The Bullhorn: January 1948

The Bullhorn: January 1948

We’ve dug deep into the Alcalde archives to bring you historical campus news. The events described below actually happened.*

by Uriah T. Schrivner

Campus nightowls have a new favorite subject to hoot about: the strange goings-on in the science labs, where our sources tell us newly appointed professor Archibald Frang has been conducting experiments deep into the night—experiments the nature of which this newsman cannot ascertain. Nor, apparently can the Tower brass, who report that while running up the campus electricity bill, he has also exhausted the college’s supply of Tesla coils, aprons, goggles, and jars of human body parts.

Many have seen the recently arrived brainiac scurrying through the halls of the science buildings with a harried look on his pale, gaunt face, his bulging eyes hidden behind dark spectacles and his black rubber apron flapping about. Few, however, have seen what he’s been up to, though this reporter can only assume it’s a benevolent quest to better mankind through the wondrous advances of modern science.

The higher-ups in administration, however, are hot and bothered over the bizarre boffin’s unknown aims. Recent records show that electricity use has reached a new high. Incidentally, the university health center has seen a marked drop in blood on hand.

What Frang is up to seems unclear. While he is listed in the current course catalog as teaching “Foundations of Transdermal Electrode Placement,” “Scientific Ethics: As Clear As We Presume?” and “Human Anatomy” in the fall semester, no students seem to have been enrolled in any of the listed courses. Reports of manic shrieks, unusual gurgling, and rivulets of an unidentified goo all emanating from the labs have, however, been consistent for the past four months since Frang arrived.

“This thing is through the roof!” exclaimed Head of Facilities Management Edison Watts as he brandished a ledger of electrical usage in Frang’s always-locked laboratory. “I mean, this is a real blivit, see? It’s like the Manhattan Project in there!” Watts chewed on a long-since snuffed out cigar before slamming the ledger on the table. He declined to comment further for this article, owing to the fact that he was “madder than a mustang getting gelded.”

The personal history of our peculiar new prof is a fascinating one. Records scrounged up by this reporter indicate that Frang was born in Wulfraven, Germany but was orphaned under mysterious circumstances at an early age, after which he was made the ward of his Austrian uncle, the Baron von Fleischmünster. Newspaper reports, which we have endeavored to translate to our best ability, indicate that the baron was an eccentric who once attempted to construct the world’s largest strudel on his massive, darkly wooded estate. Fleischmünster died shortly before his nephew’s arrival in the U.S., asphyxiated when he allegedly fell into the world’s largest bowl of whipped cream.

Frang seems to have immigrated long before the war, but his whereabouts before coming to our university are less clear. Evidence seems to indicate a trail of short stints at scientific institutions of dubious reputation across the country. In one example, Frang spent six months at the unaccredited Laboratory of Advanced and Intricate Research, or LAIR, deep in the Nevada desert. Records regarding his abrupt termination from the LAIR could not be accessed, as they were destroyed in a freak lightning storm around the time Frang was fired.

Dean of Experimental Science Robert Walton said he had not been notified of any ongoing research projects in Frang’s lab, but noted that there “sure has been a lot of groaning coming from in there.”

“Our top priority is to get this energy usage under control,” Walton continued. “I don’t care what he’s doing—jeepers, we’re not made of money!”

“Seems a rare bird to me,” said junior and basketball team manager Vic Stein. “I was sitting on a bench near the Center for Electrochemistry with Babs Blinkens and boy, were we really—studying! Boy, were we studying,” Stein reported, adjusting his tie before chuckling nervously. “Anyways, all of a sudden the windows light up like a Christmas tree, everything’s flashing and I can hear Dr. Frang shouting ‘I’ve done it! I’ve done it!’ over and over again.”

Others are not so keen to cast a wary eye on the good doctor. Frang’s own teaching assistant, Igor Lopitov, defended Frang. An exchange student from Trans-Mortuaria, he says Frang’s excessive use of electricity is justified.

“Yes, yes!” Lopitov began. “Doctor Frang! Doctor Frang ees smart man,” he asserted, his voice quivering and raspy. “Electricity! Electricity is the secret. The secret to life!”

Before follow-up questions could be asked, the possibly young man hobbled away and hid behind a nearby bush until this reporter grew tired and went to the Chuck Wagon cafe for a cup of joe.

While reports of Frang’s well-lit work have been exclusively nocturnal, campus cops say there’s been nothing of the sort reported to them in recent evenings.

“Oh, we get the occasional imploring cry to the heavens or maniacal laugh, sure,” said university police chief Hank Clerval. “But that’s pretty normal during finals. The only real report we’ve had lately is of a suspicious character walking around the mall at night.”

Clerval said the suspicious figure reported was male, well over 6 feet tall, with greenish skin. The boys in blue believe he may be ill or dangerous, and request that anyone who sees the man report it immediately.

*No, they didn’t.

Illustration by Jonathan Carlson

 

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