Sitting around a small table inside the SCU Biology & Aquatics department staff room, Dr. Javier Sanchez and Dr. Shelby Willis go over semester grades and other business.
Javier: (Looking at his watch) Well, the meeting was called for 3:00 - it's now 3:20
Shelby: Timothy should be here soon, he was finishing up a lab tutorial
Javier: Maybe when Hajanian and Erika finally become parents, they'll learn how to be more prompt
Shelby: (Raising an eyebrow) You were late three times last week
Javier: Yes, but I had my reasons... my children
Shelby: You mean the actual offspring you had with your wife or the cluster of freshmen hanging around your office door?
Javier: Jealous, Shel? - the student reports on you are solid - they give you high marks on conveying your knowledge in a helpful and informative way but they classify your manner as "brusque" - try lightening up a little and you could very well have your own pack of freshmen hanging on your door next semester!
Shelby: (Folding her arms) NO THANK YOU - I already have one son hanging on to my leg, that's more than enough for now
Javier: (Sipping his coffee) Try having an adult male grab a hold of your legs and throw them over his shoulders, you'll have more fun
Shelby: (Smacking him on the arm with a file) I do believe you just violated SCU Code of Conduct rule 42 subsection C - sexual harassment!
Javier: Is it HARassment or harASSment?
Shelby: Do I look like an English major?
Javier: No, but you sure sound like one - by the way, the damn Lit. Department has twice as many awards and grants this year
Shelby: (Sighing) Yes, I am painfully aware of that - that's why I'm going to have to sue you for your prior comment
Javier: You are more than welcome to do so - I can give you the second mortgage on my house, a car that needs a new transmission, my $5000.00 in credit card debt and my wife's alarm clock that plays the soundtrack to "Grease"
Javier: (Tapping his pen) The smart thing to do would be to sue Erika for wasting our time here - the von Meers could easily part with a moneybag or two
Shelby: (Turning serious) I am growing concerned about her
Javier: You're concerned about everyone, Shelby, that's why you get the best birthday presents from the office secretaries
Shelby: I am not joshing around, Sandy, there is something going on with her - she hasn't been right for awhile now - everyone keeps asking me what "big project" has Erika so busy all the time
Javier: (Eyes lighting up) Project?
Shelby: There IS no project... at least that I am aware of - she has the same work load as I do and her research is far from earth-shattering
Javier: Who asked you about her?
Shelby: Her brother, for one - and Griffin... oh, and another man on the phone who wouldn't leave his name - it was quite odd
Javier: (Slamming his hand on his notepad) DAMMIT - I knew it!
Javier: She has a secret project - probably some tip off from her father's company - she's going to do it all herself and get all the glory, leaving us in the lurch
Shelby: Oh, I don't know about that
Javier: You know how these rich white people are, they stick together, keeping everything in the inner circle... keeping us out!
Shelby: Come now, this has nothing to do with race
Javier: It ALWAYS has something to do with race
Shelby: Sorry, I just don't believe that
Javier: That's right, you're off playing polo with them all the time
Shelby: I happen to like polo
Javier: You happen to like Captain Crunch - am I right?
Shelby: (Looking away) You are a madman, I have no clue as to what you are thinking in that nasty little head of yours
Javier: You have it so bad for Craig, whenever the Coast Guard calls for info, you gallop to the phone!
Shelby: I do not gallop
Javier: You do too, I saw it with my own eyes... twice
Shelby: Well... even if I did, he certainly wouldn't be interested in me - I have a young child
Javier: So? - doesn't he have a daughter?
Shelby: It's just different for men, besides she lives with the ex-wife
Javier: Eh, I wouldn't waste your time with him, he seems like a stuffed shirt
Shelby: (Impish grin) His pants are stuffed with vigor and that's what counts
Javier: It's my turn to sue for sexual harassment now
Shelby: Unfortunately, a rather large negative against the fine Phelps is his current involvement with one Ursula Martel
Javier: (Gasping) NOT R'XAL
Shelby: A "rumor" of course - I can't believe you watch that silly space show!
Javier: (Clearing his throat) My sons do
Shelby: (Checking over some notes) Mm-hmm
Javier: That's funny, Oni tells me my sister-in-law has Ursula's co-star set in her sights
Shelby: (Wide-eyed) NOT JAMIE
Javier: HA - I can't believe you watch that stupid old sitcom!
Shelby: Calvin does - it's on the Rerun Network every night
Javier: (Winking) Yeahuh
Shelby: Tell me, has Anita talked to you at all about what she's doing with Craig?
