An Odd Visitor
One day, I was sitting in the laboratory, and fiddling with Frederf's speech analyser (BabyJane was not here). The telephone rang, and I picked up the receiver.
"Alex here", I said.
The director of the Institute told me that an American scientist was visiting the Institute, and wanted a visit with Frederf. He was a psychologist named Professor Paul Smith. I told him that I would be happy to see him.
In a few minutes, the director came in to the laboratory with Professor Smith. He introduced me to him, and asked to be excused, as he was unable to stay, and left. And as Smith was less fluent in Loglan, we spoke English.
He informed me that he was now teaching in Chicago, but he had first studied psychology at the University of Santa Cruz. That interested me, as I had lived there.
"Were you there for the earthquake of 1989", I asked.
"No", he replied, "I went away before that"
I continued to chat with him about Santa Cruz, and I became aware of something very odd. I mentioned a cafe, that had ben destroyed by the earthquake but was very popular before that. Apparently he was not familiar with it, and didn't know that all the tables were not inside a building, but were outside a bookstore.
He immediately asked me about Frederf, and I forgot that I was surprised by his odd ignorance. I told him everything about Frederf, and apologized that it was currently impossible for him to talk to Frederf, because I was adjusting his speech synthesizer.
I offered him coffee, but he said he preferred CocaCola. (a vending machine was located in the corridor near the elevator). I went out to get a drink for him. When I came back to the lab, he was standing near the incubator looking at the fungus.
I discussed the education of Frederf with him, and answered many of his questions. After that, he thanked me, and left the laboratory. I continued my work, and didn't think any more about the visit, Shortly after, BabyJane returned. The speech synthesizer was soon ready, and I switched it on. Frederf immediatly spoke.
"I'm surprised and angry", he said, "Someone took a piece of me. Who was here?"
"An American professor", I said "But it isn't possible..." I suddenly remembered that Professor Smith had been alone in the lab, for at most two minutes. I looked at the fungus in the incubator that he had stood near. BabyJane looked too.
"I'm not certain", she said, pointing to a part of the fungus. "But it's possible that a piece has been taken."
"I didn't think", I said, that the professor was so bold as to steal the fungus. The government has forbidden anyone to take this fungus out of Loglandia."
"You're not acquainted with the professor", she said, "Being a professor does not entail honesty. Are you certain that Smith is truly a professor."
I telephoned the director of the Institute. Apparently Professor Smith had left. The director told me that he had received a letter from him, with the letterhead ' Chicago University, Laboratory of Psychology'. The director had not known him personally.
BabyJane and I immediately went to the Institute library, and looked at a catalogue of the principal universities, which had a list of professors. In the Chicago University, several professors were named Smith, but none were psychologists named Paul Smith.
I was disturbed, and emailed a friend of mine that teaches at the Santa Cruz University, and inquired from him 'Did Paul Smith study psychology there, like he claimed'. The next day my friend replied 'No Paul Smith studied psychology at Santa Cruz University during the 80s.
In short, our visitor had pretended to be a proferrsor, and stole a piece of the fungus, and probably intended to take it away. Happily, Frederf was not severely hurt. The stolen piece was simply Fred, and had not mixed with the alga. BabyJane reported the visit to the government, and we discussed how we could protect Frederf more.
Finally, we did not think that this was extraordinarily important. Alas, subsequent events demonstrated our error. However the planning of our wedding was more important to us then.
All my Loglandian friends enthusiastically and eagerly helped us with the preparation. Frederf also wished us well.
"Certainly I now understand" he said, "the completion when Fred met Derf. And you will be experiencing something similar"
"Frederf, dear" said BabyJane laughing, "Humans are not like lichens. We don't become one, like you"
"Too bad, humans are deprived" he said, "However, you do not understand now, but you will, and you will probably be surprised". He chuckled happily.