Roll … Craig.”

Dr. Rollins quizzed Cindy on her thesis as they walked toward the student union. The professor seemed genuinely interested in her work. Cindy felt herself blush at the attention she was receiving from a man who was such respected member of her academic field.

Cindy ordered a ham and swiss sandwich, while Dr. Rollins got some sort of monstrosity that reminded her of the sandwiches that Dagwood Bumstead enjoyed eating. The conversation shifted to small talk, as they discussed current events and the weather in between bites of sandwich.

When they finished eat, Cindy explained the difficulty she had encountered when attempting to find research materials for one of the sub-topics of her thesis.

Dr. Rollins furrowed his brow and muttered to himself for a moment.

“I can definitely understand your difficulty, Cindy. There really isn’t much current research in that area. I’d recommend Knack’s work, and Atkins’s book could also be very useful. It’s a niche area, though, so I don’t think either of their books had a very large print run – they are hard to find.”

Cindy frowned at the news that she was likely to encounter further difficulties in her research.

“Oh, no need to worry, Cindy. You certainly won’t find their books at the library, but of course I have a copy in my own library.”
“That’s great news, Dr. Rollins! Could I please borrow the books?”

“Well, I’m actually leaving on a vacation tomorrow, so I wouldn’t be able to bring them in for a couple of weeks.”

Rollins glance down at his watch. “Actually, I have some time now. If you like, we could drop by my house and pick up the books. Maybe some other volumes in my collection would interest you, as well.”

“That sounds great,” gushed Cindy. At long last, she would be able to make progress on her thesis.

The library inside Dr. Rollin’s large Victorian home compared favorably to some municipal libraries Cindy had visited. There were rows upon rows of books on a wide variety of subjects. The largest area was reserved for astronomy, and Cindy naturally gravitated to that section.

“Cindy,” said Dr. Rollins, after a very brief search, “it doesn’t appear that those two books are in the library. I’m going to run up to my study to look for them. Make yourself at home.”

Cindy glanced at the hundreds of astronomy books before focusing on one – the memoirs of Dr. Craig Rollins. Cindy grabbed the book and settled down on one of the library’s couches.

She was looking through photos in the book a few minutes later when Dr. Rollins returned from the second floor with two books in his hand.

“Here they are, Cindy. They were on a shelf in my study. What book do you have there?”

Cindy held the book aloft and watched the professor’s face flush with embarrassment.

“I’m not overly pleased with that book, although there are some great photos. Let me point a few of them out to you.”

Cindy slid over on the coach to make room for Dr. Rollins. Cindy became engrossed in the book as Rollins described the academic work of the scientists who were featured alongside him in some of the book’s photos. She was so focused on the book that she didn’t notice when Dr. Rollins slid his arm around her. When he leaned toward her for a kiss, Cindy broke free from her trance and recoiled.

Cindy slapped Rollins across the face, jumped up from the couch, and raced out of the house.

It seemed that Dr. Rollins would not be any help with her thesis, after all.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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