“Oh sorry,” Tim said, looking at the deserted seats that rose above the professor’s pulpit. “I must have the wrong room.”
The professor was sat amongst an assortment of books and papers, his small glasses sliding down his nose until he was almost hunched over his task. Tim went to leave, but the professor spoke without looking up.
“Take a seat.”
“I don’t think this is my class.”
“How do you know? I haven’t started giving it yet. Take a seat.”
Tim moved quickly to the front row and dropped his satchel in the seat next to him. Two years he had been here, doing well, better than well in most classes. He knew of this professor, though as far as he was aware the old man taught no classes himself. He was the kind of man for whom academia seemed to have given way to paperwork many years before.
The professor made a few scratches with a pen, put the sheaf of paper away and slowly rose. He picked up a manilla folder from amongst the piles on his desk. He flicked through it. Over and over. There must have been a hundred sheets in there.
“I really don’t think I’m supposed to be here,” Tim said again.
“You have before you a unique opportunity,” the professor said, after an age and a day. “The chance to choose a career beyond that which you foresaw when you entered my room today.”
“Most students, they come through these halls and leave with a bit of paper and that is there life, from them on. Trading paper. Your aptitude tests brought you to my attention.”
“I don’t remember taking any tests.”
“Nor should you. Tell me, how many doors away is the nearest store room.”
“And where is Dean Rushall from?”
“Germany. South Dusseldorf.”
“You take in knowledge like a sponge. You’re active on several athletics teams. You have so much potential.”
“That’s why I’m training to be a lawyer.”
“I want to recruit you for something greater.”
“A spy? You mean recruit me to become a spy.”
Tim leant back in his seat and whistled. The professor merely smiled and dropped the manilla folder on the arm rest of the seat. Tim saw his name neatly stencilled across the cover. It was him. His whole life.
The professor gently placed a business card on top, the emblem of the Central Intelligence Agency proudly sitting next to his real name. Or at least as close as Tim would come to getting a real name from a spook.
“I’m in,” he said.
Prompt originally posted by RefusingWrites on reddit and received 2 upvotes.