Javier: What is she doing with Craig?
Shelby: Obviously not, then
Javier: Is it Coast Guard related?
Shelby: I am not certain - some of the questions that he has been asking me lately are not typical
Javier: Can you cite an example?
Shelby: "Have there been any recent sea mammal anomalies discovered in the area?"
Javier: (Scratching his beard) That is bizarre - someone obviously knows something here and we're being kept out of the loop - you keep working on Craig and I'll grill Anita - this school NEEDS a big discovery to put us on the academic map, we've been riding on past glories for far too long
Shelby: Our Santa Conchita River spill studies were in two scientific journals?
Javier: That's not enough, we need something more... soon
Shelby: (Glancing at the wall clock) Be sure to bring it up at our next meeting, I need to get going - I have to pick up Calvin and then get ready for my date tonight
Javier: Oooh, a date?
Shelby: Don't sound so surprised
Javier: Do I know the man, is he as handsome as I am?
Shelby: Jason Clark and if he looked remotely like you, I would not be going out on a date with him
Javier: OUCH - he's kind of young for you, isn't he?
Shelby: Not as young as yours
Javier: (Waving a white paper napkin) I surrender
Shelby: He seems like a gentleman yet there is also an unnerving aura about him
Javier: Tell him to switch deodorants
Striding into the room, a disheveled Dr. Erika von Meer approaches the table and drops a stack of files on the table.
Erika: This is my course curriculum for next semester
She drops another stack of files on the table.
Erika: These are my students' grades and papers for last semester
She drops a spreadsheet on the table.
Erika: These are the current expenditures for my lab experiments and what I'd like to see added in the new budget - it's all very straightforward, I've highlighted areas that might be brought into question - if you need to go over it in detail with me, let me know and we'll set up a time
Erika forces a smile and turns to leave.
Javier: (Gruff) Dr. von Meer, SIT DOWN
Erika scowls at him.
Javier: (Softening) Erika... please
Erika: (Doing so) What's the problem, Sandy?
Before he can respond, Tim Hajanian enters the room.
Tim: (Catching his breath) Thank you all for starting the meeting without me
Erika: I just got here myself
Tim: (Sneering at Erika) Surprise
Shelby: You both are over a half hour late - Sandy and I have family plans to work around
Tim: You know what, I am really sorry about that - I'm happy you both decided to have children but that decision should not affect me - it's not fair - just because I am a single man does not mean that I DON'T have a life!
Erika sits back as Sandy and Shelby exchange looks.
Tim: I was late because I was busy taking care of a tutorial that one of YOU was supposed to help me with
Javier: We knew you could handle it yourself
Tim: Man, that is a tired excuse, try to think of something original for once
Shelby: Timothy, you would be wise to watch what you say
Tim: (Shrugging) What? - are you going to toss a bunch of coconuts into the ocean if I dis you?
Shelby: (Standing up) Are you making fun of my religion, you deviant piss?
Javier: Will everyone please calm it down?
Tim: Look, I have an art exhibit this weekend to prepare for - have any of you seen my sculptures? - do any of you even ASK about my art? - NO - but I'm supposed to give a crap about your kids and come to the rescue every time there's a bruised knee
Javier: We're sorry that you feel that way
Tim: You all seem to assume that I can be counted on to take the shit jobs while you and the kiddies go picnic in a park - well, I'm done with the burden of your spawning
Erika: His point is crude but correct
Tim: You don't have to fight my battles, Erika, I am sick and tired of you disappearing all the time - where in the hell do you go? - have you become a junkie because you look like death warmed over
Javier: (Losing his temper) MISTER Hajanian, you seem to be forgetting that DR. Willis, DR. von Meer, and myself rank above you in this department and you will do what is asked of you!
Tim: (Throwing his files on the table) Not if I'm not around to do it - good fucking luck trying to find another flunky that's as efficient as I am - when you're ready to discuss my part in this little powwow, be sure to let me know
The room is silent as Hajanian storms out the door.
Erika: (Casually) George took Lydia and Penny with him to DC this week
Javier: Ah, OK
Shelby: (Standing) I need to get going, we'll discuss all of this tomorrow... and let us make it a point to go see Timothy's sculptures
Erika and Sandy watch her leave. Before the blonde woman can say or do anything, she feels the sweaty hand of the man across from her take her fingers into his.
Javier: Rica... I need you to be honest with me
Erika: (Looking into his eyes) About what?
Erika: (Snapping her hand away and leaving) Not today
Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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