"Alt-AC," by Warren Moore, in The Darkling Halls of Ivy, edited by Lawrence Block, LB Productions, 2020.
This is the second appearance here by Warren Moore. It ranges between the amusing and startling.
I may be prejudiced in favor of this tale because I am both an academic and the father of an academic, so I sympathize with both generations represented here.
Roger Patterson possesses a newly minted PhD. in medieval English. He has been in Kalamazoo for the annual conference on medieval studies and he offers a Senior Scholar a trip to the airport. Beggs, the Senior Scholar, turns out to be a historian, with a comfy job of the kind Patterson will probably never get.
Patterson is on the market (a phrase that "made him feel like a haunted house. Or a slightly bruised avocado") at a time when there are over a hundred people applying for every position. He is likely to wind up teaching at "the Swamp County School of Mortuary Science and Transmission Repair." Or worse he may need to find an alternative to academia, the dreaded "Alt-AC."
The writing is hilarious but I found myself thinking: this is a book of crime stories. So somebody has to get naughty, right? Don't worry. Somebody does.