"I see. Do you begin all your interviews this way?"
"No. I used to, but stopped until just recently."
The interview halted there for a time, while we both considered what was wrong with me. Then, anxious to pull my investigation out of the ditch, I asked the professor about the possible causes for glossolalia.
"Yes, well there's many competing theories about how glossolalia works. First, it is an acquirable skill - it can be taught and learned. It can also potentially be brought on by hypnosis. And in some cases it can be brought on by mental or physical illnesses. I understand the doctors who diagnosed this reporter think it was tied to some migraines she was having."
"What about religious epiphanies? I'm pretty sure I saw that in an Indiana Jones movie once."
The professor nodded. "Another popular explanation. 'Speaking in tongues' has been mentioned in the bible. It's been claimed that it's a sign of divine intervention, that a higher power has taken control of a vessel. Honestly, I think in most of these cases that it's been used deliberately as bit of a ruse - a parlor trick."
"In most cases?"
Dr. Tungsprecher hesitated. I sensed I had found my story, and licked my lips, to let him know I was interested in what he had to say. That seemed to put him off a bit, and the conversation skidded and swerved to a halt. Putting my tongue away, I waited for him to continue. "I've seen a few things which have made me wonder," he finally said.
Tungsprecher swallowed now. "In the swamp once. A cult that spoke in tongues. But those were no tricks. It was something much worse than that. I don't know what I saw." His eyes seemed to focus on something in the far distance. "There's evil in those swamps." Remember where he was, he shuddered, then glanced at something behind me.
I turned around to see what he was looking at: a bookshelf, upon which sat a simple wooden sculpture. Tungsprecher explained to me had obtained in the swamp "at great cost." Carved into its surface was an awful figure, grotesque, but impossible to wrap my head around. Impossible to describe. All the worst parts of man and octopus and cucumber, combined into something unspeakable.
Although he warned me several times, I was able to secure the location of the swamp from him, after repeatedly explaining the hardy and resilient nature of comedy writers. "There is no evil, nor banality greater than what happens weekly in my comments section, professor."
Then, after changing into a more suitable outfit...
Can you believe it only cost me six dollars?
...I was on my way to the swamp.
I'm really pleased to report that the swamp people I met on that black day were just delightful. Evil yes,