NARRATOR: In upstate New York, harried academics sometimes disappear under reams of paperwork, stacks of books, and hours of meetings. Because these disappearances leave many students wandering lost and forlorn, uncertain about next semester's schedule or this semester's final exam, they are immediately investigated by detectives from the Special Academic Unit. These are their stories.
[As the scene fades in, Detectives JOE FONTANA and ED GREEN stare at a scene of near-apocalyptic devastation: an English professor's office. Exams, years-old papers, books, attendance sheets, and other detritus of uncertain provenance cover the desk, the floor, the chairs, and all other available surfaces. An invisible phone rings. A student stands behind the detectives, gesticulating in the office's direction.]
STUDENT:...and we had an appointment for this morning to discuss indecent antedates--
FONTANA: Indefinite antecedents, kiddo--
STUDENT: --OK, whatever, like I said, I showed up at 10:00 on the button, and she wasn't here.
FONTANA: How d'ya know she didn't just find something more exciting to do than discuss grammar? Maybe she decided to live large, get a manicure, upgrade the wardrobe...
STUDENT: Uh...didn't you guys do, like, background checks? I mean, like, this woman lived for grammar. Like, it was, like, transgenic, you know.
FONTANA [sourly]: Transcendent. Y'know.
GREEN: Wish I could say that this crime scene looked transcendent. Man, this lady really deconstructed the place.
[The two detectives move inside]
FONTANA [picking a random sheet of paper off the floor]: "Scansion exercise." [Picks up another] "Candidate interview questions." [And another] "Course proposal." [One more] "Final exam." You ask me, the vic--what's her name--
GREEN: "Little Professor," it says here--
FONTANA:--the Little Professor, OK, she saw the writing on the wall, got scared, and decided to split.
GREEN: What writing on the wall?
FONTANA [pointing]: That writing.
[On the far wall, next to a bookcase, we see "COMMITTEE MEETINGS," written in letters of blood.]
GREEN: That's gross. So we're saying that the same person who wrote that also dumped the professor's files all over the place?
FONTANA: Ya kidding me? She's an English professor, fer cryin' out loud. She probably couldn't tell a filing system from a filet mignon.
GREEN [with an odd, faraway look in his eyes]: You mean that we're looking at an example of poststructuralist feminist resistance to Enlightenment taxonomies of rational order?
FONTANA [backing away nervously]: Damn, I hope that's not catchin'.
[As Fontana backs up, he trips over a sandal-clad foot protruding from beneath a pile of freshman composition essays. We hear a muffled yelp.]
FONTANA: Didja hear something?
GREEN: I cannot choose but hear, baby. [Rummaging around in the pile] I think I've got something...
[Together, FONTANA and GREEN extricate a small and somewhat irate woman, dressed entirely in black, from beneath the papers.]
FONTANA: Jeez Louise, lady, where's the funeral?
LITTLE PROFESSOR [with some attempt at dignity]: I'll have you know that this is the official garb of English professors nationwide. We wouldn't be caught dead looking like...like... [staring at FONTANA's canary-yellow silk shirt and gold tie] ...like animated daffodils.
FONTANA [fingering her blouse]: Maybe, sweetie, but at least you could invest in some Vera Wang. [Dismissing the subject] So. What's up with the blood on the wall? [Threateningly] How many students didja have to do in to get that much blood? Huh? Huh? Huh?
[Attempts to glare into her eyes, but, as she's nearly a full foot shorter than he is, he finds himself glowering at the top of her head.]
LITTLE PROFESSOR: That? That's washable red marker. Out, out, damned spot, and all that.
GREEN [visibly disappointed] And the example of poststructuralist feminist resistance to Enlightenment taxonomies of rational order?
LITTLE PROFESSOR [backing away nervously]: My goodness, I hope that's not catching. [She bumps into the nearest filing cabinet.] Actually, just as I was about to clear off my desk, I accidentally triggered an avalanche. [She roots around under the papers and comes up with a copy of Charlotte Bronte's Villette.] Wow! I knew that was on my desk somewhere...
GREEN: All's well that end's well, eh?
FONTANA: Yeah, apparently though they sink through the papers they shall rise again.
[Fade to black.]
*--The sound of two erasers pounded together.