The Snail Factory


The Snail Factory

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He left the door open you see, that's how it happened.

It was that old stone building at the north end of campus, it's the psych building if you ever saw it and wondered. That's where Kawin's office was. You know about Prof. Kawin of course, the man with the 40 percent fail rate. They called him Professor Gordion as a joke, because the only sure fire way to pass his riddle of a class would be to cut the old bastard in half.

Weird thing is, the dropout kids were always happy. Every single student that failed the course. You probably met one or two yourself and didn't notice, just thought they were happy but it's a special kind of happy, the kind of bucolic daze they all share that makes you think they're about to hand you a bible or tell you about Krishna. Except Danny I mean. He's the one drop out from Kawin who doesn't act like that.

He told me about it the last day of my Junior year. He was failing anyway, his grade would have been a low D and it was pass fail. With an A to pass. And Kawin, he said, offered him one chance to pass the course. He had to solve a riddle. Gordion's knot, he thought with a laugh. So he goes to Kawin's office and Kawin takes him down to the basement, unlocks door after door and takes him so deep into the labyrinth that Danny's certain the old man is gonna ask for oral or some shit.

He doesn't. He takes Danny to this door with a major lock. Like, one of those old fashioned locks like Amish people must use. And Kawin says, okay, the lock only opens if you put in these 7 blocks. He gives him the blocks, each has a creepy old diagram on it. He says just put 'em all in place and the door will open. That's all and you pass the course. I'll be watching from the next room, and one more thing- When you're done, you have to close the door. Just take out all the seals and close the door, and make sure it's locked.

So Kawin leaves and Danny tries. It's damn easy, like the round peg in the square hole thing for kids. Danny gets all seven in a few minutes. But he's getting creeped out big time right? Weird old man and weird markings on a weird door in a weird building. He's wound up real tight so when he opens the door just a crack, and he hears this soft crazy moan from the other side, he says fuck this shit and runs. Runs out past Kawin, knows he's gonna quit the class and doesn't care anymore. But he didn't have to quit the class.

Because after that, Kawin was such a happy man. A bucolic, dazed fellow who taught every class as if he were in a dream. He never let a kid fail after that. And a few more souls go all happy and lobotomized around campus every day now. Because Danny left the door wide open when he ran away.