the school murder case (part thirteen)

This story started here.

The cafeteria was familiar. We had been to some sort of event there, or perhaps more than one, but I couldn't recall the details.

Roger said, "I'll check on the coffee," and he went off to the kitchen.

The large room was full of long tables, some with attached benches (like picnic tables) and others with chairs. If there was a system to how the tables were arranged, it was based on mathematical formulae which were beyond me.

"So," David said, "Miss Sleet, you're a big fan of detective fiction?"

She smiled. "Of course. I assume you have a reason for asking?"

"He hates mystery stories," Carol said. "That's what one of his courses is about."

David laughed. "She's not one of my students," he said. "That's purely hearsay."

"But with, perhaps, an element of truth," Jan commented. "What is your premise?"

"In brief," he said, "science fiction encourages us to imagine other worlds. In most cases, the imagination applied is pretty paltry, but the potential is there, and occasionally it is realized. Mystery stories, on the other hand, are, in a basic sense, about repairing what exists now, about maintaining order."

Jan sighed and stretched. I could feel how much she wanted a cigarette, but apparently she had decided that smoking in the cafeteria would be a bit much, even for her.

"It is no coincidence, I think," David continued, "that the person who thought up the idea of U-town was a science fiction fan."

Roger came out of the kitchen with a tray which, instead of coffee, seemed to contain cups of soda.

"Dr. Alexander's blown up the coffee pot again," he announced. "Somebody's gone for a new one, but I thought this was better than nothing."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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