Vignettes (I)

Borja Sotomayor
2 min readApr 28, 2015

A Collection of Fantastical Vignettes
set in the University of Chicago

“That’s impossible, the Ducks of Botany Pond haven’t meddled in our affairs since the Great Ryerson Wars of 1957.”

Andrew woke up to find himself in the bookstacks. His mind was still in a haze; all he remembered was picking up that old book. He got up, and inspected his surroundings. Something didn’t feel right. Then, he noticed a rusted bronze plaque on the wall: “C LEVEL”.

A truce between the squirrels and the humans was finally reached. An uneasy truce, but a welcome one after so much bloodshed.

“So… item #929: Robert Maynard Hutchins’ Distaff of Intellectual Purity.”

“Asum-Rah! Weaver of Great Books. Vanquisher of Sports and Fraternities. Imbued by Aristotle himself with the power to spin the very fabric of the universe into endless seminar discussions.”


“Wasn’t he buried with it?”

“Yeah, in the catacombs under Rosenwald”

“I’ll get a shovel and a crowbar.”

“Wait, I forgot to tell you about the curse!”

Things took a turn for the worse after Kent 107 became sentient.

Sophonisba arrived to find that Rockefeller Chapel had disappeared… again. It quickly became apparent she would not be able to handle this on her own. Other Wizard-Deans would have to be summoned.

Contrary to the popular urban legend, Enrico Fermi’s notes were not radioactive.

Fermi’s ghost, on the other hand, was an entirely different matter.

Ben had many keys in his key chain, but one of them was special: it was the key to his old dorm room. The small, unassuming, copper-colored key was useless now, but Ben couldn’t bring himself to part with the last tangible link to one of the happiest times of his life.

One night, Ben got home and, as he had done countless times before, reached into his pocket and took out his key chain. As he was about to unlock the door to his apartment, he noticed the key he held in his fingers was glowing! Except it wasn’t his apartment key; it was the small copper-colored key.

Ben felt strangely drawn to use the key, even though it couldn’t possibly fit in the lock. Inexplicably, though, it fit perfectly. Ben turned the key, opened the door, and crossed the threshold of the door, expecting to see the familiar foyer of his apartment. Instead, he was greeted by another familiar sight.

He was back in Pierce.

The Provost addressed the delegation, and praised the beauty and majesty of the quads. In his haste, he made a nut-related pun.

The patience of the squirrel ambassador was wearing thin.

Well, Zimmer’s dragon was at it again.




Borja Sotomayor

I am a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. I write short pieces of fiction for fun. Sometimes I write about serious things too.